Campaign to tackle unsafe pavements

Roy Lewis, William Lewis and Cllr Andrew Batsford.

Roy Lewis, William Lewis and Cllr Andrew Batsford.

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ELDERLY residents of St Helen’s ward are backing a campaign to pressure the county council to take action over unsafe pavements.

The condition of the pavements is worst in Ashford Road, Ashford Way, and Tenterden Rise, proving a daily obstacle for the area’s older residents, and sometimes a health hazard.

Roy Lewis, 79, of Ashford Way, is keen to take a lead on the campaign, and said: “It seems that the council has ignored the elderly.

“I think the priority is getting some dropped curbs, then the next priority is pavements.

“I know a lady who fell on the pavement in Ashford Road last year, and a man living in Ashford Road who had a hip replacement has been restricted by the pavement which has held back his rehabilitation.”

More than 50 supporters attended the launch of pressure group GRASP (Give Residents of Ashford Road Safer Pavements) on September 20, set up by councillor Andrew Batsford, who sees it as his mission to get answers for the residents some of whom have been writing letters over a period of several years.

Cllr Batsford said: “This meeting shows the real anger and concern of the residents of Ashford road area on this issue, they are only asking for safe passage to bus stops, supermarkets and friends and families and they have been waiting patiently and quietly for too long, they are ready to make a collective and strong response.”

“We will shout and make our case as loud as possible, so those people saying yes or no have to come back just as publicly.”

Joyce Scott, 85, of Ashford Road, lives alone and relies on a mobility scooter to get out and about.

Her ‘Ferrari’ is her lifeline, however a lack of dropped curbs and uneven pavements make getting around challenging.

Mrs Scott said: “The pavements are in a dreadful state.

“When we had the meeting, lots of people came up and explained that they also have these difficulties.”

She said that she had written letters to councillors since moving into the area four years ago, but to no avail.

“I felt I was entitled to enjoy the facilities of the town as much as anybody else,” she said.

The next step for GRASP is to collect details from residents of all the stories, incidents, falls and hospital visits relating to the condition of the pavement, and present these along with a petition to the county council.

East Sussex County Council is responsible for repair and maintenance of most roads and pavements in East Sussex.

It also provides and maintains traffic lights, street lights, bridges and road signs, as well as maintaining roadside verges, hedges and trees.

The county council does not look after private or unadopted roads.

The Highways Agency looks after the A21 outside of Hastings, the A26 between the A27 and Newhaven, and the A27 and most of the A259, east of Pevensey (excluding Hastings).