Fears raised over ‘danger’ pavements in Uttlesford

Joan Lloyd slipped on the pavement while walking to her friend's house for Easter lunch.

Joan Lloyd slipped on the pavement while walking to her friend's house for Easter lunch. - Credit: Archant

The condition of uneven pavements across Uttlesford has become “more dangerous than the roads” – particularly for the elderly and disabled, – according to one councillor.

A retired nurse this week also criticised the state of the pavements in Thaxted after she tripped and fell on an uneven surface on Park Street.

Joan Lloyd, 90, was walking to a friend’s house for lunch on Easter Sunday when she tripped and landed on her back. She was left on the side of the road for close to 10 minutes until a couple got out of their car to help.

Mrs Lloyd, who decided not to visit her doctor after the incident but was left shaken, said: “I was walking and lost my balance and I couldn’t regain it with my stick. I just went backwards.

“The couple who helped me were very helpful but I was shocked and shaken for the rest of the day.

“I try to keep aware of things like this, especially in streets that I do not know and I never go out in the afternoon when I know it’s getting dark.

“The streets are very uneven and it often means when you are walking you have one foot higher than the other, making it hard for people like me to balance, but the council doesn’t seem to notice.

Most Read

“I know I am getting on in years but I have got to walk and take exercise. People often offer me lifts and I say ‘thank you very much but I want to keep my independence’.”

Hilary Kendall White, the honorary secretary of the Dunmow Stroke Association and a close friend of Mrs Lloyd, believes it is becoming increasingly difficult for the elderly and disabled to live independently because of the deteriorating state of pavements.

“If you have a disability the chances are that you cannot drive and are forced to travel by foot to get from A to B, which makes keeping the pavements well maintained even more important,” she said.

“The government keeps promoting the idea of independent living, which is great, but how can you have it when it’s impossible to get out and about?

“If nobody complains then nothing will get done.”

The deteriorating state of pavements has also received attention from an Uttlesford councillor. Cllr Martin Foley said: “There is a growing danger for our senior citizens but the money is being channelled into the wrong places. People are doing damage to themselves and their belongings every day on Uttlesford’s pavements.

“As many accidents can happen on our pavements as they do on the road, perhaps even more.

“This is definitely a district-wide problem, perhaps even county-wide. Pavements have become just as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than our roads.”

A council spokesman said: “Essex Highways conducts annual and ad-hoc inspections of Essex County Council owned footways across the county, including footways in the Uttlesford District.

“An inspection of the Park Street footway took place on February 26 and at that time, no defects were found that meet the criteria for repair as outlined in the Maintenance Strategy.”

He added that residents can report defects, including those on pavements on the council website at essex.gov.uk/highways