OpinioN8

Connecting Crouch End and Hornsey with news, views and information

The Public Realm in Crouch End - what Public Realm? @TammyPalmerLD @HaringeyLiving

The London Borough of Haringey by virtue of its planning policies , and with the intervention of the Metropolitan Police, is effectively closing down all the facilities once provided in  the public realm. e.g.

  • Hornsey Town Hall - the decision driven by goodness only knows what to hand this to the Cayman Islands based FEC for purely private profit, has displaced approaching 100 businesses from Crouch End, and substantially reduced the number of decent sized meeting rooms for hire
  • The Earl Haig Memorial Hall - formerly a social club / pub / dance hall / meeting place / theatre / music venue, we are told that this will by January be an Ofsted approved nursery trading as "Kido" (formerly known as Safari Kid, a USA based teaching/childcare organisation)
  • The lavatories at the top of Hatherley Garden by the library - appear to be closed down , perhaps they were the venue for some anti-social behaviour and so the police have intervened (a guess, I can't be sure of that). But then so is peeing in the gutter, which as a man slightly past my middle years and with the concomitant prostate pressures, I may be forced to do in extremis.
  • The new street / wonderful open space to be created at the foot of the new blocks of flats behind Hornsey Town Hall - this is to be gated, at the behest of the Metropolitan Police, who argue that this will reduce crime. So what is the point of a superb crime free area if no one can get in to enjoy it. The absentee middle class Chinese owners of the new flats, will by definition, be absent. Remember the planning conditions creating a way through between Weston and Haringey Parks, and all the promises of permeability

So it is a massive shame to see an attempt to improve the public realm, so quickly and unthinkingly condemned as a failure.

For one afternoon (yesterday 22nd September 2019, a Sunday) part of Middle Lane was closed for World Car Free Day. The reaction on Facebook is badly ill judged. Of course, during a half day experiment such as this there will be frustrations and a hint of chaos, but to conflate that with the standard frustration and chaos cause by the absence of parking restrictions on Topsfield Parade and to blame it on a street party shows very little in the way of foresight.

Of course, the organisers could have done a lot better with preparations and forewarning. Perhaps the imposition of temporary parking restrictions just around the corner might have eased the congestion caused by diverted traffic. But instant condemnation of the attempt to create a car free zone, designed to change behaviour, must be accompanied with a chance for the behaviour to change.

Click on the image to be taken to the Facebook thread

Tags: car free day, liveable crouch end

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Many thanks for the round up Adrian.

The traffic was indeed backing up to Christ Church on Crouch End Hill and, at times, was solid along Tottenham Lane ... as it is most Sundays as shoppers and visitors take advantage of the Sunday lack of parking restrictions. However, flow was probably made worse by the access restrictions to the west side of Elder Avenue etc,

Interestingly, traffic flowed freely along Park Road.

Personally, I enjoyed the opportunity to wander down the middle of Middle Lane, despite the grey shies and rain!

But, as you suggest, we need a much bigger conversation about this, especially with businesses. We also need to have open access to the data Haringey will gather during the two week full closure of Middle Lane so we can understand what the impact is and any changes to traffic patterns so we can challenge and properly engage in the project.

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