Thames Water 'sorry' after Finchley Road diversion sees cars damaged

A damaged car in Bracknell Gardens

A damaged car in Bracknell Gardens - Credit: @Hampstead_local

Urgent work to repair a water main in Finchley Road has led to "inappropriate" traffic diversions and damaged private cars in a handful of Hampstead streets. 

Due to the works – between near to the junction with West End Lane – traffic which would usually use Finchley Road was channelled through streets including Bracknell Gardens, Heath Drive, and Frognal Lane. 

A number of residents in Bracknell Gardens in particular saw their vehicles damaged. 

Cllr Andrew Parkinson (Con, Frognal and Fitzjohns) called for Thames Water to come up with an alternative diversion route and for Camden Council to relax parking restrictions so permit-holders in Bracknell Gardens are able to park in nearby streets instead. 

On Tuesday evening Thames Water confirmed it had put in place an alternative route taking traffic through West End Lane and Fortune Green Road and apologised to Hampstead residents.

An anonymous Twitter account – "@Hampstead_local" – was set up to chronicle the damage. The individual behind the account, who asked not to be named, said: "It's absolute chaos. Cars are getting smashed to pieces. The diversion just makes no sense."

They said one neighbour's Mercedes was destroyed, and that while their own vehicle was only scratched slightly before they were able to move it, others were not so lucky. 

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They added: "This was such a bad idea. Finchley Road is such a key, massive road, and all these Hampstead streets are were just not made for this traffic."

Cllr Parkinson told this paper: "Bracknell Gardens is not big enough to have six lanes of traffic from Finchley Road diverted onto it. It has been causing misery for residents and drivers with lots of cars being smashed into and crashes occurring."

Thames Water's permit for the work lasts until July 30. 

Camden Council and TfL said they were in touch with Thames Water about alternative arrangements. They indicated that responsibility for the diversion during urgent works lay with the utility company. 

Huge queues in Hampstead after Thames Water's diversion on Finchley Road

Huge queues in Hampstead after Thames Water's diversion on Finchley Road - Credit: @Hampstead_local

Camden said it was not possible change parking restrictions as there would have been a knock-on impact.

A Thames Water spokesperson said: “We’re really sorry for the inconvenience and disruption caused by our original diversion as we carry out emergency repairs on a burst water main in Finchley Road. 

“We’ve listened to feedback from motorists and residents, and on Tuesday night we put in a new diversion."

They said they had put up electronic signs to warn motorists of the changes.