BOWLING ALONG
The Muswell Hill Bowling Club is celebrating the start of its 113th season and thanks to last year’s exceptional weather and healthy crop of grapes  will be serving their very own London red wine ‘Bowl-jolie Nouveau – Cotes du Haringey’.

THE PARKLAND WALK
The little known nature reserve from Muswell Hill to Finbury Park,

BEE ME UP
John Hauxwell, the “Bee Man”, reveals everything about bees and beekeeping.

MEMBERS’ LETTERS
Successful petition for better road safety by The Cross Safe N10 Group. And dangerous dogs.

PLANNING & CONSERVATION
In focus: 10 – 27 Connaught House, Connaught Gardens; 6 Muswell Hill; 7A Tetherdown ( ChrisKitch ); 311 Muswell Hill Broadway (HGY/2014/0632); Former Village pub at the top of Muswell Hill; Hollybank site, southern edge of Rookfield estate; 12 Coppetts Road (HGY/2014/0257); 34 Grove Avenue (HGY/2014/0443); and Raglan Hall Hotel, Queens Avenue.

MEMBERS IN PROFILE
Peter and Ros Kraushar.

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All change on the Exchange: a new look for Muswell Hill roundabout?

Planning updates: 30 Muswell Hill; The Green Man/LCCCP School; and 10-27 Connaught House, Connaught Gardens

Local policing: crime prevention tips

Suffolk horses in Queen’s Wood and Coldfall Wood

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URBAN BLIGHT – SHOPS CLOSING DOWN
According to data from Pricewaterhouse Coopers and the Local Data Company, in  2013 on average 16 town centre shops were closing down every
day. The Muswell Hill and Fortis Green Association regrets that any local businesses are forced to close, and urges its members to support their neighbourhood stores.

XIX CENTURY SOCIAL MEDIA
in November, the Garden Room at North Bank was host to long-term member Hugh Garnsworthy showing a fascinated audience a selection of
slides of his unrivalled collection of postcards, from the 1870s to the 20th Century. As one member pointed out: with the limited number of characters, a photographic image and very speedy delivery, the postcard is one of the first and most enduring examples of social media!

WEB’S WONDER
The Muswell Hill and Fortis Green Association has a new website (https://mhfga.org). Visitors ca now find lots of information about the Association
and our area and, in particular, brand new photos of Muswell Hill today, our shop fronts, and also photos of old postcards of Muswell Hill, from over a 100 years ago, when parking wasn’t a problem!

PLANNING UPDATE
Muswell Hill is on the developers’ radar. A relatively large number of applications for significant residential projects is in the pipeline which will have an impact on the community if they go ahead. On the planners tables are Muswell Hill Road (the Odeon shops and flats), St Luke’s Hospital, 30 Muswell Hill, The Green Man and LCCCP School (56 Muswell Hill ), 77 Muswell Hill, and Connaught House, Connaught Gardens.

HIGHGATE WOOD
The keepers have planted some plants in the pond which is located in the permanent conservation area next to the playground and railway line. All the plants introduced to the pond are native and are of particular benefit to insects, particularly bees and butterflies. A new conservation area, close to Bridge Gate, has been coppiced and will be managed to help create greater variety and regeneration and provide new glades that will attract many plants, invertebrates and birds.

W7 BUS STOP A SUCCESS
The new bus stop on the Muswell Hill roundabout for the W7 has now been made permanent.

A MUSWELL HILL LIFE
Wendy Joy Steerwood

PRIME THINKERS
A local initiative brings together collective brainpower to help new, small or growing businesses, and benefits a local charity at the same time. Business owners can present their problems to a group of eight to ten “thinkers”, comprising managers, senior government officials and experienced entrepreneurs who will help identify solutions and ideas to benefit the business in question.  The cost is modest – £100 – which goes directly to the charity Kith & Kids, and the “thinkers” volunteer their time and expertise.

ARTISTIC HUSBAND AND WIFE TEAM
Stephen Gottlieb (who was sadly to pass away in the following April) is a lutemaker, building all types of renaissance and baroque instruments from highly decorated to classically simple. Stephen’s wife Jane Dorner is a glass artist and makes free-standing sculptural pieces and wall-mounted structures for modern interior settings.

ROADS AND SAFETY
Potholes – Haringey Council is currently trialling a reduction in our intervention levels for pothole repairs. This sees the threshold reduce from 60mm and 50mm to 30mm and 25mm respectively. Planned Carriageway/Footway Maintenance – The Council is investing £6m to improve the condition of its roads ad footways. WalkSafe N10 – A group of parents, teachers and governors from Coldfall and Coppetts Wood primary schools is concerned about the safety of pedestrians on local streets, especially children when they are walking to and from school. The group is working closely with councillors from Haringey and Barnet and has won support from both Councils’ Area Committees.

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Local Development – Controversy

Recent proposed changes in planning regulations governing such building works as extensions in back gardens or to the sides of properties have left many members fearful of reduced light or loss of privacy. The changes are designed to support economic growth and allow for some kinds of development without the necessity for planning permission, in order to free the planning system of unnecessary bureaucracy. It is unclear how this will effect or conservation areas since what constitutes ‘permitted development’ may change.

We have welcomed recent Parliamentary moves to rethink the proposals. We expressed a number of views in our letter to local

MP Lynne Featherstone (see full newsletter).

Pinkham Way Saga Rolls On

Barnet Council is still determined to move its entire fleet of dustcarts and cleansing vehicles out of Mill Hill (Barnet) and onto Pinkham Way (Haringey). In addition, the North London Waste Authority still wants to put a waste processing/handling facility on the site. If built, that could open the door to a much bigger plant further down the line.

The Pinkham Way Alliance are raising funds for a full ecological survey of the site.

Communal Air-Raid Shelter in Hollybank at Risk

The Hollybank Action Group is opposing the demolition and development of the Hollybank site, consisting of32garages, a cottage and a copse as well as a WW2 air-raid shelter – all currently sited in the Rookfield CA.

An important part of Britain’s wartime heritage lies hidden on the Hollybank site, off Muswell Hill. A WW2 communal air-raid shelter some five metres long and 1.5 metres wide was built below trees and shrubbery near the rear gardens of Cranmore Way. Dr Gabriel Moshenska from the UCL “Archaeology of Air-Raid Shelters Project” commented that “On a national scale, air-raid shelters are one of the most neglected aspects of our heritage yet they are important to understand and preserve.”

It is not known who the shelter was built for but its size and position suggest that it may have been designed for the residents of Hollybank flats, on Muswell Hill. If any members have any memories of this air-raid shelter , or any further information please contact Helen Finch on helen.finch@btconnect.com

Courier Fraud Warnings

Local police have sent out a warning about courier fraud. The average age of those targeted is 70 years.

The victims are telephoned by someone claiming to be from an authority – usually the police, a bank, or Serious Fraud Office. They are told that their bank account has been compromised and their bank card must be collected. The victim is instructed to hang up and call the Serious Fraud Office/police on a genuine number to check the caller is genuine. The victim dials the number given to them but the fraudster does not disconnect so they are still speaking to the same person. The fraudster then convinces the victim to reveal their PIN number, usually by typing it into the keypad. The fraudster then sends a courier or taxi driver to the victim’s house to collect the bank card. The bank account is then emptied of funds.

Police and banks will NEVER ask for your PIN number or for your bank card so never give these to anyone.

If you are contacted in this way – hang up the phone. Use a different telephone line to contact the police on 101.

St Luke’s Hospital Site Development

The Planning Application for the development of St. Luke’s Hospital site into 173 residential units was submitted to Haringey Council by Hanover in Mid-January 2013. The reference number is HGY/2013/0061 on the Haringey Planning Applications page.

