sharing news and views from Crouch End and Hornsey
There have been some comments recently about the closure of shops in Crouch End,on this website, and in the local paper, for example. There is also news of new businesses opening in the area, on this website and via the Crouch End Project. Broadly speaking the people of Crouch End seem to appreciate their local independent shops and would not want to see the area deteriorate towards the view set out in this pastiche, nor would I agree with the boss of Sainsbury who wants shops bricked up and turned into dwellings and classrooms, saying the High Street must shrink or die.
There is currently an initiative being run by the government to try out the recommendations of thePortas report, and any other ideas Town Teams might have, and up to £100,000 is available for each of 12 town centres to implement some of these ideas.
The terms of the bid application are stringent, in that bids must be submitted before the end of March. A town with a well organised Town Team might be able to meet that deadline. Consider for example the work that has been done just across the railway line in Green Lanes. The already successful bid there for money from the London Mayor may well be supplemented by central government money if they make another application. The current successful bid is superb and thoroughly deserves its success and will transform Green Lanes.
Crouch End though, does not have a Town Team. A bid for the London Mayor's money was unsuccwssful and I do not know where to look for the details.
Crouch End does have a number of institutions which could form the basis of a Town Team.
The Crouch End, Stroud Green and Hornsey Area Committee is charged with drawing up an Area Plan - this has a wider remit than just Crouch End. A first meeting was held last week.
The Conservation Area Advisory Committee (CAAC) is a reactive body which comments on planning applications in its conservation area, and has the occasional opportunity to comment on changes to the Conservation Area.
The Crouch End Traders Association (CETA) is made up of some of the traders in the town centre, and I believe was also formed to comment on planning applications.
The Crouch End Project (CEP) also has a membership of only some of the local traders. It has recently re-invented itself with a focus on its website and providing traders with an online presence.
There are a number of local in initiatives based around websites. OpinioN8 aims to stimulate debate. Crouch End Creatives has gone well beyond its Facebook origins and now holds regular meetings out of which constructive actions arise. Incrouchend carries a good deal of useful information.
As far as I know, there are no landlord's associations for the area.
Is it time for Crouch End to have a unified body to further its various aims? If so whose is the responsibility to make it happen?
The Mary Portas review largely recommends the very approach that we have been taking for the last few years in crouch end and in other areas, although she is vague about the implementation, which is the hardest part ofcourse.
Our ethos is that regeneration should begin with the businesses,who now need to compete properly with out of town shopping centres and online options. For this to be effective town centre businesses need to work together, operate under one brand, and be given support and the right tools to create a compelling consumer offer, with a clear communication strategy, on and off line .
In crouch end this has meant under a range of initiatives including events, merchandise, loyalty scheme and a website, that has evolved to reflect the wider community as a direct response to the huge response the CEP had from both the community and businesses.
This has attracted such wide interest that we have used our experience to develop a Town Centre Programme including training, presentations and a sophisticated marketing toolkit that other town centres can benefit from.
Mary Portas's main implementation strategy appears to focus on forming 'Town Teams', which, in our experience, are frequently ineffectual with too many local agendas on the table. We have however already been in conversation with Haringey about the opportunity here, and ofcourse there is opportunity for anyone to apply .
With reference to the last bout of funds (Mayors) our proposal was very much supported by the council, and the view on the final allocation is that you only need to look at where the money went to be satisfied that this was a fairly transparent political allocation of funds, and Crouch End along with many other Haringey boroughs unjustifiably missed out.
Sounds like you need to set up a Neighbourhood Forum...
Or why not set up a parish council? (which could then, amongst other things, discharge the functions of a Neighbourhood Forum)
The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act of 2007 lifted the 1963 bar on parishes in Greater London, and Queen's Park in Westminster is close to becoming one. To create a parish council more than 10% of local people must vote in its favour. A parish council is financially independent in that it can raise a precept on the council tax, so it would not be dependent on Haringey money in the way that the Area Forum is. The main thing I have found against the idea is that Ken Livingstone approves
Would such a parish be entirely secular?
A local Government Parish council is an entirely secular body. It consists of Parish Councillors, democratically elected in the same way as Borough Councillors from the same electorate. Secret ballot, polling stations etc. The term "parish" is historical and apart from the ancestry has nothing to do with a Church of England parish which has an entirely separate organisation.
The "Vicar of Dibley" is not entirely reliable on this point...
Gutted to hear about Dibley though.
Or here's an independent approach for a nearby area
Look at what is already exists in Crouch End....no need to reinvent the wheel here.
...and an established business network that welcomes ALL local businesses and organisations. Next meeting March look out for details on our website.