Call to get ‘lethal’ alleyway repaired

Alleyway pettition, Joan Avenue, Heanor. Tom Conniffe.
Alleyway pettition, Joan Avenue, Heanor. Tom Conniffe.
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A DISABLED man has launched a petition to repair an alleyway in Heanor which he has branded “lethal.”

After Tom Conniffe fell on the uneven path, which links Joan Avenue to Loscoe Road, he discovered other neighbours had also tripped and injured themselves.

Now he has called on Amber Valley Borough Council to make improvements – only to be told the path is “not maintainable at public expense” as the alley is unadopted.

Mr Conniffe, 66, who has an artificial hip, said: “It is lethal up there. I am badly handicapped and have had seven major operations in less than five years – so if I fall I’m in serious danger. All the young people with their kids in pushchairs can’t get up there – it is totally unfair. The council don’t want to know about people that are off the main road. But if we declined to pay our council tax in time they would have us straight up before the man in the white wig. We’re the forgotten council tax payers!”

Last month a 50-year-old woman injured her knee when she tripped in the alley. She needed six stitches and was unable to walk for a fortnight, he said. People who use mobility scooters can’t pass along the alley and must cross Midland Road where there is no pedestrian crossing. The alleyway was built when the houses were built during the 1940s and is used by people from the surrounding roads as a short-cut.

Mr Conniffe, who retired to Heanor seven years ago, has collected 74 names on a petition calling for improvements. He has discovered an agreement, signed in 1945, which appears to confirm the council’s responsibility for the path’s up-keep.

A spokesman for Amber Valley Borough Council said: “As we don’t own the land we don’t have responsibility for its maintenance or upkeep.”