IT’S a lifeline to elderly people who desperately need to access their local shops.
Hampshire pensioner Elsie Hessey is driving a campaign to stop a national supermarket blocking a shortcut to her nearest shopping centre.
Southampton resident Elsie, 86, wants Sainsbury’s to remove a metal barrier next to their goods entrance which means she has to walk miles around or up and down a steep path.
Sainsbury’s in Lordshill, claim that with a newly refurbished store and a growing number of online sales for delivery it is no longer safe for residents to cross their goods entrance.
Campaigners say however, that they would like to see the barrier removed and the possible introduction of a zebra crossing to make the crossing safer. Elsie, who lives on Hornchurch Road, opposite the goods entrance, said: “Some people I know can’t even go shopping now because they can’t walk the long way round, that small shortcut helps everybody.
“We can’t walk one way round because there’s no path and the other is to go through two car parks, which is just as dangerous.”
In the time that the Daily Echo spent with ten local residents, around 50 men and women were simply climbing under the barrier. Campaigners believe that hundreds of people duck under the barrier every day.
John Sillence, Chairman of the Kinloss, Cardington and Cromwell Tenants Association, said: “There are a lot of elderly people in the local area who use the path, but it’s not just them, it’s everybody that needs this facility.” Sainsbury’s said they are in talks with Southampton City Council to make the barrier permanent.
A spokesperson said: “The store had a big refit recently and as a result we have a lot more online deliveries, so the amount of traffic at the goods entrance has increased.
“It’s purely a safety measure because we don’t want any instances where there is a health and safety issue with customers being somewhere we don’t want them to be.”
Local Councillor Don Thomas, said: “This footpath has been an open footpath for years and years, decades in fact, one which local residents have always used.”