Calls for ‘pavement patrols’ to safeguard pedestrians in Midhurst

Graham Pooley on the pavement which claimed two victims
Graham Pooley on the pavement which claimed two victims

A Midhurst man is calling for a community pavement patrol scheme to highlight dangers to pedestrians.

Graham Pooley waged a year long battle with West Sussex County Council after his wife Rosemary fell and the council refused to carry out repairs.

The accident happened in Knockhundred Row in 2015 when she fell over a broken paving slab.

Fortunately she was not badly hurt but when her husband contacted the county council to point out the danger he was infuriated to be told it did not meet the county council’s criteria for repair work. He was told the council did not have to act unless the damage its ‘minimum intervention level’ criteria of 20mms.

Last week a visitor to the town fell at the same spot and after repeated requests from county councillor Gordon McAra and Mr Pooley the damaged paving slab is finally to be repaired

But now Mr Pooley wants to set up a group to regularly walk the streets of the town and gather information on damage to the pavements.

“The county council say they have regular ‘patrols’ where their staff walk the streets of local towns and check to see if any paths need repair,” he said. “But this doesn’t work as we have seen in Midhurst.

“The public have been invited to send reports of broken paths in to the council on their website or via a phone app but this is window dressing as has been proved in Knockhundred Row.”

He said his idea was to “set up a group of interested citizens who regularly walk the streets of the town and who can gather the ‘intelligence’ and put it together to send in via the town’s county councillor to get to the right people at the county council.”

Cllr McAra said he was glad the long running saga of the Knockhundred paving slab was finally to be fixed.

“I like the idea of walking the town and I would like to see town councillors splitting Midhurst into sections and walking each section at least yearly, then reporting all their findings, via the council to the local authorities for action. “This includes cleanliness, paint wear, street furniture, road marking, signage and so on.

He said he would be speaking to Mr Pooley to see if a corps of volunteers could be drawn up to take over some of the tasks in tidying up the town.

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