Business owners have described a £20,000 project to repave the Bailgate in Lincoln, just six years after the area was given a costly restoration, as “the last nail in the coffin”.
Bailgate will be closed to traffic for paving works between Westgate and Chapel Lane from October 3 and will be ongoing initially for two weeks.
Lincolnshire County Council has said if the work is successful further areas of Bailgate will also be repaved.
One way orders will be suspended on Westgate and Chapel Lane. The council says access will be maintained to the properties on the length of the road, but drivers will be subject to delays.
Back in 2010, the Bailgate was given a high profile restoration, with the Historic Lincoln Partnership (a collaboration between Lincoln Cathedral, Lincolnshire County Council, City of Lincoln Council , English Heritage and the University of Lincoln) marking the new look as a “great achievement”, despite going over its £1 million budget by 17%.
The Bailgate Restored project included costs of £196,000 to locate the appropriate stone from York for paving. The team also restored the Roman Well which cost £180,000.
After just a few years, the stone has begun to crack and sink along the length of the road.
Principal Highways Officer at Lincolnshire County Council Dave Underwood, said: “Unfortunately, the natural stone paving is not proving as durable as expected.
“We will begin repaving a small section on October 3 using a slightly different approach, which should take two weeks to complete.
“The works will cost around £20,000 and if successful further areas will be repaired.
“We are speaking to businesses in the area and the Bailgate Guild to maintain access where possible during the work. ”
Viv Barlow, owner of homeware and accessories shop Look on Bailgate said: “It’s clear that the work needs doing, but the most concerning thing is that the work needs doing in the first place.
“The highways department went to great pains when it all started to reassure us of what incredibly high quality work the fancy paving was going to be and how this kind of nightmare scenario was never going to happen.
“The problems started in a very short space of time. I can’t believe they couldn’t have done tests to ascertain conditions further down at ground level.
“Members of the public cope very badly with road closures and already we’re competing with parking uphill which people are paying through the nose for, so the customers we do get are very precious.
“People who aren’t aware of all the other work that’s going on in town will just get here and panic.”
Michelle Williams from The Lincoln Whisky Shop on Bailgate said: “The business has been here 40 years this year. Hopefully it’ll be okay if people can still access the Westgate car park. But with work also going on at The Lawn at the moment, car parking spaces have been lost there too.
“I think this is going to hit us hard, especially with all the closures in town as well. There’s already four gone in town.
“Not long ago we noticed contractors beginning to fill odd bits of the road outside.”
Proprietor of Elite Meats, the butcher in the Bailgate, Kenny Roberts told The Lincolnite: “I’m concerned. It’s like the final nail in the coffin. There aren’t any traditional shoppers about anymore.
“There’s nowhere for workers to park and there’s nowhere for customers to park. I think they should pedestrianise the area. The foundations are down.
“I’m fed up full stop. It’s a change of shopping habits too.”