‘GUTTED’ pensioners were left unable to attend a long-awaited social event when bollard operators refused to let them down High Street.
Residents of the Hermitage Care Home were personally invited to a town hall tea dance by mayor Hugh Montgomery during a recent visit.
But they were left disappointed when those operating the bollard at the top of High Street refused to let them access Monday’s event.
Councillor Montgomery said he was ‘baffled’ and claimed the council usually ‘lets every man and his dog’ down High Street.
This problem was highlighted when Uttoxeter police launched an operation to warn motorists flouting access regulations they would face heavy fines.
However, the council was keen to enforce its rules strictly to stop the Hermitage residents in their tracks.
Louise Hurst, care manager at the Hermitage, told the Advertiser how much her residents were looking forward to the event.
She said: “It was so wonderful for them to be personally invited by Councillor Montgomery and they were chuffed.
“But we rang ahead on Friday to make sure we’d be able to access High Street and get past the bollard and were told we didn’t have a valid reason.
“The ladies were very disappointed to say the least as this event would’ve given them the chance to get out, socialise, enjoy some music and take in the atmosphere.
“Unfortunately they didn’t get that chance as they’re too frail to walk to the town hall from further away and had to stay at the home.
“This just isn’t right. The borough council knows there are events like this happening that require access to High Street.”
According to the operative Ms Hurst spoke to, there are only four groups who can get past the bollard between 10am and 4pm.
They are emergency vehicles, funeral processions, workmen, and those delivering to High Street businesses.
East Staffordshire Borough Council was approached by the Advertiser to explain why no exception could be made for the residents.
In response, the authority issued the following statement: ““The council has not received a request from the Mayor or Uttoxeter Town Council to lower the bollard.”
Councillor Montgomery said he was ‘very annoyed’ by the council’s stance.
He said: “When I heard about this I was utterly baffled.
“I see no logical reason why an exception to the rules cannot be made in this instance.
“They let every man and his dog past the bollard usually but, seemingly, when there’s a group of people who really need the rules to be relaxed, they suddenly decide to go by the book.
“That strikes me as being absolutely crazy. I extended my invitation to the residents because I thought this would be an event they could all enjoy and use to get out and about but I’m very annoyed that was made impossible.
“I hope the council can have a good look at how it carries out this operation in the future because I know the ladies were very disappointed to miss out.”