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Pensioner says Newham Council took three years to fix broken paving stone

PUBLISHED: 14:41 26 February 2013 | UPDATED: 14:41 26 February 2013

Joan Smith, with a piece of the broken paving stone.

Joan Smith, with a piece of the broken paving stone.

Archant

A disabled pensioner has slammed council bosses for finally getting around to fixing a broken paving stone – three years after she was “smashed up” when she tripped over it.

Joan Smith, 76, said massive bruises left her “black and blue” when she fell over a piece of pavement that was jutting up near her home in Store Street, Stratford, in April, 2010.

But town hall bosses said that the paving slab didn’t need fixing at the time of the fall.

Joan, who had undergone a knee replacement previously and suffers from a number of ailments including epilepsy, was taken to hospital for severe bruising to her arm, ribs, and leg.

“I was really smashed up,” she said. “I reported what happened to the highways department at Newham Council because I wanted to make sure it didn’t happen to anybody else.”

The pensioner launched a compensation claim, but her lawyers later dropped the case after telling her the fall was just an accident.

“I still have the piece of stone that was broken off which I fell over,” she said. “That case wasn’t just about the money – what if somebody else had an accident? Those slabs are dangerous.”

Mrs Smith feels she has been vindicated after seeing a council officer inspecting the paving slab last Monday and drawing chalk marks around the site so repairs can be done.

“It’s taken nearly three years for them to think about fixing the slab,” she said. “It’s disgusting.”

But a spokesman from Newham Council insisted repairs only took so long because the paving slab didn’t need fixing until recently.

He said: “While we are naturally sorry to hear of Mrs Smith’s distress, we did inspect the site thoroughly.

“The defect was found to be marginal and fell beneath national guidelines – adhered to by all local authorities – which determine whether repair work should be carried out.

“Over the course of time, however, the slab has deteriorated a little, necessitating a small amount of repair work which will be carried out very shortly.”

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