Tarmac v Paving: Labour call for residents to be given a choice over pavement resurfacing

Labour councillors are calling for residents to be given a choice between tarmac and paving slabs for pavement resurfacing after receiving complaints about newly completed tarmac treatments in Beresford Road, East Finchley, and a petition from residents living in Granville Road N12.

The Granville Road petition, which will be discussed at the Finchley & Golders Green Area Committee on 26 October, says: “The overwhelming majority of people we spoke to do not want a cheaper tarmac surface on the pavements if this is indeed the proposal. There are many concerns about how it will look, that it will bring down the appearance of the road, that it will be uneven, that it won't last and will crack, that it will become sticky in the summer, that it will encourage even more vehicle drivers to mount the pavement.”

The petition also states that residents are given only two weeks’ notice of pavement works with no real way to respond as the contact number given on the letters is not answered and messages left have not been returned by the Council.

Barnet Council has received seven separate complaints from residents in Beresford Road about the tarmac resurfacing recently completed there which has featured in the Evening Standard on 13 October.

The Conservative-run Council are planning to save £550,000 in reactive road and pavement maintenance by moving to different resurfacing methods. For pavements this means completely replacing paving with tarmac or using tarmac with some block paving for vehicle crossovers and margins. Only pavements in town centres and conservation areas will have paving slabs replaced.

The new tarmac pavement treatments form part of plans by the Council to spend £50m on road and pavement resurfacing across the borough between 2015-2020. However, the Council’s published news release on the issue (20 October) showed a picture of paving slabs being used rather than tarmac. Labour councillors believe this is misleading to the public. The letters sent to residents have also been totally misleading as they have stated "we will be laying paving in your road", despite the fact the Council intends to use tarmac.

Labour councillors have also highlighted complaints from residents about the cheaper road surface dressing that leaves loose chips on roads.

Repair of roads and quality of pavements are two of the lowest rated universal services in Barnet according to the Council’s most recent Residents’ Perception Survey.

Only 27% of residents responding to the Survey rated repair of roads highly – 14% points lower than London (41%), and down 8% points from autumn 2015 (35%); and only 33% of residents rated quality of pavements highly – 8% points lower than London (41%), and down 1% point on autumn 2015 (34%).

The Survey also showed that the state of roads and pavements is the second highest concern amongst residents.

Labour's Environment Spokesperson, Cllr Alan Schneiderman said:

"The decision to use tarmac rather than paving stones has been imposed without residents being consulted. Residents have also been misled by being sent letters saying that paving will be laid in their road when in fact they have no choice but tarmac.

"We need to do all we can to minimise trips and falls and repair footways, but I want to see residents given a choice between using paving stones or tarmac for their road."


1.      Link to the Granville Road petition: http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s35370/Petitions%20for%20the%20Committees%20Consideration.pdf

2.      Link to the Evening Standard story on Beresford Road: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/north-london-residents-fuming-after-council-tear-up-pretty-pavement-and-replace-with-tarmac-a3368596.html

3.      Link to the before and after pictures showing paving stones replaced with paving stones advertised by Barnet Council in their news release on the £50m investment into pavements: https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/news/Pavement-investment-programme-well-underway-.html

4.      Link to Environment Committee report setting out the new tarmac pavement resurfacing treatments (Agenda Item 12): http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=695&MId=8634&Ver=4 

5.      Link to most recent performance monitoring report setting out data on satisfaction with roads and pavements: http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s34246/Q1%20PCM%20report%20FINAL.pdf

6.      More from Barnet Labour on road surface dressing: http://www.barnetlabour.org.uk/council_must_do_better_on_road_surface_dressing_regime 

For more information contact Cllr Schneiderman: cllr.a.schneiderman@barnet.gov.uk 
To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568

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