Pavement ‘scar’ blamed for ruining �9m refurb of Great Yarmouth street

Workmen have been ordered to correct a patch of paving that has been blamed for 'ruining' the �9m regeneration of a historic Great Yarmouth street.

The small stretch of black aggregate on the pavement opposite St George's Theatre was laid by contractors from BT, but has caused uproar among residents who claim it has left a 'blot' on the newly revitalised King Street area.

As part of the major project to rejuvenate the historic thoroughfare as a thriving cultural quarter, Great Yarmouth Borough Council has spent �4m on turning the grade one listed St George's Chapel into a 300-seat performance space, and re-jigged road layouts to give the theatre and its neighbouring pavilion a greater presence in the area.

But shocked residents say the months of renovation work have been 'destroyed' by the stark black strip sitting on top of the newly laid pedestrian area - and the communications giant is now being ordered to put the pavement right.

Paul Davies, chairman of the town's archaeological society, said several residents had contacted him about the paving scar, which sits right outside Christchurch, and commented on how awful it looks.

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'I'm very pleased to see the (regeneration) work being done. It looks very smart and is an excellent improvement in the centre of town but has been destroyed by a utility company,' he added.

'The town is slowly improving and over the last five years is looking much better with the King Street redevelopment, this is a blot on the landscape so to speak.'

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Mr Davies said the poor paving did not 'paint the right picture' for the town and thought its seemingly rushed finish was 'totally unnecessary and unthinking'.

Norfolk County Council said the work had been carried out last week as part of BT's superfast broadband upgrade programme.

But the authority, which granted permission for the work to be carried out, has investigated the paving and is now ordering the utility firm to fix the ugly mark.

Martin Dixon, from the council's highways team, said: 'This has been inspected by our streetworks team and they have given BT formal notice stating that this work does not comply with regulations.

'We have advised BT of the correct material to use when this work is being redone, and we expect that to be completed in the next week or so.'

The council added that the type of surfacing used by BT is considered temporary until the correct material is available.

BT said it was 'urgently' investigating the paving - which was a temporary surface - and would be liaising with the council to install a new top layer.

St George's Theatre finally opened to audiences last week after the project suffered frustrating delays. The new-build pavilion, which was due to open in the summer, is still under construction. Once open it will house a cafe, toilets and tickets sales.

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