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Last cobbles in Burnley town centre are ripped up
2:00pm Saturday 21st July 2012 in News
BURNLEY’S last remaining cobbled town centre street has been ripped up — because it was putting historic buildings at risk.
Heritage campaigners said they were saddened that ‘a feature of old Burnley has been lost’.
But the borough’s MP and a leading historian said that buses constantly rattling over the cobbles along Hammerton Street were affecting the foundations of the 150-year-old Co-op buildings either side of the historic route.
County highways bosses said the cobbles, from the junction of Hargreaves Street to St James Street, were also becoming too expensive to maintain. They have now been replaced by a tarmacadam covering.
But one historian said that when the cobbles were put back in place in Hammerton Street several years ago the individual stones were twice as big as they should have been — causing much of the problem.
Coun Roger Frost, chairman of Burnley Civic Trust, said the organisation was ‘very pleased’ when a decision was taken to re-install setts there several years ago.
“We told the county council that they were using the wrong kind of setts, which we know came from the old railway yard at Burnley Central station,” said Coun Frost.
“They were too big and should have been more like the domestic style of setts which are half the size. The vibrations are affecting the old Co-op buildings on either side.
“We understand, to a point, the maintenance issue, but a feature of old Burnley has been lost.”
Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle added: “There was a tremendous amount of vibration going through the foundations of those building and I have had a few complaints from the owners of the buildings there.
“I reckon that within a few years they might well have fallen down. It’s not just the cobbles but the weight of the vehicles that have been using the road and the vibrations which have been caused.”
Brian Hobbs, chairman of Burnley Chamber of Commerce, said: “They were very nice while they lasted. But they had to do some work on the rest of the cobbles not so long ago.
“They have not settled and become uneven and health and safety has to be paramount . It is a shame that they have to go though.”
Duncan Reeve, the county council’s public realm manager for East Lancashire said: “I can confirm that the cobbles on Hammerton Street have been removed because maintaining the road surface in a safe condition was no longer economical.
"Hammerton Street is on the Mainline bus route into and out of the town centre which inevitably means the cobbles are subjected to high volumes of heavy vehicles.
"The replacement material for the road surface has been chosen to be inkeeping with the surrounding area. “ Mr Reeve said the matter had been discussed with the civic trust before the works went ahead.
Cobbles were once a proud feature of every East Lancashire town but now there are few examples remaining. Piccadilly Road and Bankhouse Road are among the last surviving examples in Burnley.