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Donate Christmas decorations to brighten up the North London Hospice

Written by PGC Webmaster on . Posted in Charities and Volunteering

People of North London are being asked to share some goodwill this Christmas by donating decorations to bring extra seasonal sparkle to North London Hospice.

The annual Access Self Storage Christmas appeal, which runs across the UK, is calling for local businesses and residents to donate new or nearly new Christmas decorations such as trees, lights, baubles, bells or stockings to the charity to allow them to share some festive fun with the people they support.

Decorations can be dropped at the following locations and the public are being asked to deliver their items in plenty of time for Christmas:

The North London Hospice tries to help its patients live life to the full in spite of their illness.  The decorations collected by Access Self Serve help make sure that patients don't miss out on the festive season.

“We have created a special drop-off point in our stores,” said Steven Church, Manager of Access Self Storage Edmonton. “All the donations will be sorted and delivered to North London Hospice, where they will be used to bring some Christmas magic for everyone who is there during the holidays.”

More information

Saturday Shed - Performance workshops for young people

Written by PGC Webmaster on . Posted in Theatre and Cinema

24th January – 21st March (8 weeks not inc. Saturday 7th March)

Ages

  • 5-8yrs 10am – 11am
  • 9-12yrs 11.15am – 12.15pm

Cost:   

  • Pay As You Go: £6 per session (Termly Membership: pre-register for all 8 workshops for a 25% discount).

Saturday Shed gives a great opportunity for young people to develop their performance skills using our proven teaching methods and unique performance style. Led by our highly experienced and energetic staff, each session will involve movement, drama, singing and story-making.

Every workshop is different and designed so that a child of any ability can come to all sessions, or drop in to one session from time to time.

Join the Chickenshed Community Chorus

Written by PGC Webmaster on . Posted in Music

Chickenshed Community Chorus - an ongoing series of vocal sessions at which you can develop your singing skills as part of an ensemble and learn a number of arrangements. Sessions are led by Jo Collins – Chickenshed’s Director of Music.

The next series of workshops starts on  Wednesday 21st January and runs until Wednesday 25th February 2015 (fiveweeks not including Wednesday 4th February)

  • Time: 6.30-8.30pm
  • Cost: £7.50 each session
  • Age: 21+
  • Running Time: 2 hours.

The Chickenshed Community Chorus is open to anyone who would like to take part regardless of previous experience. No knowledge of music or technique is required. All you need to participate is an interest in singing and plenty of enthusiasm.

Please don’t hesitate to contact Fiona Carey on 020 8351 6161 ext206 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  if you have any queries prior to booking or if you need any further information.

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Tags:   Music

"Hot Mikado" - the next FFBOS show needs you!

Written by PGC Webmaster on . Posted in Music

hot mikado apr15After the success of their last show Mack & Mabel. Finchley & Friern Barnet Operatic Society are soon to begin work on their next adventure on stage, Hot Mikado. A modern day adaptation of Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado - expect Zoot Suits instead of Kimonos and hot jazz numbers instead of the traditional operatic fare and a whole lot more!

If you're interested in being part of the Hot Mikado, you're invited to an Introductory Evening on Wednesday 26th November, or if you can't make it you can contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Auditions will be held at 1pm on Sunday 14th December.

Quieter Neighbourhoods consultations begin

Written by Basil Clarke on . Posted in Quieter Neighbourhoods

The initial consultation stage has now begun for two "Quieter Neighbourhood" schemes covering a large swathe of residential streets extending from the Cambridge Roundabout in the south east almost as far as Southgate Circus in the north west (though excluding Green Lanes, which runs between the two areas).

Consultation began last month for the Wolves Lanes Quieter Neighbourhood, which lies south of the Connaught Gardens QN, separated from it by the North Circular Road.

connaught gardens and fox lane quieter neighbourhoodsClick on the map to enlargeIf you live in the areas shown on the map you may already have received a questionnaire through your letterbox.  If not, it should arrive imminently.  However, you can also respond online.  In fact, if there is more than one person in your household, online is recommended, as Enfield Council are keen for each household member - including children - to respond separately.  This is because traffic impacts differently on every person, depending on their circumstances and their preferences.

In contrast to the "Mini-Holland" schemes for main roads such as Green Lanes, where the Council drew up some relatively detailed (and in places highly controversial) initial plans at the end of last year, for the Quieter Neighbourhoods Enfield is seeking to begin the process with a blank page and is inviting residents to fill it in - to tell them what, if any, problems they have with traffic in their areas and to suggest ways of resolving them.

No preconceived ideas

David Cowan, the council officer heading up work on Quieter Neighbourhoods (there will be 34 in all across the Borough), has said that the Council will be "taking a back seat" and has no preconceived ideas.  20mph zones, speed cushions, closing off ends of roads, Sustrans-type "DIY Streets" are all possible approaches, but only if that is what residents want.  Different parts of a zone could be handled in completely different ways - there is no one size fits all.  If it turns out that residents are happy with things as they are, then nothing will be done.  It may even be possible to trial particular measures at very short notice and, if necessary, terminate the trials equally quickly.

