Elderly Hawick residents call for show of true grit

Councillor Davie Paterson on the path linking Moat Crescent to the Loan.
Councillor Davie Paterson on the path linking Moat Crescent to the Loan.

Elderly and disabled people living in part of Hawick say they were left virtually housebound because the streets outside their homes were not gritted during recent frosty weather.

Moat Crescent and Ramsay Road are predominantly inhabited by older residents, and during last week’s cold snap, many decided not to venture out because it was a struggle to make it up the hill to the Loan to catch a bus, the Hawick News has been told.

Hawick and Hermitage councillor Davie Paterson has taken up their cause and written to road bosses at Scottish Borders Council to request that they intervene to help.

Residents of the streets have expressed surprise that they were not gritted this year as they were last winter, they say. A spokesman for the council said neither street was a primary route for gritting, but they are on a secondary list to be gritted only when “winter conditions persist”.

Sharon O’Rourke, 49, and her husband John, 68, have lived in Moat Crescent for two years, and they were among those inconvenienced.

Mrs O’Rourke said: “Last year was our first winter here, and gritters were out then, so we thought it would be the same this winter.

“I was afraid to go out last week. Ten years ago, I bust my knee walking in the snow, so I don’t like going out in it.

“My hubby has bad circulation, and he needs to get out for a walk to help that, but he couldn’t because the road wasn’t gritted.

“I know one elderly lady who was unable to get out and had to cancel both a doctor’s appointment and a hairdresser’s appointment as a result.

“Thankfully, a young lad across the road helped clear the paths because most of the people who live around here are in their mid-60s to their 80s.”

Mr O’Rourke added: “Nobody is getting any younger around here, and I think this area should be a priority for the gritters because it can be very serious if an elderly person takes a fall.

“There is no bus service – it’s ridiculous – and people have to walk to catch the bus, but that just wasn’t possible for most people.”

Mr Paterson said: “I have written to Scottish Borders Council roads bosses asking if a special exception can be made for gritting Moat Crescent and Ramsay Road properties that are near the Moat gates.

“I was approached by several elderly constituents living in this area telling me they had been housebound since last week, saying that it was a bit of a struggle for them to walk all the way along Moat Crescent up the hill to get onto the Loan to get a bus.

“I had previously brought this problem to the attention of officers when First Bus had withdrawn the service.

“I was delighted that Perryman’s had taken over the service from First Bus, but it still causing real problems for elderly folk in this area.”

The council spokesperson added: “The council applies winter treatment to its adopted footway network on a priority basis.

“Currently, there are two primary footway routes in Hawick which are treated when freezing conditions occur.

“All other footways not covered as primary are treated when winter conditions persist and when resources become available.

“Moat Crescent and Ramsay Road are included within this second level of treatment.”

Temperatures are forecast to fall to zero centigrade tonight, January 27, and on Sunday, January 29, and to 1C tomorrow, January 28.