OpinioN8

Connecting Crouch End and Hornsey with news, views and information

Crouch End is a lively area , packed with people with ideas and energy. Lots of the things they do as Crouch Enders have legs - look at the Crouch End Festival Chorus or the recently revived Crouch End Festival, brought back to life after a gap of some years. There is more than one traders' association - the Crouch End Traders' Association, the Crouch End Project and the Barboot. For many years the Crouch End Conservation Area Advisory Committee kept a watchful eye on planning aberrations and did its best to prevent the developers' worst excesses. The Hornsey Town Hall Creative Trust has battled for years to bring a good outcome, but struggles with byzantine machinations of local authorities, funding agencies, the public, and private enterprise. Crouch End for People was set up amidst great optimism.

But over the years the local scene has changed, energies dwindle, prime movers move on and not all these local initiatives are maintained at their very high energy levels.

I wonder if a Neighbourhood Forum, as defined by our coalition government, could act as a coalition of local groups, to reinforce the energies of those that still have energies, and to revitalise those that are flagging. We can discuss the possibility here and there will be a meeting on October 2nd at 8pm in the library. The text below is a manifesto in support of a forum to bring together:

  • conservation and town design questions
  • applications for monies such as that made available by Boris
  • the mix of shops, restaurants and cafes, which should be more diverse in a healthy centre
  • the lack of employment, which is caused in part by the unavailability of commercial space

  • the promotion of a lively cultural scene, and what more can be done to encourage it

  • access by cycle and cycle parking, which should be easier

  • access by public transport to the town centre, and to residential streets, including overcrowding and a possible need for new services

  • the lack of affordable and good quality housing in Crouch End

MANIFESTO FOR A CROUCH END NEIGHBOURHOOD FORUM

What is a Neighbourhood Forum?

Neighbourhood Forums were created by the Localism Act, passed into law in November 2011. The aim of the Act is to devolve more decision-making powers into the hands of communities and individuals and to introduce new flexibilities for local government. In particular plan making can be passed down to local residents and communities (neighbourhoods) subject to consultation procedures with the community being followed. Once approved, Neighbourhood Plans form part of the Local Development Plan and thus have material status. So this is a way for local communities to gain more influence over the detailed plan making process than they would normally have, but it has to be within the policies of the higher level plans above it and cannot work against them.

Why does Crouch End Need a Neighbourhood Forum?

Currently the Crouch End area is divided between four Haringey wards – Crouch End, Muswell Hill, Hornsey and Highgate – so there is no one body taking an overview, especially of the town centre, except for the Conservation Area Advisory Committee, which naturally focuses on conservation. The result is that the town centre and its surrounding area have been neglected for years, and issues have been allowed to accumulate, with no solutions offered. This is partly, but not wholly, because of cuts to Haringey’s Planning Department, but also from the influence of other departments who do not always take into account the duties of those in the planning system (engineers, publicity people and property interests).

One issue is the quality of the townscape in the town centre and the practical problems this causes users; pavements are narrow and unattractively paved, street furniture often of low quality. In places it takes three movements to cross from one side of the Broadway to the other. Many attractively designed commercial buildings and shopfronts have been changed without planning permission or have deteriorated. These factors make Crouch End less attractive as a shopping and business centre; thus there is a risk of fewer people using – particularly if the Hornsey supermarket sucks some life away.

Other issues which deserve consideration include:

  • the mix of shops, restaurants and cafes, which should be more diverse in a healthy centre

  • the lack of employment, which is caused in part by the unavailability of commercial space

  • the promotion of a lively cultural scene, and what more can be done to encourage it

  • access by cycle and cycle parking, which should be easier

  • access by public transport to the town centre, and to residential streets, including overcrowding and a possible need for new services

  • the lack of affordable and good quality housing in Crouch End

What would a Neighbourhood Forum Do ?

A Neighbourhood Forum could research need, discuss priorities and seek action on these issues, which can be through setting up a Neighbourhood Plan, but also by direct representation to Haringey and other agencies. It could be a forum for action. Business will be conducted through topic groups, which could bring together residents and businesses from all backgrounds to network and share their knowledge. We hope to replace ‘endless boring meetings’ with gatherings that are collaborative and enjoyable. It could replace the existing ward meeting that are not achieving any progress. It could also take on a promotional role and deal with image and style of the place.

