Shopper tells of lucky escape after falling heavy 6ft sign just misses her

A SHOPPER in Melksham narrowly escaped serious injury when a huge sign fell from the town’s Avon Place shopping centre.

Lynne Popplestone escaped being killed or seriously injured by centimetres when the Welcome to Avon Place sign nearly hit her on the head.

Now she’s calling for the owners of the precinct to make sure it is safe, and Melksham town councillors are concerned about its state.

Ms Popplestone is counting her lucky stars after she narrowly escaped serious injured by a shopping centre sign.

She was walking to the Church Street car park in Melksham when she was nearly hit by a falling Welcome to Avon Place sign.

“I was walking along the alleyway from Avon Place past the Iceland food store when the sign fell down.

“I just heard this almighty crash which frightened the life out of me and I turned round to find the shopping centre sign had fallen down behind me,” said the 53-year-old.

“If I had been just one second slower it would have hit me and I would not be here now.”

Ms Popplestone, who lives in High Street, Melksham, is now trying to contact the company that owns the shopping centre so that she can make a formal complaint.

The sign hung across covers the alleyway leading to the Church Street car park and is still lying on the ground nearby after last Friday’s incident.

Ms Popplestone added: “It was so heavy, two guys moved it out of the way for me. I was completely in shock.

“One of the guys said ‘someone is clearly looking out for you’ and it was certainly the case.

“It was very scary that so many people walk down there every day and it could have fallen down at any time.”

Ms Popplestone, who works as a shop assistant for Green Ginger in the High Street, claims the shopping centre has been neglected by its owner, Limebrook Investment Company Ltd in London.

“The place is really falling apart down there. The shops are falling apart and there are no lights.

“It is a real mess and to be quite honest, it is a real hazard walking down the alleyway.

“It just makes you realise how lucky you are and how your life can be taken away from you just like that.”

She added: “The footfall through there is a lot every day. I just want to make people aware that it is potentially dangerous.”

Melksham Town Council is concerned about the state of the centre, saying complaints have been raised about litter and general untidiness.

Cllr Adrienne Westbrook, who handles the council’s economic development portfolio, said: “We are concerned. We have had some difficulties with Limebrook when issues have come up.

“They said they would like to spend some money on refurbishing Avon Place but that was 12 months ago and we have seen no sign of that.

“The companies in there occupying the retail shops are paying their rent and they deserve some help. We know that the trading situation is difficult at the moment and that companies need as much help as possible.”

The Wiltshire Times has asked Limebrook Investment Company for a comment but its directors have so far failed to respond.

The company has offices at Fairchild House, Redbourne Avenue, London, where the Avon Place managing agent, James Andrew International, is based.

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