Call to Members

Our Chairman sends out a special plea for association volunteers. He wants to rally support for our drive to recruit people for a range of Association roles ~This comes after a number of urgent appeals for help, published in several successive issues of our newsletter, without response. He said: “We now have over 700 members so it’s clear that people really do care about the brilliant work we do to make our area as clean, green and safe as possible. We depend on you, however, to make this possible. Please do your bit!”

Alexandra Palace HLF Bid for Renovations

The public consultation on the future of the Palace resulted in about 2000 individual responses, which generally supported the main concepts put forward, although support for a hotel was relatively modest. It is however considered by the Chief Executive, Duncan Wilson, to be a complementary development, which will support the other proposals.

In July, the APP Board awarded a further contract to Terry Farrell and Partners for further design and architectural services in relation to the theatre refurbishments, opening up the BBC Studios, design development of a hotel, West and Great Hall upgrades and Mechanical and Electrical advice. This is in order to be able to develop the HLF bid with the required detail and to make progress on critical design solutions for the event spaces and hotel proposals.

Cherry Trees Return

One of our members living in Victoria Road has written to our Association to say thank you for our help in securing replacements for eight cherry trees removed from her road. The newly planted saplings have been diligently watered by this member and her neighbours and are now 10 feet tall. Well done Victoria Road!

A Sad Farewell To Gerry

Committee members were deeply saddened by the death of Gerry Saunders, long-standing member and ex-Newsletter Editor, on 3rd July 2012. We have sent condolences to Anne, his widow, and his family, along with a donation to one of Gerry’s favourite charities.

As well as being a hard-working Committee member for our Association for many years, Gerry was responsible for transforming our Newsletter from a mere sheet of paper into its current format, as well as training and mentoring the current Editor to build upon his innovations and achievement.

Before retirement, Gerry was editor and then publisher of Drapers magazine. He was made MBE in the New Year Honours List of 1989 for services to journalism.

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Alexandra Palace Consults Local People on Regeneration

An unprecedented opportunity has been given to us to comment on the redevelopment of Alexandra Palace by its new Chief Executive, Duncan Wilson. The consultation ended on 6th July but heralds a new episode in the saga of development at the People’s Palace.

Our Ally Pally representatives have been busy monitoring the progress of the plans and most recently met with Duncan specifically to discuss the impact of the proposed redevelopment on our members. They report that they have been impressed with his desire to gain the support of local people. At this time the Trust will remain in control of the redevelopment and our responses will have impact on decisions made.

Duncan stated: ‘Alexandra Palace could become a major international hub for cultural and community events, learning and recreation in the future, if there is support for current plans to regenerate the People’s Palace.’ Duncan was previously responsible for the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich and Somerset House. Under his stewardship, the Trust has appointed Donald Insall Associates, the historical buildings architectural specialists, to develop a conservation management plan for the Palace. This has now been delivered and urgent repairs are being carried out – both funded by grants from English Heritage.

The Trust also brought in world-renowned architects Terry Farrell & Partners earlier this year to create design concepts based on their vision for the future. An exhibition presenting a set of plans and design concepts took place in the foyer of the ice skating rink with an opportunity to comment using forms supplied.

Pinkham Way Plant – Hearing Suspended

Plans for a giant industrial waste plant in a wooded area off Pinkham Way hit a brick wall during the public examination of the North London Waste Plan (NLWP). This plan was drawn up by seven north London boroughs; Haringey, Barnet, Enfield, Camden, Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest who call themselves the North London Waste Authority. (NLWA). The site was formerly the Friern Barnet Sewage Works in the 1930s but was left unused and has since developed into a wild area of woodland and wild flowers.

On 12th June a public hearing was held during which the Pinkham Way Alliance was to expand their objections to these plans. The Alliance concluded that instead of being a 15-year planning strategy for north London’s waste, the NLWP was primarily developed to encompass North London Waste Authority strategy, which is to try and procure waste services for its seven member councils for a 30 year period. What should have been a plan-led process was being driven by longer-term financial needs – directly contrary to key principles of the UK planning system.

After five and a half years and the spending of millions of our pounds on the preparation of the NLWP, the hearing was suspended by the inspector after only 90 minutes. In his view, the plan appears legally unsound. He is concerned that the 7 NLWA councils failed in their duty to co-operate with neighbouring authorities outside London, which have historically accepted North London waste onto landfill sites.

The inspector gave the NLWA a short period of time to persuade him that it met its obligations to co-operate. If this can be proven to have happened, then the hearing will commence in the autumn. If not proven, then the North London Waste Plan is irretrievably damaged and the whole process will have to begin from the beginning again.

In the meantime, the Freehold Community Association (FCA), whose hall is right next to Pinkham Way Wood in Hollickwood Park, has applied for the Proposed Pinkham Way site to be made a Village Green. The FCA is asserting that since local residents have, as of right, used the wooded site as an amenity for over 20 years, that its use should remain. Their case will initially be assessed by an independent adjudicator. Haringey Council is sending letters to all who live within 1km of the site to ask for their opinion.

