Man left with bill for access slope repairs

Greta Meecham of Surfleet Reservoir. ANL-140512-113415001
Greta Meecham of Surfleet Reservoir. ANL-140512-113415001
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A resident of Surfleet Reservoir has found himself on a slippery slope after trying to look out for a disabled elderly neighbour, who had been trapped at home because of the condition of the access road.

Tom Jones contacted the Free Press because he was unable to recoup a share of the cost of emergency repair work from Welland and Deeping Internal Drainage Board (IDB), who maintain the track,

But the IDB says it cannot be expected to use ratepayers’ money for a “bodge job” it has not authorised.

Mr Jones said: “I tackled Welland and Deeping IDB in May this year about the dangerous condition of the access slope, which was threatening to unseat leaseholder, Greta Meecham, from her mobility scooter.

“Greta had written several times to the IDB to request a repair to the surface.

“The purpose of my intervention was to see if an affordable compromise could be reached in the short term, having been quoted £5,000 by the IDB.

“Greta has 50 per cent paralysis following a stroke, having totally lost the use of her right arm and leg. If she is unseated in her mobility scooter when descending this four in one gradient, a possibly fatal fall could ensue.

“So I put essential repairs in hand at my expense and at minimal cost. All my co-freeholders have repaid their 1/22 part of this cost, but the IDB refuse to pay their 4/22 parts, amounting to £52.

“Residents here are appalled at the refusal of the IBD to address the humanitarian aspect of this dilemma, especially since they receive a substantial annual ground rent, not just from Greta but from three other leaseholders who also use this access slope.”

Greta was last featured in the Free Press in 2009, after falling twice on the gravel track leading to her home.

She said: “I’ve lived here for about 50 years and until 2005 paid £300 ground rent a year. Now it’s £3,700. Because of the state of the access slope, I couldn’t get out in my mobility scooter and wrote several letters about it to the IDB. I told them that if I fell and damaged my mobility scooter it would cost them a lot more than £52.”

IDB chief executive Karen Daft said that under a legal covenant residents are responsible for an equal share the cost of the upkeep of the road. She said: “I contacted residents in 2012 regarding resurfacing the road and had less than 50 per cent response.

“We have been in touch with Mrs Meecham on several occasions. The quote for resurfacing was £4,125 - that’s £187.50 per resident.

“The access slope would have been repaired by now, had the situation not been complicated by the emergency work.

“Before any repairs can be done, that has to be removed. We do not know who owns the land either side of the slope, which we would need to access, and so we have been unable to do anything. The matter is now with solicitors.

“We cannot expect to spend ratepayers money on a bodge job.”