The cold snap delivered snow up to 20cm deep in South Shropshire towns, deeper in many rural areas.
Schools closed. Parents took time off work. Kids skidded and sledded around. On Gallows Bank, children had great fun and it was free. Let it snow, let it snow…
There is another side to this. Snow, and the ice that follows it, traps vulnerable and older people in their homes. Buses can’t access many side roads. Many of the pavements in Ludlow were lethal on Wednesday and Thursday after packed snow partially thawed and refroze.
Shropshire Council’s gritting crews worked themselves into exhaustion. At the weekend, some worked 22 hour shifts. I have nothing but praise for the way council employees handled this bad weather.
In Ludlow, gritters gave priority to the main roads. Tractors were out clearing streets. We asked for main bus routes to be cleared to ensure people could get out as soon as practical. Access to the GP surgeries and the hospital was a priority. On Tuesday, town centre pavements were cleared to ensure the market could reopen and people could get to pharmacies and convenience stores.
We will review gritting and clearing priorities with council officers in the New Year.
We could do more together as a community. I was impressed by the joint operation between Shrewsbury Town Council and Shropshire Council to get the town back into action. Many residents in Ludlow cleared footpaths. We should encourage more to do so.
In a weather emergency, we cannot expect Shropshire Council to deal with all problems across a large county. We need to do more to help ourselves and support our neighbours.
This article was first published in the Ludlow Advertiser on 21 December.