Historic area to be refurbished in time for centenary anniversary of First World War’s outbreak

The Church Lane cobbles in Berkhamsted are being relaid
The Church Lane cobbles in Berkhamsted are being relaid

The relaying of cobbles in a historic part of Berkhamsted is nearing completion – and the work will be done for £50,000 less than expected.

A number of temporary tarmac repairs have been carried out along the Church Lane walkway in the past to keep it safe for pedestrians. Many of the cobbles were so wobbly that they were removed by passers-by and handed to Berkhamsted Town Council for safe keeping.

The authority expressed ‘disappointment’ that Herts Highways was unable to fund all the work needed on a path in a ‘key heritage site’ that was its responsibility.

Herts County Councillor for Berkhamsted Ian Reay assigned £58,000 towards relaying the cobbles out of the annual £90,000 he gets to spend on the area’s transport infrastructure.

Early estimates from the town council suggested the work would cost £100,000 – but it is now looking like it will cost just £50,000.

Mr Reay, who is also a town councillor, said: “It is actually very reasonable in comparison with the cost of what was done to Hemel Hempstead High Street

“What they are doing in Berkhamsted is a very labour-intensive job and they have to use high quality materials to a high standard.”

The path has been closed for about two months for the work to be carried out and is due to be finished within the next three or four weeks.

Mr Reay said: “It is right in the centre of the conservation area, by St Peter’s Church and the war memorial and in a very historic part of town.”

He said Herts Highways – part of Herts County Council – is only responsible for keeping it safe and in good condition, rather than in keeping with its surroundings.

He said: “The county council would have just relayed it with tarmac, because that’s the cheapest way of doing it.”

The war memorial is also being refurbished ahead of the centenary anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War later this year.