Image from the application, with kiosk replaced (phone boxes 3 & 4 just out of shot). Imagine things without the temporary hoardings.
UPDATE JANUARY 2022: BT haven’t finished with us yet – they’ve gone to appeal. We’ll update further down the line.
STOP PRESS: The application for the advertising hub was refused consent by Haringey’s planners on July 14th. See here for details of officers’ report and decision notice.
The removal of the four dilapidated phone boxes from the Town Hall Square is long overdue, so we were pleased this weekend to hear of action from BT. Alas, hopes were premature. Two are proposed for replacement, the others get to stay. Not only that, but the whole exercise appears simply an excuse for BT to do what they really want: erecting a digital advertising screen masquerading as a telecommunications device (sorry, ‘street hub’). It seems BT, a private company, are simply leveraging their privileged position regarding planning permitted development with the express purpose of cynically raking in some advertising revenue.
If they had suggested ridding us of all four lousy urine-stained kiosks maybe BT’s opportunism would be just about bearable.
What we really need is to remove the kiosks (there are alternatives around) and install a digital notice board solely for Crouch End town centre and Hornsey Town Hall arts centre info (perhaps Haringey could set out a planning condition that demands 100% community control of the images on the BT screen. See how keen they are then). You can oppose the grubby little money making exercise if you so wish: main planning application at HGY/2021/1652.
It’s worth repeating that this is Crouch End’s main square. The control and design of the space, and therefore street furniture is of real significance, whether for pedestrian movement, the aesthetics of the conservation area, the impact on the group of listed buildings, the placemaking and the indirect effects on the local economy.
The HTH developers, FEC, are reportedly spending £1m on the new square, which will be despairingly compromised if Haringey don’t find a way to improve a fronting pavement (which is public highway) blighted by the phone boxes and bus shelter. Let’s hope the whole group of dated, battered street furniture can be removed by the grand opening in 2022.