Fury as council rip up pavement in Brighton Regency conservation area Brighton News

The Regency-era properties in Pelham Square, Brighton, are often valued at more than £1 million and boast views over the only grass park in North Laine.

So residents were furious when a lorry with a grabber arm arrived in the square last Thursday (December 14) and workmen began smashing the pavement to pieces.

“The whole point is that the area is kept as in keeping as possible, it should be maintained as it is,” said Rob Reaks, who has lived in Pelham Square for 18 years.

The Argus: Workers removed some of the paving slabs.Workers removed some of the paving slabs. (Image: Supplied.)

“I wasn’t allowed to have a skylight in my house because it ‘changed the look’ of the area, but the contractors have come along and just smashed all the paving slabs up and put down asphalt.

“It could devalue my home. The council didn’t engage with us, they just came along and did it. They should have asked us all.”

The Argus: Parts of the pavement are now black tarmac.Parts of the pavement are now black tarmac. (Image: The Argus)

Two large sections of the footpath around Pelham Square were replaced with tarmac, creating a “patchwork” of surfaces, Rob said.

But the city council said “extreme financial difficulties” meant asphalt was the only alternative to traditional paving slabs.

Councillor Trevor Muten, chairman of the city council’s transport and sustainability committee, said: “We’re sorry to hear of Mr Reaks’s disappointment with our pavement maintenance work in Pelham Square.

The Argus: Pelham Square is packed with history.Pelham Square is packed with history. (Image: The Argus)

“We’re keen to take the views of residents into account as much as we can, and to ensure that the work we do reflects the aesthetics and character of an area.

“However, where existing pavement slabs have been damaged by vehicles going over them, our policy is to replace them with a more resilient material – in this case asphalt.”

Cllr Muten said there is no requirement to replace pavements within conservation areas with specific materials unless this is specified in the conservation area agreement.

“In the case of Pelham Square this is not specified,” he said.

The Argus: The south side of the square after the work.The south side of the square after the work. (Image: The Argus)

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“Tarmac is more cost-effective in the long run. Given the extreme financial difficulties we are currently facing this has to be a very important consideration.

“In heritage terms there is also a historical precedent in that both the Victorians and Edwardians sometimes used tarmac for their pavements.

“We would very much appeal to drivers not to park on pavements, as it is a key factor in us having to carry out pavement repairs.”

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This notice was published: 2023-12-23 05:00:00

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