CONSERVATIVE councillors who agreed to the construction of Blackpool’s multi-million pound Promenade which is now breaking up in parts, have defended their role in the controversial scheme.
The Gazette reported this week how the carriageway in front of The Tower is crumbling just 18 months after it was unveiled.
But former council leader Coun Peter Callow today denied it was his administration’s fault.
The Tories were in power when the decision was made to reduce the road from four to two lanes, and build a new shared space highway.
Coun Callow told The Gazette: “Neither Labour nor Conservative, nor Lib Dem councillors are experts on roads.
“The designs were done by our highways experts and we were told shared space operates safely all over the continent.
“It is almost two years since we left office and the completion of the work was actually after we left power, but I would expect the road has been checked by our inspectors to see if the job was done properly.
“If it’s not up to scratch, we must get the contractors back to put it right.”
Coun Peter Evans, deputy leader of the Conservatives on Blackpool Council, added: “We agreed the scheme but at the end of the day we take advice from experts.
“If an expert puts something in front of you and says this will work and these are the specifications, you accept that is true.
“It has either been bad workmanship or bad materials.”
The cost of repairs is being met from the £2.5m budget originally set aside for the scheme.
John Donnellon, service director for the built environment on Blackpool Council, says some of the damage has been caused by heavy delivery lorries, while utility companies have also dug up some areas but will be returning to restore the carriageway.
But taxi drivers and bus operators are among those fed up with the constant repairs.
Paul Bottle, who drives for C Cabs, said: “Even if they repair it, it will be a never ending job and it will be crumbling again.”
Philip Higgs, boss of ClassicBus North West which operates heritage services in Blackpool, added: “It really is an embarrassment.
“What was once the Golden Mile has become a pot-holed congested roadway.
“It is a pity common sense never prevailed at the outset. The bricked roadway was never going to sustain the traffic volume expected of it.”