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Fun for some but chaos for many after heavy snow hits Redditch
1:50pm Monday 21st January 2013 in News
Rhiannon, 12, with Jasmine, 17 weeks, who enjoyed sledging for the first time. Photograph sent in by Jodie Simcox
REDDITCH came to a virtual stand-still on Friday and throughout the weekend, as a thick blanket of snow caused havoc.
Busses were delayed or completely cancelled, bin collection services stopped, and Redditch Council was forced to close all council buildings by Friday afternoon.
A Redditch Council spokesman said: “We monitored the situation throughout the day on Friday and made the decision to close the town Hall and one stop shops in Redditch at noon with the safety of customers and staff in mind.
“Our waste crews operated a service until they decided it was not safe to do so as the vehicles can weigh up to 26 tonnes and are much bigger than most household delivery vehicles so it’s essential we don’t drive on roads when it is judged as not safe to do so.
“We kept out customers updated through the day and over the weekend, and continued to do so via our website, the local press and social media and we have had positive feedback around this.
“Round the clock services such as Lifeline did not shut and our environmental services teams, in partnership with the county council, also targeted key spots, wherever possible, over the weekend to make sure they were cleared of snow and gritted.”
On Thursday night and Friday morning, school officials made the decision to close most schools in Redditch, and surrounding villages, over concerns for the safety of staff and pupils. Many remained closed on Monday.
Thankfully Worcestershire County Council's dedicated social care staff didn't let a wintry blast of snow stop them from providing their usual service for some of the county's most vulnerable residents.
With the support of the council's transport staff and the 4x4 response team, staff were still able to provide this essential care, which includes home-based care and care within the county's residential homes.
On Friday, a well-planned gritting operation as well as regular updates on the council's website on latest road conditions enabled social care workers to still make these essential visits.
Many staff walked into work or to their calls as well as taking advantage of the 4x4 vehicles that were available so they could get to people living in more rural areas and also walked to some people where this was possible.
Day care services had to be cancelled as it was agreed that people were safer to stay at home, where possible.
The county council’s gritters continued to work throughout the weekend as they attemped to keep motorists moving on major routes.
Ambulance crews were kept extremely busy as the snowfall and icy conditions arrived in the region on Friday morning.
Compared to a normal Friday, the West Midlands Ambulance Service saw a 19 per cent increase in incidents from midnight until 1pm on Friday.
Craig Cooke, WMAS Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer, said: "The heavy snowfall has increased 999 demands across the West Midlands.
“The number of patients suffering slips, trips and falls increased. However, I am pleased to say that our crews coped extremely well with the elements and continued to get to patients as quickly as possible.”