Questions asked over traffic in snow

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Questions have been asked over why traffic was allowed onto the area’s roads following the snowfall on the weekend of 22 March.

At Cree Valley Community Council on Monday, council member Clifford Smithers raised the point that the A75 at Palnure was so badly affected by snow for much of the Friday, yet it took several hours before the road was closed resulting in scores of people being stranded.

He said: “Why were people not stopped from travelling on the road? Why was no one out there telling people to turn around at various points? What we saw instead was passengers heading to the ferry being stuck here in Newton Stewart, when they could have stayed wherever they were.”

Councillor Alistair Geddes said he had written to council chiefs to raise this issue. He said: “I’m in no way being critical but I did wonder why people were being allowed onto the roads.

“I have also called for generators to be stored in each community. It would have been an utter disaster if the lights had gone out in Newton Stewart, where people were taking shelter.

“There should be generators in communities across the length and breadth of the region - not just Mid Galloway. There’s no point having generators stored at Barnkirk when the roads of the South Machars are impassable.”

He added that he had also called for more pro-active policing to ensure a system is in place telling people to avoid the A75 at times likes that.

Mr Smithers added that he was shocked to turn up at the McMillan Hall that evening to offer a hand and check the heating system, the efficiency of which was in doubt by some using the hall, only to be told he had to leave due to “health and safety”. He said the co-ordinator of the relief effort asked him starkly to leave on these grounds.

He added: “If everyone who helped out during those 36 hours stuck by strict health and safety laws, not much would have been done.”