Potholes on our roads are adding to the danger already caused by broken and uneven pavements, which cost thousands of pounds in injury compensation every year.
A Freedom of Information request has revealed that injured residents claimed almost £60,000 over the past four years, as the Council has failed to maintain footpaths adequately.
The largest claim since 2006 was for £15,750, made by a pedestrian after she fell on a metal pole protruding from the pavement on Junction Road in 2007.
One resident, who did not seek compensation, said she had tripped on uneven pavement slabs near her home in Barnsbury.
“It wobbled and really came up,” said 64-year-old Joan Kellner. “I lost my balance right away and really fell hard.
“I only grazed my palms and knees but I was quite shaken for some time after. It takes me longer to get everywhere now. I really watch where I’m going.
“The Council needs to start coughing up some money before someone gets really hurt.”
Islington Highways spent £20m on a street renewal programme that was completed last year, transforming more than 150 streets. However, according to Paul Convery, councillor for Caledonian Ward, dangerous pavements are an ongoing problem.
“There are some catastrophic trip zones,” he said. “Amazingly these are part of a wholly re-laid pavement.”
Caroline Russell from the Islington branch of Living Streets, a pedestrian association, agreed that repaving is a relentless task.
“Streets need constant maintenance and more money needs to be put into it,” she said. “With better streets, more people get out of their cars and walk. It’s much better for the environment.”
But pavements are not the only concern for residents. Potholes, caused by the poor weather conditions this winter, are a major concern of residents, who are inundating website FixMyStreet.com with requests to repair roads.
“The road surface in Fairbridge and Ashbrook Roads is really awful,” one wrote. “There are numerous deep potholes. Some are deeper than the top layer of tarmac and expose loose stones.”
Another resident stressed the danger of potholes near Crouch Hill: “It is a very busy road and many drivers trying to avoid the potholes are swerving too close to the parked cars, just to avoid it. It’s only a matter of time before my car will probably be damaged as a result.”
John Ackers, from Islington Cyclists Action Group, agreed that potholes pose a danger for road-users and could result in injury.
“Some of the potholes are very deep and it’s a real risk for cyclists,” he said. “If you end up in one you’ll definitely come off your bike. You’ve got no chance.
“The problem is that there are so many of them it will take months, maybe even a year, for the Council to fix them.”
A council spokesperson said they endeavour to respond to complaints as quickly as they can. “Dangerous potholes and pavement defects on roads and pavements are generally repaired within 24 hours of someone making a request,” he said.
Claims for injuries:
- Pedestrian tripped on metal pole on Junction Road: £15,750
- Tree roots coming through the pavement on Burgh Street: £8,300
- Open manhole cover on New North Road: £6,407
- Uneven paving on Thornhill Road: £3,500
- Uneven paving on Turnwill Street: £3,250.71
Photo Credit – Lydia Warren