Residents hit out at state of pavements after broadband work in Carlisle
Anger is growing over the state of pavements following work to bring superfast broadband to Carlisle.
Residents in Botcherby and Currock say they are frustrated and annoyed that their pavements are cracked, have big gaps between slabs and that new slabs don't match old ones.
As well as looking odd, locals in the Brunton Crescent area are concerned the pavements are dangerous – one woman in her 80s reportedly fell and injured her face because of the uneven surface.
It follows work by Virgin Media to upgrade network connections in the city - but has led to an improvement notice being imposed by Cumbria County Council as part of measures to ensure problems are fixed.
Richard Milne, of Brunton Crescent, said: “It's disgusting. We've ended up with pavements that look like a patchwork quilt.”
Mr Milne is particularly concerned about gravel loose from the pavements falling down drains and increasing the risk of flooding.
More than 400 defects in the pavements were logged in a year across Carlisle, though the number of actual defects could be even higher because the county council's reporting system only allows one pavement defect to be recorded in any one 200-metre stretch.
Peter Coulthard, of Thirlwell Gardens, off Warwick Road, is furious because Virgin Media dug across his driveway, which he said was supposed to be private land, and then filled it in with asphalt.
But in the process, Mr Coulthard said the digger loosened curb stones, making it a mess.
“It's bad workmanship all-round,” he said.
Edith Boyd is annoyed because a trench was also dug straight across her drive entrance on Brunton Crescent.
She said: “It's such a mess. They said it was temporary and they would do it again – that must be six or seven weeks ago.”
“I'd like it put back the way it should be,” she said. “I'd just like it tidied up so it looks good.”
Gordon Hastings, 72, who has lived on Brunton Crescent for 45 years, said it’s not all Virgin Media's fault because the pavements have been up about four times since the floods of December 2015 as different companies supplying gas, electric and telephone services have needed to gain access underneath.
He said: “It's not rocket science. They need putting back properly and they need filling in properly.”
Currock resident, Tony Grinbergs, of Redbank Square, is unimpressed with Virgin Media's work.
He said: “It's just a catalogue of right shoddy work. They haven't reinstated like for like. They've relaid flagstones which are now uneven.
“They should be made to do it again.”
The pavement issue has been highlighted by Botcherby's independent county councillor, Rob Betton.
Carlisle MP John Stevenson has written to Cumbria County council about the issue after being contacted by a number of residents concerned about the state of pavements, criticising the response to the complaints raised.
He said: "My constituents are rightly concerned about the danger that these slabs are presenting."
A Virgin Media spokeswoman confirmed the firm was aware of complaints in Carlisle.
She added: "The volume of defects is unacceptable and we apologise to the community for the inconvenience.
"We have already made good progress to address most of these defects and aim to have this completed within the next four weeks, with support from Cumbria County Council.
“We hold our contract partners to the highest standard of work and are working closely with them to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”