January | February 2012

Crossover Controversy

A deluge of heartfelt correspondence by members on the undesirability of converting front gardens into private car parks has been received in response to an item on crossovers in November’s newsletter. The committee asked whether we should object, on principle, to local planning applications for vehicle crossovers . The response was a resounding ‘Yes’.

John Crompton, our Conservation Officer, said “The article in the November newsletter produced a flurry of very interesting and well-researched responses. It is clear that members wish the Association to take a firmer line with regard to pavement crossovers. We did not get a single response from anyone who had installed a crossover to explain why they had felt it necessary to do so. I have been the Association’s representative on the local Conservation Area Advisory Committee for many years and the loss of front gardens has been a matter of great concern throughout that period. These garden walls are a characteristic feature of the Conservation Area: the materials they are made from, unlike metal, would not have been needed as part of the war effort and so the walls look the same now as they did when the houses were built. Clinker and reclaimed bricks were largely used to build the walls so Muswell Hill people were at the forefront of recycling initiatives even then. A further point that needs to be made is that once a wall has gone it is very unlikely that it will ever be rebuilt because, as one of our members has reminded us, ‘This right (to build a crossover) is sold to an applicant by the Council in perpetuity. No time limit is applied to the presence of a vehicle crossover’.

“There are, of course, many other things not to like about the provision of crossovers – loss of trees and established greenery and attractive front gardens as well as road safety considerations for both pedestrians and other road users.”

Alexandra Palace

The newest proposal is to seek the designation of the South East wing of the Palace as a Unesco World Heritage Site. The Joint Consultative and Advisory Committees heard in detail of the lengthy, torturous, bureaucratic and potentially expensive process involved: that the next review of the Tentative List would not occur until 2021/23 and that designation was unlikely to assist in attracting funding. Bearing in mind the present difficulties in funding essential repairs and restoration, members decided to recommend to the Trust Board that the aspiration be supported in principle but be pursued as part of the on-going regeneration and renovation of the fabric of the Palace.

The Chief Executive, Duncan Wilson, informed us that a bid had been made to English Heritage for funds to investigate the source of leaks into the roof of the theatre and surrounding areas.
The Park Manager emailed members of the two Committees his report, asking for rapid feedback on a proposal to carry out a foul drainage installation crossing the Park grounds to Newlands Field in addition to the surface water drainage work previously approved as part of Phase One of works intended to improve the Cricket Club grounds prior to their proposed use by Haringey Heartlands School. This included the provision of an above ground storage tank next to the Club. Many members felt that there was a mismatch between the present Park Management Plan emphasising environmental policies, the yet to be applied for planning for the MUGA hard surface area, and this rushed drainage proposal.

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