No Solutions Offered For Old Town Footpath

The Old Town footpath, photographed in November

The Old Town footpath, photographed in November

The chief planning officer, Craig Dryden, has said the Council needs to put pressure on the new school project board to solve the problems with the footpath across Old Town sea wall.

There has been criticism from the local community and councillors over the state of the path that was created by laying ‘cold’ tarmac along the sea-wall side of the road.

It’s designed to form a safely-marked route for pedestrians, and was a planning condition on the new school, but began breaking up within days of being laid.

Barry Archer, who represented the school project board at the Planning meeting yesterday, says the work poses a number of problems. These include the A-road designation, which means it must be done to traffic regulations, and the state of the road, which isn’t level and has to deal with overtopping by waves.

The chief technical officer also didn’t want to dig up the road to install a kerb as it could damage metal strengthening bars that hold the two sea walls on either side together. Mr Archer wasn’t sure where these were, although Planning vice chair Amanda Martin told him there was a very good photographic archive showing the road being built, which he could use.

Engineers from Cornwall have suggested installing a paved footpath but that would cost £100,000 said Barry, which is more than the £60,000 budget available.

Cllr David Pearson said it was important to have a footpath in place quickly for the sake of the children.

But Planning chairman Gaz O’Neil said this was affecting people of all ages, with residents and visitors having to walk into the middle of the road when visiting Old Town.

Gaz said he was concerned that £10,000 had already been spent and nothing achieved. “We can’t continue to fritter away the budget,” he said, and the next attempt needs to be more suitable.

Cllr Chris Savill agreed saying that this piece of road impacts on the whole community and our tourism offering. She wanted it to be taken out of the hands of the school project board.

That mood was echoed by other councillors, including Dudley Mumford, who felt they should go back to square one and start again. He said the community is very concerned and doesn’t like it.

Mr Archer said he had contacted the contractors who laid the tarmac to see what remedial works are required. He’s still waiting for them to get back to him, he said.

In the end, no firm solutions or timelines were offered and councillors agreed that the school project board should to continue to explore the options available.