Eighty-three year old Miriam Ellis had a serious fall while crossing the uneven paving slabs in the road around The Square in Petersfield last August.
The fall resulted in Miriam being seen at the urgent treatment centre in Petersfield. And as she was on blood thinners, she had to undergo a brain scan at the Queen Alexandra Hospital.
While recovering, the thought of reporting the incident and trying to make a claim was too overwhelming for Miriam.
But Kathryn Ellis-Blandford reported the incident on her mother’s behalf, and discovered that the system to report such incidents is not pensioner friendly.
Kathryn found the patchwork of land ownership in the town centre to be very confusing and difficult to work out who to contact.
After first contacting East Hampshire District Council, which is responsible for The Square and some adjacent sections, Kathryn was directed to Hampshire County Council, responsible for the road that surrounds The Square.
But Kathryn quickly discovered that Hampshire County Council didn’t have a telephone number attached to their website, making reporting an incident difficult for people who struggle to navigate online.
After managing to contact Hampshire County Council, the large gaps Miriam fell over were filled in. But one year on and the tarmac has disappeared and the paving slabs remain uneven.
County councillor Russell Oppenheimer has announced an extra £7.5 million pounds has been budgeted for potholes and road surfaces which has become problematic all over Hampshire.
But Kathryn said: “Sadly, in the meantime, so many residents have had falls and trips in the square and along the high street.
“We have a large percentage of older residents, ironically because Petersfield is so flat and everything is so accessible.
“There have been many similar incidents on the square – I myself badly twisted my ankle in the gutter around the square itself.”
Her mother’s fall has revealed to Kathryn how the move online is indirectly discriminating against not just our ageing population but anyone who is reliant on assistance. She fears many of these incidents are being overlooked due to a lack of reports.