Axminster pensioner injured in pavement fall

PUBLISHED: 07:01 04 November 2019 | UPDATED: 10:36 04 November 2019

Diana Harnett watching  repairs finally being carried out to the broken Axminster pavement. Picture: Chris Carson

Diana Harnett watching repairs finally being carried out to the broken Axminster pavement. Picture: Chris Carson

Archant

Highways chiefs have come under fire for taking a year to fix a broken pavement where a 67-year-old Axminster man fell and suffered severe injuries

Francis Harnett sustained a badly cut arm and bruised ribs when he stumbled on the uneven surface at St George's Avenue, Millwey Rise, in September.

He says he is still in great pain and receiving medical treatment.

Residents say they had been complaining about the cracked footway outside their supported housing complex - where many physically disabled people live - for months.

But Devon County Council, whose workmen finally moved in to fix the pavement last week, denies it delayed and say repairs were carried out earlier than originally planned.

Mr Harnett's wife, Diana, 63, said: "My husband was out for a walk. The area in which he fell was a mound of tar which had been like this for at least one year. Dustcarts and delivery drivers drive over it and it became completely cracked. It should never have been left in this condition. It should have been cordoned off. The area has been reported on numerous occasions over the last year.

"About three months ago one elderly lady, who has osteoporosis, was visiting her friend and tripped there.

"Everyone living here has medical difficulties. The pavement is outside a house where a man with a disability scooter lives.

"The elderly couple at nearby number 8 both have disability scooters and have also had very near misses.

"At one time workmen did throw a load of tar down but it rained and never set and they went off and never returned to finish the job.

"It has taken a year for them to comeback and mend it - we were told it should have been just five days."

Devon County Council's cabinet member for highways management, Stuart Hughes, told the Herald: "I'm sorry to hear that Mr Harnett was injured and I hope he makes a swift recovery.

"The repairs to the pavement have now been completed. In addition, a pedestrian dropped crossing has been installed which will make it easier for residents who struggle with their mobility to cross at this point.

"We always do try to address repairs as quickly as possible and this scheme was actually delivered a month earlier than had been originally programmed as we were aware of the level of use the footway would get."

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