Preston pensioner pleads for wider footpath outside her home

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Highways bosses are being urged to widen a footpath in Preston outside a block of flats which is home to several elderly residents.

The stretch of pavement at the entrance to Charlesway Court on Lea Road is just half a metre wide in places – whereas the “absolute minimum” recommended standard in Lancashire County Council guidance is one metre.

Joan Linden has trouble navigating the narrow path outside her home

Joan Linden has trouble navigating the narrow path outside her home

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The owners of the flats have offered to contribute to the costs of the widening work and surrender some of the land needed in order to extend what they regard as a perilous path.

Joan Lindon, 86, admits to feeling “vulnerable” each time she leaves her home.

“It’s far too narrow and the hedge alongside it is really prickly – there’s no way anybody with a pram or the likes of me with a stick can manage.

“And the traffic does come down here so quickly to try and catch the lights,” Joan added.

She says that she feels forced to cross over – close to a junction with no pedestrian facilities – even if she wants to stay on the same side of the road when she comes out of her flat.

Matt Bowyer, who manages the block, says that the owners’ offer seems like “an obvious solution” to the issue.

“I have witnessed several near misses with lorries and their wing mirrors overhanging the path – it’s dangerous,” he said.

Earlier this year, the local democracy reporting service revealed concerns over the absence of a barrier on a footpath at the Broughton roundabout – and witnessed children walking on the edge of the kerb and even cycling into oncoming traffic.

County Cllr Gillian Oliver, in whose Preston West division the Charlesway Court block is located, said that the two similar dangers could be fixed “at minimal expense to the council”.

“We are only asking that people who walk or cycle are given the same priority in the council’s schemes and spending – and not just a worthy claim in their marketing bumph,” she added

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “We ensure that all new roads are built to modern standards, however there are many locations in Lancashire where roads which were built many years ago have narrow pavements or no pavement at all.

“If there is a record of safety issues at a particular location we will consider measures which may be available to address the issue. However, this part of Lea Road has a good safety record and the wider footway on the opposite side of the road can be used as an alternative to the narrow footway.

“At the same time we would be happy to work with the owner of the property if they wanted to fund work to widen the footway for the benefit of their tenants and adopt it to be maintained by the county council in the future.

“We have looked at the issues raised about the footway at the Broughton junction and no further action was required, however we will look at it again if the situation changes.”