doc

ABINGDON residents are calling for urgent repairs to a dilapidated street after an elderly man was badly injured in a fall. A public meeting will take place tonight to discuss the hazardous state of Thames Street after Michael Barnes, 74, tripped on a loose paving slab.

He suffered two broken ribs, a sprained wrist and injured his hand.

Residents, who have previously raised the issue with local councillors, say the entire pavement is in a dangerous state.

Mr Barnes, who lives on a boat moored in the town, said: “I cut my toe, grazed my knees, cracked a couple of ribs, and broke my best glasses.”

The accident happened outside the house of John Race, 78, who told Abingdon Town Council that a slab became dislodged when a large vehicle knocked into a wooden post. He said: “If you compare our street with the middle of town it is in an absolutely terrible state.

“We have a lot of foreign visitors strolling along this part of town, and they must be horrified with that.

“We’re not asking for the Taj Mahal, we just want it to be put into decent order.”

Dr Race’s wife Eva, who is also 78, said rather than risk the pavement she walks in the middle of the road.

The residents would like the pavement to be fixed, and also want to see the railings and benches treated, but say they have been unable to find out which councils are responsible for which features.

The councillor for the Abbey and Barton ward, Peter Jones, is also a district and county councillor, but he suffered a stroke in December and is taking an extended break from his work.

Town councillor Penny McDougall, said that Mr Jones would have been the ideal person to head up the project because of his experience.

She said: “This is a historic road with some beautiful buildings, it is a place that tourists come and visit, and yet they risk breaking their neck on the paving stones.

“There has been too much passing the buck, rather than pulling together, and it is very difficult to get anything to happen.”

A spokesman for the Vale council said that the entire street is the responsibility of the county council, except for a small strip opposite the Broad Face pub, which they have sent a contractor to investigate for possible repair work. Oxfordshire County Council refused to comment on the situation but said it was investigating ownership.

The council's bill for repairing kerbs, pavements and public walkways rose to £2.3m in 2011, up from £1.5m in 2007.

The public meeting takes place tonight at 7pm. lIs your pavement in desparate need of repair? Call our reporter Pete Hughes on 01865 425431