Highways team angers residents of Ipswich conservation with Tarmac pavement

PUBLISHED: 13:02 21 August 2020 | UPDATED: 14:02 21 August 2020

Residents are angry about the new Tarmac pavements being created on Westerfield Road. Picture: OLIVER HOLMES

Residents are angry about the new Tarmac pavements being created on Westerfield Road. Picture: OLIVER HOLMES


Residents of Westerfield Road in Ipswich have been angered by resurfacing work on a pavement beside the road that is being completed with Tarmac rather than paving slabs as it had been before.

Residents are angry about the new pavements being created on Westerfield Road. Picture: OLIVER HOLMESResidents are angry about the new pavements being created on Westerfield Road. Picture: OLIVER HOLMES

Westerfield Road is a conservation area where residents have to obtain special permission to make any changes to their homes or gardens from the borough council – and the concrete slabs that formed the pavement in front of the homes that overlook Christchurch Park have also been a feature of the area.

But the changes have not gone down well. Ipswich councillor Oliver Holmes said: “Some of the paving was cracked and did need to be replaced, but when residents saw that Suffolk Highways was just bringing in Tarmac they were very concerned.

“We tried to find out what was happening but we were told that it had been decided to bring in Tarmac to replace the paving slabs – but it looks very out of place in this part of the town.”

His Liberal Democrat colleague Inga Lockington is a member of the county council – responsible for highways – as well as the borough whose planning department administers conservation areas.

She said: “I contacted Suffolk Highways but they told me the conservation area status does not affect roads apart from the kerb of the pavement. That has really irritated some people because they have to get permission if they want to make a small change to their garden wall.

“This really is another argument for unitary government so there is only one organisation running everything and there is conflict like this.”

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Another issue that concerned her was that City Fibre are currently laying cables in the Christchurch Park area of the town – and she hoped they would not come around later and dig up the pavement again.

The short notice of the work also caused frustration. Mrs Lockington said: “The first I knew about this was when I got a letter at the same time as the residents saying that the work was about to start.”

She said that diversionary routes suggested long detours along Norwich Road: “I don’t think there was any point in telling people about them! If you live around here you know all the short cuts and don’t have to go that far!”

A spokeswoman said that cost was a key factor in changing to Tarmac on pavements. She said: “Suffolk Highways has received several concerns about the current footway repairs along Westerfield Road and we would like to apologise for any upset caused.

“It is appreciated that the appearance of newly laid bituminous footways is very dark in colour, but over time once weathered, it will become paler.

“The traditional kerbing will be retained, as will the granite sets and concrete strips along the road edge. Additionally, where any smaller areas of repair are required recovered slabs will be used to avoid patches of asphalt repairs.

“Slabbed paving creates a higher maintenance cost and especially in locations where they are regularly driven on slabs crack or rise and create potential trip hazards. In the current financial climate, maintenance budgets are limited.

“Suffolk Highways needs to consider how these costs can be reduced to ensure that available funding is used to maintain Suffolk’s 10,000km footway/path network. With walking and cycling being more encouraged, it is essential that our footpaths are safe for all users.”

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