Huge hole in Preston city centre pavement 'left exposed deliberately' after barriers flattened

A ditch dug in the pavement of one of Preston’s busiest streets was left unguarded for at least 15 hours after the barriers surrounding it were brought down.
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A Lancashire county councillor reported that the hole - outside the former William Hill betting shop, near the railway station - was unsecured on Thursday afternoon.

Electricity North West (ENW), whose works in the area had required the excavation, put protection back in place at the site early on Friday morning - but it is not known exactly when the plastic fencing was first flattened.

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The company told the Lancashire Post that the way in which the sandbagged barriers had all been left lying in different directions suggested that they had been knocked over deliberately rather than being caught by a gust of wind.

A hole on Fishergate was left unguarded after the barriers surrounding it came down (image courtesy of County Cllr Erica Lewis)A hole on Fishergate was left unguarded after the barriers surrounding it came down (image courtesy of County Cllr Erica Lewis)
A hole on Fishergate was left unguarded after the barriers surrounding it came down (image courtesy of County Cllr Erica Lewis)

It is understood that the trench, which has now been filled in, would have been a maximum of a metre deep, because of the location below ground of the electricity cables that were being accessed.

ENW said that intentional damage to its roadworks sites was a relatively rare occurrence, but urged anybody who spots similar problems to those on Fishergate to get in touch.

“Please call us for free on our emergency number, 105, and we will send a team to make the site safe,” an ENW spokesperson said.

Electricity North West has put its barriers back in place and filled in the hole on Fishergate (image coutesy of Electricity North West)Electricity North West has put its barriers back in place and filled in the hole on Fishergate (image coutesy of Electricity North West)
Electricity North West has put its barriers back in place and filled in the hole on Fishergate (image coutesy of Electricity North West)
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The spot on Fishergate will remain cordoned off until the pavement is fully restored.

Commenting before ENW suggested that the hole had been left exposed on purpose, County Cllr Erica Lewis – who alerted the firm to the problem in a tweet – expressed more general concerns about the way such work is carried out.

“Understandably, utility works often happen with little notice, but too often they happen with little regard for the impact on residents and local businesses - driveways blocked, materials washing into drains and patches that don’t match or soon fail.

“Given the state of many of our roads and pavements, it would be a significant act of corporate social responsibility for utility companies to aim to improve not only commercial, but public infrastructure with their works,” County Cllr Lewis said.