Dunster cobbles cause public liability insurance headache

After a stretch of pavement with uneven cobbles caused a high number of injuries, falls, and trips in Dunster, Somerset, the local council has developed a headache due to public liability insurance claims.

The pavement is not currently owned by anyone in the village, which leaves the local authority of most towns responsible for public liability issues related to walkway maintenance and repair.  However because the pavement – which is chockablock with holes and uneven cobbles -is so very badly in need of improvement, the fear of being sued has kept anyone from taking responsibility for its upkeep.

The local council representative partnership for the village, known as the Dunster Working Group, is currently deliberating replacement of the cobbles with an even, smooth surface in order to ensure people may walk about in relative safety.  The cost for the re-paving efforts has been reported to be £100,000, which some experts say may be less than having to pay on several PI insurance claims.

However the repaving plan has earned the ire of several local residents who are keen on preserving the medieval heritage of the village.  The DWP has been insistent that, mainly for safety and health reasons, Dunster’s desperate renovation needs outweigh any historical considerations.

Paul Toogood, DWP chairperson, stated that the council truly has no choice, as the uneven cobbles have already injured five pedestrians so badly that the ambulance was needed just this year.

Other solutions suggested by Dunster residents included a business situated nearby take responsibility for the badly damaged pavement, as their public liability insurance cover would protect them in the event of another accident should occur.  Industry experts agree that having a business take charge is patently unfair on many levels, however, and predict that eventually the DWP may indeed pave over the historic cobbles.

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