Problems for pensioners immobilised by the snow

PENSIONERS say they were left housebound in the snow by the lack of council action to clear roads and the continued absence of a bus route.

Ken Day, 89, of Abstacle Hill, off Miswell Lane, Tring, is annoyed the council did not clear snow from his road, leaving himself and his wife unable to travel to the shops.

Mr Day – an Urban District Councillor in the town in the 1960s – said: “When we had local government, the local council were responsible for side roads and the county were responsible for main roads. It was as simple as that. Now I am pushed as to what they do.

“What do we pay our rates for? They have done virtually nothing in Tring.

“We would be better off in Buckinghamshire.”

He also called for snow ploughs to be used to clear his road.

“With five or six inches of snow, there isn’t a lot we can do.”

Herts County Council spokesman Pam Meade said: “Abstacle Hill is a small road in the middle of Tring and it is unlikely we would be able to use a snowplough.

“It is a secondary route and while we would like to salt them, in the current phase of cold weather we are unable to do so because our priority is keeping the main routes clear and flowing.”

She said side roads are often too small for gritters and vehicles do not pass frequently enough to make salt effective.

Meanwhile, Eileen Knight – heading a campaign for Arriva’s 500 bus service to be reinstated in Station Road, Tring – said not having the bus has made it even more difficult to get to the town centre in the snow.

She said: “I didn’t go out for nearly a fortnight, then a friend took me down and the other time, I had to take a taxi.”

Mrs Knight said she has no intention of giving up her campaign to have the bus route reinstated.

She said: “Generally speaking, it is just a question of us keep pushing with it.

“We are at a standstill, but we haven’t given up and will go into the new year fighting.”

However, Berkhamsted-based Little Jim’s buses have been helping to fill the gap, after Arriva redirected the Station Road service down Station Road last year.

Jim Petty’s company has been running an extended service in Tring since November.

He said: “The demand from Tring is quite high. The demand from around the route where the 500 used to go is very low, but to be fair, we are only running a few journeys.

“Having been in this game over a number of years, I know it takes about six months before people get used to changes as far as buses go.”

Mr Petty said he intends to continue running the service indefinitely.

He added: “We intend to continue it at the moment, although we will be changing some of the times and the routes, having spoken to some of the people who use it, but we have to give about eight weeks’ notice to the authorities.”

Arriva spokesman Linsey Frostick said patronage and punctuality of the 500 route has increased significantly since the change.

She said: “We appreciate difficulties faced by the un-served area of Tring, but are not in a position to re-route the service at this time. We can only apologise to those affected.

“Factors that can cause significant delays continue to be prevalent and there has been no significant action on the improved priority measures along the route, especially within Hemel Hempstead town centre.