Police, Southern Vectis and Isle of Wight Council staff clear the snow blockade at Nelson Road, Newport. Pictuure by Peter Boam.
POLICE were pelted with snowballs this morning (Friday) in a wall of snow protest by residents who want their road gritted.
Residents blocked Nelson Road, Newport with a snow barricade in protest at the route not being treated.
They claim Nelson Road, which has been home to the Southern Vectis bus fleet depot for decades, is dangerous during ice and snow.
Resident for more than 40 years, Vinnie Strickland, said: "It is completely ridiculous.
"Whenever there is ice and snow buses and articulated vehicles are all over the place, skidding and sliding.
"There is real danger that someone will be killed.
"This time, when it snowed, people decided to do something about it and built a wall of snow.
"They want either Southern Vectis, or the Isle of Wight Council to take responsibility and grit the road," said 47-year-old Mr Strickland.
Some of those involved in the protest hurled snowballs at police who had been called to the scene.
Police at one stage faced a barrage of snowballs but adopted a "light touch" approach.
They were joined by Isle of Wight Council highways and Southern Vectis staff, who gritted the road and pavement, and dismantled the wall.
"Of course we accept that the depot is here — it has been since the 1920s — but all we want is the road to be made safe," said Mr Strickland.
*Southern Vectis general manager Matt Kitchin said: "If we do consider the conditions to be hazardous then we have an arrangement with the council whereby the access is gritted appropriately.
"In this case, however, snowfall was relatively light and our drivers — who are professionally trained and given specific advice on driving in adverse weather — did not encounter any problems, other than the snow wall built by residents.
"Furthermore residents did not initially raise any safety concerns with us. Instead they told our staff that the purpose for blocking-off the road was to create an area for their children to play in."
Isle of Wight Council manager of highways and transport Peter Hayward said: "I am not aware that residents have raised safety concerns over buses using this road in snowy conditions before."
Chief Insp Nick Heelan said: "Two officers were faced with 20 people and more foot patrol officers were deployed to local reports that residents had created an ice-rink and a wall. Snowballs were thrown at police.
"Our response was as light-hearted as possible, but I would say that there are right ways of raising concerns."