A man from North London has blamed the council for ‘forgetting their duty of care’ after he tripped over a cracked pavement and fractured his ankle. He claims Brent Council’s “negligence” could leave vulnerable residents at risk of serious injury.
Robert Medcalfe, 36, says he has been left on crutches after falling over a broken pavement whilst walking down Lancaster Road in Dollis Hill on November 24. Brent Council said the road is inspected yearly for “serious defects” and it has resurfaced more than 45 miles of pavements over the last six years.
Robert was on his way back home from his mum house when he says the incident happened and left him “in shock”. He says he “dropped to the floor” before managing to pull himself up and “hop home” to put ice on the swelling and bleeding.
Robert is calling on the council to urgently carry out repair work to cracked pavements across the borough. He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS): “I feel it’s due to the negligence and failing in their duty of care to residents.”
He added: “A mother and buggy or elderly person is allowed to be put at risk of serious injury just by walking down the street, something the council should be taking seriously. I am neither elderly nor accompanied by infants and yet I have been injured and been caused harm.
“The care for the community is getting lost […] and there is too much focus on money. They can’t keep blaming central government for actions they pull the trigger on. I’m sure it’s not an easy job, but clearly the empathy for the stress and injury they cause to local people with abhorrent decisions is getting lost.”
In 2019, Brent Council announced a plan to repair 42 miles of pavement by 2022 as part of a £20m improvements programme. According to the council, pavement repairs are prioritised by a number of factors, including the results of an independent annual survey, its usage, level of risk, and cost benefit.
As part of the improvements, the existing surfaces are replaced with a mixture of asphalt and concrete blocks for vehicle crossings and at junctions, which the council claims means It is “less likely to crack and create trip hazards”.
Robert claims pavements in need of repair can be found across the borough. However, he also asserts that the wealthier areas benefit from the restoration works whilst the worst affected areas “don’t get the attention.”
He said: “Areas that urgently need the most care initiatives, such as Neasden or Alperton, are being left unmaintained having to endure the flytipping and damaged roads.”
He has previously complained to the council that disabled people have had to use the road when they can’t navigate the pavement. He added: “It feels like it’s losing its ethos of keeping this borough clean and safe for families and young people to live happily and thrive in and focusing on maximising profits to the detriment of long standing residents.”
Cabinet Member for Environment, Infrastructure and Climate Action, Cllr Krupa Sheth, said: “We are sorry to hear about the resident’s fall and wish him a speedy recovery. We inspect Lancaster Road yearly for serious defects.”
She added: “When we draw up our planned maintenance programme for the next two years, this along with all other roads will be considered for pavement resurfacing and we will prioritise the roads in need of the most urgent repairs.
“Since 2017, we have invested more than £27m on improving Brent’s footways, refreshing over 45 miles of pavement. Residents should report any highway defects for investigation through FixMyStreet, including specific location information so we can target inspections appropriately.”