Turf wars leading to ‘20 shades of grey’ in Redbridge
PUBLISHED: 07:26 22 April 2016 | UPDATED: 07:34 22 April 2016
From the rolling hills of Claybury Park to the wooded haven of Hainault Forest, Redbridge is known for its green spaces.
Yet as more and more people are paving over their front gardens to create driveways, a divide is emerging between those who pave and those who plant.
Peter Caton, 60, of Wanstead Lane, Ilford, said he was saddened by the destruction of trees and plants so people could park their “flash cars”.
He said: “If you look at pictures of only 10 years ago you will be amazed at the difference – it looks like a different road.
“I am a therapist and psychologically it is very important to have greenery around.
“The marvellous thing about trees is that they purify the air, and with the A12 nearby we want them.”
Heather Hutchings, 62 of Canfield Road, Woodford Green, said she believed noise has been magnified in her street as more residents ditched their gardens for driveways.
“I live on a slope and now my gardens gets really flooded,” she said.
“Trees provide shade in the summer, shelter in the winter and soak up the rain – people think that block paving is low maintenance but then you see them spending time pulling out weeds from between the cracks.”
But other residents said it is not easy being green and the practicality of parking overrides the benefits of foliage.
Mohammad Mukhal, 70, of Wanstead Lane, said he had no need for a garden, but he did need to park his 4x4.
And neighbour Valerie Moses, 58, said she needed a driveway for her family car, but did admit it was better to have a garden if you had the time to look after it.
Barry Watts, 64 of Danbury Way, Woodford Green, said: “I feel like a hypocrite as I have a paved-over drive – it was here when I arrived – but as a gardener I think there are plenty of ways you can do both.
“You could have two stripes of gravel or paving stone that you park on, and then you can have plants and flowers around – it is all possible.”
Council leader Cllr Jas Athwal said while the borough looked nicer with greenery, which soaks up water to prevent flooding, there was not much the council could do to stop paving on land not protected as part of a conservation area.
“You can have the best of both worlds, you just have to use your imagination,” he said.
“You can have an area to park, but add in a soakaway to plant flowers and soak up the rain – see how to do it on the council website.”
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