Footway repair budget cut again
Less and less money is being spent on pavement repairs in Warwickshire, despite numerous reports to the Herald about trips and falls in the district.
The county council’s capital budget for footway repairs has dropped by £420,000 over the past two years from £2.59million in 2020/2019 to £2.17million for the current financial year.
So far the authority has declined to provide figures for the number of pavement falls reported to them, but did confirm that since May 2019, 23 insurance claims had been made by members of the public for injuries relating to pavements.
Uneven, broken and wobbly pavements have long been a sore point in Stratford and in February last year the county council did invest around £200,000 replacing paving slabs on Bridge Street.
However problems have already been reported on some of the new paved sections, while Wood Street remains a problem area in the town.
Jill Meddins, who suffered a fall in the town centre last year, said: “I think it’s appalling that they are spending less on this. I tripped close to the Post Office, luckily I wasn’t badly harmed, I reported it to the council, but I checked a couple of weeks ago and the paving has still not been fixed.
“I’m really not impressed with the work they have done on Bridge Street, I understand everything can’t be perfect, but you’d expect something to be done where problems are so blatant. There are times I don’t feel safe in the town centre.
“Having a fall can really knock your confidence, especially if you are older, how many more accidents do they need before they sort things out, this is an issue of safety.”
Jill added that wheelchair users are also affected by the state of the pavements in the town centre, with some having to go onto the road to avoid problem areas.
Mary Harman, who suffered a fall on the pavements in 2019, said: “I’m frustrated that they are not listening to the people and not acting on behalf of the people, it is just appalling. This has not just happened to me but to lots of other people, the council needs to get its priorities right.”
Mary added that she is pursing a claim against the county council following her accident, but criticised a complete lack of communication from the authority, accusing it of ignoring a member of the public.
Explaining how the council’s budget for pavement repairs is set and spent, a spokesperson for Warwickshire County Council, said: “Funding for capital highway works is received from the Department of Transport annually. The level of funding received each year can vary, and in some financial years additional funding received ‘in year’ is sometimes ringfenced for specific needs e.g specific pothole funding.
“In any given year, we broadly keep similar proportions for footway reconstruction, however, we also look at the needs and adjust budgets as appropriate.
“In addition to the budgets below for reconstruction, we also carry out footway patching, and surface treatments such as slurry sealing.”
County councillor Kate Rolfe, who represents Stratford South, said: “The impact of repeated budget cuts is clear in the number of complaints we're receiving.
“Last year the County Councillors in the town used all of their delegated highways' budget for pavement repairs in the town centre, but clearly more money is needed for other pavements in the town that also need work.”
concerns over the condition of roads and pavements be reported via www.warwickshire.gov.uk/reportit or by calling the customer service centre on 01926 412515.