Highgate pensioners afraid to step outside over fears of ‘dangerous’ pavements

Elderly care home residents are afraid to walk outside their front door over fears of tripping up on “shocking” and “dangerous” wonky paving slabs.

A group of women in their 80s and 90s have said it is only a matter of time before someone breaks their hip by falling on an uneven paving stone near to Mary Feilding Guild residential home in North Hill, Highgate.

They say it is safer to stay at home rather than attempt to walk the pavements outside.

Elaine Moss, 91, cut her mouth after falling on an uneven slab three years ago in North Hill.

Mrs Moss, who is partially blind and has lived at the residential home for six years, said: “I can’t see the cracks in the pavement and that goes for a whole lot of people here.

“Instead of concentrating on where I’m going, I have to look at cracks in the pavement, which is quite dangerous because we then don’t see people coming or children on scooters,” added Mrs Moss, formerly of St Anne’s Close, Highgate.

“It stops some people from going outside because of the fear of falling over them. For many older people, if you have a fall it can take months to recover.”

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Haringey Council last week pledged to repair the slabs – after the Ham&High contacted the authority with residents’ concerns.

It is a victory for the residents who have struggled for years to walk outside their home.

It is thought the roots of large trees lining North Hill have caused several of the slabs to become uneven, leaving dangerous edges exposed.

Although doctors recommend gentle walking to help the residents’ mobility problems, many say they often take the bus instead over fears of tripping up on the slabs.

“You could break your hip easily,” said Elva Carey, 86, who lived in Belsize Park and Hampstead before moving to the home one year ago. “It is almost impassable. It takes the pleasure out of walking.”

Pamela Wilkins, 87, a resident for 16 years, said she avoids walking at dusk because she needs to be able to look out for wonky paving slabs.

She said: “The streets are all bad, shocking in fact.”

All the women said the paving stones have become steadily worse over the last few years.

Maureen Page, 86, said she fell flat on her face outside Highgate Primary School, in Storey Road off North Hill, and narrowly avoided hitting her head on a metal street sign.

“I was scared to death,” said Mrs Page, who has lived at the home for three years.

A Haringey Council spokeswoman said: “Once issues with this paving were brought to our attention, we immediately carried out an inspection of this site and identified two sections of pavement which need repair.

“We will now carry out repairs as soon as possible and thank residents for reporting their concerns.”