Feelings of ‘elation’ as ‘dangerous and uneven’ paving fixed in well-used Northampton shopping area
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There are feelings of “elation” as paving, which was previously described as “dangerous and uneven”, has been fixed in a well-used Northampton shopping area.
As a long-standing resident and someone with severe arthritis since the age of 18, the worry was heightened for Karen as she had no choice but to look down at the pavement and be weary of the “massive trip hazards”.
She had continued to see the deterioration of the paving and heard of the number of falls from the workers in shops she regularly visited.
The problem was first brought to the attention of Duston Parish Council at a meeting in June 2022, when Karen initially presented the petition to them.
As the land belongs to WNC, Duston Parish Council’s clerk wrote to them about the issue in July last year and four months later, in November 2022, a site meeting took place to establish the next steps to combat the problem.
15 months on from when the issue was first brought to the attention of WNC, Limehurst Square has now been resurfaced – much to the joy of those who regularly use the space.
Sandie Maitland, Duston Parish Councillor and women’s officer for the Northampton South Labour Party, has played a big role in voicing Karen’s concerns.
Previously speaking to this newspaper, Sandie expressed her belief that this should have been on WNC’s radar quicker than it was – and she feared about how the elderly and disabled members of the community would fare if it was not rectified.
Following a Duston Parish Council meeting last Thursday (November 9), Sandie said: “Duston Parish Council is considering conferring with shopkeepers, to see how we can work together to create a space that people want to visit.”
The hope is that collaboration will put the visitors and shopkeepers first, enabling them to make the most of the newly resurfaced area.
Gary Youens, the clerk at Duston Parish Council, wanted to take the opportunity to thank WNC and their contractors for completing the work – praising it as “an improvement”.
He also shared that the Parish Council has installed two new benches and there will be two new planters coming in the near future.
Speaking as women’s officer for the Northampton South Labour Party, Sandie added: “I’m absolutely elated because it means disabled and elderly individuals can now shop in safety.
“It doesn’t look as good as it will do when it’s finished, with planters and hanging baskets. We want to make the place look beautiful and help to keep it that way.”
Having worked closely with Karen, Sandie shared that she is “chuffed” – particularly as a disabled member of the community.
“She herself is disabled but works through it,” said Sandie. “It makes it a lot easier for her to go shopping. It was dreadful the way it was.”
Having been away for three weeks and returning to the completed changes, Sandie says she has already noticed an increase in the use of the shops and car parking facilities.
“It’ll be interesting to speak to shopkeepers to see if that is the case,” she added.
The council was approached for comment by the Chronicle & Echo and said: “West Northamptonshire Council and Kier Transport are pleased to have completed improvements to Limehurst Square.
“The works were carried out between September 11 and October 8 2023 in order to provide an enhanced space for the local community.
“This included the installation of two new benches, new planters funded by the Parish Council to elevate the area, and a reconstructed footpath to provide a level surface.”
The outstanding planters are soon to be installed and WNC hopes “the local community enjoys spending time in the area”.