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Our Campaigning Hits the Front Page – Muswell Hill Police Station Goes for Development

Our constant championing of local causes to keep our area clean, green and safe, is attracting media attention. While last year our Association featured in the local press a record 16 times, we have not yet made the front page this early in the year before. The proposed closure of Muswell Hill Police Station, featured on the front page of the Broadway Ham and High on 17th February, has caused outrage to members. Our Chairman, John Hajdu, is ensuring that our collective voice is heard by the decision makers. “It is short-sighted and not in the community’s interests”, he is quoted as saying.

One concern is that our three local Safer Neighbourhood teams’ work will be compromised as in disparate locations the information sharing that they rely on will be more difficult. Members have also expressed their dismay that the historic station will be sold to developers

Broadway Flower Troughs

An earlier edition of the newspaper ran details our fight to keep our area looking green and ‘card about’ starting with the Broadway’s flower troughs. As a result, new sponsors have now come forward. The Muswell Hill Sustainability Group has volunteered plants for two flower troughs at the roundabout. We welcome other donations.

Threat to the Rookfield CA

Our Association is supporting our new members in the Rookfields Conservation Area in their campaign to save the Hollybank site, a large strip of land north of Cranmore way, from development. The plan the Hollybank Action Group is opposing would see homes built on what is now the site of garages, a cottage and a copse. There is also a large ‘public’ WW2 air raid shelter there and the remains of an underground petrol tank with petrol pumps now gone.

Most of the garages are wide enough for cars and the campaigners claim a latent demand for car parking there already exists. Nine businesses also use the garages, for example, for storage or as premises from which to operate. The Hollybank Action Group is concerned about development being allowed to take place within a Conservation Area, especially one that is subject to an Article 4 directive, and the precedent this sets for development in other conservation areas. Contact Helen Finch at helen.finch@btconnect.com if you would like to be kept informed of progress.

What is the Value of Our Community Land?

Peter Thompson, our Association Legal Eagle,discusses the relevance of the Localism Act 2011 to land in our area (edited)

Under the heading ‘Assets of Community Value’ the Localism Act 2011 provides a system for listing land ‘of community value’ in order to prevent it being sold off without the community having a chance to bid for it. It applied to land but not, apparently, to other community assets like the Langton Clock, the Queen’s Avenue horse-trough and the Transmitter in Alexandra Park. This is clear from the requirement that the listing must include “a description of the nominated land including its proposed boundaries’.

So, does the Act empower conservationists to list the whole of Muswell Hill and protect it from falling into the hands of developers. No, there are various restrictions. Only ‘a voluntary or community body’ with a local connection may make an application for listing. Happily, our Association falls within the definition. But we cannot nominate any old land. Dwelling-houses are excluded and the land has to have community value, which means that its use ‘furthers the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community”.

So let us focus on something modest like the little ‘park’ by the John Baird public house. That, some may think, is a nice little community refuge where you can sit and talk and further your social wellbeing. It looks like a suitable candidate for listing. The first step is to identify its boundaries and owners by a search of the Land Registry and then persuade MHFGA or some other sizable voluntary community body with a local connection to apply to the Council for this little parcel of land to be listed. Once that is successfully done, members can sleep at night knowing that the owner cannot sell off the land without a community interest group being given six weeks to ask to be considered as a bidder for the land and six months in which to buy it. Be warned: the bidding may well be in competition with commercial operators who have deep pockets and who want to acquire the land for development. The MHFGA also does not fall within the definition of a ‘community interest group’ since it is a group of individual members, not a corporate organisation.

Maybe a corporate body like en10energy limited would be willing to bid for the land. Otherwise is may be necessary to form a bespoke company called, perhaps, the Community Land in Muswell Hill Company limited, that can buy the land and register its ownership. The Fortis Green Community Allotments Trust made a bid for their land, with money provided by members. The deal was done with Thames Water. The Rookfield Management company, formed by the Rookfield Estate residents, successfully bought their verges and trees alongside their houses from the freeholders.

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