DRIVERS will soon have smooth passage on Leamington’s Parade – but not pedestrians it would seem.
Warwickshire County Council highway chiefs are currently overseeing the resurfacing of the road on the town’s main thoroughfare – which is set to be completed on Friday (October 30).
But The Observer has been told there are still no plans to do anything about the shocking state of the pavements.
For almost a decade now The Observer has daily witnessed delivery vans and other vehicles illegally parking on the pavements without punishment.
A £2.2million facelift carried out in 2006 was designed to make the pavements ‘safer and more pedestrian-friendly’ but the project was subject to a flood of complaints about shoddy workmanship – resulting in several workers being sacked.
Once we counted more than 250 broken, cracked, damaged or uneven paving slabs on the Parade – and that was just from Clarendon Avenue down to the junction with Regent Street and only on one side.
Council chiefs blamed the cracked slabs on drivers parking illegally and this led to new parking restrictions and signs being installed, which were meant to ban parking or stopping on the Parade at any time.
But last summer we revealed how more than £36,000 had been forked out on repairs to the hundreds of cracked and uneven paving slabs since 2011.
Figures showed between £12,000 and £15,000 was being spent fixing the damage from Warwickshire County Council’s highway maintenance budget each year.
Sadly, the vicious circle continued with delivery vans and cars pulling up on the pavement week in week out despite clear signs indicating no parking at any time.
And even council contractors got in on the act as we captured workers parking their trucks on the very pavements they were being sent to repair – further adding to the damage.
After years of championing the cause though, it seemed highway chiefs were finally willing to sit up and take notice as they admitted a debate on the issue was necessary back in March.
They said prevention measures including bollards were being considered in a bid to stop drivers parking illegally and help improve the sorry state of the pavements.
But when asked for an update six months later, they insisted there had not been enough damage to justify putting any such measures in place.
Council chiefs also continued to maintain drivers parking vehicles illegally on the footway of the Parade could still be prosecuted provided there was a police or parking warden on hand.
But from office overlooking the Parade we have seen both parking wardens and police officers walk past illegally parked vehicles.
So what will it take to make the council act?
In a short statement commenting on the situation, a council spokeswoman said: “The Parade is regularly inspected and when defects are found, repairs to the footways are carried out as required.
“The cost of footway repairs on the Parade have reduced to approximately £5,000 in the last year and there are fewer areas that are being identified as in need of repair.
“Over the last seven months we have had no issues with regard to deterioration however we will continue to monitor this and consider other measures if they are required in the future.”
Anyone who wishes to report an area in need to repair is asked to call 01926 412515.
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