‘Disgusted’ businessman appeals to MP over state of Sidmouth’s pavements

The offending paving slab in Fore Street, Sidmouth

The offending paving slab in Fore Street, Sidmouth - Credit: Archant

A business owner ‘disgusted’ at the lack of repairs to Sidmouth’s pavements is appealing to East Devon’s MP to intervene and help keep pedestrians safe.

Steve Clarke has repeatedly urged Devon County Council (DCC) to fix the paving slabs and recently came to the aid of an elderly customer who tripped and split open her forehead in Fore Street, writes Stephen Sumner.

After learning the authority must follow Government guidelines on repairs, he has written to Sir Hugo Swire.

Rendezvous owner Mr Clarke said: “In the past few months, there have been three incidents where an ambulance has had to be called because an elderly person has tripped over loose paving slabs or ones which are broken or rocking.”

He said he spoke to a DCC engineer, who told him the offending section of pavement did not show a 20mm ‘lip’ - so would not require attention from the authority. It was raised by 10mm.

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“People should be able to walk the pavements without fear of tripping over,” added Mr Clarke. “It’s only a matter of time before someone makes a claim against DCC.”

Councillor Stuart Hughes said: “We adopt the national policy for both footway and highway defects, which for a footway is 20mm trip hazard. It would be for government to change the policy and so I wish Sir Hugo Swire well with his endeavours, as our hands are tied.”

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He appealed to anyone who witnesses HGVs parking on the footways in Fore Street or High Street to note the registration and get a photo so the council can take appropriate action - as these are to blame for many of the problems.

Cllr Hughes said a section of paving near Tesco Express, which Mr Clarke said is one of the worst in the town, is set to be replaced with tarmac.

A spokesman said Sir Hugo will be making representations on Mr Clarke’s behalf in due course.

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