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Willesden Green residents decorate trees in ‘pavement war’ against Brent Council

PUBLISHED: 17:05 26 October 2016 | UPDATED: 17:31 26 October 2016

Fiona Seth Smith, Conrad Williams and Helen Sensi of Chandos Road decorate 'doomed trees' as council moves in to tear up pavement

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Residents in Willesden Green are taking a stand with pictures, ribbons and chalk as the council tears up their pavements to replace it with tarmac.

Brent Council moved onto Chandos Road this morning despite huge opposition to rip up paving slabs and uproot trees planted by residents to beautify their quiet street.

Residents have been sending a stream of emails to Brent Council officers and councillors for more than a month, calling their action “death to democracy”, and accusing them of “blighting their neighbourhood” while putting slabs on nearby roads.

Residents spent the previous day decorating “doomed trees” with posters, ribbons and poetry and chalking the “90 per cent of slabs” that are reusable.

Fiona Williams, who lives on the street said: “I am devastated by the desecration of our road by this policy of removing paving stones, tarmacing over pavements and removing trees.

“This is a disaster for our environment, it is ugly and brutal and bad for drainage in these days of extreme weather and floods; it is the opposite of what we should be doing.

She added: “Where is Brent’s accountability? We have worked hard as a group to put our protest forward but this council are blind to our concerns about the severe impact on our environment.

“Just one street away - Riffle Road - has recently been beautifully re-paved and restored - how is it that Brent feels it can get away with treating people so inequitably?

Simon Campbell, who lives on the street and organised a pavement meeting with councillors in September said: “I hoped to have had a response back from Brent, but nothing.”

Cllr Eleanor Southwood, Brent Council’s lead member for environment, said: “We are determined to deliver for the people of Brent, despite the government cutting almost 50 per cent of our budget. That’s why we are looking at new ways to improve the condition of our road surfaces, while still finding the savings we need to make.

“Local councillors and officers have met with the residents of Chandos Road to hear their concerns. We understand that some have reservations about the resurfacing. But we must also be clear that the council are being put under unprecedented pressure by national government cuts.

“The new surface will provide the same levels of protection against flooding, as well as ensuring that all our pavements are accessible and safe. All of the trees affected by the resurfacing will be replaced once the work has been completed.”

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