ACTION is to be taken to improve safety to a set of steps in Bishop Auckland after a pensioner nearly fell while using them.

Alan Scott, 83, of Alexander Terrace, in Crook, who uses a stick to get about, stumbled as he used the steps in Adelaide Street, Bishop Auckland.

Mr Scott parked at Morrisons and accessed Adelaide Street, near the British Heart Foundation shop, through a narrow gap in the car park’s wall.

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To reach street level he had to negotiate two deep steps. A lump of concrete has been placed in front of the bottom step to reduce the height of the drop.

Mr Scott said: “I find it very difficult to walk and I use a stick.

“As I tried to get up the last step I almost fell backwards. There are no handles but luckily I managed to grab hold of the wall and stop myself from falling.

“It would be good to have a rail or a handle there to help people using the steps.”

Durham county councillor Sam Zair, who covers Bishop Auckland, looked into the incident and he is to provide £135 to pay for handles to be fitted at the steps from his member’s budget.

Coun Zair said: “The county council has responsibility for the steps. The wall gap is not wide enough to put a rail in so they are to put hand grips on instead.

“People using the steps now have something to steady themselves with and the work should be done by the end of the month.”