Claims that the new paving in Lancaster city centre already looks “filthy” and is a waste of money have been challenged by the city council.
Scores of people have taken to social media to pick holes in the ongoing resurfacing works which have seen much of Penny Street, Cheapside, Market Street and Market Square taken over by builders and machinery.
But Lancaster City Council said that the work would “improve the area enormously for businesses, visitors and locals alike”, and shouldn’t be judged until it is completed.
The work is costing more than £1m and has been funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the city council and Lancashire County Council.
It is expected to be completed by the end of October.
Norman Fairclough, of Grasmere Road, said: “The problem is the bad choice of paving material.
“It’s dreary, it clashes with Lancaster’s fine old stone buildings instead of complementing them as it should, and, on top of that...it shows every mark.
“It’s already filthy, and in some places sordid and disgusting. Look at how effectively it has absorbed the fat and grease from the burgers outside a well-known eatery on Cheapside. The money could have been much better spent.”
Janice Hanson, cabinet member with responsibility for regeneration and planning, said: “A great deal of care was given to choosing a materials palette of the highest quality so as to create classic, timeless, locally distinctive and sustainable public spaces which respect the architecture of the surrounding buildings and embrace city life.
“We have deliberately used a very high quality hard English Pennine Stone known as Scoutmoor.
“This is very hard wearing with a proven history in high footfall locations such as in Trafalgar Square.
Examples of other towns which have used the material include Bristol and Doncaster, so it has a proven and successful track record of use in high traffic pedestrian areas.
“With regard to the cleaning of the area, an appropriate cleansing schedule is being put in place.
“But it’s not just about cleaning up after the mess has been made – it’s also about thinking of how to reduce the mess in the first place.
“Clearly some businesses and their customers generate more cleansing issues than others and we very much agree it is in everyone’s interests to maintain the standard of the appearance of the city once the works have been completed.
“We have plans in place to work with the business community and other stakeholders to achieve this.
“As an example we intend to have another focused campaign to encourage people to take pride in the city and prevent many of the issues occurring in the first place.
“Effectively the whole area is a construction site, which inevitably produces a fair amount of muck and grime, and shouldn’t be judged until it’s all completed.”