Anger as ice traps elderly in estate

Icebound estate

Icebound estate

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Pensioners, schoolchildren and ill residents have been left trapped in an icebound housing estate in Eglish for five days.

The village was hard hit by last week’s snow and ice with residents relying on Road Service gritters to make the roads passable.

However, the roads in Beechville Heights estate, which was built 12 years ago, have yet to be adopted by Roads Service, after the developer went bankrupt and left the roads unfinished. This means they do not qualify for the gritting service.

As late as Thursday, thick ice still covered the roads in the estate, some of which are steep, turning them into a ‘dangerous ice rink’, according to residents.

Too afraid to brave the slippy conditions, pensioners had to rely on neighbours for supplies, schoolchildren were unable to get out to school, carers were unable to attend the elderly, and ill residents missed important hospital appointments.

A spokesperson for the residents said the cold snap had left the roads more dangerous than previous winters.

“We all pay our rates and taxes in this estate, and I cannot understand why the local council and Roads Service won’t provide us with a gritting service, or salt boxes and grit piles”, he said.

“The developer went bust but we are suffering for that. I have an 84-year-old neighbour who couldn’t get out to hospital, while students attending university almost missed exams.”

Sinn Fein MLA Bronwyn McGahan said she has contacted the head of Roads Service about the residents’ plight and is demanding to know why the roads in the estate aren’t gritted.