'Dangerous' path near iconic Knaresborough building - claim

The pathway to one of Knaresborough's most historic buildings is a danger to pedestrians, argues the man who who did so much to raise awaresss of how local historic figure John 'Blind Jack' Metcalfe beat his disability to become a local legend last year.

Bernard Higgins with 'Blind Jack'.

Bernard Higgins says he has been concerned about the unsafe state of the pavement and the road along Church Lane which leads to St John’s Church for some time.He said: “This is all about the safety of the parishioners at St John’s Church and St Mary’s, as well as the locals, visitors to the Bed Race and Mother Shipton’s Cave.“Henshaws Arts and Crafts Centre is a short walk away. Their cisually Impaired students quickest route into town is along the unsafe pavement and roadway that make up Church Lane. “For pedestrians in particular the pavement is dangerous and I have seen many people of all ages and abilities stumble and stagger along the pavement and eventually having to walk on the road.“The roadway near the turn into the car park has deep potholes which should have been repaired long ago. The kerbs are worn and uneven also.”There has been a question about who should be maintaining the condition of the path near St John’s Church, a grade I listed building which dates from the early Norman days in the reign of Henry 1.Bernard, who led the Blind Jack 300th anniverary committee last year, in tribute to the famous roadbuilder, says he has been in touch with North Yorkshire County Council. And Paul Randles of North Yorkshire County Council’s customer services team, has confirmed the NYCC’s highways inpector will be visiting the site.As well as safety considerations, the biggest worry for many local residents about the state of the path is what it says to tourists and visitors coming to sample Knaresborough’s fantastic heritage.Bernard Higgins said: “John Metcalf was born and grew up in this area. It was here he became blind due to smallpox. It was here he was blessed by a desire to live his life to the full. “The Blue Plaque on the wall opposite St John’s Church commemorates his life and achievements especially his pioneer road building.“Do you think ‘Blind’ Jack could have walked safely along Church Lane from end to end without tripping up in the state that we now find it in?”It is also believed Knaresborough Town Council has grants available for local maintenance projects, which may be another possible option.

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St John's Church in Knaresborough.
St John's Church in Knaresborough.