Outcry after 'appalling' destruction of Victorian paving stones in Northampton street

The 'perfectly intact' historical slabs were allegedly chopped up with 'large circular saws' then dumped in a skip, say residents

Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 5:20 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 5:46 pm
Pictured: Recently broken slabs before being put into a skip

Residents of Phippsville have vocally protested the 'sheer destruction' of late-Victorian paving stones that were chopped up to make room for underground works.

The works took place on Collingwood Road, Phippsville among others. The slabs were first laid in the late-Victorian period, making most of them well over 100 years old. But residents say they were not given any advanced warning that the work would be taking place.

Some said they were shocked to find that the slabs, rather than being lifted off and then replaced, had instead been chopped up, with some tossed into a skip to be replaced by black tarmac or shorter end slabs cut from larger ones.

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Concerned residents have reached out to Bob Purser, Labour councillor for Abington and Phippsville, who shares his constituents' concerns, both for the unnecessary damage, and also the waste.

He said: "I think it's appalling. There is really no reason why they could not have taken up the paving slabs and replaced them. There was no reason to throw away perfectly good paving stones.

"This is a very nice late-Victorian street. The paving stones were in good condition there so what has happened is not acceptable.

"The other problem is in the way they have cut them. There are now some relatively small slabs which aren't as stable as the other ones, so that again isn't satisfactory."

"Things should be reinstated to the way they were before. If they don't have the slabs to do that, they should pay to replace them."

Paul Smith, a Phippsville resident whose partner Janette raised the alarm on Facebook, said that 'every single person' he spoke to was 'disgusted' by what had been done.

He said: "Literally tens of people have complained to their councillor and to the council about the sheer destruction that has happened.

"They have just gotten rid of the existing slabs and replaced them with something cheaper.

"This is our heritage that they are chopping up."

The work has reportedly been stopped on the street in the wake of a meeting between the company's regional managers, the Northamptonshire Highways and council officials, which will decide how matters are to proceed.