Call for urgent repairs to ‘life threatening’ pavement slabs

jpco 10-4-13 Uneven pavement in Town Centre (Pic by Jon Rigby)
jpco 10-4-13 Uneven pavement in Town Centre (Pic by Jon Rigby)

Residents have called for urgent repairs to ‘life threatening’ town centre pavements.

Cllr Geraint Thomas (Lab, Northgate) announced in a full council meeting last Wednesday (April 3) that the ‘cracked, uneven, and minimally repaired paving slabs’ in town have been hazardous for too long.

He said: “When I contacted Crawley Borough Council’s town centre manager about this before Christmas, he informed me that West Sussex County Council wished to defer repairs until after Christmas because such repairs would disrupt the shopping period. It is now April, and nothing seems to have changed.”

Cllr Thomas referred to past victims of the pavements including John Meeks, from Poundhill, and Dodie Tombs, from Three Bridges.

Both fell on the same protruding paving slab outside Dorothy Perkins in Queens Square. They both claimed the slab had not been repaired fully since.

John, 75, fell in May last year and applied to West Sussex County Council (WSCC) for compensation because his glasses smashed during the fall. He was unsuccessful.

He explained: “WSCC rely on section eight of the Highways act 1980 which says if they can prove they regularly inspect and repair then they do not have to pay.

“It can be life threatening for people of a certain age. It can change their lives forever.”

Dodie, a retired dance teacher, fell in January. She tried to claim compensation for the damage to her knee but was unsuccessful. She said: “My knee came up twice the size after the fall. I have also had shoulder strain which my doctor said was because of the fall.”

Dodie’s husband Don said he could see there had been inspections because paint had been applied to mark the hazardous slabs. He added: “The big [paving slab] she fell on has been replaced but the other one is still there with white paint on it. As long as they can show they have inspected it in the last couple of weeks - or whatever the required time is - they can get away with it.”

Crawley MP Henry Smith has also written to WSCC asking it to address the issue.