Disabled woman calls for improvements to Knaresborough paths

Maggie Boyd shows us a bad pavement area in the town.

Maggie Boyd shows us a bad pavement area in the town.

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A disabled Knaresborough woman has taken matters into her own hands after the state of the town pavements was having a big impact on her life.

Maggie Boyd is on a mission to improve the cracked and broken pavements which have tipped her out of her wheelchair and force her to do wheel-stunts.

Taking her appeal to a Knaresborough Town Council meeting on February 29, councillors unanimously supported her motion and agreed to write to North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC)

Ms Boyd said: “It’s about time someone said something about it because the paths are appalling. It’s hard work having to manoeuvre the pavements when they’re not level.

“I have never had to use a strap on my wheel chair and I refuse to use one but a few times I have come out of my chair because my wheels have got stuck in cracks in the pavement.

“Some people come out their chair and find it really hard to get back in, fortunately I’m not like that but it’s a bit embarrassing to be honest.

“I need to do wheelies at times to get over certain parts of pavement. I’m very mobile and very active - I do at least 4 miles a day, I have three dogs and I take them out everyday.”

Although KTC has no jurisdiction over the paths in the town, they have agreed to call on NYCC to bring the improvements.

A spokesperson for NYCC said: “We inspect town centre footways monthly and any dangerous defects are routinely noted and action taken in line with our maintenance regime. We also respond to specific concerns from the public when we are notified. When we receive the letter from Knaresborough Town Council we will investigate the concerns raised as a priority.”

Maggie is one of thousands in the generation affected by thalidomide, which has affected her lower body and forced her to have both legs amputated.

Although Maggie can see the impact the pavements have on her life she explained blind people and pushchair users are also affected.

Town councillor David Bulmer (Lab) has supported Maggie’s quest to get the support of KTC as his wife is also a thalidomide baby.

He said: “You can see how much they struggle to get around and there are hazards everywhere. I suppose I have got a personal interest in that my wife is also disabled so personally it is something I feel quite passionate about.

“I was delighted by the support received by all members of the Town Council on this issue and the welcoming manner Maggie received at the meeting.”

Maggie also expressed her delight at the overwhelming support she was given at the meeting.

She said: “I was actually quite surprised, I was very nervous but I’m very glad I was supported and that they feel the same way.

“I love Knaresborough and I’m proud of Knaresborough and that’s why I want them to do something about it because it lets the town down, it’s a real shame.”