Plans in the pipeline for £1m refurbishment of cobbles area of Alnwick
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Initial funding of £20,000 to carry out detailed design work has been earmarked by Northumberland County Council.
This will enable proposals to be firmed up and funding sources identified for potential delivery in 2024-25.
Cllr Gordon Castle, Alnwick ward member, said: “As the county council leader knows from his visit to Alnwick Town Council earlier this year, refurbishment of the cobbles is the major capital project in Alnwick requested of the county council that is not yet funded.
"Whilst I recognise growing pressure on the council’s capital budget, this important feature of our historic town centre must not be subject to a quick and cheap fix as it has been in the past.
"Therefore, I remain optimistic that cabinet will accept what I constantly call for and agree the necessary funds promptly.”
He added: "The final design will follow further consultation, in addition to the public viewing of possible options last year, but I am pleased that cabinet is now at the stage of authorising payment for the process to get started formally.
"I’m afraid there is no quick way of squeezing £1m out of the county council to rectify a town centre car park, a similar amount having been already allocated to the edge of town car park in Howling Lane, being expanded now.”
The project is among new capital proposals considered by the council’s officer capital strategy group and discussed by cabinet on Tuesday.
A report to members explains that the area is mainly used for car parking but the current surface is uneven and difficult to walk on.
‘Those with mobility issues find the area impossible to walk on and cannot use the pedestrian routes that run through the area,’ it adds. ‘There is little pedestrian space and existing historic features like Robertsons Pant are therefore relatively inaccessible.
‘The project aims to significantly improve the streetscape in this area. The current cobbles will be replaced with flat-top materials suitable for pedestrians, including those with mobility problems. Disabled access will be improved by providing accessible routes across the area.
‘Greater pedestrian space will be created, focused on Roberstons Pant, allowing this historic feature to be more easily visited and appreciated.’