Disabled Knaresborough woman meets officials over pavement problems

Councillor David Bulmer and Maggie BoydCouncillor David Bulmer and Maggie Boyd
Councillor David Bulmer and Maggie Boyd
A disabled Knaresborough woman has met with county council chiefs to highlight how potholes and cracks in the town's pavements have blighted her life.

Last week the Knaresborough Post revealed how Maggie Boyd had fallen out of her wheelchair countless times as a result of the neglected footpaths.

As a result, Coun Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire County Council’s Executive Member for Highways asked to meet her to discuss her concerns.

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He said: “It worries me when I see that sort of thing because I try and put myself in Maggie’s position and to have a difficulty even going about your normal day to day life of getting

around your town I think it’s something that is unacceptable if you have these problems and if we can fix them that’s why we’re here.”

As a thalidomide baby, Miss Boyd, of Iles Lane, has had both legs amputated and has learned to navigate life in her wheelchair.

Despite holding a deep love for Knaresborough, Maggie felt the town was let down by its poorly maintained pavements, which hinder blind people and wheelchair users, as well as parents with pushchairs.

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She told NYCC chiefs: “I often have to do wheelies to get across and onto the road and it’s not just me it’s push chairs too.”

Determined to improve the pavements for everyone in the town, Maggie has secured the help of Knaresborough town councillor, David Bulmer, to appeal to the county council to take urgent action.

Highways chiefs have now offered to assess the town’s pavements and repair them if they deem the problem to be serious.

NYCC Highways officer Kris McIntyre told Miss Boyd: “It depends on the criteria of the road and the nature of the defect. If it’s a really serious defect we will come out immediately, but generally its within 30 days.”

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However, Mr McIntyre explained that some paths would fall under the responsibility of Harrogate Borough Council or private building owners, depending where the damage is.

Coun Mackenzie also agreed to help but explained that in some respects the pavement issues were characteristic of the kind of town that Knaresborough is.

He said: “The difficulty is Knaresborough is a very old historic town, it wasn’t really built for cars and over the years it hasn’t really been built for people in wheelchairs and pushchairs but gradually we are getting on top of these things.

“It’s like everything else we can’t devote ourselves 100 per cent although we do recognise it has to be one of our top priorities to make life easier for people such as yourself to get around.”