OpinioN8

Connecting Crouch End and Hornsey with news, views and information

Many places have a unique character - and Crouch End is no different #LiveableCrouchEnd

Crouch End Traders Association (CETA) have started a campaign  alerting Crouch End to the existence of a questionnaire about possible changes that might be made in the area..

I think they have got this campaign seriously right at nearly every point, and I'm very pleased they are pushing the issue.
Crouch Enders tend to be a complacent, reactive bunch until something goes demonstrably wrong.
Responding to the Haringey questionnaire before decisions are finally and formally taken would be a move towards proactivity.
There are as yet  no firm proposals. Check out the questionnaire which puts forward a number of vague ideas. It would be premature to oppose vague ideas, but, who knows, it may be useful to make constructive comments on them.
Where I think the traders go wrong is in the implicit tone of opposition in their posters. 
They describe the changes as "extreme", and we all know extremists are bad. Perhaps they could have chosen "radical and exciting" which gives the whole exercise a much more positive spin.
They say this is our chance to protect local shops and the unique character of Crouch End, but 
  1.  they give us no clue as to how to do that  and
  2. implicit in this is that the questionnaire and its proposals are inimical to these positive outcomes. 

Crouch End needs some positive outcomes. Shops are closing at an ever increasing rate, but openings are not keeping up. The three in a row and a demerit mark effect of Santander, Oliver Bonas (as was) and Starbucks standing empty, boarded up and fly posted is massively ugly. If you were an entrepreneur  or a chain store would you want to open up in a shopping centre with this as a centrepiece.

So, just as the Crouch End Traders Association is doing I would urge you to complete the questionnaire, but remembering that something needs to change to reduce the harm we are doing to ourselves through air pollution from traffic, and the evident decline in our High Street.

Tags: liveable crouch end

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TRADERS who oppose the Crouch End liveable Neighbourhood scheme make a mistake.

The real threat to their current business model—and indeed to High Streets up and down the land—is online commerce. This is not going to go away. It will intensify and it threatens to evaporate much or most current High Street income. But some traders see cars and parking as vital to their business. They look ahead to next week and maybe next month.

If they look out 12 months or even as far as 10 years, the smart thing for traders to do, would be to beg the council to implement a neighbourhood scheme as fast as possible. To make Crouch End more liveable and attractive to linger in. I support what the council is trying to do here.

Unfortunately, it is not being promoted at political level as effectively as it should be. The current Cabinet Member for the Environment makes lovely speeches in safe settings like Labour Party meetings, but has failed to defend sufficiently the scheme from attack by some residents in wider gatherings.

In particular, last year, local (Liberal Democrat) Crouch End Councillors hosted a public meeting about the scheme and the two-week trial, to which the Cabinet Member was invited. The best that she could do was to provide a statement that was read out on her behalf. In the statement, she claimed that it would have premature to attend and to speak before the trial.

When it comes to justifying a scheme involving some five million pound of public money, surely this is not good enough?

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