The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP

Member of Parliament for Welwyn Hatfield

Local MP relieved at long delayed repair of ‘dangerous’ pavement

Welwyn Hatfield’s MP, Grant Shapps, has spoken of his relief that the damaged pavement outside the Birchwood Co-op in West Hatfield has been repaired at last.

Grant has been campaigning to make this pavement safe since March 2009, after constituents complained that the roots of two large trees growing outside the shop had cracked and lifted the tarmac, making it a hazard for shoppers and other pedestrians.

The MP wrote to both Hertfordshire Highways and the Co-op to try to find out who was responsible for the upkeep of the pavement and to urge that repairs were made before someone had an accident. He managed to establish that the pavement did not form part of the public highway and that it was the Co-op’s responsibility.

That was far from the end of the matter, however. A long dispute between the Co-op and the Local Authority then followed, with the store claiming that although it owned the pavement, the Council was responsible for the trees and any damage they caused. But the Council disagreed.

While this argument went back and forth, an accident occurred, just as Grant had feared. An elderly resident coming out of the Co-op tripped over the uneven surface and broke her arm.

Last June Grant issued a press release in which he was photographed outside the store with another concerned local resident. He spoke of his frustration that in spite of constant reassurance that something was being done, nothing ever seemed to happen.

Only now, following continued pressure from the MP, have the trees been finally removed and the pavement repaired.

Grant commented, “It’s great news to learn that the dangerous pavement outside the Co-op has now been made safe for pedestrians. I’m only sorry that it took so long and that one elderly resident suffered a painful accident, as a result of the delay. But at least it’s now finally fixed before any other accidents occur. The residents and shoppers in Birchwood will be very relieved.”

Grant on the pavement with concerned local resident Mrs Delia East in Summer 2011Grant on the pavement as it is todayGrant on the pavement as it is todayGrant on the pavement as it is todayGrant on the pavement as it is today

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