Flintshire Council slammed for making OAPs ‘prisoners’

Reporter:

Hayley Collins

PENSIONERS were “let down” by council chiefs during the recent severely cold weather, it has been claimed.

Sealand councillor Christine Jones is furious that sheltered accommodation was not gritted throughout the cold snap – forcing the residents to remain indoors.

She said: “They couldn’t get out at all over Christmas – they were prisoners in their own home.

“These people have been let down by the housing department.

Flintshire Council’s housing department agreed last year to take on the responsibility for gritting sheltered accommodation complexes.

There are three sheltered housing complexes in the Sealand ward - Stoneleigh, Cedar Close and Orchard Way, and none were gritted during the freezing weather.

Cllr Jones added: “When we had the bad weather, the lads from highways were brilliant, but we couldn’t get the sheltered housing gritted.

“We were promised by housing that they would be in charge, but they didn’t do it. It was their responsibility and they let everyone down.”

When Cllr Jones approached the housing department with her fears she says she was told that the complexes were not gritted in an attempt to discourage the elderly residents from leaving their homes during the bad weather.

“They are virtually saying that if you are old you can’t go out in the snow,” she said.

“But just because these people live in sheltered accommodation, they are still independent. The council thought they were independent enough to have their resident wardens taken away, but not to go out in the snow – they can’t have it both ways.”

But Cllr Helen Brown, the council’s executive member for housing, said: “Following the very cold weather through December we decided to review the policy we had in place for council owned sheltered housing schemes as we thought we could do more to support our most vulnerable tenants with the result that we launched our ‘stay put scheme’.

“We were gritting the paths of the sheltered schemes, but this did not mean that there was safe pathways for our tenants to use all the way to the bus stop or local shops and therefore we have decided to advise our tenants to stay indoors if at all possible during severe weather conditions.

“If someone runs out of essential provisions we will get them and bring them to tenants. In addition, if someone has an important appointment at, for example the hospital, then we will grit the footpaths and help the tenant to get to their transport to the appointment.

“Wardens have been supplied with electric heaters to provide to those who need them to help people stay warm.”

See full story in the Leader

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