LETTER: Pavements not fit for purpose

I read with interest and disappointment the Bob Lanzer letter ‘Public safety at the forefront’.

Bob Lanzer is a county councillor for Crawley.

I was one of the Chichester district councillors who attended the meeting.

I was grateful for WSCC calling the meeting and we had an hour-long inspection of the pavements in the city centre, including ‘trip alley’ in North Street.

On the inspection of the repaired paving slab where the two injuries requiring hospital treatment had occurred, there seemed to be no knowledge of the place of the incident by WSCC and who had made the repair in Tarmac.

We also found pavements in Little London which were unsatisfactory.

It is true to say WSCC have a good system of inspecting the pavements on a monthly basis and use ‘Best Practice’ for determining whether the pavement is damaged enough to be a trip hazard.

They were the first to admit damage occurs on a regular basis due to the heavy traffic delivering in the pedestrian precinct and it may be a month before damage is picked up by the inspection and asked the public to report any damage.

I stick with the four falls per week in the city centre.

Local residents, shop and officer workers think this is an underestimate in their opinion and experience.

Most falls are not serious, most do not need hospital treatment and most are not reported but most are put down to the state of the pavements.

Everybody at the WSCC meeting did agree the pavements of Chichester were in a poor state with a mish mash of styles and materials and many broken slabs.

Just this variation and transition from one uneven surface to another may be all that is needed to cause a fall.

One myth that can be dispelled is that the materials used currently are conservation materials and cannot be changed.

A WSCC representative attended a recent meeting of the Chichester Conservation Area Advisory Committee (CCAAC) and the Yorkstone pavement in particularly for North and East Street originates only from the 1970s and the red paviors are completely alien and indeed unsuitable for heavy traffic and bus use.

These could be replaced with durable and less expensive surfaced Tarmac and Portland Stone, a more local material, used for the pavement.

The cost would then be far less than the £2m per street quoted.

The new pavement used around the Little London Car Park (back of Marks and Spencer) is what is required; a good even Portland Stone pavement which sets the standard.

The city centre streetscape and paving should be a first priority for the Vision and the replacement of the level crossing the first priority for the Southern Gateway.

No wonder visitor numbers are declining.