Council leader setting the record straight over High Street 'myths'

10:17am Friday 18th April 2014

By Chris Webber

A LEADER of a council has sought to “set the record straight” about myths surrounding the plan to replace Yarm’s cobbles.

Stockton Borough Council is investing £500,000 in Yarm High Street, including replacing the cobbles around the town hall.

But many people in the town have objected with more than 1,000 residents signing a petition objecting to the plans.

Now Coun Bob Cook, leader of Stockton Borough Council, has intervened to correct what he says is a series of inaccurate claims, including one suggestion that purple-coloured paving is to be installed.

He said there have also been claims that the cobbles along the entire length of Yarm High Street are to be removed and replaced with Tarmac.

Coun Cook, said: “Sadly, many of these ludicrous claims are the result of scaremongering. I think it is worth re-stating the facts.

“Contrary to some suggestions, we are not planning to replace all of the cobbles in Yarm High Street. What we are planning is a scheme to provide improved access to the war memorial and Town Hall, which houses a disabled toilet.

“There will also be new lighting to illuminate the Town Hall at night and a thorough cleaning of the war memorial.

“It has also been claimed that we have not consulted with representative bodies. This is simply not true. We have developed the scheme in close liaison with the democratically-elected Yarm Town Council and have also consulted with Yarm Chamber of Trade and the Showmen’s Guild.”

However Martin Kenefec, Chair of Yarm Residents Association, said changes were being “forced” on Yarm.

He said: “Bob Cook, the Labour councillor for Norton South is guilty of imposing his political will on the people of Stockton South. He has no regard for our town or our heritage, rather he is forcing changes on people who are unable to use the democratic process to remove him.

"It's clear for anyone to see: thousands of new houses, a pay and display tax (car parking charge on the High Street), no improvements to infrastructure, the inevitability of traffic chaos and now the sanitisation of our heritage. This man is a menace and those that support him should be ashamed.”

Work on the High Street improvements is due to get under way next week and last for 12 weeks.

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