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A NOTE on the withdrawal of funding for the Crouch End Liveable Neighbourhood scheme was quietly slipped into a letter whose main purpose was to publicise the council's bid for temporary cycling infrastructure.
"… hope that in due course TfL will be able to revive the funding for [Liveable Neighbourhood at Crouch End] … (emphasis added)
The scheme that many hoped might mark a tangible commitment to living streets and to a more liveable environment, never enjoyed the meaningful political support that it needed in order to succeed. Political support and political-will mean more than just public relations (PR).
There was local criticism of the scheme but regrettably, there was no defence of it. It was notable and regrettable that the Cabinet Member responsible for the scheme, declined an invitation from local Crouch End Councillors to attend a public meeting on the subject.
Lack of political support
Largely, the project was left up to council employees to deal with, and a meal was made of it. The biggest (temporary) tangible product was the closure of Middle Lane for two weeks as a test, that may have cost as much as £200,000. There will be nothing to show for it.
Council staff lacked both firm direction and confidence that political leadership had their backs. More than two years slipped by and eventually the offer of funding—described by Haringey in late 2017 as secured—ran into the current Corvid crisis. The funding may now be lost for the foreseeable future.
The empty showcase
In July last year, Council PR described the Liveable Crouch End Scheme as Haringey "leading the way", at the liveable neighbourhoods event that Haringey hosted at Ally Pally.
Active Travel was "celebrated" and "showcased". But all residents have had is public relations without action and it has been this way, year after year.
The council's commitment to Active Travel will have lost credibility as a result of this episode.
Active Travel—a chronic lack of commitment
Thanks to a lack of will, ability or competence, Haringey has lost out again.
It represents yet another #ActiveTravel opportunity missed, if not reversal, due to a combination of a chaotic Council Cabinet, no meaningful commitment at political level and at Highway Officer level, employees left to deal with it as best they could.
The failure of Haringey to make use—in a timely fashion—of the £4,800,000 on offer, cannot make it any easier for future requests by the Council for financial help in this area, either from TfL or from the Department of Transport.
Given the chronic failures, should Haringey Highways not be taken into Special Measures?