Possible resurfacing in Stamford’s Red Lion Square prompts concerns

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Lincolnshire County Council is considering plans to resurface Stamford’s much maligned Red Lion Square.

The road surface was repaved with Yorkstone cobbles as part of the town’s £1.5m Gateway Project in 2006, but the new surface was prone to cracking and is difficult to maintain.

Now the Mercury understands that Lincolnshire County Council is considering resurfacing the road in Red Lion Square, possibly with Tarmac, while the pavements will remain untouched.

Lincolnshire County Councillor David Brailsford (Con), member for Stamford West, said: “There are no firm plans at this stage, but we are considering making improvements within Red Lion Square at some point in the future.

“However, the first step is to speak to local residents and businesses to get their views on the best way forward.

“We’ll be looking to have those discussions in the coming months, after which we’ll have a clearer idea of what work will be involved and when that might happen.”

The news that the county council may replace the surface of the road led Stamford Civic Society and Stamford Urban Group to commission a report by an independent civil engineer.

A town council working group was then set up to consider the results of report, which looks at the condition of the carriageway, the cause of its failure and the options for repair or replacement.

The working group is set to bring its recommendation to consult further to an extraordinary meeting of the town council, which will be held on Monday.

In the meantime Stamford town councillor David Taylor (Con), who is one of the councillors on the working group alongside Tony Story and Max Sawyer, created a survey to gauge public opinion about how the work should proceed, if and when it goes ahead.

Four hundred and sixty-one people completed the survey before it closed on Wednesday night - with the vast majority of respondents - 60.09 per cent - saying they 
favoured ripping up the existing Yorkstones cobbles and relaying them, replacing the damaged stones where applicable.

Of the other answers, 16.05 per cent wanted to use black Tarmac; 8.68 per cent wanted to use coloured Tarmac; 6.94 per cent wanted to replace the “current paving sets” with appropriately coloured concrete blocks; 2.06 per cent had no preference and 5.64 per cent voted “other”.

Coun Taylor said: “I am a big advocate of localism, and therefore of consultation.

“Bearing in mind how divisive an issue Red Lion Square has been previously, I wanted, as a St Mary’s ward councillor, to gauge opinion on the issue and am grateful to the Mercury for sharing the results.

“I am hopeful that in making a decision Lincolnshire County Council will take note of public opinion.”

Graddon Rowlands, from Stamford Civic Society, implored the county council to re-use the existing Yorkstones - rather than use 

He said: “The issue with the existing surface isn’t the materials, it’s the lack of maintenance. Yorkstone needs sand brushing on it once or twice a year to ensure the sets don’t rub against each other.

“Reusing the surface not only makes sense aesthetically – the slabs complement the town’s heritage and architecture perfectly – but also financially. We estimate it will cost £40 per square metre as the majority of the existing sets can be used, and we have access to further stones free of charge.

“It’s the practical solution too. These stones are very easy to take up and relay if you need access to underground utilities, and you couldn’t do this with Tarmac.”

South Kesteven District Council leader Matthew Lee (Con), said: “I understand that our colleagues at the county council are currently considering how best to repair the surface of Red Lion 

“Clearly, safety is very important, but I very much hope that the surface that is chosen will continue to be in keeping with such a central public space in a conservation area within one of the country’s finest Georgian 

Stamford Town Council’s extra ordinary meeting of the town council will take place at Stamford Town Hall on Monday at 7pm to “consider the poor condition of Red Lion Square carriageway”.