Fixing Wonky Pavements

Our ward has miles, and miles and miles of flagstone paving, much of it laid decades ago. Loose, cracked and wonky paving is a trip hazard. So what can be done about it?

Fixing wonky pavements is right up there in the top 10 things that residents write to me about. Sadly, there are times when a section of wonky pavement only gets reported AFTER it has caused an accident. As a resident it’s reasonable to expect that you and your family members can walk down the street without risking a broken bone.

Here’s what I’ve learned about fixing wonky pavements in the umpteen cases I’ve dealt with over the last couple of years…

Firstly, any resident can report a paving problem direct to the council via its website. If you search for “North Tyneside Report It” the link is easy to find. The Report It section of the council’s website has a list of all sorts of things you can report, pavements is at the bottom of the list. To save you googling and scrolling the direct link for reporting pavement problems is below. The actual form you fill out to report the problem is very straightforward to complete, but sadly lacks a facility to upload a photo of the problem, which would be helpful. I would advise taking a photo anyway, to be forwarded to the officer you end up dealing with once they have replied to your initial enquiry. If you don’t have internet access you can ring the council on 0345 2000 101.

Secondly, what kind of response should you expect? The Highways team have a policy that: “A crack in the pavement or an uneven or rocking flagstone greater than 20mm may constitute a safety hazard and should be repaired”. So far, so clear cut. However, the actual street repairs service was privatised to an outsourcing company called Capita years ago when we had a Conservative mayor. I’ve found that the service they provide is generally good, but not without problems. If you’re feeling ignored, receive a poor service or end up in a dispute then please drop me a line, I can often help get things sorted.

Thirdly, a long-term plan for transforming our pavements is needed. Around North Tyneside there must be hundreds, probably thousands of miles of paving. Lots of it is in shabby condition and it will be expensive to fix it all, but we need to start with an agreement about what good looks like. A couple of things that ought to be considered:

  • Using the right materials in the right places. In the older, terraced parts of the ward space is tight, cars frequently bump up the kerb and the paving flags crack. Without getting into the rights and wrongs of cars on the pavement, it baffles me that brittle concrete paving flags are used in these locations. Once replaced they’re broken again within a week. A proper plan would consider the most suitable surfaces, street by street.
  • Thinking ahead about tree roots. If paving hasn’t been cracked by a car then odds on it’s been lifted by a tree root. 90% of pavement issues fall into those two categories. What I do find baffling is that despite paving lifted by tree roots being incredibly common, there doesn’t appear to be a common solution. Repairs can be delayed for weeks whilst back-and-forth correspondence takes place with an entirely different team who deal with trees rather than paving. It needs to be far more joined-up.

Here’s a reminder of that link again to report wonky pavements, and a screenshot of what the form looks like.

Note: The form only opens up fully once you have searched for and located the relevant street in the top box.

%d bloggers like this: