Litter louts are turning a Stevenage underpass into a no-go area for wheelchair users

Mark Smith next to broken glass in the underpass

Mark Smith next to broken glass in the underpass - Credit: Archant

Shards of broken glass have turned one Stevenage underpass into a wheelchair user’s nightmare, says the son of a disabled woman.

Broken glass in the underpass

Broken glass in the underpass - Credit: Archant

After seeing the underpass on Lytton Way, at the junction with Fairlands Way, covered in glass last year Mark Smith stopped using it for months because he feared it could puncture the tyres on his disabled mother Jane’s mobility scooter.

“I reported it to the council two weeks before Christmas but when I went back there on Monday I saw that nothing had been done,” he said.

“My complaints seem to have fallen on deaf ears because all the glass is still there.”

Jane is in her 80s and suffers from heart problems and diabetes.

“She has been unable to walk since 2010 and without the mobility scooter would lose her independence entirely.”

The scooter’s wheels cannot be repaired by hand and have to be sent off to a company to be fixed, meaning that if she did suffer a puncture she could stuck in her house for weeks.

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Mark, 54, was so worried that she would be stranded if she did get a puncture that he would walk in front of the scooter when they were using the underpass or avoid it by going another way home.

In the end he spent £250 on solid rubber tyres.

“I shouldn’t have had to do that,” he said. “I ended up spending money that could have been used for something else and my mother’s suffered because it’s a much rougher ride with solid tyres.

“I just don’t understand why people would smash bottles there. It benefits nobody and just causes problems for people like my mother. I think the council could also do a better job of cleaning the mess up too. The underpasses used to be clean, why aren’t they any more?”

A Stevenage Borough Council spokesman said: “Our teams clean the underpasses in the town on a weekly basis. When issues such as broken glass are reported to us we’ll ensure the area is cleared within 24 hours.

“We know the majority of our residents take pride in the town, but the anti-social behaviour of a minority of residents who drop litter costs the council millions of pounds of tax payer’s money every year.”