Villagers concerned damaged pavements will leave locals “seriously injured”

Wood End, Bedford Borough pavement. image: LDRS
Wood End, Bedford Borough pavement. image: LDRS

Wood End locals have asked borough councillors for safe pavements and usable internet to bring their village into the 21st century.

Members at Wednesday’s Full Council Meeting (29 November) heard that if pavements are not replaced in the village near Kempston, someone could be “seriously injured”.

Clapham Cars

Ms Duffy, speaking on behalf of Wood End residents said: “It is my belief that Wood End still uses the original pavements that were built back in the 1950s to 60s.

“The pavement was damaged in the 80s when gas was installed. Residents were told that the repair was only temporary, but this was 40-odd years ago.

“Now the pavements are a complete hazard, they slope, they are cracked, they’re uneven with plants growing up through the cracks.

“Plenty of accidents have already occurred, and people have already been injured and are now talking about personal injury claims,” she said.

Cllr Jim Weir (Conservative, Great Denham), portfolio holder for environment, highways & transport, said that works were carried out on a priority and assessment basis.

“At the moment, I think somebody went out yesterday, [the pavements] do not meet our investigation levels,” he said.

Wood End houses without a pavement joining them to the rest of the village. Image: LDRS
Wood End houses without a pavement joining them to the rest of the village. Image: LDRS

“Because I know the area I will ask our guys to go out again and I will go out with them and I’m happy to meet you there, so we can look at some of the areas that may have been missed. But we can’t promise anything on that basis.”

Ms Duffy said: “I find it hard to believe that those pavements do not reach the threshold because they’re not usable.”

She added that the internet can be “thrown out for days” due to regular power cuts.

“The internet is not a luxury any more,” she said. “It not only supports lines of communication, but it also works our TVs, thermostats for heating, fridges, house security, baby monitors, diabetic monitors and gives people, especially the vulnerable people, access to forms, information, and support groups.

“Our internet reception is poor on a good day.”

Cllr Weir said: “When it comes to the internet I’m not sure which direction we can go in that.

“But BT, I believe, will own the green box that you mention in your petition, so it might be worth trying to get hold of BT as well and perhaps they can meet us on site and we can see what can be done.”

Members agreed to a motion by cllr Sue Abood (Lib Dem, Wootton & Kempston Rural) to call on the Executive to put the pavements on a work programme and to look at solutions to provide improved digital connectivity at the same time as the pavement repairs.

by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter

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