Willesden residents’ anger after Brent Council replaces pavements with tarmac

PUBLISHED: 13:07 22 August 2016 | UPDATED: 10:15 08 September 2016

Photo by Adam Tiernan Thomas

Photo by Adam Tiernan Thomas

© Adam Tiernan Thomas

A group of angry residents in Willesden have accused Brent Council of cheating them after pavements in their street were torn up and replaced with black tarmac.

Photo by Adam Tiernan ThomasPhoto by Adam Tiernan Thomas

More than 47 residents in Geary Road have signed two petitions against the “awful” black asphalt which they claim looks nothing like the brown pavements they were told would be installed.

In their frustration they have asked their MP Dawn Butler to intervene.

Muhammed Ahmed, a resident, said: “Brent Council cheated us. They showed us a picture of a light brown pavement and it’s black. They have also tried to set neighbour against neighbour saying half of us want it. It is not nice.”

In May the council announced it was planning to replace some damaged pavements in the borough with tarmac saying it will make ‘limited resources stretch further’ as it tackles an increase in pot-riddled roads and broken pavements in the borough.

Steve Bloy, another resident, said: “We would prefer to have paving slabs, that’s the best surface, looks the best and lasts the longest. A light brown surface is not as good as slabs but not as bad as asphalt.

“It’s made the whole aesthetic of our street look terrible whereas they have been relaying slabs in nearby neighbourhoods.

“It’s dangerous as there’s nothing to differentiate it from the road, just a small bit of kerb.

“It’s not life and death but it is important to people who live in the street, the vast majority of whom objected. Presumably they will spread this policy to others.”

Mr Bloy also accused the council of failing to hold a consultation into the changes.

He said: “The first I heard they were doing it was when the builders turned up outside my house. Cars were marooned as slabs were torn up.

“They have a website, we’re signed up to it, they could have emailed us, and they could have put notices on trees. Everyone’s annoyed, it’s not what they expected or were told.”

A council spokeswoman said: “Residents of Geary Road were notified of the planned improvements two weeks before the works began. We received a petition and several objections to the upgrades after they had already started, and officers have met with residents since to discuss their concerns.

“The use of asphalt instead of slabs will help to make pavements around the borough more resilient and durable, and fit for purpose for the demands of today. Asphalt is more flexible than concrete slabs, which means it is less likely to crack and create dangerous trip hazards in the long term, making the borough a safer, more accessible place to live.

“While the asphalt is black in colour now, we can reassure residents that this will naturally fade to the lighter grey sought after.

“The kerb provides a clear distinction from the road and does not put the safety of residents at risk in any way.”

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