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Haringey’s first Liveable Neighbourhood in Crouch End will radically change travel behaviour

I am going to a meeting with Cllr Kirsten Hearn tomorrow about the conduct of the Liveable Crouch End Project. I have sent her the note below so that she knows what my agenda is.

Cllr Hearn

Thank you for being so persistent in setting up this meeting.
It arises out of my note to you in July setting out my concerns over the:
  1. way in which the project details have been communicated to the public
  2. timing of the gateways
  3. inconsistencies between your address at the Liveable Conference and the actual conduct of the project
By way of preface, my position as a representative of OpinioN8 is that , broadly speaking and subject to detail, I approve of the scheme and would like to see it succeed with the backing of most Crouch Enders.
But little has happened since July to ease my concerns:
  • The latest update to the website is welcome, but it is very narrow in focus, relating only to the trial. The publication of data gathered earlier in the project is welcome but is still not complete (air quality is still lacking). No revision of the bid winning document has been published.
  • The sequencing of events still seems wrong and is not perfectly clear. The sequence should be consult (or trial) / feedback / changes / gateway. With the present sequence the gateway comes in too soon and will tend to stifle changes.
  • In the early stages of consultation we were promised that no details of the scheme had been decided and that the public would inform the final design. I have looked in vain for any such changes. Perhaps because no revision of the scheme has been published. It feels as though the outcome has been predetermined from the outset.
  • Setting up and publishing details of the trial has certainly increased the level of engagement with the public. Regrettably this has largely taken the form of panicky, ill-informed opposition. It has been made worse by the absence of information from what has now been published. Simple things like "you will still be able to drive to your home" and "traffic on Rokesly will be reduced"
  • The best exposition I have seen so far has come from an individual who felt compelled to take to Facebook for the first time to clear up misunderstanding. It and its responses are attached as a word document. This has been put before the several thousand members of the two main Crouch End Facebook groups, which raises the questions:
    • why has the Liveable Crouch End project not got a presence on both Twitter and Facebook?
    • the Facebook post takes the much loved FAQ format addressing day to day questions rather than the high level pitch on the new web pages - why has the project team not provided such a folksy FAQ?
  • The new page on the web site labelled "Objectives" is refreshingly honest in its overtly coercive opening sentence.

Looking at opposition to the trial raises further questions:

  • Why are there no predictions of what will happen during the trial? The scientific method demands a hypothesis, predictions, experiment and measurement of expected results against observations. There are no predictions on the web pages. Even the very simplest of predictions would be of benefit, e.g. the number of traffic movements on Middle Lane will reduce by 90% (or some other number; e.g. 2 the number of traffic movements on Rokesly Avenue will reduce by 25% (or whatever). I attach the beginnings of a note on hypothesis and predictions
  • Why have many people still not heard of the trial? This thread on Twitter ends with a chance encounter with a shopkeeper who claims not to have heard of the project. There is a chance that he/she is being wilfully ignorant, if so the project needs a detailed record of what has been delivered to whom and when to disprove his assertion.
  • What will the effect be on the High Street? Shopkeepers fearful of change will argue that it will harm their businesses. Without a retail impact assessment this argument will be very difficult to counter. See also my hypothesis and predictions.
  • What is the interaction with other works taking place in the area and how is this being managed? The recent resurfacing of Park Road was, by all accounts, a shambles and possibly to be redone if Liveable goes ahead. Rokesly has been resurfaced. Humps have been added to Weston Park. The bus stop at the junction with Ferme Park Road has been moved. There is talk of a CPZ review. Surely all these things should be subsumed under the Liveable umbrella and managed rationally.
  • What is the role of the project board? I know it has two representatives from Crouch End, one from CENF and a councillor. Were they given the opportunity to review the web pages before they were published, and given the chance to feed in ideas.  Is the project board an effective mechanism to manage this project? My immediate feeling is that it is not.
Finally, in the spirit of improved and meaningful communications, please can we have more improved web pages, and the publication of the trial results, and the conclusions to be drawn from them , along with further stakeholder and wider public meetings, all to be done before Christmas.
See you tomorrow.

Tags: liveable crouch end

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I look forward to the report back.

Thanks, Luke. Where do I look for the report of your meeting, or can you summarise it for me? What have I missed that came up there?

I was one of those in the meeting that packed the upstairs library room. We heard that not enough was known about the proposal.

The Council Cabinet member responsible for the scheme declined the invitation to attend and instead, Luke read out her prepared statement. Kirsten Hearn said she would attend a later meeting when data from the fortnight's trial was available.

The misnamed sustainable transport department has a poor record on active travel. They may not have either their heart—or head—in this big scheme. If fear they are not trying hard enough and may be hoping the scheme fails, in order that it is not repeated elsewhere.

The too-brief trial needs to be postponed and proper consultation held.

There is also a serious need to engage people outside the demographic at Sunday's meeting which was absolutely not representative of the totality of Crouch End. 

What is representative of Crouch End, please, and how did the meeting differ? And why is it important? If the people who went to the meeting are the people who care enough to go to the meeting why should their views not take precedence?

This ward profile from the Haringey website gives some demographic measures. My attempt to summarise in this table may be rather unsubtle.

Demographic measure Compared to Haringey Crouch End is/has  . . . .  Compared to London Crouch End is/has  . . . . 
Size (sq km) smaller smaller
Population Smaller Smaller
Population density less dense more dense
Open Space has less has less
Pop'n age 0 - 19 under represented 0 - 19 under represented
Ethnicity whiter and more british whiter and more british
Religion less religious less religious
Education much more educated much more educated
Income much better off with less unemployment much better off with less unemployment
Housing tenure more homeowners, less social rent more private rent, less social rent
Household make up more singletons and couples with no children, fewer single parents more singletons and couples with no children, fewer single parents
LIfe expectancy greater greater
Health problems much healthier much healthier
Obese year 6s slimmer slimmer
Crime less crime more crime
no Those who shout loudest shouldn’t be the only ones whose views are considered. And last time I looked Crouch End wasn’t 95% white pensioners.

Just to complicate this a little further -

Virtually none of the trial site, Middle Lane, is in Crouch End Ward. The street is almost entirely in 'Hornsey'.

The main roads that stand to be impacted by the scheme are Park Road (almost entirely in Muswell Hill ward), Tottenham Lane (almost entirely Hornsey ward), and possibly Priory Road (Muswell Hill) and Hornsey High Street (Hornsey). Very little is in 'Crouch End'.

However the public meeting was held solely by Crouch End councillors.

NB. At the meeting the dominant voice of protest was heard by residents from Park Avenue South and surrounding roads. These streets are not in Crouch End either, they're in Muswell Hill Ward.

Thanks, Mark, I'll add that to my meeting notes, which I've just noticed is not the 'tomorrow' I mentioned but Wednesday 2nd.


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