Improving Roads and Pavements

This week I met one of the managers from infrastructure contractor Capita to do an on-foot tour around the ward looking at our roads and pavements…

First a bit of context. Over 10 years ago now, North Tyneside’s previous Mayor, a Conservative, committed eye-watering sums of money to a series of long-term outsourcing agreements. In one fell swoop a massive chunk of the services previously under the direct control of the council were handed over to private companies. This explains why I was doing the ward walkabout with a private contractor rather than with a member of council staff.

Whilst it’s true that I would prefer the council to have direct control over the maintenance of local roads and pavements I must say that I’ve always found the team at Capita straightforward to deal with. I also like that they are one of the few major outsourcing companies to have signed the Fair Tax pledge and to be an accredited Living Wage employer. Working with their previous service manager, Councillor Cath Davis and I have seen an unprecedented 25,000 m2 of road resurfacing delivered in Preston ward since 2019. This has included schemes such as Billy Mill roundabout / Queen Alexandra Road West, Front Street in Preston Village, Walton Avenue, North Road, Windsor Gardens, Osborne Gardens, Blanchland Terrace, Belford Terrace, Hawkeys Lane, Roseberry Avenue plus a number of side roads and partial schemes.

  • I’m also pleased to say that in the new financial year resurfacing will be happening on the south section of Glendale Avenue, the western section of Cleveland Road and the junction of Preston Avenue and Albion Road.

It’s great that motorists and cyclists have the benefit of improved surfaces as they make their journeys. But I really want people who get about on foot to see improvements too. The fact is, pedestrians are uniquely vulnerable. An elderly person who trips whilst walking to the shops doesn’t have the benefit of a seatbelt or an airbag. That’s why I’d like to see more money going into fixing pavements in the years ahead. Not just a little patch up here and there but some substantial work.

There’s no shortage of work to be done and we have to start somewhere. Identifying potential schemes is an important task. This week we looked in detail at Trevor Terrace, along with a couple of other locations, to understand the full extent of the problems. I requested that Capita to get their thinking caps on and come up with cost-effective and sustainable designs. What we don’t want is the current situation of cracked flagstones just being replaced with poor quality products that crack again with 6 months. Long-terms solutions are needed.

I’ll provide an update in due course.

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