Injured residents call for action by county

Injured residents Alma Dickinson and Frederick Ellis discuss the complex county council document
Injured residents Alma Dickinson and Frederick Ellis discuss the complex county council document

Three Ashington residents have been injured in falls in Rectory Lane and have called on West Sussex County Council to take immediate action.

They blame damage to the road surface and pavements in the area on heavy lorries going to a new housing development at Meiros Farm. A narrow pavement in the area is used by people going to and from Penn Gardens.

Ashington Parish Council has been battling for some action before further accidents happen.

Frederick Ellis, 61, an award-winning chef, broke his upper arm and damaged his hip after treading on an unstable drain in late January.

He was going from his Ashington home to look after his daughter’s children in Penn Gardens.

“My daughter is a Grade I carer and leaves for work early. It was 6.30am and I tripped and fell.

“An ambulance had to be called and I have been off work since.

“I am dedicated to my work as chef for Sussex Health Authority and had never claimed a penny in benefits in my life.

“I have been told it may be next January before I will be fit enough to go back to work.

“For weeks I couldn’t do anything for myself at all, which really went against the grain,” he said.

He estimates this accident has cost him £25,000 in loss of earnings, and the government another £15,000 for the hospital and hydrotheraphy costs.

He has been to a solictor, after receiving a 100-page document from West Sussex County Council, with only a small relevant section,and is now looking at a compensation claim.

A Rectory Lane resident, Alma Dickinson, 84, was taking her small dog for a walk along the pavement near to the development at the end of May when she fell and broke a bone in her groin and also chipped a lump out of her elbow.

For Alma, who has lived in Ashington all her life, and is fiercely independent, it has been a costly accident.

Her sons live hundreds of miles away, and she is still unable to get about.

“It has ruined my life. I am having to pay £25 week for someone to walk my dog, I can barely get about and if I want to post a letter, I have to stand at my gate and wait to ask someone going by to post it for me. Before the accident I could do everything, including my garden.”

Ray Farrell was walking from Penn Gardens to Ashington with his granddaughter, when he stepped on an unstable kerbstone.

“My knee went over and popped out. I had it strapped up and was off work for three days. The parish council has been trying to get something done for six months and has been told there will be no action until the development is finished. There is a manhole in the area which has been without a cover for five weeks. A child could fall down the hole,” he said.

A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said: “Rectory Lane in Ashington is a public maintainable highway, while the David Wilson/Meiros development is currently unadopted.

“Damage to footways/manholes/drains on Rectory Lane will be the responsibility of WSCC to maintain.

“However should damage be caused by the developer, then we would expect them to notify us, and either arrange for repair works themselves or reimburse us for carrying out these works.

“We are currently investigating whether this has been the case here.”