Fresh calls to tackle uneven pavements after further falls

Chichester residents call on County Council to step up its efforts in improving the pavements after another individual takes a fall.

Thursday, 11th November 2021, 10:24 am
Chichester's one stumbling block: it's pavements

Sue Trenchard was walking down The Hornet, in Chichester when she caught her foot in one of the 'dodgy' pavingstones and fell face first.

She said : "I was covered in blood, all over my coat and everything."

Ms Trenchard was on her way to Brighton last month to visit her daughter and young grandchild. Instead Ms Trenchard's daughter, and teething grandchild, had to make the journey to Chichester to accompany her to the hospital where her injuries were treated.

Three weeks on, she is now mostly recovered physically but she is still feeling the effects mentally and fears another fall. She said: "I'm just dreading it, I can't have one more fall. Then I shall be disabled and be a nuisance to my family.

"I spoke to people locally, and it seems the Chichester pavements have caused many falls. Some of them don't recover that well. You don't recover that well when you get older.

"I wondered why older people here walk with their heads down - they're concentrating, dodging the hazards, looking for stepping stones!"

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Much like Ms Trenchard, George Kidd, who manages a charity shop on North Street, believes the pavements are overdue an improvement and has called for action.

He said: "Countless people have come in complaining. If you want to be for the great and good of Chichester and welcome people here, they do not want to end up in the hospitality of St Richards [hospital]. My wife fell over, and very little was done about it, and people were saying: 'There's not a problem here' - there's a massive problem here, anyone can see it."

Mr Kidd's wife, Zoe, fell in the precinct last year and was very severely injured and was forced to take time off work and still undergoing treatment for her injuries.

Much to Mr Kidd's frustration, he said he is seeing similar injuries happen frequently: "There was a gentleman yesterday, he broke a hip as well, so I phoned Highways because I'm really really concerned. In the last two to three weeks, there have been two really serious incidents where people have been hospitalised; there's been ambulances, blood and, morphine."

Mr Kidd said that some people believed the damage to the pavements might have been caused by setting up the markets on North and East street and by dragging heavy materials over the old stones.

Mr Kidd continued: "A couple of weeks ago, all of those red bricks, some were removed, but if someone put their walking stick into that hole, they could be catapulted forward. My question is; We've had a lockdown for nine months. Why wasn't all this work done then? Where was the forward planning?

"There's a massive problem in Chichester in terms of shops closing down etc. [but] at the end of the day; we have to get our surface on our roads right first, a quaint old city is not all about cobblestones that are dangerous."

When asked for a comment a West Sussex County Council spokesperson stated that along with the District Council and Chichester City Council it had funded a highway consultant's report into possible improvements for the precinct.

These possible improvements would be, the spokesperson said: "Included for discussion in the Chichester Growth Deal review, with key stakeholders consulted to establish where a potential project should be positioned against other priorities in the city and if any of the options should be taken forward."

The West Sussex County Council spokesperson continued: "Meanwhile, highway officers will continue monthly walked inspections to highlight any safety issues and arrange repairs with our contractor.

"Residents can find information on how to report concerns about pavements on our website."

Over the last two years the County Council has paid out £2,048.57 in damages for pavement related accidents on North Street, East Street, South Street and West Street