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Vulnerable are at risk on Chippenham's unsafe streets
Disabled campaigner Mary Fallon has won an urgent review of Chippenham’s crumbling pavements in the wake of a spate of accidents involving wheelchair and mobility scooter users.
So many disabled people have been thrown to the floor and hurt after catching wheels in ruts, potholes and loose paving slabs that the Chippenham town councillor has called for action.
Now a Wiltshire Council area engineer has agreed to be shown around the town next month aboard Coun Fallon’s mobility scooter. She was horrified to discover the perilous state of the pavements since getting her scooter.
Sue Simmons, 53, of Parkfields, said she is still in pain after being thrown into the road from her wheelchair on Park Lane at the end of August.
She said: “I was just tootling home from my shopping. I was crossing the road by the electrical shop and I slid on the camber. A driver saw me flying through the air.
"A doctor came running out of one of the houses to check my spine. Someone else put a blanket over me and another put something under my head while the ambulance came. All complete strangers, so kind.
“I had to take a lot of pethidine and morphine and I damaged my knees, right arm and shoulder.”
Mrs Simmons has been using a wheelchair for ten years and said the other worst offenders were St Pauls Street and New Road, with hazards including broken flagstones, vehicles parking on pavements and a lack of dropped kerbs.
Coun Fallon said: “I’ve heard of at least four incidents in the past five months and have nearly come a cropper several times myself.
"Since I got this buggy and seen the state of the roads from that perspective, I’ve been quite shocked. The jolting of my spine from my house in Parkfields into town is not nice.
"I am questioning the council’s efficiency in checking utility companies have done a good job after repairs because, in the main, the standard of restoration is not all that it should be.
“It shouldn’t be left up to individuals to ask for adjustments such as dropped kerbs. I want an assurance that all developments in Wiltshire should automatically have written into it that all areas are accessible to people with disabilities.
“If we really want to encourage people to shop in the centre and not use cars, they need to make it easier for people to get there and not be frightened of falling down.”
A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: “We’re looking forward to going out with Mary and understanding firsthand what the issues are for people using a mobility scooter in Chippenham. Once we’ve done this we’ll look to see if there are things that can be done to ensure people using scooters are able to get around easily.”
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