Mum shocked at response after her teenage son fell through hole on pavement cover in Southam

She said other residents had noticed a small crack in the cover before it gave way and told her it has been reported but nothing had been done

Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 12:11 pm
The pavement cover in Southam. Photo supplied

A Southam mum says she was shocked by the response shown by Openreach after her teenage son fell through its pavement cover.

Jodie Grant has spoken out about the incident, which left her son needing treatment at hospital.

She said: "It happened on July 19 when my son Toby, aged 13, was walking home at around 9.15pm on his own.

The pavement cover in Southam. Photo supplied

"As he stepped onto a concrete footway cover on the corner of Mill Crescent/Mill Road in Southam it gave way and he went through it.

"His left leg went into the hole up to his his hip and his other leg was left kneeling on the concrete cover.

"I was at home at the time and when he arrived his left leg was cut up and he explained what had happened.

"I wrapped up his leg and he went to the hospital with his injuries to which they glued the deeper gashes, bandaged it up and provided him with antibiotics.

The pavement cover in Southam. Photo supplied

"He got back from the hospital the early hours the following morning because of how serious it could have been they wanted to check for breaks so he had a X-ray and were worried that the metal spikes that had pinned his leg may cause an infection."

After learning Openreach was responsible for the cover, Jodie contacted them to tell them about the incident.

She said: "I found out that Openreach were responsible so I got in touch with them straight away.

"I spoke to someone and they accepted responsibility for the cover and said that someone would be out within the hour to fix it.

"My main concern was ensuring that someone didn't have a similar accident so I was able to get help from other people in Southam to put a barrier up/cone over the concrete cover until someone came out."

As well as this, Jodie said other residents had noticed a small crack in the cover before it gave way and told her it has been reported but nothing had been done.

"Other residents within Southam had said that they had reported a small crack to Openreach, the council and to the police also, however nothing was done to make it safe for the public," said Jodie.

"It was unfortunate that when Toby had stood on an already small crack, it gave way completely.

"The next day, no-one had arrived to fix the problem as they had promised the night before. It wasn't until late afternoon that day that they had placed a barrier around it only.

"It was July 21 - again late afternoon - that they actually fixed the hole and made it safe.

"I was quite angry that no one had taken action to fix something that had been reported to them.

"It was a small crack which then resulted in my son falling through and being injured, and given the position of the spikes, he was very lucky that it hadn't been any worse.

"It's a road that is very close to two local schools (a primary and secondary school) as a school route, it gets a lot of footfall. Had it been a small child it may have been a lot worse.

"Openreach have taken responsibility for the maintaining of the hole and said that due to lorries driving on the path it has caused the structure to become weak, however couldn't really explain why if they know this, they haven't been routinely maintaining areas like this.

"Nor did they really apologise for the injuries caused to Toby although when we phoned the following day to chase up why no one had been to fix the hole, they decided to send a claim form through.

"Their lack of concern for the public when they were first were notified of a potential hazard, is shocking and has now resulted in Toby falling into a hole."

Responding to the incident, a spokesperson for Openreach said: “The damaged cover was first reported to us on July 19 but with no reference to, or mention of, any incident involving a member of the public.

"The site was made safe and a full repair was carried out within 24 hours.

"We take all reports of damage to our network very seriously and respond as quickly as possible.

“Members of the public wishing to report damage can do so by visiting openreach.com or by calling 0800 023 2023.”