Mr Cowan's team will be organising a series of meetings to work up ideas, using an iterative approach.  The participants will be selected from volunteers in such a way as to create a balance in terms of geography (street), types of person, known preferences etc.

Timetable

There is no deadline for submitting questionnaire responses - even after later phases of the project are under way, people's views about problems and solutions will still be of value.

Mr Cowan hopes to run the consultation workshops during January and February and to have a scheme to issue for full consultation in March.

The timetable for implementing the schemes will largely depend on the scale of the changes decided on.

Useful links

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Posted: 20 Nov 2014 13:42 by PGC Webmaster #534
PGC Webmaster's Avatar
I'm attaching the presentation slides that were used by David Cowan when he briefed Fox Lane & District Residents' Association. The map here refers to the Fox Lane scheme, but presumably everything else applies equally to the Connaught Gardens and Wolves Lane Quieter Neighbourhoods.
[File Attachment: Quieter_Neighbourhoods_presentation_fox_lane.pdf]

Aged over 60 or between 16 and 23? Fancy being in a play?

Written by PGC Webmaster on . Posted in Theatre and Cinema

Are you over 60?  Are you 16-23?

If so, join us for exciting FREE performance workshops leading to a 15 minute performance event at Bernie Grant Arts Centre.

The workshops are linked to the only Tottenham performance of a new play, The Honey Man by Tyrone Huggins, touring from Birmingham REP.

No previous performance necessary – workshops will be fun and based around the lives and stories of the participants. All welcome.

First introductory workshop

No obligation but if you want to continue ....

  • Saturday 13th December 2014
  • Meet in the café at 10.30
  • Workshop 11-2 pm Light lunch

Five Saturday workshops

  • 2.00-4.30 pm on:
  • January 17th, 31st
  • February 14th, 28th
  • March 14th

The Honey Man performance

  • Wednesday 18th March at 7.30 pm
  • Bernie Grant Arts Centre

Workshops will be led by Lynda Brennan (Tottenham Theatre) and Tyrone Huggins at (playwright and actor, currently performing at The Old Vic).

This is a great opportunity to have fun, meet people across generations and learn new skills from professionals. The workshops will explore rich themes from The Honey Man such as our relationship to the environment, friendship across generations, race and class. Not forgetting the bees!

Interested?

Email your name – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – or ring Lynda Brennan 07984190283 - and come to Bernie Grant Arts Centre Café at 10.30 on Saturday 13th December to hear more, stay for the workshop, chat over lunch and decide if you would like to continue ........ on to the next workshops and performance!

Library changes in prospect as part of cost-cutting measures

Written by Basil Clarke on . Posted in Council Services

Enfield Council is consulting residents about proposals for a radical restructuring of its current library service. The changes are designed to reduce the costs of library services -  Enfield is having to contend with a cut of £80 million in the amount of funding it receives from central government - through greater concentration of resources, while at the same time providing library services across the borough and modernising the types of service that are available.

The consultation asks for opinions about various aspects of its planned strategy and then asks residents to state their preference for one of two alternative options, both of which would involve conversion of most of the borough's 17 libraries into "Community Libraries", which would have reduced library services and share their accommodation with other services and organisations, such as community groups.  However, no llbraries would close, as has happened in other London boroughs.

Both options would see Palmers Green Library becoming one of four "Flagship Libraries", the others being Enfield Town, Ordnance Road and Edmonton Green. Edmonton Green would be enlarged; Enfield Town and Ordnance Road are both new buildings and Palmers Green is currently being refurbished.

As well as modern library services, the Flagship Libraries would provide a range of advice and assistance services, such as help in job seeking, personal budgeting and business innovation. 

Under Option 1 the Flagship Libraries would be open seven days a week with extended hours, but all other libraries - including Winchmore Hill, Southgate Circus, Oakwood, Ridge Avenue and Bowes Road - would be downgraded to Community Libraries.

Under Option 2 Oakwood Library and Ponders End Library would not be downgraded and continue to offer "traditional library facilities". However, in order to make the same savings as under Option 1, the Flagship Libraries would open only six days a week without extended hours.

Option 2 would rely on volunteer staff to a much greater extent than at present - an increase from 60 to 200 is proposed, so it seems probable that it would involve redundancies among the borough's librarians and dilution of the amount of professional librarian expertise available to the public (unless many of the volunteers were retired librians).

From a Palmers Green-centric viewpoint, Option 1 would seem preferable, but people will have decide whether they are happy that the price of longer opening hours in Palmers Green would be reduced services for people living in Oakwood and Ponders End.  Bear in mind too that Palmers Green Library has hitherto been open only for five days a week.

