EMAILS between council officers and contractors shed some light on the mystery surrounding the failure of paving at a shared space area in Bournemouth earlier this year.

Repairs to the road surface at the junction of Old Christchurch Road and Dean Park Crescent, at the corner of Horseshoe Common, were concluded in July, after the paving blocks became loose and uneven.

The blocks were only laid some three years ago, and the repair work cost £121,000, including the replacement of vandalised trees on the common.

On announcing the work the borough claimed an increase in buses passing through was responsible for the damage, however the town's bus firms said there had been no increase in services using the junction.

The council accepted this and since then has said it is investigating the cause of the failure. In July, service director Larry Austin said: "Once these works are completed we will consider the evidence and report our findings.

"As these discussions and considerations involve contractual arrangements, we are unfortunately not in a position to provide an update but will do so as soon as possible."

The Echo has obtained, via a Freedom of Information request, emails between the council's engineering officers and contractors discussing the repair works.

In one, on January 18, council highway design and road safety manager Richard Pearson said the problem began to be noticed in 2015. He said sand around the blocks was being washed away by rainfall.

"An initial problem with this was that the sand joints would wash out with rainfall and collect in the lower road channel," he said.

"We partly resolved this by sealing the blocks although once the sealant has begun to break down the sand appears to have started to migrate away.

"A further problem with the joint is that it appears the blocks do not form a mat and there is no transfer of load between blocks."

Mr Pearson went on to say the road requires "fairly urgent remedial work" as the problem could result in "adverse publicity".