I get a lot of emails from residents about the state of Brent's potholes and pavements often with accompanying photographs. I am sure local councillors also get loads of complaints with residents baffled about how works are prioritised and why their streets appear to be treated differently than those a few metres away.
|Concrete block paving at a corner in Mallard Way, Kingsbury - also used for dropped crossings|
Brent's decision to lay asphalt rather than paving stones, when resurfacing the pavement in a whole street, has already raised ire in some residents LINK Although it was announced some time ago it is only when it happens outside your front door that it really hits home.
The Council argue that asphalt is 'more flexible than slabs and less likely to crack' but at the same time drop crossings (to drive ways) are to paved with block paving on the basis that these are more resilient and durable. It seems to some that cars are getting better treatment than pedestrians - and surely block paving is more labour intensive and this expensive?
The patching of potholes by Conways the contractor when they reach a certain depth, while others nearby are ignored although the lorry has all the gear and labour available to fill them, has been the subject of several emails. Commonsense seems to indicate that it is more efficient to do it there and then rather than wait for it to deteriorate further until it reaches the required depth.
|Apparent DIY work in Shaftesbury Avenue|
The report to be considered by the Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee on September 6th goes into all this in great detail LINKand I have to warn you, it is not an easy read.
The report states:
The reactive repair of pavements amounts to patching with tarmac and there are some dreadful examples around the borough which are both ugly and still not safe. Other dangerous pavements have been left for some time without any repair - an example of minimising work?There needs to be a balance between reactive repairs (e.g. repairing potholes) which are required to keep the highway safe, and planned works which are needed to preserve and extend the life of the road or pavement. Reactive maintenance is inherently inefficient and more expensive than planned maintenance and so, whilst there will always be a need for it, ideally the amount carried out should be minimised.
|Raised pavement trip hazard outside Wembley Park Station|
|Smashed pavement in King's Drive, Wembley - caused by heavy lorry during building work|
|A botched and still dangerous repair - also in King's Drive also caused by a heavy lorry|
We have a prioritisation system in place for conducting repair works on damaged pavements in our network within the limited budget and resources available to us, which is briefly described as follows: Once pavement defects are identified, either through our regular inspections across all our network or by receiving reports from members of the public, we allocate defects into five categories by using a risk assessment exercise which takes into account the severity of the defects as well as their potential impacts on the pedestrians. For the very high priority category the temporary and permanent repair works are usually conducted within a few hours, whilst for lower level categories the permanent repair works can take between 24 hours to 28 days. For the lowest level category of defects usually no repair works are undertakenComment received from Paul Lorber with this picture:
A photo highlights this better than words. In many places the inadequacy of crossovers and the Council's failure to take action when owners demolish walls and clearly drive and damage pavements is the main problem.
Often, with ever bigger and heavier cars the crossovers and not ride enough and cheap & weak slabs crack when driven over.
Inevitably the much heavier cars and 4x4s are driven over the pavements destroying them. The photo shows just one of many examples in Station Approach Sudbury.
The Council should carry systematic inspections and take action to require owners to pay for strengthened crossovers and nearby pavements if they want to be allowed to access their front garden parking areas.
At present with the Council refusing to act we are left with damaged pavements left often in dangerous condition for months and with the local taxpayers paying for the damage.