Who would be Members of a Neighbourhood Forum ?

Membership would be open to:

  • residents living in the area

  • affiliated residents associations and voluntary and amenity groups

  • local businesses and individuals working in the area

  • the Conservation Area Advisory Committee could be subsumed into it to guide the restoration and enhancement of this historic area.

  • Crouch End, Hornsey, Muswell Hill and Highgate councillors

What Area would a Neighbourhood Forum Cover ?

The proposed neighbourhood area is suggested as being the area bounded in red on the map below. The blue lines are ward boundaries.

(note: the western boundary is shaped by the existing Highgate Neighbourhood Forum – the areas can not overlap, the southern boundary is the historic ridgeway which became part of the Islington border but excludes a small area of the ward that relates more to Stroud Green).

How is a Neighbourhood Forum Set Up?

Neighbourhood forums must have a written constitution, their membership must be widely representative, and their purpose must be the improvement of the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of their area. They should have a minimum of at least 21 members, and must be based on a neighbourhood area approved by Haringey Council. There must be a defined consultation period in when local residents and businesses have the opportunity to express their views.

Next Steps and Public Meeting

A public meeting is planned for Thursday 2nd October at Hornsey Library at which the proposal will be explained, and the extent of support for the concept gauged. Everyone is invited, so please come along so we can see if there is support for a Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum. We think the Forum could be a useful tool for positive change in the Crouch End area.

Chris Mason - Crouch End Conservation Area Advisory Committee

Norman Beddington – local resident

Tags: forum, neighbourhood

Views: 501

Replies to This Discussion

Pamela has posted this topic as a meeting but much more concisely than I

Dear Adrian, sorry that I have duplicated your post - I do not follow OpinioN8 very closely so I did not realise that this is already a discussion topic. My take is really from an environmental point of view as I am active in Muswell Hill
Sustainability Group and Transition Crouch End. Norman Beddington (a local resident very involved in energy efficient homes) and Chris Mason who is on the Area Conservation Committee have instigated this proposal - but you probably know that!  I agree with you that, while Crouch End is a vibrant lively place there is room for improvement!

Anyway I just thought I would publicise the meeting as it is the first chance for people to get together to discuss the proposal.  Hope to meet up with you there.   Pamela

 

Adrian: the Forum is a good idea    the next thing is to get people to attend the meeting 2 Oct   I must confess there has been very little publicity about it except for involving 'the converted'   can you get people to use their contact lists to disseminate the info - Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators, conservation groups etc?

I hope opinion8 doesn't die   your work has been appreciated but I know it is hard to get the help and support needed    

no group - environmental,political, whatever- is immune from difficulties with membership nowadays   people work longer hours so don't feel like 'committees' when they do get home     a (Crouch End) Neighbourhood Forum could be an umbrella for all local groups and individuals     I attended several Har.Co NFs but stopped because they were always used by vociferous campaigners    I know other local people who feel the same way

 

I'm replying to my own reply!   I couldn't attend on 2nd as it clashed with a quarterly meeting of Neighbourhood Watch c-ordinators   but why are there 2 different yet seemingly the same (Neighbourhood Forum) meetings - one on 2nd and the other on 14th? 

Hi Sally

Thanks for the posting: the first one never happened; there were difficulties confirming the venue and date but the 14th October is happening - at the Earl Haig PH at 7.30. Hope to see you there.

David

OK   as soon as I can figure out how to use my Address Book on this wretched BT'com set-up, I'll help publicise the 14th   Sally 

Where can I find the map mentioned above?

Excellent.  Tightly defined.  I was worried that it might overlap with the  Stroud Green neighbourhood forum proposals that occasionally arise.

A couple of years ago I put this map together of local forum proposals.  I think that the Crouch Hill/Hornsey Rise idea also sputtered out.

http://g.co/maps/utcdg

Cheers Ben

Thanks for the heads up in the bigger picture: the proposed and actual boundaries dovetail nicely.

I hope you can get along next week.

David

The revised HR/CH boundaries also took in Ella and Dickinson Rds, making the fit even better.

Will definitely try to be there.

B

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