Blind Buxton woman calls for action to make pavements safer

A blind woman from Buxton is calling for action to improve safety after injuring her back when she fell over a protruding tree root.

Monday, 17th January 2022, 9:27 am

Sarah Wynn-Jones was out walking with her husband and guide dog when she fell over a tree root sticking out of the pavement in Buxton.

Now the 64-year-old is calling on Derbyshire County Council, which is responsible for highways, to address the issue and make pavements safer.

Sarah, from Hogshaw Drive, said: “It’s very difficult for a blind person to walk safely on the pavements any more with tree roots poking up everywhere.

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Sarah Wynn-Jones pictured with her now retired guide dog Ushi.

"But this is not just a blind person problem, this is a problem for all citizens of Buxton and the High Peak from wheelchair users to those pushing pushchairs and people going about their daily business.”

Since the age of 19, Sarah has suffered from Retinitis Pigmentosa, an eye condition which causes severe vision impairment due to the progressive degeneration of cells in the eye.

This has got steadily worse, and she has lost almost all of her vision in her left eye and around 90 per cent in her right eye.

On January 2, Sarah was taking a walk with her husband and guide dog, Maggie, when she fell on Lightwood Road near the junction of Lansdowne Road and slipped backwards injuring her back.

Sarah said: “Maggie was beside herself with worry when I fell. It’s her job to protect me and she was so upset but this root was just sticking out of the ground and I fell.”

Now the retired teacher, who campaigned for change after nearly being knocked over by a cyclist six years ago, is using her free time to once again push Derbyshire County Council to tackle the issue of dangerous tree roots.

She added: “It’s time for change. The pavements are disgraceful and it’s time to make the town a safer place for everyone to be.”

A spokesperson for Derbyshire County Council said: “We were sorry to hear that this lady had a nasty fall in Buxton and hope she is recovering well.

"We’ve identified the tree which is damaging the pavement and are currently looking at what options we might have. We will consider the needs of everyone who uses the pavement when deciding what action we will take.”

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