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Dustbin Discrimination: Veolia’s Recycling System Leaves Members Without Bins

Our Association sprang into action upon hearing that some of its Vallance Road members has been left without any recycling bins whatsoever following Veolia’s shake-up of its recycling collections. While most residents in this road have been given large green-lidded recycling bins, six adjacent addresses ‘approved for sacks collection’ have been denied the same facility due to Veolia’s perception of lack of space for their storage. The six addresses have the same or larger front gardens and side passages as their green binned neighbours.

Chairman John Hajdu said: “This does not make any sense. Veolia should have consulted its customers before taking this step. Singling out neighbours in this way has clearly caused problems”. He has been in touch with Veolia on behalf of the four members affected and arrangements are being made for a sit visit to determine that there really is enough room at the addresses to store the bins.

Veolia has a 14 year contract with Haringey Council to provide recycling and refuse collection as well as other services.

Will the Localism Act Save Us from Developers?

Our Conservation Officer, John Crompton offers some insights into the forthcoming Localism Act and its implications for our area.

Members may have read about the register of community assets which local authorities can now maintain. The thinking behind this has been a bit of a mystery to many of us, but the plain English version of the Localism Act provides the following useful context and explanation:

‘Every town, village or neighbourhood is home to buildings or amenities that play a vital role in local life. Local life would not be the same without them, and if they are closed or sold into private use, it can be a real loss to the community’.

It should be noted that the Act does not give community groups any preference in the bidding process and the landowners will still have the freedom to obtain what they see as the beat deal. In other words, it provides a window of opportunity for a bid to be prepared. If one is not forthcoming, then the disposal would continue as usual.

The borough Council will shortly be receiving nominations for items to be included in the Haringey register. Our Lib Dem Councillors have drawn up suggestions for the Muswell Hill and Fortis Green wards in consultation with residents and are due to produce one for the Alexandra Ward. The Committee will be looking at the lists produced by the local councillors and will make further nominations. While some will be obvious such as Parkland Walk and the pocket park in Fortis Green Road, others will be smaller in scale and perhaps not so generally well known.

It is important to bear in mind that the inclusion of an item on the register does not signify that it is under any particular threat. But we have to be alert to the fact that the Council and other public bodies are required to make considerable savings over the next few years and may be obliged to sell assets just to help balance the books. This new process could be helpful for the community to ensure the retention of valued local assets.

 
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Terrorism – Vigilance is Needed

Muswell Hill is at risk from terrorist attack as much as anywhere else in London – the message received by our members at our February meeting. Sgt. Underwood and Constable Kavaliares were keen to give us confidence to trust our instincts and report anything that might seem out of place. They stressed that every report is taken seriously and that we know our area and workplace better than they do.

Current threat levels are rated as “substantial” and this will increase during the London Olympics. The anti-terrorist hotline is 0800 789321.

Waitrose Comes to Muswell Hill

Muswell Hill finally said goodbye to the Slug & Lettuce pub and restaurant on 11th February. The site, which is to house upmarket grocer, Waitrose, was taken over almost instantly by squatters. Chairman John Hajdu lost no time in contacting Waitrose. Property Manager James Armstrong thanked him and said “We have reported this and are in the process of taking all appropriate steps to lawfully evict the occupiers as soon as possible.”

Waitrose had applied for planning for a “little Waitrose” convenience store, which was approved. The planning includes a new shopfront and conversion works. A condition of the approval is that all deliveries must be at the front of the building and large deliveries must be restricted to the hours of 6am to 7am on weekdays and Bank Holidays. Waitrose aims to open in July.

Flower Troughs in Bloom Thanks to Local Trader

Following cuts made by Haringey Council last year, one casualty, the flower troughs at the roundabout in Muswell Hill Broadway, have been thrown a lifeline by local trader Bones Furniture, trading at 23 Muswell Hill Broadway. They stepped forward following our Association’s request for help from the Muswell Hill Traders’ Group to restore the good looks of the troughs by replacing the compost and replanting them with some colourful blooms.

Our Environment Officer, Brian Livingston said: “The flower troughs had begun to look very ragged after the Council withdrawal of funds, so we should all be grateful that Bones has stepped forward and replanted them. They now look wonderful and really enhance our area.. Our thanks go to Elizabeth Smith, the owner of Bones and to Fredrika Debrabant from the shop, who undertook the planting.”

New Shops and Shopfronts

Our Association representative for shopfronts, Tanya Shamlian, says that she is encouraged to see lots of new shops in Muswell Hill lately. As well as taking photographs for the Association shopfronts dossier, Tanya also keeps track of new shops’ adherence to Conservation Area (CA) rules. She reports that Mint Velvet looks good while American Dry Cleaning with its corporate branding was always going to be disappointing. Barnados and Shelter, the charity shops, had predictable fit-outs but nothing garish.

Tanya also distributes Association packs to new shops reminding the owners of CA regulations and guidelines and gives them useful contact details. She has recently done this at the new Japanese restaurant replacing Melbury and Appleton on Muswell Hill Broadway.

 
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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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