A Conservative councillor in Keynsham has voiced concerns over the safety of pedestrians in the Market Walk area of the new Town Centre following his own personal experience at the site.
Councillor Alan Hale (Cons, Keynsham South) got more than he bargained for when he went to investigate the concerns of a constituent.
The constituent, who is blind, had raised concerns regarding the safety of the arrangement of the steps at the new centre and had reported that she had heard that there had been falls.
Following up on these concerns, Cllr Hale went to Market Walk to investigate the issue. However, as he was walking in the direction of the new Bonzos coffee bar and descending just a short flight of steps, he suddenly found himself falling to the ground. The result was a skinned knee and damaged trousers.
Cllr Alan Hale said:
“When I had picked myself up and turned to the steps I could see that the depth of the steps did not seem consistent and in places disappeared to nothing. This certainly gave me concern because as I looked further it seemed that the steps at the library door are similar as indeed are the steps at the top of Bath Hill.”
The councillor immediately contacted the B&NES officer in charge of the development and raised his concerns for the safety of the public, especially for those who are infirm or with poor sight.
A couple of days later the steps near Bonzos had been fenced off. In a further email to Alan Hale, the B&NES Officer in charge of the project told him that he had received other comments regarding the steps and said “Whilst I have had confirmation from the design team that the current configuration does comply with all national standards I am not satisfied that more could be done to improve this area”, and then in a later email informed Cllr Hale that new handrails would be fitted to the steps.
Councillor Hale added:
“Whilst my incident caused me a degree of discomfort I am pleased that it was me and not a frail member of the public. I am also extremely pleased that Mr Quilter has reacted so promptly to the concerns I raised and I hope that there will be no more falls and that the community can enjoy the new centre and all that it has and will have to offer.”