Coroner calls for Prom safety check

The steps opposite The Cliffs Hotel in North Shore
The steps opposite The Cliffs Hotel in North Shore
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A CORONER has called for Blackpool Council to examine the safety of the Promenade after a pensioner died falling from some steps.

Holidaymaker Royston Victor Anderson, from Luddenden in Halifax, West Yorkshire, was on a visit to the resort with his wife Joan, his half-brother John and his wife when the accident happened in March.

An inquest at Blackpool Coroner’s Court heard the 77-year-old was out walking with his family opposite the Cliffs Hotel on Lower Promenade, when he fell backwards on some concrete steps, hitting his head.

His wife said there was no handrail on the steps and Coroner Anne Hind, on looking at photos of the steps, said she would be writing to Blackpool Council to express her concerns.

The inquest was told Mr Anderson – a former painter and decorator who was managing director of his own firm – had walked with the aid of a stick since suffering a stroke in 2001 and a heart bypass in 2002.

On the day of the accident, he was being pushed in a wheelchair as the group walked along the Promenade while the family were on one of their regular holidays to Blackpool.

Mrs Anderson said in her statement: “Royston got up out of his chair and started to go up eight concrete steps to the Promenade. There was no handrail and Royston fell backwards from the sixth step.

“A workman from the tramline saw what happened and called for an ambulance.

“I think in his haste, Royston lost his balance, but I think if there had been a handrail, he may not have fallen backwards all the way.

“He died the following morning in Blackpool Victoria Hospital, he never regained consciousness.”

Pathologist Dr Dariusz Golka carried out a post-mortem and said Mr Anderson had died from head injuries – including bleeding in the brain – consistent with a fall.

Mrs Hind – who gave the verdict as accidental death – said it was part of her role as Coroner to prevent something similar happening in future.

She said: “I have seen a photo of the steps and they are not particularly steep, but they are quite wide and have no handrail.

“I intend to write to Blackpool Council pointing this out.

“I think it’s important because Blackpool is a holiday resort which sees people visit who cover the whole age spectrum and those who are fit and those who are disabled.”

John Donnellon, service director for built environment, at Blackpool Council, said: “We are happy to investigate any issues the coroner raises with us.”