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Prisoners of town’s terrible pavements
10:00am Thursday 30th August 2012 in Romsey
A FAMILY claims to have become virtually housebound be-cause the council has failed to act on their continual pleas to clean up the pavements near their home.
Nick Lowdell said he has been asking Hampshire County Council to maintain the pavements and footpaths in Romsey for more than a year as it had become increasingly difficult to take wheelchair users in his family out and about. But still nothing has been done and on one occasion Nick took the clean-up into his own hands.
Nick, of Viney Avenue, said the problem affects areas of Romsey outside the town centre picking out his road, the towpath behind the Plaza Theatre and the bus stop at the top of Viney Avenue as blackspots..
He said the pavements have become overgrown and covered in mud, which makes it difficult to negotiate with a wheelchair or pushchair.
Nick’s wife Janet has spinal problems and uses crutches or a wheelchair for longer distances while Nick’s daughter Saffron, 17, has Down’s syndrome and also uses a wheelchair.
The family relies on the pavements to give them access to the town centre and the bus stop.
Janet said she was unable to push her daughter’s wheelchair as it often became stuck in mud and had to drag it out on one occasion.
“It’s a nightmare trying to get through these pathways,” said the 49-year-old.
“It’s just easier not to go.”
Nick highlighted problems at the bus stop, which he said regularly flooded in bad weather, washing even more debris and mud onto the pavement.
At one point Nick was so desperate he went out with a shovel to clear part of the pavement at the bus stop at the top of Viney Avenue himself. Nick said the council was creating more problems by letting the situation develop and ruining path surfaces.
“I just don’t understand it,” said Nick.
“It’s frustrating because at the end of their day they have their offices decorated in Winchester and look after themselves.”
Mel Kendal, HCC’s Executive Member for Environment and Transport, said, he had arranged for the vegetation on Winchester Road to be cut back and the work here was completed earlier this month.
He said the highways team had checked the area yesterday and confirmed it was mostly clear, but there were a few small areas that needed further attention and arrangements had been made to deal with this.
He added that the path behind the Plaza had recently been upgraded, but HCC would investigate the other issues that Mr Lowdell raised.
He said Winchester Road was known to be prone to flooding at the Viney Avenue junction and HCC has added more gullies in the road to drain the water and plans to replace the soak-aways to resolve this.