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People power pays off to improve path
The 170-yard stretch of path alongside Liden Drive would become slippery and dangerous when wet, causing a danger to residents who needed to access the hospital.
A campaign which lasted several months and saw 300 people sign a petition to the council to improve the footpath – the only means of access to GWH for many elderly residents – has concluded with money being released for a proper drainage system.
Jaswant Grewal, 62, started the petition after his wife suffered a heart attack and they began to use the footpath.
He said: “We had a petition prepared which went round three estates – Okebourne Park, Fairlawn Park and Sedgebrook.
“We got 300 signatures from the petition and a few more residents helped along the way. Everybody supported it.”
After rainfall, people would have to walk along the busy Liden Drive to get to GWH, as there are no direct bus routes.
Jaswant said: “The footpath is the only way to walk to the hospital from these estates.
“It got very muddy and we had to walk on the road on Liden Drive. It was unacceptable.
“We have seen young parents walking pushchairs along the highway on Liden Drive, because after rain there is no way you can walk on the footpath. And we had one elderly man with a heart condition going to hospital down the path who slipped and fell with his heart monitor attached to him.
“Certain officials at the council had been saying they had no money to carry out the work, and it just dragged on and on.
“Now we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We are over the moon.”
He said: “Many years of campaigning by local residents for a footpath to be put right was ignored by the council due to the cost.
“A campaign set up by local residents highlighted that a lot of elderly people within the area were not able to access the hospital.
“They brought the problem to me six or seven months ago and we raised the issue within the council.
“Their initial response was that there was no money for it. But after having spoken to the cabinet member responsible and having his support behind the scheme, the council is now going to put in a new drainage system. It is a community-based response where there had been no hope.
“We have done something that a lot of other people have not been able to do in achieving this.
“It is thanks to meetings in the council and the support of local residents that this is now going to happen.
“Local democracy has worked this time and I am really pleased.”