By Natalie Williams • 27 November 2021 • 19:48
Mortified residents have shown Stockport Council CCTV of emergency ambulances blocked by council flower beds. The footage appears to show ambulances with blue-lights blaring having to do u-turns in Heaton Chapel, Greater Manchester. Some of the videos even go as far as showing neighbours giving the ambulance drivers directions for alternative routes.
Furious locals repeatedly highlighted the issue to the council since the pilot scheme began on September 10, saying the ‘overkill’ means that emergency ambulances are blocked and this causes up to four minutes’ delay and ultimately could cost lives.
But council transport chiefs had firmly rebuked the idea of the planters causing ambulance delays and allegedly branded the claims ‘misinformation’ in a letter sent to residents on September 28.
However, North West Ambulance Service has since investigated the incidents caught on camera and claim there has indeed been “several delays as some emergency ambulances were blocked and had to navigate around the road closures”.
Stockport Council said the safety of residents is “of paramount importance” and are looking into the situation, while the ‘trial’ scheme remains in place until early December before a consultation takes place next year.
Local Alison Stafford-Bentley said she ‘feels sorry’ for paramedics caught out by the road blockers and says she was annoyed by the ‘misinformation’ letter as she claims to have seen the issue first-hand.
Alison, 55, said: “How would they feel if it was one of their relatives waiting for an ambulance because it was getting diverted down different roads?
“The scheme started on September 10 and since then we’ve had eight delays that I know of, but people have been telling me about other delays they’ve seen. I think the council have seen this footage – they know. The councillors have seen the footage because it’s been all over Facebook. We’re getting nowhere, even though we have video footage. I don’t see how it can be denied.”
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