COLCHESTER Council is in talks about taking on extra powers to fix broken paths in the town’s High Street.

Residents have raised concerns over the deteriorating state of the paths, particularly around Colchester Town Hall at the road’s junction with West Stockwell Street.

Repairs on the uneven paving slabs were thought to have stalled due to a dispute between the council and colleagues Essex County Council over the cause of the issue.

However Colchester Council has now revealed it is in “positive discussions” with Essex Highways about taking on extra responsibility in a bid to fix the problems in the high street.

A spokesman for Colchester Council said: “We are in discussions with Essex County Council about devolution of some highways services to Colchester.

“These positive discussions are in their early stages but support the desire of the administration to deliver more services locally.It is incorrect to state the highway has been damaged by any cleansing routines of Colchester Council.

“Our teams work hard to keep the pavements clean for residents of the borough.”

A spokesman for County Hall added: “Councillors, supported by officers at both councils, are working closely together to secure funding for and develop a programme of repairs to these sections of pavement in the high street.”

Colchester’s High Steward Sir Bob Russell said the repairs needed to be conducted as a matter of urgency.

He called for the authorities to “stop the petty squabbling and get the repairs done before someone is injured”.

He said: “Essex County Council needs to be reminded it is legally responsible for ensuring pavements are safe for pedestrians.

“If the county council is refusing to make the High Street pavement safe then county councillors should be ashamed for such deliberate neglect which could have serious legal consequences should someone be injured.

“If County Hall believes Colchester Council should pay for the repairs then that is a separate issue.

“What is not acceptable is to leave paving stones in a dangerous condition while the two councils argue whose responsibility it is.”

Colchester Council said the issues in West Stockwell Street were caused by HGVs.

Essex Highways had been asked to complete further repairs in the area.