'Oyez, it's dangerous' says Exmouth town crier after bad fall

PUBLISHED: 06:30 09 November 2015

Exmouth Town Crier Roger Bourgein is pictured with his new bell which has been bought for him by Manor Lodge care home. Ref exe 9956-38-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Exmouth Town Crier Roger Bourgein is pictured with his new bell which has been bought for him by Manor Lodge care home. Ref exe 9956-38-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn


Officials have been accused of turning a blind eye to a 'dangerous' paving stone, which claims four victims a week, putting pensioners and children at risk of injury.

Exmouth town crier Roger Bourgein became the latest victim of the Magnolia Centre loose paving slab - hitting the ground and hurting his back.

Pensioner Joy Williams, 86, of Bicton Street, who broke her nose falling over at the pedestrian black spot in July, was refused compensation by Devon County Council (DCC). She was told the slab’s height did not meet council requirements to pay out.

Joy said the loose stone outside Home Direct - which tilts downwards if stepped on, causing a trip hazard because its projecting slab edge is higher than its neighbours - was ‘absolutely lethal’.

Joy’s attempt to claim for compensation for her multiple injuries was refused. She was told by DCC the faulty paving slab must protrude by two centimetres for a claim to be successful.

She said: “I had my shopping trolley. I had a letter to post. I had lots of time, so I thought I would walk very gently past Home Direct. I crashed onto my face and broke my nose.

“The result of the fall is that everywhere I walk, I now look down at the pavement. I have to totter around. I feel old, but I didn’t feel old before I fell. It’s maddening when you know a lot of people in town and you can’t say hello to them because you are looking where you are putting your feet.

“How many more people have to fall over there before they do something about it?”

Roger Bourgein was bruised and cut, hurting his back, crashing onto the pavement at the same spot as Joy Williams.

“My toe stubbed a raised paving slab. My efforts at remaining upright failed and I hit the ground like a pole-axed ox,” said Roger.

“Bruised and bloodied, I was helped to my unsteady feet by a small crowd, led by the owner of the Vaping shop next door to Daffodills florist. As I stood, he said, ‘mate, that’s one a week I pick up’.

“Though apparently often reported, zero repair or attention has appeared.

“Since it happened, I avoid the pavement and walk on the road.”

Stuart Munro, owner of Vapours, in Church Street, said: “At least three or four people a week trip and at least one of them falls and hits the deck.

“I pick up quite a few people. Most of them are elderly, some are children. An elderly person really could hurt themselves or at least get a nasty cut, if they are a bit frailer.

“The town crier fell so hard, he broke his shoes.”

Devon County Council said the Magnolia Centre was checked frequently.

A council spokesman said: “We were sorry to hear about Mrs Williams’ accident. We use the same national standard as councils across the country to determine whether a paving stone is unsafe and requires repair.

“We check the pavement along Magnolia Walk every month and all defects that meet the national criteria are repaired as quickly as possible, usually by the end of the next working day.”

What do readers think? Email exmouth.letters@archant.co.uk

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