A LACK of gritting during last month’s cold snap saw Cardigan police unable to drive vehicles out of their headquarters due to icy conditions, Cardigan town councillors have been told.

And treacherous surfaces underfoot forced pedestrians to risk life and limb by walking along the highway in busy North Road on the weekend of January 6-7, it was claimed.

Now Cardigan Town Council are writing to Ceredigion County Council urging greater liaison and preparation when freezing temperatures are next forecast.

Cllr Richard Jones suggested that the local authority had been ‘caught out’ by conditions unique to Cardigan and St Dogmaels during the weekend in question.

“The problem was because it was such a short spell of cold weather,” he told colleagues. “The roads had not been gritted up on Parc Teifi and so police vehicles could not come out.

“I think Ceredigion County Council should be held accountable or else town and community councils such as ourselves may end up doing everything,” he said.

Cllr Richard Davies claimed Cardigan and St Dogmaels were the only local communities to be gripped by snow and black ice. “Normally Cardigan is the safest,” he said.

“Even the Preselis had no snow on them – what hit Cardigan was very spontaneous.”

Cllr Philippa Noble, who said Ropeyard Hill had been particularly slippery, accused the local authority of failing to take adequate steps to ensure the safety of some of its residents.

“Their response was that the cold weather was not a prolonged spell, but when people are in danger they’re in danger,” she said. “The main road up to the health centre was badly affected.

“I made sure the ice was cleared outside my own business because I wanted a safe route there. I don’t want to see someone break a hip because I did not.”

Councillors had a lengthy discussion on the potential need for more gritting bins in town.

But on hearing claims that roads such as Ropeyard Hill and Rhodfa’r Felin had not been gritted, Cllr Nick Bolton urged colleagues to exercise caution in their approach.

“We have to be mindful that these are public areas maintained by Ceredigion County Council who should have a health and safety policy that they are clean and tidy and free of any ice,” he said.

“If we ourselves were to buy gritting bins would we then be liable if someone was injured? It’s not as clear-cut as it may first appear.”

Cllr Richard Davies said that before buying any bins the council first needed to strike up a better working partnership with the county council regarding cold weather preparation.

Cllr Olwen Davies felt gritting lorries were following outdated routes. “Rhodfa’r Felin is a new road and it’s obviously important it’s kept clear so patients can access the health centre,” she added.

“We have a lot of emergency services here in Cardigan so Ceredigion need to revise their gritting plans and keep us involved,” said Cllr Jones.

A Ceredigion County Council spokesperson said: “We will respond directly to the town council in relation to any concerns which they raise in relation to services and functions provided.”