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Pavement Survey In Town Centre Reveals Patchwork Performance

Published on: 8 Feb, 2019
Updated on: 9 Feb, 2019

Patchwork pavement of different coloured slabs and ‘temporary’ tarmac repairs outside The Friary centre in North Street.

More than 80 paving slabs rocking underfoot and a ‘patchy’ approach to repair have been highlighted in a survey by The Guildford Dragon NEWS of pedestrian pavements in Guildford, undertaken on Thursday, February 7.

The survey, in North Street, High Street and Haydon Place, showed the worst offenders were near The Friary centre in North Street and outside the Waitrose supermarket in Haydon Place.

The affected area outside Waitrose had only been paved three years ago when the supermarket opened.

It was observed that repairs – generally made by Surrey County Council, responsible for footways – had often been carried out with different coloured paving slabs or ‘temporary’ tarmac infill.

This has resulted in a messy looking, patchwork pavement in many locations.

While the pavement in the High Street looks to be in better repair, the survey counted 36 slabs that were rocking or had some movement when walked on.

The patchwork approach to maintenance, should it be applied to the High Street, could spoil the look of the iconic, recently re-laid granite setts area.

One of the three places in the survey where there appeared to be a trip hazard of greater than 20mm.

The survey also noted three places where there appeared to be a trip hazard in excess of the 20mm stated in the Surrey CC Highways Safety Inspection Policy. These have been reported to Surrey County Council.

Outside The Friary, three slabs rocked under foot even though they appeared to be new. One new-looking slab, shown in the picture by the pen, had sunk by 10mm to 15mm, making a potential trip hazard.

The Guildford Dragon NEWS asked Surrey County Council’s highways department for comments but no response had been received at time of publication.

Cllr Mark Brett-Warburton, Conservative for the Guildford South East ward, said: “Surrey County Council works hard to ensure the accessibility for pedestrians in and around the town centre is maintained.

“Our highways officers regularly inspect the roads and pavements and organise for remedial works when they see anything that needs repair.

“It is also helpful if residents can register any defects they spot as well, which can easily be done on the SCC website. Once a defect has been reported it will be reviewed and if it meets the relevant criteria it will be repaired, but maintenance teams can only be effective if they are told about the problem first.”

The Guildford Dragon NEWS had received a report of a fall in Haydon Place which had required a hospital visit due to the injury caused. During the survey itself, a young man was actually seen to trip over the offending slabs outside Waitrose.

A Waitrose & Partners spokesperson said: “We have arranged for our maintenance team to visit the site as soon as possible.”

A source has said that Surrey County Council and Waitrose are due to meet to discuss the problem pavement.

Recent pavement outside of the Waitrose supermarket in Haydon Place. “Looks like it’s been hit by an earthquake.” said passer-by Christopher Starr. “It is just appalling.”

Gemma Roulston, co-chair of the Guildford Access Group, said: “Something needs to be done with the pavements in Guildford. We are meeting with a Surrey highway’s officer in early March to do an audit so that the issues, particularly crossings, can be addressed.”

Cllr Tony Rooth, leader of the Independents Alliance at Guildford Borough Council, said: “The condition of pavements in our town centre is poor and hazardous in places. I walked round the town centre today and found lots of rocking slabs, the worst on the older Royal Grammar School side of the upper High Street.

“Everywhere paving slabs and tiles are interspersed with tarmac patches which often result from utilities digging up and not properly restoring the footway.”

Outside the post office in North Street, looking up to the George Abbot statue. The pavement is an untidy ‘hotch potch’ of broken slabs, different colours and ‘temporary’ repairs.

The pavement outside of the Laura Ashley shop in North Street has had the ‘temporary’ repairs for some time spoiling the look of the relatively recently upgraded footway.

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test 9 Responses to Pavement Survey In Town Centre Reveals Patchwork Performance

  1. James Gross Reply

    February 9, 2019 at 9:58 am

    The paving outside Waitrose at Haydon Place is easily one of the worst and most dangerous spots in the town centre.

    Already dismayed at the poor attention to detail at the design stage, as a former contractor and public realm designer, it was easy to see how the scheme was doomed to last just a few years.

    Paving slabs were laid in the wrong direction in the wrong format for the camber of the footway and it shouldn’t need a genius to work out that laying long slabs over a hump will cause a see-saw effect before long.

    In this case, the design, the product, and the workmanship are all sub-standard.

    It is not something that can be solved by Waitrose’s maintenance team, rather the whole wobbly section needs repaving ASAP.

    • Joanne McGowan Reply

      February 9, 2019 at 11:07 am

      Exactly what I said at a meeting and SCC produced many excuses for why it was like that but no proper solutions.

  2. Jeff Hills Reply

    February 9, 2019 at 11:53 am

    Phoenix court is really third world and a disgrace to Guildford. You risk life and limb walking through as the pavement is such a mish mash broken paving slabs, uneven slabs and tarmac everywhere.

  3. Harry Eve Reply

    February 9, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    To be fair, the changes at the top of North Street – widening the pavement on the corner and installing dropped kerbs and a platform – are welcome in my opinion. Hopefully, they will increase safety for pedestrians.

  4. Jim Allen Reply

    February 10, 2019 at 1:16 am

    I think you will find anyone who digs up the pavement or road is not meant to reinstate immediately in order to allow the sub-surface to settle before the tarmac, paving slabs etc is replaced. The problems observed may be a failure to compress the lower levels of the hole during re-filling.

    • Joanne McGowan Reply

      February 10, 2019 at 4:29 pm

      This is not the case outside Waitrose

  5. Helena Townsend Reply

    February 10, 2019 at 10:38 am

    The council have carried out a lot of improvements recently but there is still a serious amount of work to be done.

    The Waitrose landscaping was sadly rushed and a lot of it is coming up, no real thought was given about connectivity to North Street. Haydon Place for example could be part pedestrianised and significantly upgraded it’s a pretty horrible link as it stands.

    Now that an announcement has been made on the North Street redevelopment are there any works that can be done now that won’t need to be undone to improve both the payments and road surface? The junction outside Decathlon really is the worst I have seen.

    Things need to happen a lot quicker GBC.

    • Joanne McGowan Reply

      February 10, 2019 at 4:31 pm

      I totally agree with Helena Townsend. It seems to be excuse after excuse for that part of town.

  6. Gordon Bridger Reply

    February 11, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    What an impressive piece of research. Well done The Guildford Dragon NEWS.

    Have others noticed what has happened to the £800.000 coloured setts at Tunsgate? They are becoming discoloured by tyre marks. My complaints led to a clean-up last week but already new tyre marks are appearing.

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