Grow­ing con­cern over shoddy state of cob­bles

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Safety Fears - By Ai­dan Bar­low

Traders fear shop­pers face se­ri­ous in­juries af­ter see­ing them trip and fall on the cob­ble­stones in the High Street.

It fol­lows re­ports of a woman suf­fer­ing a shat­tered hip out­side Boots on the cob­bles, which were last re­paired and re­laid in 2012 in prepa­ra­tion for the Olympic torch re­lay.

But four years on traders say the paving stones and cob­bles are in a shoddy state and are in ur­gent need of re­pair.

Among them is Dave who sells hot dogs in the Lower High Street, who re­vealed how some of the paving slabs around his van can be lifted up be­cause they are not prop­erly se­cured.

He said: “They moved all of us away while they did the Olympic torch, but since then they have left it. Old peo­ple won’t walk along here be­cause it’s just too bad.

“You can see the gaps, and some of the paving slabs are shat­tered but have not been re­paired.

“Peo­ple are al­ways fall­ing over and you can see peo­ple tripping up on the cob­bles. In my opin­ion they should rip it all up and Tar­mac it, it’s got to be an eas­ier thing to do.”

Other traders re­ported how stone benches had been left un­re­paired and could be­come a haz­ard as well.

Ash­ford pho­tog­ra­pher Andy Clark said: “It’s re­ally dif­fi­cult for peo­ple with walk­ing frames as the wheels get stuck in the gaps, and it is dif­fi­cult for those who are blind with guide dogs or need to use a walk­ing stick.

“Ev­ery time they dig it up to re­pair it it gets washed away and needs more money to be spent on it. They put up our coun­cil tax but they don’t seem to be able to con­trol their own spend­ing.

“They are wast­ing the money on road­works which are caused by their own fail­ures in the first place.”

The cob­bles and paving slabs were first in­tro­duced to Park Street, North Street and the Lower High Street in 1999 and are main­tained by Kent County Coun­cil.

A KCC spokesman said roads and pave­ments are reg­u­larly in­spected and KCC mem­bers re­port is­sues across the county, while in Ash­ford re­pair works are be­ing sched­uled in the streets af­fected.

In emer­gen­cies res­i­dents can call 03000 418181 or can re­port pot­holes or faults in a road sur­face on­line by vis­it­ing www. kent.gov.uk/high­ways

Do you think the cob­ble­stones need re­pair­ing or re­mov­ing? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford TN24 8JR or email ken­tish­ex­press@ thek­m­group.co.uk

Pic­tures: Andy Clark

Andy Clark fears there may be more peo­ple tripping up over the cob­ble­stones in Ash­ford

Un­re­paired dam­age in the town cen­tre

Dave, who sells hot dogs, and right; work from 1999 when the cob­bles were laid on Ash­ford High Street

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