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13 July 2021

Alston will be ‘open for business’ during works to reinstate famous cobbles as contractor is appointed

Work to reinstate the cobbles (setts) to a 30-metre section of Front Street in Alston (opposite the Market Cross) will commence from Monday 2 August.

The news follows confirmation that local firm, Cubby Construction have been selected as the specialist paving contractor to carry out the works, following a tendering process.

The stone that will be used in the reinstatement of the cobbles (setts) will come from the nearby Alston Quarry - meaning all of the materials and works on site will be completed using locally sourced materials and contractors.

The county council has worked closely with the Alston Front Street Steering Group to progress the project; recognising the importance of the business community and residents involvement in the construction phase of the project and a sub-group of local business and community representatives was established to ensure that Alston will be promoted and celebrated as ‘open for business’ throughout the works.  The introduction of the successful monthly Alston Market in May has been one of the major projects of this group and is held on the last Saturday of each month.

As restrictions following the Covid pandemic continue to ease, it is vital to ensure that visitors and locals alike are aware of the project, and that the town’s businesses and local economy are able to thrive throughout the works. The county council will continue to work closely with the steering group and local community to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum, and that people across the wider region are informed about the town remaining open for business during the reinstatement works.  Liaison Officers from Cubby Construction will be contacting local traders soon to discuss how the road closure may affect them and offer support and advice.

The works are expected to be completed by the end of November 2021. 

The complexity of the proposed surface, and subgrade mean that this work will take longer than a standard road reconstruction using tarmac - which only takes a few days. Various factors, including weather (particularly rain), also come into play. The laying of stone setts is a specialist skill and the stonemasons from Cubby Construction will liaise with the original team who installed the trial panels in 2020, to discuss how the stone ‘worked.’

The council will also take this opportunity to deliver other minor repairs to parking areas and pavements to reduce disruption.

Cllr Claire Driver, Cumbria County Councillor for Alston and East Fellside said:

“I am delighted to see the work on Front Street to reinstate our beloved and famous cobbles finally about to begin. It’s taken a huge amount of work to get to this stage and I’d like to thank the community for their continued support and patience as well as officers from the county council for their continued enthusiasm.

“The work will require a full road closure with traffic needing to be diverted via the ‘Blagill Loop’. I am pleased that Cubby Construction will be liaising closely with the council and steering group, and that by working together with local businesses and residents, we will ensure that disruption is kept to a minimum and that businesses in Alston are actively promoted as remaining open to visitors throughout these exciting works.” 

Work to reinstate the cobbles (setts) to a 30-metre section of Front Street in Alston (opposite the Market Cross) will commence from Monday 2 August.