One of north London’s most visited but least appreciated landmarks could benefit from the same degree of protection as Alexandra Palace or Tottenham’s clock tower.

The North London branch of the Asphalt Appreciation Society is calling for the A406 North Circular Road to be granted listed status by Historic England.

If the bid is successful, the road, which runs from Chiswick to the Woolwich Ferry, could not be demolished, altered or extended without permission.

The society argues that the North Circular is a monument to the rise of the motor car in the same way that London’s stations and Tube network are to the 19th Century railway boom.

Its chairman Neville Rhappen said: “We think of the North Circular as being as vital as the Metropolitan Line to the rise of the suburbs.

"Since it was built in the 1920s and 1930s, many motorists will have spent the equivalent of months and years of their lives on the North Circular.

“It is right that something that has played such a huge, if underappreciated, part in Londoners’ lives should be preserved.”

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In a report, the society notes that the Brent viaduct, built over the River Brent by Robert Stephenson in 1838, is already listed.

Mr Rhappen said the road itself, begun in the years after the First World War as an unemployment relief scheme, is no less significant.

If listed status is granted, roadworks and new bridges would have to have listed building consent to ensure they were in keeping with the North Circular’s distinctive streetscape.

Efficient new LED streetlights would be restricted along the road, with older sodium streetlights preferred to maintain the road’s historic orange glow.

The scheme could spell trouble for developers hoping to improve Brent Cross shopping centre, with road widening and junction alterations, as well as an ambitious ‘living bridge’ part of plans.

The Asphalt Appreciation Society is even suspicious of attempts to ease traffic at notorious ‘pinch points’ such as Bounds Green, where the road narrows to a single carriageway.

Mr Rhappen said: “The North Circular represents the pinnacle of the late 20th Century’s obsession with cars, and arguably the point when the infrastructure could no longer cope. Traffic jams were part of this for better or worse and should be preserved as part of the essence of the North Circular.

“We are not calling for development to cease – that would be ridiculous – but for future roadworks and repairs to be carried out using the same types of concrete and asphalt as were originally used. You wouldn’t repair Tower Bridge using breeze blocks, and we are calling for the same degree of respect for the North Circular.”

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