‘Time someone took on path clearance’

IT’S long past time that someone took responsibility for gritting and clearing snow from footpaths, according to one frustrated Dromore man.

The local resident, who did not want to be named, said snow-covered paths, as recently seen in town, presented a needless danger to pedestrians, particularly the elderly.

An understandably heightened fear of falling and breaking bones meant many older people were effectively housebound in the event of even a slight snowfall, he said.

“Why is it,” he asked, “that Banbridge District Council, Roads Service, or someone, can not or will not take responsibility for clearing or gritting the footpaths in Dromore and other towns and villages in the district?”

The town man said it was safer to walk on the roads than on the paths, but that raised questions of responsibility should a pedestrian - forced onto the road through no fault of their own, he said - be struck by a vehicle being driven perfectly legally on the road.

Legislation should be enacted, he said, to resolve issues of liability that deterred organisations and/or individuals from clearing paths of snow and financial considerations should be secondary to the consideration of people’s safety.

“Every year in this country,” he said, “town centres seem to come to a standstill for a few inches of snow while other countries can cope with heavier snowfall three or four months of the year.”

The Dromore resident said that while no agency was prepared to take responsibility for the winter clearance of footpaths there would be no shortage of people ready to act if he was to block a footpath with his car.

“Local councillors, MLAs and traders want local people to shop in Dromore town centre, to stop small shops from closing and to help with the economic growth of the town,” he said. “Why then will no-one take responsibility for gritting the footpaths?

“Failure to do so doesn’t attract many people to shop in the town centre; they will travel instead to a covered mall or out-of-town shopping centre.”