'Unacceptable' HGV use by developers in Church Row writes off 3 cars

A large cement mixer damages a vehicle in Church Row on April 27

A large cement mixer damages a vehicle in Church Row on April 27 - Credit: Hampstead Village Voice

Residents in Church Row were left furious on two occasions in April when construction vehicles damaged parked cars in the narrow street. 

It is understood three vehicles have been written off across two incidents - on April 19 and April 27.

David Milne of the Church Row Association (CRA) has written to Charles Rudgard of Holly Walk Developments on several occasions to complain about the issue.

He said the manner in which HGVs had been used in Church Row was "unacceptable".

Holly Walk Developments is managing a scheme at 19 Holly Walk. 

Mr Rudgard said the firm had apologised to those affected in the two crashes, saying: "We are near the end of our heavy structural work and sadly there were two crashes caused by irresponsible concrete companies who disregarded our instructions."

He said the companies involved would be compensating those affected, adding that his firm was working with the council to ensure there was no repeat.

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"We have not received any complaints until this time and we do not breach road regulations," he said.

He added that other developments in the area may have contributed to HGV traffic using the narrow part of Church Row in error.

But Mr Milne said: "Over the last three weeks whenever I have stopped an overly large concrete or building supplies truck, they’ve been going to 19 Holly Walk."

Silvia Bueno, whose car was car damaged, said: "I'm devastated. I've only just recently replaced a car that was written off. It isn't safe to park any more."

Cllr Andrew Parkinson (Con, Frognal & Fitzjohns) said: "Church Row is a very sensitive street: it is narrow, built on top of 18th century cellars, and has vulnerable listed buildings. It is important that any construction work respects this - as well as avoiding damage to cars and trees."

Neighbour Basti Wocker, publisher of the Hampstead Village Voice, said: "We've got to a point where commercial drivers no longer respect the Highway Code and just ignore restrictions.

"When developers can drive cement mixers into cars and trees with impunity, we are in real trouble."

A Camden Council spokesperson said when the town hall was made aware of the issues it asked the developer to immediately stop work. 

They said the developer did so, and was now working with the town hall to draw up a construction management plan to prevent future issues.

The contractors - RMS Concrete and Generation Hire - have both been contacted for comment.