HIGH Street businesses are joining the calls for repairs to be made to Braintree’s “disgraceful” town centre pavements and roads.

Yolande Turgoose, who owns florist Fleurtations, and Joanne Reynolds, boss at nail salon Perfect10n, say they often see shoppers taking a tumble.

It comes after the Times reported on shopper Ann Cockerton, who submitted a Freedom of Information regarding the number of people who have fallen in the Market Place.

It revealed 14 needed help from paramedics after falling between December 2017 and November 2018.

But Yolande said the problem is not limited to that end of the town centre with shoppers frequently needing medical attention following falls at the other end of High Street too.

She said: “It’s just disgraceful. The drain outside of my shop has completely sunk and you find yourself having to hop from one paving slab to another.

“Just the other week an older woman fell outside the shop and she had all cuts on her face and it was all bloodied.

“The problem is the slabs just aren’t built to take the weight of the buses and the lorries which come along here.

“But I don’t think pedestrianisation is the way to go because you need a working High Street and we don’t have anywhere for our deliveries to go at the back of the building.

"I think the answer is putting tarmac down but there won’t be any movement on that until they decide whether they want to pedestrianise it or not.”

Braintree Council is yet to give an update on last year’s pedestrianisation survey.

Braintree and Witham Times: Damaged: High Street, BraintreeDamaged: High Street, Braintree

Fleurtations customer Ray Stephens, 87, said he had fallen victim to the unsteady pavement just six weeks ago.

He said: “I’ve lived in this town for all my life and I have never seen those roads and pavements in as bad a condition as they are now.

“Back in the Forties if this was going on the council would be right out and they would fix it.” Joanne added: “It’s children too. They come running about and then they end up on the ground.

“And when it rains you have the buses and the lorries come along and they send all the water sitting in on the slabs right up my windows.

“One day last year I was sat outside for about 40 minutes with one poor woman who had fallen while we waited for an ambulance.”

Braintree and Witham Times: Cracked: Slabs in High Street, BraintreeCracked: Slabs in High Street, Braintree

In response to the concerns raised by Ann Cockerton in last week’s Times, Essex Highways said: “We very much regrets if anyone has fallen while in the town, and particularly if a contributory factor was any fault on the pavement.

“Even with careful monthly inspection, slabs can become loose in between.”

But Yolande said: “That really got to me. I just can’t believe that they would say that.

“It’s not a case of slabs suddenly becoming loose over the course of one month, this has been an issue for years and they must know that.”

In a new statement, Essex Highways said: “There are some longer-terms decisions to be made about the area and in the meantime our inspectors continue to check the paving slabs in detail every month.

“We repair the area to the same standards as we do in every town centre and encourage members of the public to report any hazards they find.”

Residents can report issues at essex.gov.uk/highways.