A group of Carlingford residents are demanding Parramatta council repair and reopen a public stairway instead of selling off the land.
The concrete stairway, which linked Broulee Place and Marsen Road at Carlingford, was closed in 2008 after the council cited safety concerns. However, residents claim that closure came with promises of eventual repairs.
But on June 23, the council formally and permanently closed the stairs and reclassified the un-named lane on which they sit to allow for its sale.
‘‘It’s a very convenient route and we think it’s still functional and safe. If council thinks they’re unsafe, then it should resurface them,’’ said Carlingford resident Kirra Zhigunov said, who has started a petition to save the stairs.
‘‘Otherwise it takes a lot of time to walk around those steeply inclined streets, about 15 minutes more. Access to Marsden Road is the most important thing to us.’’
Ms Zhigunov said surrounding residents were not notified before the June council meeting and questioned the strength of the evidence that the stairs were dangerous.
‘‘Council is saying it’s going to cost about $640,000 to fix the stairs, but residents would like to know where they got those figures. We want a separate opinion.’’
With the stairs blocked, she said residents including school children and the elderly were forced to walk up steep streets, sometimes unsafely on median strips and other grassy areas on streets without footpaths, with kids often walking on the bitumen to avoid wetting their shoes on damp grass after rain.
A Parramatta council spokesman said the stairs were closed in mid-2008 after they were considered unsafe for pedestrian use due to ‘‘major cracks and significant lateral and vertical movement’’.
‘‘As an alternative, council plans to create a new footpath this financial year on one side of Broulee Place continued up Bankshill Crescent to join with Marsden Road. This will provide residents with a safe and easy option to get to Marsden Road,’’ the spokesman said.