Crisis talks are being held and calls being made for an urgent review of Clitheroe’s “hazardous and neglected” pavements after several pedestrians had accidents.
County Coun. Ian Brown is asking Lancashire County Council – the authority responsible for pavements in the Ribble Valley – to carry out an emergency audit of the safety of the town’s pavements. The move follows concerns raised by members of the public that several areas were hazardous coupled with a recent rise in pedestrian falls.
Coun. Brown said: “My previous request to the engineering surveyor’s team in the highways department at Labour-controlled Lancashire County Council was turned down flat because they did not think the situation was serious enough to merit an inspection.
“Several falls by members of the public during the Christmas and New Year period have convinced me otherwise. An urgent inspection is required right now before someone gets seriously injured.”
“I have urged Ribble Valley Borough Council to set up a working party to compile a report on the areas most seriously affected. It is a shame that the county council has failed to recognise the seriousness of the situation when the evidence is there for everyone to see.”
Two years ago a campaign was launched by the town action group C-TAG with Mr Kevin Horkin and councillors Ged Mirfin and Ian Brown calling for urgent repair of Clitheroe’s crumbling pavements, but to no avail.
Coun. Brown added: “The borough council put forward £55,000 as part of a townscape project, relying on a larger sum from the county council. However, the finances of the authority are in a very poor state and this project has been cut. It is very frustrating that severe cuts are being made in rural areas like Clitheroe and the Ribble Valley.”
Responding, leader of Ribble Valley Borough Council, Stuart Hirst said: “We share public concerns about the general state of disrepair of Clitheroe’s pavements and we will continue to press the county council to meet their clear obligations to the people of the Ribble Valley by maintaining our pavements to an acceptable and safe standard as is their duty.
“The importance which the borough council views this issue is clearly demonstrated by the fact that we have kept on the table a £55,000 budget allocation as part funding of the Townscape Project designed to improve not only pavements, but also other aspects of the town’s retail offer. “Sadly, the county council has not felt able to allocate their part of the funding as originally agreed, which has prevented the scheme from progressing.”
He added: “I am, nonetheless, hopeful that the council will retain the money in our budget for the forthcoming year when it is set next month and consideration given to have it may best be used to support the borough council’s exciting and ambitious plans to enhance the economic base of Clitheroe and the Ribble Valley in terms of investment, tourism and jobs.
“It is saddening that the county council does not appear to share that vision or enthusiasm when it comes to spending Ribble Valley council tax money in Ribble Valley itself.”