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Replacement pavements and roads – some needed, others not

April 6, 2010

Islington Council has spent £20 million in the last year replacing paving slabs and relaying road surfaces. Some of the streets and pavements definitely needed it. But many, many others did not. And some of the new stuff in Caledonian Ward is already cracking-up or getting dug-up. In our neighbourhood, dozens of roads were already in a bad way before January’s harsh weather turned them into a catastrophic state. Yet they have been left untouched.

Broken paving on Tilloch Street - the result of Thames Water, BT and Gas all digging it up within months of being relaid. The pavement was actually in better nick before the Council decided to fix it up.

Much of last year’s paving work really was unnecessary. And suspicious minds have noticed how lots of the work has been concentrated in places where the Lib Dems have highly marginal seats on the Council.

Even worse, there are places where the “investment” has already been undone – either because the original work was bad or because utility companies have dug up the pavement subsequently.

The paved area on Caledonian Road at its junction with the pedestrianised Tilloch Street (just before the Co-op) is a good example. The slabs are continuously breaking-up from utility works and normal usage.

Caledonian Road has also been resurfaced. Fortunately local Councillors stopped the work which was originally due just days before Thames Water planned major excavations. Despite that, gas, electric and water utilities have all dug up parts of Cally Road since it was resurfaced.

How it used to be: Rufford Street pavement ... more like a bog

There are some exceptions to all this unecessary work. The streets and pavements around the St William of York apartment development have been superbly paved and the roads resurfaced. There’s a good reason though – most of the road and pavement surfaces were totally trashed by the construction company that built the block of 140 apartments.

As a result of their notorious behaviour the developers were forced to pay around £100,000 to make good the whole area. So that was definitely worth doing – and it cost the Council nothing.

Paul Convery says “Islington has spent a fortune digging and relaying so many streets and pavements. There are parts of Barnsbury where I think the Council has surfaced the roads at least 3 times in the past 5 years. In Hemingford Road for example, they put down speed humps, dug them up, resurfaced, rebuilt junctions, replaced speed humps again and then resurfaced once more.

The pavement finally relaid ... after 5 years of pressure from local residents ... and eventually paid for by a developer not the Council

“The latest spending splurge is a rather indulgent and cosmetic effort to buff-up selective parts of the Borough.

“And £20 million really is a lot of money. That’s the equivalent of constructing almost 50 youth facilities like the new Sparkplug building.

“Local Government is in the business of choosing between different priorities. I think this is the wrong use of scarce capital resources.

“I am glad that some parts of the Borough have been spruced-up. But I am furious that we have no decent youth and community venues when we have so many pressing problems to resolve in this neighbourhood.”

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