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Pavements a priority after jetwashing removes grout holding slabs in place

PUBLISHED: 07:29 01 March 2019

Picture: JESSICA HILL

Picture: JESSICA HILL

Archant

Dangerous pavements in Colchester town centre are a top priority for repair - after the borough council’s cleaning reportedly blasted the grout out from the walkways.

Colchester MP Will Quince contacted the Essex County Councillor Kevin Bentley, the portfolio holder for infrastructure, after he found many loose and uneven walkways in the Castle Ward of Colchester, covering the town centre.

Shown the worst spots by ward councillor Darius Laws, Mr Quince went to Essex Highways for a solution to the problem, which can be dangerous for disabled pedestrians and those using sticks or frames to walk.

Mr Quince said: “There’s two main issues - the first is that the paving that was originally used was probably not the most suitable, but this can’t be helped.

“The second is the grouting. Colchester Borough Council, in a bid to maintain the high street, have cleaned the pavements and it seems the grouting, some of which is about 20 years old, has been cleaned out of the cracks.

“I have pushed the county council and the borough council on this to make sure this is resolved quickly.”

A county council spokesman said: “Essex County Council is working closely with Colchester Borough Council on plans for work to improve the pavements on the High Street.

“This forms part of a wider commitment to footways, where the County Council announced at its recent budget-setting meeting an extra investment of £700,000 in pavement improvements across Essex.”

The cost of the repairs are still to be confirmed.

Mr Quince and Essex County Council are both Conservative, but Colchester Borough Council is controlled by a coalition of Labour, Liberal Democrat and independent candidates.

The two councils will be working more closely together to ensure this kind of oversight does not happen again, according to Mr quince.

Cllr Laws, also leader of the Conservative opposition for Colchester, said: “It’s fair to say that under the new cleaning regime, that I had also asked to be carried out, some of the grout has been removed.

“I don’t want to criticise the borough council for that because keeping the town clean is important.

“I want a solution and I want this done properly - there’s no point in repointing if the grout will get blasted out when we try to clean it again.”

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