'˜Trip list' reveals '˜danger' of wavy designer kerb at South Shields market

A concerned councillor has been handed a '˜trip list' containing the names of people who have fallen over a '˜dangerous' kerb.

Friday, 4th March 2016, 5:00 am
Updated Friday, 4th March 2016, 6:51 am
The new kerb in Market Square, which has been dubbed dangerous.

Due to the number of people falling on the kerb outside The Address pub, in Market Place, South Shields, employees started to gather their contact details.

The kerb, which has recently been installed as part of the 365 South Shields regeneration plan, is causing problems because of the way its height rises and falls.

Coun Jeff Milburn with the trip list.

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Coun Jeff Milburn, who highlighted his concerns over the paving last month, has now been handed the list of names and is calling for the kerb to be removed.

The Tory councillor said: “It’s absolutely disgraceful that I have a list of people who have fallen over due to this ridiculous and dangerous kerb.
“These people, many who are elderly, are toppling over and ending up inside the pub afterwards.

“There’s six names on the list and I will be contacting them all individually and I will be handing this list over to the council.

“This kerb needs to be removed and sorted out as soon as possible before any more people hurt themselves.”

Coun Jeff Milburn with the trip list.

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’.

On February 6, pensioner Charlotte Gregory tripped and broke her hand while she was making her way to nearby St Hilda’s Church.

The mum-of-two now needs physiotherapy and her family are considering taking legal action.

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.”

It’s thought one person a week is claiming to have fallen over the troublesome kerb.

Council bosses won’t confirm exact numbers, but say they have received ‘fewer than 10 complaints’ since January 1.

Coun John Anglin, lead member for regeneration and economy, said: “Ensuring the town centre meets the needs of all members of the community is a key priority of South Shields 365.

“From the start of the scheme, we have worked with various user groups, have drawn on independent design advice from professional bodies and conducted walkabouts with disability groups to assist with the design process. We appointed a leading accessibility consultant and accessed the North East Design Enabling and Review Service (NEDRES), who provide independent design advice to developers and local authorities on major schemes which added value to the design process. This was in addition to carrying out extensive consultation with the public on the proposals.

“Throughout the Market Place, we have used tactile paving to help guide visitors with sight impairments. This acts as a warning to those with a visual impairment that they are approaching the kerb. The kerb also 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.

“The Market Place itself has been designed to be an accessible civic space to accommodate the market as well as other events and activities. We believe that the improvements will bring benefits to residents, visitors and businesses.

“Since January, we have received fewer than 10 complaints in relation to this particular location.”