VOTE: Lack of gritting leaves elderly and vulnerable stranded

Snow, ice and persistent sub-zero temperatures across the area have made the run-up to Christmas a testing time for people needing to get to work and complete their festive shopping.

Livestock owners have also faced challenges getting feed out to animals and ensuring access to water.

The disruption has not been so serious as during the earlier bout of arctic weather at the start of December, although there have been renewed complaints about the lack of gritting in residential roads, leaving some elderly and vulnerable people stranded.

The county council continues to stress its policy that residential roads will be treated only in exceptional circumstances and then only after main routes have been treated and made safe.

Some traders took their own steps to ensure their shop frontages were safe for customers.

In Petworth, council workers cleared main pavements in the town centre and a team moved into Midhurst on Tuesday to grit car parks and main shopping pavements which had become treacherously slippery.

West Sussex highways department was praised for an ‘impressive response’ to re-treat the A286 at Cocking Hill on Tuesday morning after a Stagecoach bus skidded and scraped along a bank.

Andrew Dyer, managing director of Stagecoach South, said the driver had been forced to brake on the brow of the hill because of an abandoned vehicle in his path.

“The bus slid on ice. The county council response to getting the road re-gritted was pretty good,” he said.

On Monday evening, another Stagecoach bus got stuck on ice as it tried to climb the hill. Mr Dyer said no-one was hurt in either incident.

The company’s three routes into Midhurst – from Haslemere, Worthing and Petworth, and Chichester – were affected during heavy snowfall on Saturday morning and Mr Dyer said ice prevented services through the Holmbush housing estate at Midhurst for a period on Monday.

“We have to strike a careful balance between making sure our customers and staff are safe, and not letting people down,” he said.

Chichester District Council reported its services were operating normally.

Some refuse collection rounds had delayed starts on Monday because of icy roads and some isolated properties off the beaten track had proved unreachable.

But a spokeswoman advised householders: “Leave bins out as usual and we will get to you as soon as we can.”