Residents of Preston's "forgotten area" demand work to fix 'dangerous' roads and footpaths
“We’re the forgotten area, that’s what people are always saying. And now people are scared to go out”.
Following a spate of injuries, Irfan Sabir, chairman of the Deepdale Community Association is calling for urgent action on the state of the roads and footpaths in the Counties area of Deepdale.
He said: “The roads and footpaths are really bad.
“We had an elderly lady fall on her face and one of my co-ordinators has toppled over with his mobility scooter. In some areas of Argyll Road you wouldn’t risk taking your child.
“The pavements are lifting, there’s potholes. There’s a waste refuse site on Argyll Road with tons of weight in vans going up and down all day.
“We also get a lot of traffic on match days.”
He added: “People are fearing going out in the dark because of this, and the lighting isn’t very good either.
“We’ve spoken to our local councillors and to LCC and all we hear is that it’s a funding issue and it’s not a priority.
“But there are vulnerable people here, disabled people and people are going to get hurt.
“We are told to improve community cohesion, but how are we meant to do that if people are unwilling to go out because of poor pavements and poor lighting?
“We feel like we are the forgotten area of Deepdale, that’s what residents are telling us.
“New businesses are coming to this area, but we are not providing the infrastructure to support it.”
He added: “This Counties area of Deepdale has always been slightly neglected, we have not got what’s due. We’ve not had any representation till now, with us setting up this community association with volunteers.
Kamran Ahmed, a founder member of the Community Association, is a wheelchair user with Muscular Dystrophy and epilepsy. He toppled his scooter over in Argyll Road.
He said: “I hurt my ankle and the arm rests of my chair have been damaged, but luckily my daughter was there to help me up or it could have been a lot worse.
“I had another close-call in Burrow Road too, where I live. I ended up going into the side of a wall.
“A lot of flags are uneven and also the roots of trees have made the footpaths uneven. It’s all been patched with tarmac and it’s not good.
“The trees need uprooting. Investment in these roads and footpaths should be a priority. This is a busy area, a hub. We’re close to the city centre, we have Deepdale stadium and it’s a major retail area. We need this to be dealt with.”
Yunus Adam of Kozy Carpets in Argyll Road, said: “We go on the roads every day with our vans and they’re in a bad way. You just can’t avoid all of them.
“There are patches all over Argyle Road. The roads around here haven’t been resurfaced for a long time. All we get is patching up, and that doesn’t last very long.
“We need a proper job. After all, we pay our taxes for things like this.”
Deepdale Councillor Ismail Bax said the problem had been apparent “for some time”.
He said: “The roads are deteriorating, not just in the Counties area, but all over Preston. Lancashire County Council are aware of the problems, but are obviously prioritising in a different way.
“People want to see Argyll Road completely resurfaced, but the trees need looking at too. It’s the roots that are causing problems.
“About 18 months ago I asked for a tree survey and it was done, with several taken down. But clearly there’s others now still impacting on the footpaths and highways.”
A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “We’re aware of concerns about the appearance of flagstone pavements in this area, however we are continuing to repair any defects picked up by our inspections, and are satisfied that they are generally safe. We would ask people to report any issues using our online Report It system.
“We are currently fitting LED lanterns across Lancashire to reduce CO2 emissions, energy consumption and associated maintenance costs. The most recently fitted units are dimmed by approximately 50% between 7pm and 7am but in the winter months the lights remain on full output during the hours of peak pedestrian and traffic movement.”
What do the council repair?
On pavements, LCC repair any flagstone or other defect with an edge 25mm or bigger to prevent trip hazards. On roads defects have to be 40mm or bigger.
Deepdale Community Association
Deepdale Community Association was set up in April 2019 to serve the Counties’ area of Deepdale - such as Norfolk Road, Dorset Road and Somerset Road among others.
Irfan Sabir, Idnan Sabir and Kamran Ahmed decided change was needed at the start of the year, after hearing repeated problems of social isolation, fly-tipping, debt problems and anti-social behaviour.
More than 150 people now regularly attend meetings and thanks to its success, volunteers are now looking to branch out into wider areas, and other schemes too.
Chairman Irfan Sabir said: “People feel empowered, they know who to contact if there’s a problem and what to do.
“It’s grassroots stuff, like the difference between calling 999 and 101.”
One of the key aspects of the association is the use of ‘co-ordinators’, each covering 10 to 15 houses.
The idea is that they are a point of contact for other residents of the street and help with advice or signpost people towards the right help.