Decades (at least six) after the houses on Cherry Orchard were built residents are still waiting for handrails to be fitted to help the elderly – and many residents are pensioners – get up and down the concrete steps on the high grassed banks of Cherry Orchard in safety.
Most of the houses lining Cherry Orchard apparently date back to the pre-WWII period, built between 1932 and 1939.
There have been accidents – the steps are very slippery and dangerous when wet, no shelter so they are exposed to the winds and when cut grass get blown on to the steps after the lush green banks have been trimmed they can become treacherous. Especially so for the elderly.
With nothing to hold on to and the exposed position of the steps some residents find it almost impossible to reach the road if descending from the houses, or the houses if trying to climb up from the road.
Marlborough.news has been told by residents that many of them have contacted the Councils – Marlborough Town Council, Kennet District Council and also Wiltshire Council, but all to deaf ears. They further note that nothing has been done, suggested or offered.
“We were told that it’s not their responsibility as the steps are over 50 years old and they are in line with the law.” one of the concerned residents added.
Residents did group together and offer to pay for and install safety hand rails themselves but were stopped from doing that when they were told that they would be liable were there to be another accident. A different sort of risk but another risk nonetheless.
One pensioner resident told Marlborough.news that having lived in the same house in Cherry Orchard for forty five years, getting to and from the road was becoming impossible as they felt extremely “vulnerable going up or down the steps”.
The recent change to LED lighting hasn’t helped. Great for a lower carbon footprint and the environment, but not so good for the residents as the reduced amount of light makes it even more difficult and precarious in the twilight or when dark.
“Before this you could see up the steps all the way even though we are on the opposite side of the light but now you only have light up to about half way up and when you are coming down the steps it is scary as you can not see until again you are at least half way down” a resident added.
In summary, residents of Cherry Orchard believe the steps to be a danger. The alternative for any resident living mid-way up Cherry Orchard, on either side is to walk all the way to the top or the bottom to where the path meets the road and then walk up or down the road (no path) to get into their parked car or that of someone giving them a lift.