October 6th, 2020.

Newhaven Lib Dem councillors and South Heighton Resident Milly Gilbert are calling on East Sussex Highways to help with access along Avis Road and the A26. They are asking East Sussex Highways to maintain the footpath between the A26 and Avis Road.

Milly is a local resident who has a number of disabilities that make walking difficult. She needs to use special crutches to be able to get around and she is finding it almost impossible to leave her home due to the footpath verges being so overgrown and poorly maintained.

The footpath is the only way for Milly to walk into town, but it is so overgrown with branches hanging overhead that she has to walk on the uneven grass verges.

Milly suffers with a number of chronic health conditions including Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, and she oftens slips and trips on the grass causing injuries to her knees and ankles.

Newhaven Town Councillors say that East Sussex Highways should maintain this section of pathway. This is especially important during the current crisis as use of public transport is discouraged due to the risk of COVID-19 infection.

Milly Gilbert explained: “ When I’ve reported these problems before to East Sussex Highways and Highways England, my concerns haven’t been listened to. Due to my health, I'm losing the will to keep fighting this cause.

"I didn’t want to go out for months because of a tree overhanging on the path of the A26. I had been contacting East Sussex Highways who accepted responsibility for this and after many months decided it was actually down to Highways England to sort. The road is scary enough, but we were having to take babies and young children onto the road with cars flying at us. It was such a dangerous situation to be left in.”

Newhaven Town Councillor George Taylor added: “It is appalling that East Sussex Highways think this is acceptable, especially since it has such a detrimental effect on the lives of disabled residents. It shouldn't be hard for them to fix. This is only one of many sites within the area that is in such a poor condition. We have raised the lack of maintenance many times with East Sussex Highways. It is their duty to maintain pavements and footpaths in a safe condition that allows everyone to use them safely. This is a dangerous failing on their part.”

Cllr Sean Macleod, District Councillor for Ouse Valley, Ringmer and South Heighton added: “ I am pleased George brought this to my attention. It's an issue that I have raised time and time again with East Sussex Highways about how poorly maintained the footpaths are between Paradise Park and the A26. What is happening with Milly and others is shocking as it is affecting her ability to be able to access many places that the rest of us take for granted. Milly has spoken about how this situation is leaving her isolated in her home. East Sussex Highways are taking away residents' rights of freedom. They really need to act and act fast as the situation is frankly disgraceful.”

Cllr Darren Grover, East Sussex County Councillor for Newhaven, Denton and South Heighton added: “This is yet another example of the Conservatives' neglect and the massive consequences their cuts have for local residents. I would invite the Tory leaders of the County Council to try to walk around the Newhaven area and see for themselves the dangerous impact of their decisions. I very much doubt that they would allow dangerous conditions such as this in their own areas."

Pictured above: Newhaven Town Councillor George Taylor and Milly Gilbert.
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