Call for action over ‘dangerous’ Saffron Walden Common

John Lyon fell down the bank on Ashdon Road, by Saffron Walden Common, as he helped his wife Joan in

John Lyon fell down the bank on Ashdon Road, by Saffron Walden Common, as he helped his wife Joan into their car. - Credit: Archant

An 82-year-old man has called for safety improvements after smashing his head on a lamppost and skinning his hand in a fall at Saffron Walden Common.

John Lyon, of Great Sampford, had helped his wife Joan, 80, into their car, which was parked by the Common in Ashdon Road.

He was trying to get into the ­vehicle when he slipped down a bank on Sunday at about 5.45pm.

Mr Lyon, who had parked in Saffron Walden to join a coach trip to Sudbury, told the Reporter: “I fell on to the floor, banging my head on the lamppost as I went.

“I then hit my hand on the concrete base of the post – it took the skin right off my hand. There was blood everywhere.”

Not knowing where to turn, the couple went to Saffron Walden police station, where an ambulance was called.

After an hour’s wait, they were advised to go to their home in Great Sampford, and Mr Lyon drove there, his bloodied hand wrapped in a handkerchief.

Most Read

Two hours later, an ambulance took the couple to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge.

Mr Lyon’s hand, which had been ‘degloved’, meaning the skin was stripped away, was then cleaned and bandaged.

“It’s impossible for people our age to get up and down the bank,” said Mrs Lyon.

“We’re not as agile as we were once.”

She has written to Uttlesford District Council (UDC) asking for steps to be put in at intervals along the bank.

Currently, there is only one set of steps in the area, about 200 metres from where Mr and Mrs Lyon were parked.

“This was an accident waiting to happen and it could have been avoided,” she wrote.

“Getting children in and out of cars must be a nightmare with traffic streaming past one side, and a steep bank on the other.”

The bank is part of the Common, so the Reporter understands that Saffron Walden Town Council, rather than UDC, has responsibility for the area.

“We are terribly, terribly sorry that there’s been an accident on the bank,” said town clerk Simon Lloyd.

“To my knowledge this is the first time there’s been an accident in the area and, of course, we will look into it, if it is definitely the town council’s responsibility,” he said.