Pensioner breaks hand after tripping on ‘dangerous’ new paving in South Shields Market Place

Charlotte Gregory
Charlotte Gregory

A pensioner has broken her hand after tripping over new paving which has been labelled ‘dangerous’.

Charlotte Gregory tripped, in Market Place, South Shields, on Saturday, February 6, as she was making her way to St Hilda’s Church.

The mum-of two had looked left for traffic and had spotted there was a kerb, but hadn’t realised that the point where she stood was much lower due to the pavement’s new design, which has been slated by Coun Jeff Milburn as being dangerous.

The highest point of the paving, along the stretch of Market Place, is about five inches, but it tapers down to road level, and then rises back up again – like a wave.

Council bosses have said the height difference is ‘a common design in many town centres’.

Mrs Gregory, from Newcastle Road in Simonside, South Shields, said: “I was in the market and crossing over to the wool shop side of the road, because I then wanted to use the pedestrian crossings to get over the busy road so I could then get to church.

“But I hadn’t realised the kerb was much lower where I was, so I ended up tripping and falling, landing on my left side.

“My head was pouring with blood, my hand was so sore and my knee was throbbing, I could hardly walk.”

Passers-by helped the gran-of-two into The Address pub while an ambulance was called, and she was taken to South Tyneside District Hospital.

Doctors placed her hand in a cast after discovering she had broken a bone and also injured her fingers and will need further physiotherapy.

Mrs Gregory’s son Nigel said: “There needs to be some kind of white lines painted, so you can clearly see where the kerb ends and the road begins.

“We have heard a lot of other people have also tripped here, it’s not safe and it needs to be sorted.”

On Thursday Coun Milburn appeared in the Gazette expressing his worries about the pavement designs around Market Place as part of the town’s 365 regeneration plan.

He said: “I think it’s very inadequate and confusing. Why have a kerb at differing heights?

“I think it’s going to cause trouble for the elderly, or the infirm, who may not see the height differences.”

A South Tyneside Council spokesman said: “We are sorry to hear about this lady’s fall and wish her a speedy recovery.

“The kerb drops in height slightly at the junction with King Street to provide a level surface for pedestrians on to the market from King Street. This is a common design in many town centres and complies with national guidance. As part of the design process an accessibility consultant was appointed to help guide designs and ensure the scheme meets the needs of all members of the community. ”