Town action group C-TAG is calling for the urgent repair of Clitheroe’s “crumbling” pavements.
Ribble Valley Borough Councillor Ged Mirfin, chairman of C-TAG – Clitheroe Town Action Group – told the Clitheroe Advertiser the “deplorable state” of the town’s pavements must be addressed.
Coun. Mirfin, who is wearing a pressure boot and using a crutch after being knocked down in a serious road traffic accident in mid-November, recently took a tumble himself after falling victim to a loose town centre paving stone.
“Anybody who has walked around the town centre will be all too aware of the patchwork obstacle course of broken and uneven flagstones interspersed with an irregular in-fill of black top tarmac,” Coun. Mirfin said. “Not only is the end result aesthetically not very pleasing on the eye, but also the poorly positioned flagstones undulate widely and are neither underpinned or cemented in place properly.
“The result is a structure, which at certain locations, is that loose and wobbly it poses a serious health and safety risk to shoppers. The situation is becoming dangerous especially to elderly and invalided individuals utilising a variety of aids to support walking.”
He added that relying on walking aids had made him more sensitive to problems faced by people with long-term disabilities when negotiating uneven surfaces.
Fellow C-TAG member Coun. Kevin Horkin called the state of the pavements “an absolute utter disgrace”.
“The situation is far worse than it was six months ago when cosmetic repairs were carried out filling in cracks with ubiquitous black-top tarmac. C-TAG lobbied hard last year for an improvement scheme and we were promised a long-term improvement scheme would be delivered within a reasonable time frame. The problem is that nothing seems to have happened. We need to establish what is going on and deliver the scheme before someone gets seriously injured.
“Ribble Valley Council has already pledged a six-figure sum to match fund any money Lancashire County Council puts in. At this rate it is unlikely this money will be able to be spent because of inaction at county level.”
C-TAG is calling on County Coun. John Fillis – Labour cabinet member for highways and transport – to visit and walk round Clitheroe town centre himself to assess the state of the footpaths.
C-TAG feels it may be best to tarmac the worst areas completely instead of using traditional and more expensive materials.
Waddington resident Ann Metcalfe (67), who regularly shops in the town said her daughter had tripped over recently on a loose paving stone in Castle Street.
“Someone is either going to break their neck or badly break their leg if something isn’t done soon. It has got worse and no one seems to be taking notice.”
Clitheroe pensioner Eileen Allen said: “The state of the pavements are a bit much. You really have to concentrate on where you are walking.”
Christine Snape (63), of Beechwood Avenue, Clitheroe, tripped on a loose paving stone in Castle Street in the autumn.
“The town is a real patchwork quilt of mismatched paving,” said Christine. “Lots of tourists visits Clitheroe and the state of the pavements does not help to present a good image at all.”
Coun. John Fillis, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: “This is the reality of austerity, it’s not just political rhetoric from Government, it’s services like the way we maintain our pavements. When we are managing unprecedented cuts of £300m., which includes the loss of 2,800 staff, we face huge challenges. Lancashire County Council is prepared to make the difficult changes that are needed. Black tarmac may not be aesthetically pleasing, but it is effective as a temporary measure until a planned approach to the area can be funded and implemented.
“Lancashire County Council has clear policies and procedures for dealing with the reporting of pavement defects and maintenance intervention criteria, which I’m sure the councillors concerned are well aware of.
“I would urge C-TAG and its members to utilise this service as they would ensure a fast and targeted response to their public safety concerns.”