Some aspects of the lockdown are as exciting as watching paint dry, but if you live along Old Village Street the arrival of a new tarmac road surface was quite breathtaking. But then some of us are easily excited.
The state of repair of the road lies is in its history. Hundreds of years ago Old Village Street was the main route through the village up until the Anne family moved the location of Burghwallis Hall. The original Hall sited in the midst of Burghwallis park was demolished and a spanking new hall build 300 yards further north.
The main route through Burghwallis was rerouted to pass to the north of the new hall along what is now Grange Lane. Old Village Street became a cul de sac reducing the traffic down to a trickle wishing to access some barns and a couple of houses. The unmade lane was OK for an occasional horse and cart but moving on a couple of hundred years the barns had been converted into houses and the total occupancy of all the houses meant the use of the street became a lot busier. Modern life meant that cars and delivery vans now use the street in abundance.
And then there was the arrival of t’internet along with home delivery. The result; Old Village Street became worn out. Having never seen the likes of the black stuff the unmetalled road resembled a cross section of the Himalayas with added mud, puddles and skiddy bits when icy.
Then up stepped a brave man. Local resident Dave Buxton, now known as “Tarmac” Dave was heard to mention ‘Why don’t we fill in the holes,’ he said in an unguarded moment. Regrettably for Dave people were actually listening, proving that you should never voice your thoughts out loud.
The collective decision was to tarmac the road. And then the fun started; who owned what and why, and who was responsible – and are you sure etc. etc and indeed etc a bit more. It turned out half the affected area was owned by DMBC, which was a surprise to everyone especially DMBC, and the other half….well this was each part owed by the residents. The original plan was to simply fill in the pot holes but the final project made HS2 look like chicken feed. Two years of research, planning, and negotiations were put in place. Where others would have indulged in a significant bouts of ‘sod this’ moments Tarmac Dave took on Goliath – and won.
Old Village Street – East End was thus resurfaced by Derek Lewis contractors who had adopted Dave as a much respected project guru. Old Village Street was bedazzled by an amazing array of plant, equipment and teamwork that scraped, planed, levelled, pummelled and paved the road for the first time probably since the plague, which seems ironic given the prevailing pandemic. On this basis it won’t need resurfacing for at least 50 years. Dave has left his ‘how to’ notes in a time capsule while the rest of us have to settle down to watch paint dry until lockdown ends. Meanwhile rumour has it Dave has problems passing a pot hole without triggering a facial tick.