Street Lighting and Crime

Our Association is conducting a spirited campaign to persuade Haringey Council to ensure that our streets, in particular Queen’s Avenue, are clearly lit when it is dark. At the same time our local Safer Neighbourhood Team has warned residents of the increasing threat from burglars as the evenings get darker and it becomes easier to identify unoccupied homes. Operation ‘Autumn Nights’, the Met’s seasonal awareness campaign to combat burglary, robbery and anti-social behaviour calls on us to make our homes less vulnerable to break-ins.

Our Chairman recently got in touch with Haringey Council and said: “The pavements are almost pitch dark in the evening in Queen’s Avenue. As Sgt. Williams of the Muswell Hill Safer Neighbourhood will confirm, the situation is getting worse and residents have been complaining for months. There is also a likelihood of increase crime such as breaking into cars.”

Will Duncan Save Ally Pally?

Our November speaker, Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Alexandra Palace and Park, hopes to return Ally Pally to its former glory and is overseeing the biggest and most realistic regeneration programme the building has ever seen. There is a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £16.5M with another £6.6M of matched funding to be found. These moneys would be put towards restoration of derelict space and putting it back into public use. If the bid is successful, works will be completed in late 2016.

Refurbishment of the East Court will provide access to the theatre, the BBC studios and to the ice rink. The historic fabric and services of the East Court would be repaired and existing features replaced. As well as making the space more attractive, it will open up new access routes within the Palace and provide a cafe and exhibition space.

The Theatre’s £8M refurbishment is the most expensive part of the proposal. It would become a ‘found space’, not a full restoration, for a wide range of activities. This would enable flexible use of the theatre to accommodate theatrical performances, music concerts, film shows, awards ceremonies, dinners and conferences. A flat floor will enable these diverse activities to take place. A single operator will not be sought for the theatre – instead individual events will be mounted by a number of interested bodies.

Accessible Bus Stop Arrives

A bus stop outside Boots on Muswell Hill roundabout for route W7 is, at last, to be built says Chris Barker, our Transport/Highway Officer. He reports that it is disappointing that the 144 will not be included. The problem is that the space there is restricted and it is necessary to ensure that only one bus is at the stop at a time. The campaign to site a bus stop here was launched to help people with mobility difficulties who find the present loading point on Muswell Hill inaccessible due to the excessively steep slope. This stop on the slope will however still be retained for school users and people from Parkland Walk.

The new bus stop with include lengthening this stretch of pavement and building out the entry point into Muswell Hill Roundabout from Dukes Avenue. The taxi rank is to be relocated to Dukes Avenue. There will be an overall six-week trial period for all these changes.

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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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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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