New road design criticised after another accident on steps

FELIXSTOWE: An elderly woman was left with a suspected broken arm after falling at a notorious hilltop spot – although it could have been much worse.

Hazel Hammond, 73, visiting the resort with her daughter, fell over on the new wide steps at the top of Bent Hill after misjudging their height.

She landed in the middle of the road and luckily there were no cars coming at the time.

Staff from Ruby’s Kitchen rushed to help and a kind passer-by drove her to the minor injuries unit in Constable Road, where she was assessed and sent to Ipswich Hospital for x-rays on a suspected broken arm.

Her daughter, Denise Hammond, 43, of Dovercourt, said: “She must have missed her footing because she said she didn’t realise there was a step there.

“When I looked back she was just lying in the middle of the road. She was shaking and in quite a bit of pain although she managed to get up.

“A car came up the hill shortly afterwards but it was able to slow down in time. If it had come a few seconds earlier, it could have been a lot worse.

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“If you weren’t looking carefully, you could easily mistake the height of the step because it blends into the road surface.”

It is the latest in a string of similar incidents in which people, all elderly, have had falls since the new shared space scheme, designed to make the hill more pedestrian-friendly, was opened.

Town councillor Mike Ninnmey said: “It’s not what we want from our redesigned road network. We want visitors to our town to be safe.

“If your eyes aren’t good you could easily miss it because it’s hard to tell the difference between the edge of the step and the road.”

Suffolk County Council said it consulted with disability charity Optua to see whether the new design would be suitable for elderly and disabled people. There had been no direct complaints from people who had fallen, though a sign warning of the steps had been put up.

“We will look into it as part of the monitoring process and then if there are changes to be made, those will be made as needed,” said a council spokeswoman.

? Are the steps dangerous? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@evening

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