OpinioN8

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Chimes Terrace, Chimes Court, ring any bells with you?

I went to the exhibition in the Town Hall yesterday to study more closely the pre-planning application proposals being out forward by developers for 163 Tottenham Lane, the Kwik Fit / MEB site.

This is a welcome departure. Generally what happens is that the developer puts forward for planning approval a scheme which the locals object to. If Haringey's Planning Department also objects then to-ing fro-ing takes place until an unsuitable compromise is reached. This tug-of-war doesn't really suit anybody - the developers spend time and money revising plans, Haringey considers and reconsiders the successive proposals, and then incurs legal costs if it goes to appeal, and the local residents suffer hypertension, meetings and all the trouble of waging a campaign.

Quite refreshing then to be asked before the planning application goes in what we think of it. We have a duty to respond in refreshing kind. There is of course no guarantee that anything other than an unsatisfactory compromise will result, but at least so far the process is free from confrontation and argument.

My contribution so far is

1)  to publish some of the details and provide links to the rest, a move mirrored, with a slightly American witticism, on the very excellent Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum website and

2) to go to the exhibition and provide feedback

One of my questions to the exhibitors was "Why call it Chimes Court?". No one knew. Perhaps simply to mimic Chimes Terrace, further along on the other side of the road. This must be how traditions are born.

The feedback form provided at the meeting had the following questions:

1) Do you think that the mixed-use redevelopment of 163 Tottenham Lane would benefit the surrounding area?

2) Do you support the provision of much needed homes in this accessible location?

3) Do you support the modern architectural style of the proposed scheme?

4) Do you have any other comments on the proposed scheme?

Are these brave questions that allow us to answer 'No' ore are they misdirection, which take us away from the planning issues which could actually scupper the planning application?

My answers are:

1) No - I like the look of the Art Deco building, I'm happy that Kwik Fit operate there, and I absolutely love MEB . So a few extra shops and a load of extra residents provide neither  me, nor the area, with any benefit.

2) No - this area has problems with GP appointments - it took 3 - 4 weeks to get one, on recent attempts. This area has schools with catchment areas measured in tens of metres. The question of CPZs (parking restrictions) has recently reappeared on local sites as pressure increases on parking spaces. So while the homes may be much needed, the infrastructure to support the inhabitants is needed even more.

3) No - there was a suggestion that the row of shops from Rez the barber on one side, and the Indian restaurant opposite be included in the conservation area and be designated the gateway to Crouch End. A little fanciful perhaps, but absolutely out of the question with the interposition of this almost entirely featureless structure. Take a look at 46 and 46a Topsfield Parade for a design that adds a bit of interest, unlike the dull plastic fascia being proposed.

4) Yes - if some part of the building is to be preserved make it the distinctive tapering columns with niches at either end of the facade, rather than the overbearing brick gable ends at the back.

Tags: 163 tottenham lane, kwikfit, meb, tottenham lane

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I've reproduced the architect's questionnaire online. If you'd like to answer the 5 questions I will pass the answers on. http://opn8.co.uk/KwikFitSurvey

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