Sidmouth ‘prisoners’ have snow hope

RESIDENTS reduced to ‘prisoners in their own homes’ in snowed-in Sidmouth streets will be boosted by an ice-busting piece of kit.

The parish has been handed its very own mobile gritting machine by Councillor Stuart Hughes.

Sidmouth has also bagged an extra five tonnes of salt this winter after Cllr Hughes became its first fully qualified ‘snow warden’.

Mr Hughes spent �1,300 of his county council discretionary grant on the grit dispenser.

He hopes it can help residents stranded in big-freeze peril in estate areas like Higher Woolbrook Park, Manstone, Malden Road and Higher and Lower Brook Meadow.

Spots off Stowford Rise, like Baker Close, will also benefit from the equipment.

Sidmouth Garden Centre owner and town councillor, Ian Barlow, has volunteered to keep the gritter and extra salt supplies at his business - and his staff will even tow the gritter around when needed.

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“This is about self-help within the community – and that’s what we want,” said town council chairman Mr Hughes.

“I think its going to be a worthwhile investment.

“This will help people to be more resilient against the winter weather and whatever it throws at us.

“It will enable us to get to some of the streets where people were prisoners in their own homes for one or two weeks because of the ice and snow last winter. Some people couldn’t get to work.

“It’s not going to go out every night, but if there’s a snow warning we’ll go out and target estate roads. I think people will appreciate we’re doing a job to help them get out onto the gritted network so they can get around and carry out their daily business.”

Mr Hughes completed county council snow warden training yesterday.

Snow wardens are asked to determine local priorities in severe cold weather, take responsibility for grit bins and how to use supplies on roads and footpaths not already treated.

Devon County Council is responsible for gritting Sidmouth’s main A and B roads.

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