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Friday, June 21, 2024

Woman’s fall highlighted highways funding concern

A pensioner was left with fractured fingers and a bruised face after falling in Sandbach, prompting a call for “urgent” roadworks in a town where none are planned for months to come.

Anna Beardmore, (71), was walking along Grange Way in Elworth when she stumbled on a section of path where weeds were growing.

As well as the injuries she suffered, Mrs Beardmore’s glasses broke in the fall.

Now, she is seeking compensation from Cheshire East Council which, a councillor has claimed, has no planned roadworks scheduled for the town for the rest of the financial year to the end of March 2024.

Mrs Beardmore said: “I drive to my local shops now instead of walking. There’s just too many weeds and I’m worried about falling again. I’ve only just started walking a little bit to build up my confidence.”

The retired swimming teacher said she even walked on the roads instead of the pavements because she felt safer.

“I’ve sent the council a claim for my glasses, and for the fall,” she added. “I’m worried that older people could fall over again – children fall over all the time, but when it’s an older person, it can be more serious.”

Coun Nicola Cook, who represents Elworth on Cheshire East Council, told the Chronicle that she had reviewed the authority’s priority areas for investment up until the end of this financial year.

She said she found that none of the four wards in Sandbach would receive any investment before April next year.

Out of the borough’s 52 wards, only five were not listed for highways funding. The only ward to lose out other than those in Sandbach was Shavington.

Coun Cook said: “This is a very concerning situation and I have asked for an explanation. The issue which is raised with me, more than any other by residents, is the state of the roads and footpaths in Elworth.

“I have seen the injuries that some residents have sustained after falling on a poorly maintained footpath and it is frightening. Roads such as Abbey Road, Elworth Road and Moss Lane, and the footpaths on the Grange Way Estate and London Road are a particular concern.

“I am very aware that funding is very tight at the moment, but it is clear that other wards are receiving funding – it is just not in Sandbach.”

Added Coun Cook: “The decision suggests that Sandbach is a paradise for the quality of its roads and pavements, and I would certainly disagree with this view, as would many residents. I will put all my efforts into working with officers to see how we might be able to address this situation.”

Meanwhile, a team of volunteers has tried to improve the situation. They include Cathy Bruderer, a 59-year-old admin worker.

She said: “I lived on the estate when I was a child, so I know how it looked when it used to be maintained. Now, all that gets done is the mowing of the grass.

“We pay our council tax for the area to be tidied but we have to take our own tools and do the best we can, because otherwise it looks terrible.

“We rely on people lending us their brown bins, but come next year if people aren’t signing up for their brown bins again then we won’t have anywhere to put the waste.”

She added: “It’s not a political issue, we’re just a local group that’s sick of the way the estate looks and we want to do something about it.”

Cheshire East Council was asked to comment.

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