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Anger across Brent as council disregards trees and conservation areas in its drive to asphalt pavements

PUBLISHED: 14:26 20 November 2019 | UPDATED: 14:26 20 November 2019

Neighbours against the uprooting of paving stones for asphalt on Dartmouth Road

Neighbours against the uprooting of paving stones for asphalt on Dartmouth Road

Archant

Communities across Brent are urging the council not to rip up and replace pavements which involve felling trees or cause the "destruction of conservation areas" at a time of climate emergencies.

A mature oak up for the chop on Chambers Lane in Willesden Green. Picture: Ariane MoodyA mature oak up for the chop on Chambers Lane in Willesden Green. Picture: Ariane Moody

Plans to replace paving stones in Dartmouth Road in Mapesbury's conservation area and chop down up to eight trees in Harlesden's Furness Road has been 'put on hold' following an outcry by communities across the borough.

Brent Council has a budget of £20m to redo pavements across the borough and have chosen to use asphalt even conservation areas that only a few years ago were looking to protect.

Early last week neighbours in Mapesbury discovered the plans for a "a massive act of vandalism" to begin on Monday but following intervention from this paper it has not yet taken place.

More than 80 people have signed a petition that asphalting does not take place at all.

Maggie Chambers, who lives on the street, said: "Without consultation, Highways and Infrastructure have been awarded a contract to Marlborough Highways to carry out this massive act of vandalism.

From Mapesbury Road down Dartmouth Road to Exeter Road is in excellent condition due to renovation of the slabs a few years ago.

"We see no reason why good pavements anywhere in the Borough should be ripped out and replaced with asphalt

Ecologically throwing away more than 7,300 paving slabs and hundreds of original kerbstones is wrong, economically wrong because re-laying or replacing the 15 percent of crooked or damaged stones would be much cheaper for the ratepayer, aesthetically wrong because it will look horrible and soon become dirty, mossy, slippery and difficult to sweep, and fundamentally wrong because this is a Conservation Area."

Nick West, who helped save trees in Connaught Road, said mature trees in Furness Road must remain. "It seems that residents are constantly engaged in this battle to save our trees.

Harlesden is a socially deprived part of the borough with unbelievably heavy traffic congestion and so we need all the aesthetic and ecological help we can get."

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Notices were found on every tree in the Ridgeway, Kenton, to remove and replace both trees and pavements which was, said Sandra Levy "a disastrous plan at a time of climate emergency.".

She added: "Those saplings will take 10 years to reach semi-maturity.

"What will the pollution be like soon, with all the new housing being built in the area if we cut down so many mature trees?"

Neighbours in Willesden have also attacked Brent's "costly" decision to fell big, oak trees in Chambers Lane.

Ariane Moody, who lives in the street said they received notice a month ago.

"They are magnificent healthy trees, who in the past have not put pavements around them?

"I contacted my local councillors to have a discussion about this but they say there's no budget to protect them.

"The council says it's cheaper to cut them down and plant new ones. It's absolutely horrifying."

Chris Whyte, Brent's operations director for enviroment services said contractors have identified trees that were "dead, diseased, dying or likely to pose a risk".

"Only as a last resort were trees removed and a replacement will be provided in all cases.

"There are no plans to remove the oak tree [on Chambers Lane]," he added.

A council spokesperson said they were not in breach of any conservation area rules adding: "We are content that the use of asphalt is not in breach of planning rules.

"As the Highways authority we have a duty to maintain our footways in a safe condition. The council's policy is that asphalt is used as a default for footways on residential roads in the borough."

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