‘Roads have wrecked my wheelchair’

Eilean Stewart is angry that Glasgow City Council's inability to repair a road is creating health problems for her.
Eilean Stewart is angry that Glasgow City Council's inability to repair a road is creating health problems for her.

A disabled southside woman has blasted Glasgow City Council over the state of Carment Drive in Shawlands, claiming their failures are damaging her health.

Eilean Stewart, who is forced to use a powered wheelchair due to a neuromuscular condition has already had one wheelchair replaced due to damage, and between January to March, has already needed six wheels replaced on her current chair.

Given the council’s recent announcement it was to spend £6m on cycling in the city, Eilean thinks they would be much better placed actually sorting out the currently inadequate infrastructure first and getting it right, before splashing more cash on something which can wait a little longer.

Eilean told The Extra: “I use a powered wheelchair and since 2014 I have noticed that the overall condition of the pavements has been getting steadily worse.

“I often come up against obstacles on the pavement such as wheelie bins and refuse for uplift. On top of this, the condition of the pavement is far from desirable when using a wheelchair.

“I have a neuromuscular condition that affects my arms, legs and core muscles amongst others. Being constantly rocked about without the core strength to correct my seating position is very painful. It has now got to the point where the pavement is in such a bad state of repair that I am forced to use the road instead. However, that surface is just as bad.

“I am able to weave a path between most of the potholes, however, there was an occasion when I was leaving the office after dark ended up inside one of the bigger potholes and was unable to get out of it again. The loose gravel made it impossible for my wheelchair to get any sort of purchase. Luckily a passer by gave me a shove and helped to free me.

“My worry at that time was if a car had come along first.

“That being said, the loose debris that has come from failed attempts to patch existing potholes is scattered the length of the street. This makes the surface unstable and uneven, which as well as causing me discomfort can become lodged in my wheels. So far this year I’ve had to have six wheels replaced due to damage.

“In early 2015, my wheelchair had to be replaced as a result of irreparable damage. I believe the state of the street was a contributing factor to the faults that arose. After only having the new wheelchair for five months, it had to be taken in for repairs due to debris becoming lodged in the wheel arch. As well as the road surface causing maintenance issues for my wheelchair it can cause me quite a considerable amount of pain and discomfort too.” A spokesman for the Carment Community Group said: “Our constituted CCG residents association has been in existence for the best part of fifteen years.

“Now, we seem to receive platitudes or no response at all from council departments when we contact them, especially regarding road repairs.”

Glasgow City Council responded saying: “Glasgow City Council has invested £75m over the last six years repairing the city’s road infrastructure.

“All reported defects are inspected and risk assessed, with repairs carried out accordingly. While our investment has significantly reduced the number of potholes, more is needed to improve the overall condition of the city’s roads.

“The resurfacing of Carment Drive footway (both sides) is programmed for completion by April 11. The main carriageway of Carment Drive is included in the 2016/2017 programme of resurfacing works.”