Growing concern over shoddy state of cobbles
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
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