FOOTPATHS: Maintenance is badly needed

editorial image

It was interesting to read recently that the Government has, or is about to, hand out cash to local authorities in order that they can “fix” the potholes that infest our roads.

I agree that there are a lot of potholes in our roads, however, I do not regard them as a priority for repair.

A far more urgent requirement is to get our pedestrian footpaths maintained as some are in a dreadful state of disrepair. Cracked and uneven paving slabs can be seen, and tripped upon, throughout the borough.

Correction of this situation should be given priority where road repairs are concerned, especially when you consider a large amount of the damage which occurs to footpaths is caused by cars, vans and lorries being illegally parked on them.

Ignoring this dangerous situation has wide-ranging consequences across our community.

When a person trips upon a damaged flagstone they could be badly injured, especially, but not exclusively, if they are an older member of our community. A tumble onto concrete can break bones or cause tendon, muscular and other soft tissue damage, resulting in expensive medical and social services care, not to mention time off work and education, affecting the economic situation across the borough. Of course, the victim could sue the council for damages which we council taxpayers will have to foot the bill for.

There are a number of actions I would like to see initiated by the council right across the borough that could improve the situation.

First, initiate a comprehensive programme of pedestrian footpath repair.

Secondly, discourage motorists from driving and parking on pedestrian footpaths by giving more powers to parking officers and police to prosecute those illegally parking, along with the instigation of new high fines and fixed penalties.

Thirdly, the erection of low anti-parking bollards along the curb stones of residential streets to prevent driving and parking on the footpath.

I hope that North Tyneside councillors of all political factions take this on board. Rather than giving themselves excessive new payments, they can use the council tax money collected from us to improve the condition of footpaths across the local community.

Martin Collins

Wallsend