Council told to improve Portishead town centre or face large bill

PUBLISHED: 06:59 14 February 2018 | UPDATED: 06:59 14 February 2018

North Somerset Council is working on design proposals.

North Somerset Council is working on design proposals.

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Much-needed improvements to Portishead town centre must be carried out by North Somerset Council or else it risks racking up a substantial bill.

An illustration of what the Precinct would look like if improved. Picture: North Somerset Council.An illustration of what the Precinct would look like if improved. Picture: North Somerset Council.

A plan to revamp Portishead’s Precinct was made public last year following criticism over the state of the area, especially the walkways which had cracked tiles and unattractive tarmac.

The council leases the area from London & Cambridge (L&C) and legally must maintain the precinct, but a lack of action has prompted stern warnings.

A Times investigation has revealed L&C contacted the council twice in late-2017 to make its unhappiness clear.

In a letter to the council’s chief executive Mike Jackson, it said: “Repairs have either not been carried out or have not been done in accordance with good workmanship.

“There are a number of avenues we can go down here and the least popular in our experience is the one where we, as landlords go and serve an interim schedule of dilapidations on the council or a repairs notice.

“Both these options are slightly over the top although are generally very effective, but are expensive for the recipient ie the council.”

North Somerset says cost-effective tarmac repairs have been carried out in the past few years, but the response carried little favour with L&C.

It said: “Lesley Cottrell, chairman of Portishead Town Council, has written to us requesting something be done to the precinct so it looks to be in full repair rather than a patchwork of tarmac and slabs as the current condition reflects badly on the townscape.”

North Somerset Council has proposed overhauling the area but does not have the funds to carry out the project.

In June, Cllr David Pasley, North Somerset’s executive member for finance, asked the town council – which he is also a member of – to provide funds to help speed the project along.

He said it would provide a fitting ‘gateway’ to the town.

His pleas largely fell on deaf ears, with town councillors unimpressed with the idea its funds should be used to pay for work North Somerset is obliged to carry out.

North Somerset says talks with the town council are ongoing.

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