PARENTS and residents are calling for an open manhole to be made safe after a child nearly fell into it.

The metal lid which covered the hole, which is about eight inches deep and a foot square, was removed three weeks ago and despite several calls to Essex County Council still has not been replaced.

The manhole is in Rayne Path, Pitsea, which is a well used route for dog walkers, residents and parents taking their children to the First Steps Nursery in Rokescroft.

Carley Marshall, 32, who lives near the path, said her son Harry, seven, nearly fell into the hole last week. Mrs Marshall said: “The other day I was walking down the path with my son Harry and he very nearly fell in it.

“I just grabbed him back at the last second so he didn’t trip up and hurt himself. I know residents have called up several times and the fact nothing has been done is just ridiculous.

“The nursery is very close by and I am scared for people who might not see the hole and have an accident from it being left uncovered.

Jene Thompson, 70, who claims to have called the council twice about the missing manhole cover.

She said: “This is a danger to the residents and something needs to be done about it.

“It seems like Pitsea has been forgotten, I reported it at least two weeks ago and still nothing has been done. It seems like something will only get done when someone hurts themselves.”

Tracey Chapman, councillor responsible for highways and transportation, said: “Essex County Council was made aware of the missing manhole cover on April 13 and a cone was placed over it as a temporary measure to make it safe. The county council is required to assess what pipes and cables are buried at the site before carrying out any work to ensure workers’' safety.

“A replacement manhole cover is expected to be fitted next week.”