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HAD ENOUGH: Residents fury at 30k bill to replace bollards

HAD ENOUGH: Residents fury at 30k bill to replace bollards

Bollards in Altrincham keep getting damaged, Image: LDRS

Bollards in the centre of Altrincham keep getting damaged and residents have had enough.

Cubes blocking off the pavement from cars along Stamford New Road and doubling as seating areas were installed during the first phase of work to improve Altrincham town centre.

The blocks were repeatedly driven into and vandalised and were so light that people could pick them up and move them out of place.

This particularly caused problems for visually impaired residents in the town centre.

In August 2020, the council replaced the old cubes with cylindrical blocks, at a cost of almost £30,000 – much to the relief of local councillors.

At the time, Coun Dan Jerrome, Green Party representative for Altrincham, said: “This is a move in the right direction. We made sure that local residents
who are partially sighted were consulted and shown the drawings before the new design was agreed.

“People with mobility and sight problems need to be included at an
early stage. We need to stop similar mistakes being made on other roads.”

But a year later, some of the bollards have been damaged again and the potential saga of damage and replacement at tax payers’ cost has infuriated some residents.

The council said the new set has suffered far less damage than the previous ones and the council has paid the bill.

A spokesperson for community group Our Altrincham said: “That’s shocking for what was a design failure in the first place. The new bollards are no better than the last lot.

“The planners do not have a grasp of what is practical. They’re just focussed on aesthetics and fancy materials. Ultimately, whatever they look like, they are too low for drivers to see if they don’t have reversing sensors or cameras. That’s why they keep being lifted by vehicles pushing against them.

“They need to be removed and replaced at the planners’ expense with taller more substantial structures.

“The lack of kerbs protecting such structures is also very significant. Many a time, I’ve narrowly avoided being hit by a motorist, seemingly unaware that their vehicle has over-stepped the demarcated parking bay.”

One Altrincham resident, who wished to remain anonymous, added: “It would be good to know who is paying for this failure and who is taking responsibility.”

Not everyone has the same view.

Coun Geraldine Coggins, Green Party councillor for Altrincham, said: “We have drawn the council’s attention to these problems many times over the years.
“The old blocks were causing a trip hazard, particularly for residents who are visually impaired or have mobility difficulties.
“We were pleased to persuade them to put in the new blocks over a year ago. These are easier to see and harder to move. There are also fewer of them, so less maintenance work is required.
“We have to ensure that this sort of problem doesn’t recur, causing dangers for people and costing the council large sums it can ill-afford.
“The fact that the blocks are still occasionally hit by drivers shows the need to make Stamford New Road safer. These blocks are here to protect people walking from dangerous driving and much more needs to be done to keep pedestrians safe.”

A spokesperson for Trafford council said: “Trafford council took the decision to remove the first set of cubes after they were repeatedly vandalised and also badly damaged by vehicles driving on the foot way. We are now planning to re-use them in another part of the scheme in the near future.

“The replacement cubes cost £29,142.76 and were paid for by Trafford council. They are permanent and have been reinforced to protect pedestrians and trees from any accidents involving passing cars. We took this decision to prevent further damage or serious injury.

“The new cubes have suffered far less damage than the previous variety so are considered fit for purpose although there are a couple of locations where further work is required. The safety of the public is, of course, of paramount importance to the council.”


Words: Alice Richardson, Local Democracy Reporter

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