Dunster, Somerset, UK, is a waterside town that dates back to Iron Age Britain, with three nearby hill forts and a history as an export site for Saxon wool. Not surprisingly, there are abundant artifacts of the town’s history.
Well, now there’s one less. The Daily Mail reports that Dunster’s ancient cobblestones are now being removed from the village streets. It seems that some folks had slipped and fallen, and the resulting fears for “health and safety” (a phrase familiar to followers of Britain’s decline into nanny-ism) led the parish council to order the stones removed. That work is now underway. The cobbles will be replaced with natural stone paving, with a foot of cobble left at the margins.
It’s a shame that the parish council feels compelled to do this, and even some of the locals acknowledge the attendant loss to the local character. But that’s life these days — risk is intolerable, and it is the government’s job to make sure that no one has to be careful as they move around town. By the way — a passage in the article suggests why the government felt compelled to intervene:
The cobbles do not have an owner and are in a poor state of repair and traders fear litigation if they take responsibility for repairing them.
So the legal system discourages private citizens from taking responsibility, and “forces” government to act instead? Wow, who could see that coming? Shame they can’t seem to cobble together a better solution. Oh, well — it’s just history. Especially now.
H/T: Medieval Archives