Road Works Force Choice Between Tourism And Safety

Old Town, St Mary's

The Council has approved spending £60,000 from reserves to create a footpath along Old Town sea wall.

But there was considerable debate over the best time to undertake the works.

The concrete pavement of 1.2m width, with a concrete kerb, will be laid alongside the Old Town sea wall.

Councillors agreed the plans back in February, following months of complaints and a petition from parents concerned about their kids’ safety walking to and from school, especially in bad weather or dark winter mornings.

A temporary solution, using plastic barriers, was implemented shortly afterwards but this also generated complaints due to the narrow width of the walkway.

However it’s unlikely that the building work will start until the end of the holiday season, due to a desire by the Council, still smarting from the criticism over the timing of the Porthcressa project, to avoid access issues to Old Town beach while Porthcressa is off limits.

It’s estimated the work will take 2 to 3 weeks to complete although Chief Technical Officer, Neville Gardner, admitted this was an estimate, as they may need to reinforce the foundations for the kerb due to subsidence of the road near the sea wall.

Councillor Gaz O’Neil felt that in the interests of safety, it would be better to carry out the works during the school summer holidays, since he didn’t want children having to walk in the road to avoid the works.

Neville replied that the autumn is better due to less traffic, and the path would be built in sections so children wouldn’t need to walk in the road for the whole length.

The Chief Technical Officer also said that the children walking to school “are respected by other road users and it appears that they are conscious and careful” in the area.

He added he was looking at a ‘frangible’, or breakable, barrier with smaller footprint than the previous temporary one as an interim solution, but on closer questioning by Councillor Brian Lowen, admitted it “wasn’t exactly clear in his mind” what the solution would be.

Vice Chair of Council, Marian Bennett, also asked that any fencing decision be discussed with the Planning Officer, to ensure it was “as aesthetically pleasing as possible.”

Councillor Chris Savill said it was essential to communicate with the public about the works, particularly following the petition submitted by Old Town residents calling for changes to the sea wall to be reversed.

But it was Councillor Merryn Smith who came up with a sensible compromise of doing the works during the two week autumn half-term holiday, which was supported by other Councillors.


4 Responses to Road Works Force Choice Between Tourism And Safety

  1. rick32 March 9, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Honestly its laughable how so many people earning so much money can get it so badly wrong again and again – added to that a group of Councillors that appear to be ‘yes’ men then what hope do us normal people have?

  2. Karen March 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    I have to agree, as a parent who walks that path to school everyday, the council have not consulted or listened to anyone who has written to them. They have made up their minds and yet again we will just have to do what they have decided.

    In the bad winds and weather you will still have myself, my children and others walking along the road opposite to the sea wall for protection against the weather elements and the road will shrink considerably. You will have a pavement one side and children the other side.

    Now that is an accident waiting to happen. Perhaps rather than a safer walking route to school they are now creating more of a problem.

  3. rick32 March 9, 2012 at 10:11 am

    The Council being a little bit cautious and community aware? Really? Anyone would thing they got their fingers burnt and actually realise Porthcressa was a mistake – although I suspect they will never swallow their pride and admit that.

  4. George Kershaw March 9, 2012 at 9:41 am

    I think the whole idea of having a new school path was an attempt to create a new path altogether rather than just an upgrade of the existing route to school, there were a couple of potential options that I have heard about in discussions with parents using the route, however the council have shunned the requests of the people actually using the route and have just come up with what they will accept.
    If a different pathway that doesn’t require walking across the front of Old Town Bay could have been created then I think it would have been a far safer and more aesthetically pleasing path for everyone.
    With the point being to remove 2 crossings of a busy road and avoiding walking across an exposed beach in bad weather.
    This chance of change is now gone and we are left as it was before,I honestly don’t think a barrier needs to put in place at all..
    The need for a pavement? Well yes, but why not position it on the other side of the road away from the sea wall?
    This would shield users from bad weather and also cut the road crossings out of the equation..
    It might mean a little bit of road widening opposite Nowhere, but this can only been seen as a useful thing surely..