"It is an absolute eyesore' - Anger after historic cobbled street in South Shields 'ruined' by new road markings

New road markings in a much-loved historic street in South Shields have sparked anger among residents and from town MP Emma Lewell-Buck.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 3:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 8th April 2021, 4:20 pm

Mill Dam, one of the last cobbled streets left in the town, has had sections covered with tar and new road markings to enforce parking measures.

Freshly marked double yellow lines have been painted down one side of the street by popular pubs The Waterfront and The Steamboat, while another strip of the road has also been covered and white lines added to indicate parking restrictions.

The work, which is understood to have been completed this week, has been met with anger by some living in the town, with South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck calling the work as ‘ghastly.’

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The cobbles at Mill Dam, South Shields. Picture by Frank Reid

South Tyneside Council said they are looking to review the situation at Mill Dam ‘as a matter of urgency’ after admitting the work was not up to their standards.

"I have contacted the council about it and Councillor Hamilton and Councillor Francis have done the same,” Ms Lewell-Buck said.

“None of us knew anything about it.

“I think it looks ghastly and there is no reason for it.

The cobbles on Mill Dam have been covered with tar and new road markings.

“I have talked to the businesses along there and nobody has said they wanted double yellow lines long there.

"There has been no consultation done with anybody.

"They need to get rid of it and restore the road.”

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Mill Dam has previously been used as a filming location for the TV show Vera and the street name derives from a mill that stood here in the thirteenth century.

The Steamboat owner Kath Brain said the new road markings, which were painted on Tuesday, are not only ‘horrendous’ but have caused parking problems for residents and business owners.

She said: ”It is an absolute mess.

"Mill Dam is a conservation area and they have done a really shoddy job.

"It looks ridiculous. They could have just put more signs up.

"There is nowhere for us to park so residents are parking further down Mill Dam.

"Two spaces for eight or nine cars is not enough. It has not been taken into consideration.”

South Shields Green Party Councillor David Francis confirmed that he had contacted the council about the issue. He said: “I do appreciate the difficulty with road markings on cobbled surfaces and in fact the lines on Mill Dam were previously painted onto an anti-skid surface on top of the cobbles.

"Previously, this was done in a much more subtle and sensitive way and didn't result in the level of public outcry we've seen this week.

"I'm hopeful that the council can work with contractors to minimise the negative impact of the road markings on this much loved and unique historical part of our town.”

‘Big Pink Dress’ charity fundraiser Colin Burgin-Plews shared a photo of the road on social media and also called for the street to be restored to the way it was.

He said: “It is an absolute eyesore.

"I know the council has a difficult job at times [and] things have to be done – and if they are done sensitively then I totally understand where they are coming from. But they could have done stuff like putting a sign on the lamppost.

"To do that to one of the last cobbled streets in the town… it’s horrible.”

A South Tyneside Council spokeswoman said: “The cobbles have been covered with a specialist material to create a more level surface on which to apply road markings, as these do not adhere well to cobbles.

“This technique is adopted by many councils in conservation areas.

“However, the contract and quality of work are not to our standards and officers are working to review the whole of the Mill Dam parking scheme as a matter of urgency.”

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