It's paving, Grim(sby), but not as we know it!

Bit of a departure in this news item, in that it's more of a comment piece. I had originally thought to publish it on the site's blog, but there have been so many changes with how the blog system works since I last used it, that I ran out of time (and patience) so decided to dump it here....

We all know that journalism has had a bit of an image problem over the last few years, what with the jiggery-pokery involving other peoples' phones, the back-handers to Her Majesty's Allegedly Finest in return for juicy stories, and the sanctimonious bleating about morals whilst simultaneously showing young women in various stages of undress, but it could be worse: they're still not quite as low on the league table of life forms as politicians or <spit> bankers.

So surely they'd want to be certain of getting the basic facts right when running a story, especially one where they seem hell-bent on putting what seems to be a very negative spin on the redevelopment of a tired town centre.

You'd think a local paper would welcome a relatively huge investment in rejuvenating their own town centre, but for what are probably intensely local political reasons combined with the briefest blast of national media glare when the story attained the dizzy heights of page umpteen in the Daily Whine, Grimsby Telegraph has been prompting a right old moan about the new paving in the centre of town. They've even managed to find a few local doom-mongers to volunteer just the sort of vox-pops required to make the piece seem worthwhile.

grimsby telegraph

Enough! All this is for the good burghers of Grimsby and Cleethorpes to resolve amongst themselves. I don't know enough about the back story to fathom why it's generated such intense dislike, but I do know one thing. That paving is NOT block paving.

It's definitely paving, and it seems to be constructed using blocks of summat, but that does not make it block paving, unless of course, you are a lazy journalist with a deadline to meet. Hey! Why let the facts get in the way of a mediocre story?

Even the bare minimum of research would reveal that the paving in the centre of Grimsby is not block paving , as widely understood, but granite sett paving . It's a completely different type of paving. It uses a completely different construction method, rigid rather than flexible, and it uses completely different materials, granite and mortars rather than concrete blocks and sand, and it costs at least twice as much, a fact which you'd think the nay-sayers would have leapt upon, but which seems to have been missed in the slapdash reporting.

There may well be problems with the granite sett paving but the claim that it triggered an epileptic seizure is most likely a case of compensation-induced wishful thinking. It may not have been laid quite as well as we, or the Grimsby Telegraph, or even the citizens of the Lincolnshire town might wish, but there's hardly a civil paving job in the land that doesn't incur some snagging and remedial work in its early life. The main contractor, with its lame excuses, certainly hasn't helped matters by claiming it's all down to moisture in the ground . Maybe the paper is right to draw attention to these alleged shortcomings, but to repeatedly denigrate the wrong bleeding materials is not on.

Concrete block paving has been having a difficult few years in terms of sales volumes, down to more-or-less half what was sold in the boom years, but it remains one of the most useful and versatile paving materials we have, offering phenomenal value-for-money. Most of the CBPs laid in Britain are manufactured here, employing local people, using locally-sourced aggregates, and maintaining a reputation for British quality and innovation earned over 40-odd years of constant development. The very last thing the product needs just now is to be wrongly and unjustly implicated into a local brouhaha attributable to one of its fiercest rivals, low-cost imported granite setts.