Councillor Phil Larrett helps pause paving stone 'destruction' in Phippsville after outcry from residents

The 'diabolical' decision has led to 100-year-old paving stones being destroyed and chucked in a skip

Thursday, 18th November 2021, 9:01 am
Updated Thursday, 18th November 2021, 9:02 am
The pieces of slab left on the curb are reportedly odd-shaped and poorly fitted, creating a trip hazard

Underground cable works in a Northampton neighbourhood have been halted after 100-year-old Victorian paving slabs were destroyed and chucked into a skip, sparking outcry.

Protests erupted earlier this week after residents of Collingwood Road, Phippsville, among others, awoke to find nearly a third of their late-Victorian footpath had been chopped up and replaced with a black tarmac strip.

Residents say they were never warned that the work would be taking place, leaving them to discover the effects themselves once the damage was done.

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Large circular saws were reportedly used to cut the slabs into pieces

Protests were soon lodged with the council's 'Fix My Street' service, ballooning into an extensive list of grievances and photos.

Paul Smith, a Phippsville resident who was among the complainants, called the work 'utter destruction of our heritage'.

In response, Conservative Councillor Phil Larrett, Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport, Highways and Waste, has asked officers to halt all digging operations for the time being, until the issue can be resolved.

While Cllr Larrett does not have the power to stop the works directly, his input could help to straighten out what the council has called a 'complex and moving situation'.

He said: I'm not at all happy with the situation. I think it's pretty diabolical.

"I have sent it on to other councillors to make sure it is stopped and that the work is done properly.

"We are doing our best to recover the situation."

The councillor's response has been praised by Bob Purser, Labour councillor for Abington and Phippsville, who was among the first to raise the alarm.

He said: "While we will have to watch and check that this all happens, I am very pleased about it.

"That is the kind of correct response that we want from the Cabinet Member for highways.

"I think they need to work on having a proper plan with the company responsible, so that there is proper reinstatement of the missing slabs.

"Work like this should not be used as an excuse to get the job done on the cheap."

Residents are still waiting to hear how the council plans to replace the missing slabs.