LEDBURY residents have expressed anger and concern at the news that most footpaths in town are unlikely to be gritted during snowy and icy weather.

For some local people, this made some pavements potentially "lethal" during the last heavy snowfall.

The issue has come to the fore following the recent heavy snowfall on the town, which led to traffic disruption and local schools closing for two days, and in a week in which snow once again fell on Ledbury.

During the recent very heavy snowfall and big freeze, during which at least 17cms of snow fell, many Ledbury residents expressed concerns that the majority of pavements in town, even in key locations, were far too slippy to be walked on safely.

Even in Orchard Lane, near Tesco's, young and old alike were walking in the road, despite passing cars, because the pavement was far too slippy for pedestrians.

A spokesman for the Herefordshire Contractor, Balfour Beatty, has confirmed that some county locations were given priority for gritting, and others were not: with only "priority footways" earmarked for gritting.

The spokesperson said: “Given the severity of the recent weather, the majority of our resources were deployed gritting from Thursday December 6, and ploughing from Sunday December 10. This included clearing strategic locations such as those used by the emergency services.

“Our winter maintenance responsibilities encompass the entire highway network and therefore we must prioritise resource accordingly. Hand gritting has been undertaken on priority footways in Hereford centre, and the market towns, as resource allows.”

Posting on the Voice of Ledbury Facebook site, local resident, Sara Manns Pedlingham said some of Ledbury's pavements were "lethal" to pedestrians during the freeze.

She said: "Priority pathways should have been the hospital, both doctors surgeries, the chemist's and both schools; also the care homes should have been prioritised, none of this was done and it was lethal to walk on for any age group, unfortunately."

And other residents pointed out that Ledbury's firefighters had to dig themselves out.

Tina Mitchell said: " I think Herefordshire Council will find our firemen dug themselves a route out of the fire station and as for priority pavement gritting surely the pavement leading down Bye Street to the hospital and both doctors surgeries should be on their list?

"It seems as if Herefordshire Council did not make these pavements a priority as requested by me the last time we had snow and ice."

Resident Simon Lyon questioned whether any gritting at all had taken place in Ledbury.

He said: " I saw no evidence of any gritting in Ledbury. None whatsoever."

And Christine Stibbards added: " I looked on the Herefordshire Council website and they say that they grit the A road through Ledbury, Leadon Way, and a couple of B roads, New Street was one.

"They supposedly grit Biddulph Way as well, but my daughter lives opposite the roundabout and she said the whole thing was completely invisible under the snow."

Other residents, however, insisted that some strategic gritting had taken place.

Lisa Young Turner said: " On Monday December 11, they did grit as I followed them from the John Masefield High School on the main road and up the High Street. They were gritting the paths."