All roads lead to Haringey, *again*

High Time for the Crouch End Spring Streaterie

Highway 2021 Revisited.

We’re reminded not to let a good blog go gently. The following was originally published in May 2020. We didn’t think much has changed so you get to see it once again. Roll on April 12th 2021 and living it up at the weekend Middle Lanery. We have faith.

Let us know your thoughts.


Above image: Ham and High St John’s Wood al-fresco  https://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/st-johns-wood-al-fresco-7801986

In receipt of £100,000* from the DfT and £239,933* [*last year’s figures. Edit] from the government’s Re-Opening High Streets Safely Fund, the council have convened a taskforce (made up of staff from Highways, Parking, Business Support, Regen, Regulatory Services and Enforcement) to identify emergency measures to reduce car traffic and bolster walking and cycling. We wish them well, they don’t have long to act: the DfT want proposals by June 5th*, and the schools are beginning to return. [*and this year we have a roadmap…].

Anything that does not meaningfully alter the status quo on the road will not be funded  (DfT letter to TfL and local authorities)

So, in the light of TfL’s guidance to “enable London’s economic regeneration by facilitating more walking and cycling to local high streets and town centres” by “working with boroughs to reduce through traffic”, we’ve written to the council identifying possible sites (see earlier blogs).

Is this the moment the original vision for Liveable Crouch End returns? Will the car drivers now be forced to give up some roadspace? For decades Crouch End has been designed entirely around the supremacy of private vehicles and the requirements of through traffic, and the overreaction to last year’s* [*2019] trial closure of Middle Lane revealed quite a few who refuse to countenance even a minor change to the status quo. Perhaps the coming gridlock will alter perceptions.


Re-opening the high street

Above all, we want to see changes that allow flexible, creative and novel solutions for the local economy. So we’re calling on Haringey to be bold in their interventions, to close or filter roads if there’s a possible improvement to be made, to identify widespread opportunities for outdoor trading, and to put the local ahead of the strategic – which is the upshot of HMG guidance. After all we’re talking about pop-up solutions that can be removed (and this is an opportunity to trial changes).

Uncertainty abounds and the risk of a second wave of infections means seemingly temporary measures will be with us for some time. Being outdoors maybe fine, indoors, not so good, so it’s difficult to see how public transport will get anywhere near normal capacity anytime soon. Popping in and out the shops is okay too, but spend more time in close proximity indoors and you may have an issue. And, unfortunately, that means cafes, pubs, cinemas – and many service businesses, from hair salons to yoga studios – are in trouble.

Crouch End depends upon the service sector. Our local economy, the second largest town centre in Haringey, will be hit hard and we call upon the council to respond.

Perhaps other long term changes await us too. Will the move to home-working endure? And what would that mean for the town centre – might week-day footfall actually improve? It would be good to think so, trading has been tightening for some time.


So, did you notice any changes since 2020? Interestingly, Westminster managed to identify 60 road closure locations for al fresco dining in 2020. See https://www.westminster.gov.uk/sites/default/files/hospitality_businesses_recovery_plan_brochure.pdf

3 Comments

  1. Adrian Essex

    An article in The Grocer (click on my name to go see it) sets out some facts, figures, challenges and opportunities for High Streets in general.
    This is an old but evocative music video https://youtu.be/RZ2oXzrnti4

    Reply
  2. Mark Afford Author

    The matter reaches the pages of the Ham and High “Crouch End Neighbourhood Backs Middle Lane Streatery

    Indeed we are happy to support initiatives such as this led by local businesses. Whether other voices will react by demanding unfettered car supremacy at all times – to the detriment of our town centre – we don’t know. But let’s hope a little flexibility can be found. After all, this is a proposal for a limited duration, in an emergency for hospitality businesses, to run over weekends, with no school runs or rush hours to contend with, on a stretch of road that carries no public transport.

    What’re the odds for hysterical over-reaction?

    Reply

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