Boundary Walk Report – Area 1 (Shepherds Hill/NW Crouch End)

Boundary Walk Report – Area 1 (Shepherds Hill/NW Crouch End)
31 May 2015
I was accompanied on the walk by John Tillotson (GMTRA). We started off during intermittent rain, which unfortunately meant that the streets were rather emptier than usual with conditions not ideal for people to stop and chat. We encountered few people in the Shepherds Hill area, but we had more luck when we progressed across the playing fields towards Park Road. The emphasis of the walk was to define the boundary rather than collecting lists of likes and dislikes.
Shepherds Hill
This is a difficult one because it lies entirely within the N6 (Highgate) postcode area yet also lies entirely within Crouch End Ward. Most people regard the eastern end as within Crouch End (although we encountered one individual later on who said that was the boundary), whereas the western end, with both Highgate tube and Highgate Branch Library, has a stronger affinity with Highgate. So at some point Shepherds Hill transitions from Crouch End into Highgate, and the junction with Stanhope Road seems as good a point as any. We tested two residents in Broughton Close (a cul-de-sac off Shepherds Hill just to the east of this point): one stated that she lived in Crouch End, the other that she lived in CrouchEnd/Highgate, but neither was able to specify a dividing line on Shepherds Hill. Later on in the walk we asked other people who were familiar with Shepherds Hill to name the dividing line, and at least two said the junction with Stanhope Road. So I conclude that the boundary defined by the Highgate NF is probably correct. I note that the drawn boundary cuts directly across the allotments whereas it should probably skirt the allotment boundary, but this is not important as there are no residential properties affected.
Crouch End Playing Fields
We went into the Highgate Cricket & Tennis Club pavilion and spoke to a few people there. All were unanimous that the club was definitely in Crouch End, as were all of the other cricket and tennis clubs with the possible exception of the North Middlesex club (the one furthest to the north with its own self-contained area.) It certainly looks correct for the NW boundary to follow the line of the back garden fences along Wood Vale.
North Middlesex Cricket Club
We went into the clubhouse and spoke with the person who appeared to be involved in running it. Although not a Crouch Ender herself, she was adamant that the club was in Crouch End and said that the people who came to the club would all agree. (Difficult to validate this of course, but what motive would she have for telling us something untrue?). An alternative viewpoint from the Chair of CREOS (received by email) is that the North Mid is not in Crouch End because it is not part of the Shepherds Cot Trust. My conclusion is to leave the boundary as drawn, which includes the club in Crouch End.
Park Road
This was the most interesting and contentious part of the boundary. The uncertainty over the North Mid prompted us to examine where exactly along Park Road the boundary should be drawn, so we decided to test the parade of shops at the northern end of Park Road. We spoke with two shopkeepers (Audio Gold & the Haelan Centre) and both considered their shops to be in Crouch End while admitting they were right on the border. In their view the border was the traffic lights at the foot of Muswell Hill. We also asked a resident leaving one of the flats above the shops who said the same. A defining factor for these people appears to be the N8 postcode, which changes to N10 beyond the lights. Another person we encountered here on the street believed that Crouch End finished at the junction of Cranley Gardens, and pointed out that the church on the corner of Cranley Gardens is named Hornsey Parish Church. There seemed to be general agreement that Cranley Gardens itself was not part of Crouch End (perhaps influenced by its N10 postcode).
We asked those who thought that the Park Road shops were in Crouch End to identify where to the east Crouch End became Hornsey. The answers were vague and most were uncertain, with differing views as to whether Priory Park was in Crouch End or not.
Conclusion – we have two choices in my view: keep the boundary as drawn, or extend it to include the whole of Park Road (except for the west side to the north of Cranley Gardens). An extension would mean reconsidering the possible inclusion of Farrer Road and Park Avenue South, but not any further east.
We received some unsolicited views on the other borders of Crouch End. In particular a common view that the southern border was the top of Crouch End Hill near where it crossed the Parkland Walk.
In terms of likes/dislikes, when asked, the usual comments were received. People like the village feel, the people, the independent shops and the fact that Crouch End has a definitive centre around the clocktower/town hall. Dislikes included lack of bookshop, too many smoothie/juice bars, too many child-friendly places and congestion along Park Road.

Rob Jackson

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