Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Eastrington and Howden dropped kerbs issue continues

The issue of dropped kerbs across footpaths and verges to allow access to driveways again came to the fore at a public meeting held this week in Eastrington for both Eastrington and Howden residents, who had received letters from the East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC), informing them of the legal position under the Highways Act, where the Government legislation insists the council is required to maintain the highway including kerbs, verges and footways. The Council being the body that enforces the construction of appropriate vehicular crossings.

The problem arises, as now many households possess at least one vehicle, very often 2 or 3, and the streets were not originally designed to accommodate the present requirement for off road parking. Naturally people want to park their vehicles off the road if possible, to avoid damage and congestion and many have constructed driveways - but without having the correctly constructed dropped kerbs.

Beneath the verges and footpaths there are located gas, electrical and other service lines, which can be damaged by vehicles passing over the un-supported ground cover. The repairs to these can lead to inconvenience and costs that put pressure on Council Tax contributions or increased utility bills.

The issue first came about a year ago when letters where received by a dozen or so residents of Eastrington’s Pinfold Street and of Howden’s Derwent Crescent. I shared the feelings of the residents when they said the letters were badly written and somewhat heavy-handed, we as a Council looked into this, lessons were learnt and the format and tone of the letters subsequently changed. Residents where also given a grace period to have the work done whilst still using their drives.

Some residents have questioned why some dropped kerbs have been installed in Goole free of charge. I have looked into this and found that this work has been funded as part of a ring-fenced Government regeneration budget, which if not spent in Goole, it would be taken back, by the Government, and given to another authority.

Working with Eastrington’s Pinfold Street residents, we were able to find ways to take advantages of economies of scale. This included purchasing just one vehicle access information pack, working with the council so all the work was covered under one single planning application, and obtaining a very good deal from one contractor who offered a reduced price for doing all the driveways at the same time. Unfortunately one or two residents decided not take advantage of this and are now faced with a higher cost if they choose to have the work done, having to park on the street in the meantime, and enforcement action if they continue to use their driveways.

Ten further Eastrington households have recently received letters from the Council asking them to consider installing dropped kerbs; I am committed to helping these residents as before, in trying to make the process as straightforward and cost effective as possible.
I have a great deal of sympathy with householders having to pay for their own 'dropped kerb access', if it is their responsibility, but ultimately this is Government legislation, with the Council’s role being to ensure that residents comply with the law.

(For the original story and comments please see post passim of 1st Sept 2008 at - http://paul-robinson-howdenshire.blogspot.com/2008/09/eastrington-howden-residents-hit-with.html or by typing Eastrington dropped kerbs into the blog search box at the top left of blog header and hit 'search blog')

3 comments:

John said...

Your post does not make it clear but do I assume that the contractor was one of the councils "approved list"? When this was last raised the need to use approved contractors was one of the criticisms.
Lets face it buried services are supposed to be installed at a depth to avoid damage, surrounded by either protection or a "soft" material to provide resilience such as sand or pea gravel. Water and Gas pipes are robust enough to be safe, susceptible cables are at a safe depth or armoured. Maybe the standard the council expects should be published then no-one is hiding behind a veil of secrecy. This would allow a clear and constructive debate to follow.

Kev Owen (aka Bluetracker) said...

Whilst I'm sure that the Council are being very business like in requiring payment from residents to install dropped kerbs and thus lessen the likelihood of damage to underground service lines by vehicular travel over them. I have to ask if these service lines are so fragile why were the footways not made more substantial in the first instance.
In many cases footpaths are a disgrace and only a small step up from cart tracks in some places. People trip over flagstones quite regularly and yet a policy of 'make do and mend' is followed throughout the county where road or footpath refurbishments are concerned. More substantial flagstones are being replaced by '2 bob a metre' tarmac that sticks to shoes during summer and ruins carpets and then cracks and deteriorates during winter needing further attention over and over again. A properly laid and constructed footpath would have sufficient strength to withstand vehicular passage as well as lasting a very long time.
What are we paying our Council taxes for? Where is the money being spent? It certainly isn't finding it's way to refurbish pavements, that's for sure. Oh wait a minute ...householders are asked to chivvy up to pay for something that should have been done by the council at the outset from within the road/footpath construction/maintenance budget.

John said...

Don't get me started on ERYC value for money or sensible allocation of spending!
I shouldn't grumble I suppose. We have just had a new surface on a "soon to be downgraded" road and an ocean of brightly coloured paint on it.