Stamford Town Council has voted overwhelmingly in favour of ‘Tarmac’ as its favoured option if controversial plans to resurface Red Lion Square go ahead.
The move follows an announcement by Lincolnshire County Council that it was considering replacing the Yorkstone cobbles which were laid in 2006 as part of the divisive £1.5m Gateway Project.
At an extraordinary meeting of the town council on Monday, councillors were united in their view that the current road layout was ‘not fit for purpose’ and that replacing the cobbles with Tarmac was ‘the best option’.
Coun Bob Sandall (Ind)said: “When Stamford Vision put the present sets in Red Lion Square, they were told they were not good enough. They ignored us and put them in anyway. I know of people who have slipped and injured themselves crossing Red Lion Square, and now they refuse to walk across it. I cannot agree to wasting even more money on something which is not fit for purpose, and therefore I’m voting for Tarmac. At least we know it will last.”
Coun John Dawson (Ind) agreed. He said: “This is a major road through Stamford, which is a major shopping centre in the area. As such the town needs traffic to support this. The existing surface is simply not fit for purpose to handle the amount of traffic going through the town. Tarmac is the best option.”
Coun William Turner (Ind) blamed the current issues with the surface on a lack of adequate maintenance.
He said: “In 2006 we were assured by the Highways Agency that the sets would receive a high standard of maintenance. Since then Lincolnshire County Council has proven that is incapable of maintaining the sets. My concern is that if we replace the surface like-for-like then we will be in exactly the same position as we are now. “
Coun David Taylor (Con), who created a survey to gauge public opinion on the best way forward, disagreed.
He said: “This is a divisive issue. We need to engage with the public. We should consult them before we make a decision, but the report into the best option by an independent civil engineer says that sets are the most suitable option.”
Coun Dave Dorson (Green) disagreed, even going so far as to brand the square’s current road layout as ‘dangerous’.
He said: “A road should be safe, fit for purpose and maintainable. I use the square as a pedestrian, as a cyclist and as a motorist, and as it stands now none of these. It is dangerous.”
Coun Sue Sandall (Ind) said: “The county council won’t even pay for the grass verges to be cut. If they cannot do this, how can they maintain the sets?”
Sixteen councillors voted in favour of Tarmac, with one councillor abstaining and one voting for relaying and reusing the existing cobbles.