City walks into a storm over slurry; HARBORNE: Resurfaced pavements now a peeling, weed-infested, black mess.
A ROW has broken out over claims that a "black sea" of cheap pavement coating in Harborne's streets is already breaking up.
The Birmingham suburb's paving slabs have been plastered over with the wet mixture, known as slurry seal, which is applied by squeegees and brush-finished.
Now the Harborne Society claims that "waves of ugly black stuff" are coming away in patches, despite being put down only months ago.
Birmingham City Council has conceded that an area of slurry seal will have to be be replaced.
Ann Yorke, technical officer of the Harborne Society, said the "monstrosity" cheapened the neighbourhood, particularly the streets off Greenfield Road, which is about to be made a conservation area.
"I've been told it's dirt cheap - and it looks dirt cheap," said Ann, an architect.
"It looks like a black sea, which has created tide marks along all the pavements. The slurry is coming away in patches, it's pitted, weeds are growing through it and there are even footprints where people have walked on the wet surface.
"It makes the area look a mess. I don't understand why we couldn't just have had good old-fashioned paving slabs which can be lifted when necessary." Bill Taylor, acting senior district engineer for Edgbaston constituency, told Harborne ward meeting: "A lot of people have come up to me to say how much they like it. "Slurry seal demonstrates good engineering practice
and represents excellent value for money at pounds 2.50 per square metre, rather than pounds 20 a square metre for a footway reconstruction." Mr Taylor said a contractor would return in the summer to carry out repairs, and slurry would be replaced In front of shops in Greenfield Road. He said other patches where the slurry seal had not stuck to the surface would also be rectified.
A STEP TOO FAR... 'Dirt cheap' footpath work has blighted Harborne, says Ann Yorke. Picture: Iain Findlay