Jun 23 2008 By Tara Brady
Parts of the River Brent, long buried under concrete, may be uncovered to revitalise the area.
Advisers to Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, are discussing plans to raise tributaries which flow into the Thames to create more waterways and open space.
They also believe that unearthing stretches of buried river could help cool down inner London during hot weather.
The Wealdstone Brook, which joins the River Brent, flows at the back of John Timms' house in Belvedere Way, Kenton.
The 64-year-old, who is vice-chairman of The North Brent Flood Working Group, thinks money should be spent on preventing future flooding rather than exposing lost rivers.
He said: "I like the idea of naturalising the channels but I don't like the obscene amount of money it would take to do this.
"Money needs to be spent on rivers which are polluted, improving flood defences or the sewage systems. We all remember last summer when Brent and Harrow experienced some of the worst flooding in years."
But Erin Brooks, 45, of Harrow Road, thinks it is will make parts of the city, including Brent, more beautiful and accessible. She said: "People forget there are rivers flowing underneath us that we never see. It would be lovely to open them up and change the concrete jungle look of the area."
The Brent is one of London's main rivers and gave the London Borough of Brent its name when the boroughs of Wembley and Willesden merged in 1965.
It flows through Neasden, Harrow Road, North Circular Road and leaves Wembley to join the Thames at Brentford.
The scheme, which was put together by company Design for London, works with other organisations to improve the quality of living in the city.
If the project goes ahead it will start in the suburbs, like Brent, but some designs even propose creating ornamental, venetian-style waterways in inner London.
A spokesman for the Mayor of London said: "At the moment opening up parts of London's subterranean river networks is one of many ideas that have been proposed to improve the quality of living in our city. As with all these ideas a full study would need to be undertaken to assess its feasibility."
An exhibition showing the designs are on display at Somerset House in central London until July 8.