MARKET traders in a Hampshire town are calling for urgent action after a spate of incidents involving elderly people tripping on damaged and loose cobbles.
Stallholders at Romsey Market say enough is enough and have now stepped up their campaign for urgent repairs to the damaged surface in the Cornmarket.
Trader Darren Pile said: “It's not right. These cobbles have been like this for a long time and nothing has been done about it.
"They are loose and some are raised and I think it is disgraceful. I bet they don't do anything about it until someone is serious hurt.
"A number of elderly people have already tripped on the cobbles. It's no good sticking a bit of tarmac in as a temporary repair when the cobbles come.
"The job needs to be done properly. Filling them in with tarmac looks awful.”
He added: “I don't know whether the cobbles are fit for purpose or the job wasn't done properly in the first place but whatever the problem is, it needs sorting out urgently before an elderly person falls and breaks their bones or worse.
"By 9.30am on June 13 two people had tripped over and it's wrong that this should be happening.”
One of the trip victims was Karen Davis.
She said: “I stubbed my toe when I stumbled on the cobbles. Luckily I didn't go right over. I use the Cornmarket regularly but I didn't notice the cobble sticking up because I was looking at things on a stall.”
It was just over a year ago that Mr Pile first complained about the surface of the Cornmarket. Then, it was problems with broken and loose paving slabs next to his carpet stall adjoining the footway between Boots and Romsey bus station.
Other market traders also want prompt action to rectify problems with the cobbled surface which is used for community events such as the annual Beggars Fair each July.
“I saw an elderly lady with her zimmer frame wheels caught in a damaged cobble and she was going over. It sent her flying and I jumped over the stall to stop her falling.
"The cobbles are terrible and this sort of thing is happening all the time. If I had a pound every time someone trips I'd be a very rich man,” said Aaron Routledge from JDP Fruits.
His boss Jake Pollard echoed thos words.
He said: “This has got to be sorted out. I don't care what they do to the surface but something has to be done urgently because it is putting people off coming around the market."
Nearby stallholder, Bertie Lemint who runs the flower stall said traders get the blame for the state of the cobbles.
“The public wrongly think it is our responsibility to repair the cobbles and have a go at us. The cobbles are dangerous and need sorting out,” said Bertie.
Town MP Caroline Nokes is backing the traders .
She said: “A number of market traders raised this with me and they are right to do so. The surface is a trip hazard. A number of the cobbles are loose and are very uneven and I am going to raise this with Hampshire County Council.”
Hampshire's cabinet spokesman for the environment, transport and the economy Seán Woodward promised action.
He said: “We have inspected this and see that, although some have been filled before, there are more now loose. Highways teams will address any immediate safety concerns and then will be carrying out substantive repairs from Sunday, as the area is fairly busy for most of the week.”