Could St Albans homeowners and builders pick up tab for pavement damage?
PUBLISHED: 12:00 19 January 2020
Calls have been made for St Albans homeowners - or their builders - to be forced to pay for any damage caused to pavements or verges following construction work at their properties.
Currently the cost of repairs to the highways is routinely picked up by the Hertfordshire County Council.
But St Albans City and District Council is set to look at whether, in some circumstances, responsibility could be passed to home owners or developers.
The move is in response to concerns raised at a meeting of the St Albans City and District Council on Wednesday, by Conservative Cllr Teresa Heritage - who is also deputy leader of Hertfordshire County Council.
Cllr Heritage highlighted a street in Harpenden where the Tarmac pavement had been "churned up" by construction vehicles associated with work at a particular property.
And she said residents had approached her to say the homeowner or the developer should be forced to pay for the repairs.
Cllr Heritage said: "It was most recently provoked by residents complaining to me about developers parking on pavements on both sides of a junction - and the Tarmac on that pavement had been churned up.
"But the complainants actually commented that the homeowner or developer should pay for the repair. It's always the county council that picks up the bill."
Cllr Heritage says the damage left behind by construction vehicles can make the pavements unsightly and dangerous.
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She had intended, she said, to suggest the introduction of a deposit scheme - but she had been advised that it would not be legal to do so.
Nevertheless she said she hoped the council could encourage developers to be more responsible through the planning process.
And in a motion she called for portfolio holder for planning Cllr Jamie Day to investigate if developers and home owners could be made responsible for the repair of pavements and verges damaged by construction and builder's vehicles related to a development.
The motion won the unanimous backing of the council - requiring the work to be undertaken by Cllr Day.
Liberal Democrat Cllr Day said this was a long-standing issue that had been a problem since he joined the council, in 2006 - not only caused by builders but by online and grocery delivery vehicles too.
He said: "I am very happy to sit down with the portfolio holder to see what we can and what we can't do, and to try and resolve this - but can't promise any magic bullet.
"As we have heard this is a long-standing problem and if it was easy to solve quickly it would have been done.
"Certainly broken paving stones, churned up grass, they are unsightly and dangerous and its something we can all work to do without."
During the debate Cllr Geoff Harrison (Liberal Democrat) stressed that any solution had to be a joint venture between the district and county council
And Cllr Heritage said she would also draw it to the attention of the county coucil's cabinet member for highways, Cllr Phil Bibby.