Friday 18 July 2008

When are cobbles not the preferred option?

I'm sure it was intended as an improvement but the fact remains the tarmacing of Perrin's Court, Hampstead, just off of Hampstead High Street and Heath Street, has been clumsy and a PR disaster.

It looks new, that's for sure, but it feels highly inappropriate.

Local community activist David Christie has set the record straight pointing out that though once cobbles covered the whole thing, that a photograph of 1908 confirms the presence of tarmac even then. But has rightly goes on to suggest that when re-doing this surface that residents and traders might have an opinion and that the opporunity to up-grade back to cobbles could have been seized...

It appears that cobbles have now been ordered so hope remains and time will tell.

The lesson of this little issue however remains that the public realm, this sort of topic, does dictate the fabric of an area - it establishes a tone, a pride and an appreciation. Develop that and you come somewhere near to developing what in local government speak is called 'a sense of place' - the power of that notion is too often neglected by those who work on the needs of a budget, the haste of time and the assumption of knowing best or what is easiest.

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