A decision to remove railings along a footpath has left a resident facing a £3,850 repair bill after a vehicle crashed through his garden wall.
Metal railings in Upper Abbey Road, Brighton, were regularly struck by vehicles exiting the Whitehawk Hill Road junction opposite. The railings protected the house behind them from being hit.
But Brighton and Hove City Council removed them because they were damaged, to the fury of residents.
Now one of them, Peter Moore, faces a near £4,000 bill after a car that could have been stopped by the railings destroyed his garden wall and damaged his home.
“Did no one question why the fence had become damaged?" he said. "If a fence that is there for a specific reason becomes damaged, then it needs to be replaced not removed.
“It was taken away with no consultation with the residents of our road including those who originally had the council install the fence after their property was damaged three times around 20 years ago.”
The section of pavement previously protected by railings is used by those going to St John’s College, a school for children with learning difficulties, Hamilton Lodge School for deaf children, St John’s Primary school, Brighton College and the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital, which has newborn babies and mothers leaving every day. Many disabled people also use it to get to the hospital.
“I really don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say it’s a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt here, let alone further damage to property,” said Peter.
“I have a two-year-old daughter living in my property and my neighbours have a teenager. There is a crack in the brickwork to the pillar by the steps up to our house and I worry every time we walk past it that it might fall over.”
The city council responded by saying the railings were never intended to stop vehicles crashing into the homes in Upper Abbey Road.
“The pedestrian guard railings opposite the hospital vehicle entrance have been removed as unfortunately they’d been damaged beyond repair,” said a council spokesman.
“Pedestrian guard railings are used to protect pedestrians and are not designed to act as a barrier for properties from speeding vehicles.
“They were previously installed at this location to protect pedestrians from reversing vehicles from the hospital access point.
“We will be working with Sussex Police to determine the reasons behind the recent incident and will look at additional prevention methods if required.”
Peter told The Argus there were two incidents where cars crashed into his garden wall, the first at roughly 1.15am on August 21 and the second at around 5am on August 28, and says both happened during dry conditions.
“Imagine what will happen as we head towards winter with rainfall, frost and snow,” he said.
“I cannot stress enough how we need to make this a matter of urgency. If the will is there then I know that concrete blocks could be installed here within 24 hours.”
Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Kemp Town MP, is aware of the issue and was contacted for comment.