‘Paths danger­ous for dis­abled’

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

A DIS­ABLED scooter rider is an­gry no­body in Ash­ford seems to care for peo­ple with dif­fi­culty get­ting around.

For the past three years the bat­tery-op­er­ated ve­hi­cle used by Jackie O’Con­nor from Ar­con Close, South Ash­ford, has been her only hope of free­dom, and without it she is house­bound.

But the 64-year-old was left stranded as she crossed the pedes­trian bridge from Vic­to­ria Park into the town cen­tre when her tyre was punc­tured by shards of glass she claims reg­u­larly cover the cross­ing.

Un­able to move, she was helped by a friend from South Ash­ford Bap­tist Church who re­moved the wheel and took it for re­pair, but she had to re­main propped against a rail un­til he re­turned, al­most an hour later, to help her home.

Miss O’Con­nor said: “The state of the bridge, and many other pedes­trian paths I have to use as my scooter is not reg­is­tered to go on the road, is dis­gust­ing.

“If only the yobs could un­der­stand the dan­ger to peo­ple like me, and other walk­ers and dogs, when they smash their beer bot­tles.

Re­spon­si­ble

“It cost me £22 for a new tyre and tube but the coun­cil, which is re­spon­si­ble for clear­ing rub­bish up, re­fuses to pay me any com­pen­sa­tion.”

Paul Jack­son, Ash­ford coun­cil’s head of en­vi­ron­men­tal ser­vices, said Miss O’Con­nor had writ­ten in Novem­ber, ask­ing for com­pen­sa­tion for a punc­tured wheel on her mo­bil­ity scooter caused by bro­ken glass on the foot­bridge on Oc­to­ber 27.

Af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the de­ci­sion was taken not to com­pen­sate her. She then wrote again last month, ask­ing for the case to be sent to the coun­cil’s in­sur­ers.

He said: “This has been done and the in­sur­ers have re­pu­di­ated the case. The coun­cil is not li­able for the in­ci­dent and has been found to have done ev­ery­thing that can be rea­son­ably ex­pected.

“It is very sad that some mem­bers of our com­mu­nity blight our en­vi­ron­ment and cause nui­sance and in­con­ve­nience to oth­ers by drop­ping lit­ter and bot­tles on our streets.”

Mr Jack­son said: “The ar­eas around El­wick Road are swept daily and Ash­ford town cen­tre is swept early ev­ery morn­ing and through­out the day.

“If a mem­ber of the pub­lic re­ports an in­ci­dent of bro­ken glass, we will in­ves­ti­gate and do our best to have it cleared away.”

Jackie O’Con­nor

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