Clean­ing costs ex­ceed £43,000 per year

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

CLEAN­ING Ash­ford’s shared space and its de­signer benches, bins and bus stops and pave­ments will cost the tax payer more than £43,000 a year. Fig­ures dis­closed to the Ken­tish Ex­press un­der the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act show that clean­ing the roads and pave­ments, and emp­ty­ing the bins is cost­ing £835 each week. That fig­ure in­cludes £433 for sweep­ing the pave­ments and £88 for emp­ty­ing lit­ter bins. De­tails of the costs come as Kent County Coun­cil in­sisted it was beginning to over­come prob­lems caused by stain­ing on sec­tions of the pave­ments made of gran­ite slabs. Prob­lems arose be­cause the slabs were laid on sand rather than con­crete. While sand makes it eas­ier to lift the slabs where util­ity com­pa­nies need ac­cess, it meant the pave­ments were ini­tially vul­ner­a­ble to dam­age from me­chan­i­cal sweep­ers. Ac­cord­ing to KCC that prob­lem has been dealt with af­ter what is de­scribed as a “set­tling in” pe­riod. How­ever, the prob­lem of more se­ri­ous stain­ing around ar­eas heav­ily used by pedes­tri­ans has still not been re­solved. The coun­cil is tri­alling a new sealant aimed at lim­it­ing the de­te­ri­o­ra­tion, ad­mit­ting that “ar­eas such as bus stops and benches are show­ing stain­ing to more of an ex­tent that was ini­tially en­vis­aged.” And the best way to tackle the prob­lem of the flume art­work crack­ing also has yet to be agreed. Ac­cord­ing to KCC, talks are still go­ing on with con­trac­tor Jack­son Civil En­gi­neer­ing to es­tab­lish “the most cost ef­fec­tive way to re­pair it.” Tem­po­rary re­pairs have cost £500. We high­lighted in Oc­to­ber how parts of the road and fea­tures such as bins and benches were be­com­ing in­creas­ingly grubby, with mark­ing caused by drink and food spillages. Dam­aged parts of the costly “flume” have been laid with or­di­nary tar­mac to pre­vent fur­ther dam­age.

What do you think of KCC’s ef­forts to tackle the shared space stains? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford, Kent TN24 8JR or email ken­tish­ex­press@thek­mgr

Stains on the pave­ments, like this one in Bank Street, have be­come an is­sue

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