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County council agrees to take action on dangerous pavements

A specialist contractor tasked with improving Stratford’s notorious pavements is to be brought in by Warwickshire County Council, following numerous reports of trips and falls on the town’s streets.

Over recent months the Herald has fought to highlight the need for improvements to the town’s paving, with Bridge Street and High Street singled out by readers as two of the biggest problem areas.

The issues on Bridge Street, which include a number of wobbly slabs and uneven areas, are especially disappointing since £200,000 was spent on new paving just last year.

Many residents have contacted the Herald claiming such work was not up to standard, while others have told of injuries they have picked up, whilst walking through the town centre.

Despite this last month the Herald revealed that county council’s budget for footway repairs has been cut by £420,000 over the past three years, a revelation met with dismay by some of those to have suffered injuries.

Last month the county council revealed that since May 2019, it had received 21 insurance claims from members of the public for injuries related to Stratford’s pavements.

However the authority has now outlined a number of actions including setting up a new team, specifically tasked to deliver short term footway repairs.

A spokesperson said: "Following recent concerns raised about the condition of the footways in the town centre of Stratford, Warwickshire County Council officers will be undertaking a joint inspection of pavements with our maintenance contractor.

“The inspection is due to take place in the next two weeks. Following this, we will take appropriate action to rectify any issues identified. Given the nature of Stratford town centre and the high summer footfall it is our intention to engage a specialist paving contractor to carry out any remedial works which are picked up during the inspection. This has worked well in the past, especially in high footfall town centre areas."

The Herald also understands that drainage covers will be replaced with a new resilient design, more appropriate of a busy town centre, which will hopefully lead to less damage.

Cllr Kate Rolfe, county councillor for Stratford South, said: “We do work hard to keep an eye out for problems on the pavements on a regular basis, it’s an ongoing thing for us. I certainly welcome the involvement of this specialist contractor and we will be walking around with them next week to see what problems are highlighted.

“Me and my fellow Stratford councillors worked very hard to secure the £200,000 to improve the pavements last year, but it was disappointing that the work was not done to the standard we had hoped for. Hopefully this contractor can help put right these problems.”

However not everyone is confident the county council will take the action needed to make Stratford’s pavements safe.

Former mayor Cyril Bennis said: “I’m really not convinced, we need them to keep a constant eye on the pavements, we used to have a program where they were looked at every couple of weeks and problems were quickly sorted, it doesn’t happen now. We need that constant action, not just this. Our community is suffering and the county council doesn’t seem interested, we told them about the issues with the new paving on Bridge Street months ago, but they just are not bothered.”

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