Dave Young

If ever there was a surface likely to cause people to trip or slip in the wet it’s these overgrown paving slabs on Carisbrooke Road St Leonards.

Grass and even small shrubs are taking over this sloping pavement, inevitably causing problems for those with mobility impairments, especially in the dark.

In its last issue HIP shone a spotlight on the appalling condition of local road surfaces, and discovered these to be the responsibility of East Sussex County Council. We asked them to comment on the pavement’s upkeep, only to be firmly – if confusingly – told: “Weed control is the responsibility of Hastings Borough Council (HBC). Any reports made to our Highways team would be passed onto them”.

How often are these pavements checked, sprayed and weeded, HIP asked? A spokesman from HBC replied: “The whole town will be sprayed for weeds twice this year. We are awaiting confirmation of a start date from the contractor Keir”, which didn’t really address
the question.

Neglect them at our peril
Pavements are an essential part of our built environment; at
a time when we’re being actively encouraged to improve our health, and reduce vehicle emissions by walking (or at least using public transport) badly maintained footways don’t help. No one wants to fall on the way to the bus stop. Worse, the longer the grass and weeds remain, the more likely their roots will undermine the lateral stability of the paving slabs.

Claims cause a strain
Unlike road repairs there are few recent local or national statistics concerning pavement repairs and consequent pedestrian injuries. However, a plethora of online accident
claim compensation sites dedicated to such falls suggest this is a widespread problem. Numerous personal payouts from the public purse (using money better spent on preventative maintenance of our crumbling infrastructure) are surely a false short-term economy, even in a time of budgetary ‘austerity’.

There’s no specific mechanism for reporting pavement problems, other than dog fouling, on the HBC website so either contact your local councilor, or try: fixmystreet.com/reports/Hastings

How well are pavements and footpaths maintained in your part of the borough? Tell us
(send pictures too!) at: [email protected]

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