Enfield Council are proposing to replace the paving slabs of their parts of Whittington and Palmerston Roads with tarmac this November. This is part of a recent borough-wide policy, so they could be coming to a street near you soon.
Many residents do not like this proposal and see it as a backward step for the streets and area, so Hannah Frenech and myself are organising a little campaign to try to stop this happening.
We have started a petition, with over 30 people signing up so far, have contacted the local councillors and are liasing with the BPCA. We have concentrated on Whittington Road to start with as Hannah lives there and I use it to get to Bounds Green tube, but we would like to also petition Palmerston Road. If you live there or nearby please get in touch below if you also do not like these proposals and/or can help in any way.
Hannah may be talking about this at the BPCA AGM on Wednesday, but in the meantime if you want to keep our paving slabs please email our local councillors for Bowes ward:
Daniel Cowan

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I just wonder if tarmac might be easier for the elderly to walk on rather than paving stones - not against paving stones.  But they do tend to loosen up and cause accidents.  Could you put the case for paving stones in a bit more detail?   Is it the historical aspect.  I'd love to know more.  

Thanks very much. 


We fought a similar battle against Haringey last year and won.

If you want any tips please contact me.

In response to the first reply you received, we have a disabled person living on our road, and they were very distressed at the proposed use of tarmac as it make using wheelchairs and walking aids very difficult at the surface is never solid and / or level and in the heat becomes very slightly tacky which also causes problems.

Good luck wth your campaign and as I say if you want any tips let me know.


Oh, I see - yes, I can imagine that being a problem.   Thanks for the reply.   Anything else?

I was visited the other evening and asked to sign the petition against replacing the paving slabs with tarmac.   I did sign but I am in two minds really; of course the historical appearance of slabs is preferable but they must be maintained regularly to rectify unevenness, especially around the lovely large trees whose roots dislodge whatever the surface of the pavement in these roads.   Walking down Whittington Road is a minefield of lumpy surfaces- tarmac and slabs, cars sticking out onto the pavement, overgrown hedges and bushes slapping ones face.   What is the effect of all these cars driving over paving slabs to park in front 'gardens'?   

This is my concern too - I have tripped up badly on uneven paving stones on numerous occasions - I'm not getting any younger!  Of course if they were well maintained there wouldn't be a problem.   I am not sure, but isn't the look of tarmac being greatly improved?  We have a problem here at Passmore Edwards House in our communal garden.  We have brick paths. . They are not maintained so the weeds are growing through them and these get slippery - not a safe environment for older people to walk on.  Paving stones wouldn't be any better.  I think tarmac would look quite nice and be much safer and easier to maintain.  

I walk down Whittington Road on most days and I don't think there is an issue with protruding paving slabs. Quite a few a cracked, which is probably why the council has proposed renewing the surface. Light vehicles on driveways should not cause an issue for paving slabs. Providing we are vigilant and make sure the slabs are well maintained they can provide an excellent pavement for the years to come as they have for the past hundred or so years.

One of the issues with the appearance of tarmac is that it gets a lot worse when utilities companies and others dig it up to repair or replace pipes. You then get multiple shades of grey/black, patches and stripes that look very unsightly. If you look at the tarmac as Whittington Road turns the corner you can see an example of this deterioration in quality.

A few years ago Enfield re-laid Belsize Avenue to a very high standard, with feature blocks for the driveway drops and around the trees. They have done something similar to the north end of Whittington Road just before the old shops. This is the sort of scheme that the council should continue on Whittington and Palmerstone Road.



Yes, I can see what you mean.   The Belsize Avenue renewal sounds very good.  I think the answer must be to improve on the present paving stones.  On the continent in some places the paving stones are much larger and therefore not so liable to disruption. (mind you, some are also made of marble....) :)

Interesting discussion - thanks for your post about it!

Doesn't replacing paving slabs with tarmac exacerbate drainage problems? In that rainwater can't seep through to the soil? 

I know that further into Enfield there are great problems with a lack of natural drainage, and horrible lots of pollutants running straight into the Lea and its tributaries - something Thames 21 are attempting to tackle. Is this policy contributing to those sort of problems, coupled with landlords getting rid of gardens and paving over front yards? 

The issue of traditional paving slabs being replaced by tarmac was discussed at this week's meeting of the Bowes Park Community Association where several signatures were added to the petition to Enfield Council

The petition is available at the Whittington Road Convenience Store if people want to add their name to the campaign.

Organisers of the petition are asking residents that want to keep paving slabs to contact or email their local councillors. You can get in touch with the campaign at save.enfields.paving.slabs@gmail.com they are asking for  help collecting signatures, especially in Palmerston Road and with local media contacts.

This really seems to be an attempt at a short-term cash saving measure. But just because it may be cheaper to simply tarmac an area than lay traditional paving slabs it is not saving my council tax money.

With a shorter life-span Tarmac will only last a few years before needing replacement - paving slabs last up to a century!  In the long-run the tarmac will need to be replaced several times before paving slabs are worn out; costing us all more money. A report published today by the Parliamentary Public Affairs Committee talks of this type of waste in public spending and urges local councils to help stabilise the public finances over the longer term, improve outcomes for citizens and get better value for money.

In addition with Tarmac footpaths any repairs by Thames Water or gas and electric utilities will result in patched up pavements - whereas a traditional slab can be replaced after work is completed leaving the area looking as god as before. This really is a case of short-termism, money is being spent (wasted) to match ridiculous time-frames of annual budgets and electoral cycles rather than spent to provide an adequate infrastructure in our local area.


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