It is good news that Shropshire Council has received an additional £11.6m of government pothole funding. It is good news that it has fixed around 3,500 potholes. But it is bad news that it has just slapped down crude tarmac repairs on Harp Lane defacing our historic town centre. And it hasn’t got on with other important town centre work we need done before we emerge from lockdown.

Harp Lane is cobbled. Tarmac has no place. I am told the repairs are temporary. But as we know from the decaying state of the Grade II listed cobbles on Broad Street, Shropshire Council is not good at cobbles. I don’t think these repairs are an emergency and a decent job should have been done first time around.

When I asked the Shropshire Council’s highways team about the repairs, I was told:

“The defects on Harp Lane have been picked up as a safety issue, Harp lane would be inspected as a footpath so 20mm would be classed as a safety issue at this location. With regards to a more permanent repair a gang with the appropriate skill set is being set up to deal with such issues so a better more “in keeping” repair will be done as soon as possible. The plan will be to do this type of repair in the first instance going forward, when possible, which will reduce the re-occurrence of this type of situation.”

That is good as far as it goes. Though Harp Lane is a lane open to vehicles not a footpath. And this poor quality work on a little used lane is barely a priority. It distracts from the historic character of our town centre.

I’ll be chasing the timetable for repairs and pressing for the council to always provide “in keeping” repairs rather than quick patches that won’t last more than a few months.

It is also vital that Shropshire Council and its contractors respect the historic context in which they work.

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