Action promised after Devon town centre works trip people up

Hazard warning for pedestrians in Newton Abbot
-Credit: (Image: DCC)

A controversial £1.4million scheme to improve Newton Abbot town centre for pedestrians will be made safer - after multiple shoppers reported tripping over a newly-laid section of pavement. The Queen Street Enhancement Scheme started in May but has come in for heavy criticism from local businesses who say it is crippling trade.

Earlier this week it was reported that people were tripping and falling over a section of pavement near Poundland. One person was seen nursing his wrist in a bowl of water. Another is said to have spent hours in hospital after sustaining an injury in a fall.

Locals have also complained about the 'shoddy' appearance of some of the work and questioned whether it is temporary or permanent. Now Devon County Council has reassured shoppers the pavement will look much better once it is fully complete. They have also said that its contractors will inspect and make sure the 'trip hazard' is removed.

Devon County County Council says it is sorry to hear of people being injured by 'improvement works'. They say any uneven surfaces have been ramped to mitigate the impact.

A spokesman said: "The section shown in the photo is not finished it is temporary and will receive a top surface coat at one constant level across the full width if the footway. The cold lay surfacing forming the ramps will be removed prior to the final surface coat being installed."

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Work on the final surface coat - from Warrens Bakery to the Richard Hopkins pub - is scheduled to start on the August 8. A sign has been installed both sides of each ramp.

"Our contractor inspects the ramp daily and will top it up with cold lay bitmac if needed to ensure that there are no trip hazards."

One trader said the work had been causing massive problems. "It's been awful," he said. "It is ridiculous that people have been falling over. We've been made a lot of promises about how much better it will look and that all sounds positive but at the moment businesses are taking a massive hit and we have been closing early because people are staying away.

How Queen Street in Newton Abbot could look
How Queen Street in Newton Abbot could look (Devon County Council) -Credit:Devon County Council

Business owner Claire Sampson, said: "I walked through Queen St on Tuesday last week and there was a chap sitting outside Poundland with his hand or wrist in a bowl of cold water, clearly waiting for an ambulance or taxi ride to the hospital. Since then, I’ve noticed lots of people reporting further falls and twisted ankles.

"I have businesses in the town and worry that this scheme is going to destroy the ‘stop-and-shop’ culture which has always been the essence of Queen Street.

"The haphazard construction timescale has caused a lot of upheaval for the local businesses. Will they be compensated for loss of earnings?"