A further proposal is to use volunteers to deliver books to the homes of people who are unable to travel to a library.  This would replace the current mobile library service (whether fully or only partially is unclear).

The Council website has more details of new services planned for the Flagship Libraries and some rather more sketchy informaton about how the Community Libraries would function.

Related links

Paper questionnaires are available in libraries.  The deadline for responding is 2nd January 2015.

Mini-Holland/Cycle Enfield: Outline timetable for A105 Enfield Town-Palmers Green

Written by PGC Webmaster on . Posted in Traffic, Roads & Parking

Paul Rogers, Programme Manager for Cycle Enfield in Enfield Council's Planning, Highways and Transportation division, has provided the following high level programme dates for the A105 Enfield Town to Palmers Green.

Activity

Start Date

Finish Date

Preliminary design

13/11/14

22/04/15

Modelling

17/07/14

08/07/15

Consultation

27/11/14

04/11/15

Scheme approval

20/08/15

16/12/15

Detailed design

24/09/15

23/03/16

Implementation

10/03/16

29/09/16

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The Northern Lights - in Winchmore Hill!

Written by PGC Webmaster on . Posted in Music

Ask your average music-lover to name half-a-dozen Germanic or Italian or Russian composers and he or she will rattle off a list with ease. But Scandinavian composers? Hmm. Well, Sibelius, of course, and Grieg, then, let's see, Nielsen, er ......

Northern lights concert by Winchmore String OrchestraOn the cold northern fringe of Europe, Scandinavia tends not to be thought of as a fully paid-up part of the continent's culture, at least as far as classical music is concerned. Except for the justly well-known Sibelius and Grieg, concert planners don't often give prominence to Scandinavian composers or help audiences discover the richness and variety of their work.

The next concert presented by the Winchmore String Orchestra  will be a modest attempt to redress the balance. Seven composers will be featured – two Finnish, two Norwegian, two Swedish and one Danish -- and the concert will put to the test Grieg's belief, as a Norwegian nationalist, that the music of the various nationalities in Scandinavia differs as much as they themselves do.

Finland's SIBELIUS, of course, will figure, with a short Romance, as will the man widely seen in Finland as his natural successor, Einojuhani RAUTAVAARA, with a Divertimento. Norway's GRIEG, with his folk-inspired Two Nordic Melodies, will be joined by his compatriot and contemporary, Johan SVENDSEN, who will be represented by Two Icelandic Melodies.

Attesting to Sweden's long tradition of classical music will be two composers separated by two centuries. One is the man regarded as "the father of Swedish music", 18th-century Johan ROMAN; we shall be playing a Sinfonia by him, written in the Baroque style. The other is the 20th-century Kurt ATTERBERG (one of whose works is nicknamed the "dollar symphony" because it won an international prize of $10,000); his Suite No 3 for violin, viola and strings will be our concerto, with soloists Lisa Ueda (who first appeared with the WSO four years ago) and Ian Byrne-Brito. Alas, the programme will not include Denmark's leading composer, Karl Nielsen, but there will be a work by his teacher at the Copenhagen Royal Conservatory, Niels GADE – three lyrical pieces called Novelettes.

So join Winchmore Strings for a display of "northern lights" at the Winchmore Hill Methodist Church, N13 on SATURDAY, 29 November 2014 at 7.30 pm

Tickets at the door will be £9, with concessions at £7.50, though if bought in advance the prices are £8 and £6.50; children under 12 are admitted free. Proceeds of the customary raffle held during the interval will be donated to the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CECT).

For advance tickets ring 0208 882 0351, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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NORTHERN LIGHTS

 

Ask your average music-lover to name half-a-dozen Germanic or Italian or Russian composers and he or she will rattle off a list with ease.  But Scandinavian composers? Hmm. Well, Sibelius, of course, and Grieg, then, let’s see, Nielsen, er ……

 

On the cold northern fringe of Europe, Scandinavia tends not to be thought of as a fully paid-up part of the continent’s culture, at least as far as classical music is concerned.  Except for the justly well-known Sibelius and Grieg, concert planners don’t often give prominence to Scandinavian composers or help audiences discover the richness and variety of their work.

 

Our next concert will be a modest attempt to redress the balance.  Seven composers will be featured – two Finnish, two Norwegian, two Swedish and one Danish -- and the concert will put to the test Grieg’s belief, as a Norwegian nationalist, that the music of the various nationalities in Scandinavia differs as much as they themselves do.

 

Finland’s SIBELIUS, of course, will figure, with a short Romance, as will the man widely seen in Finland as his natural successor, Einojuhani RAUTAVAARA, with a Divertimento. Norway’s GRIEG, with his folk-inspired Two Nordic Melodies, will be joined by his compatriot and contemporary, Johan SVENDSEN, who will be represented by Two Icelandic Melodies.

 

Attesting to Sweden’s long tradition of classical music will be two composers separated by two centuries.  One is the man regarded as “the father of Swedish music”, 18th-century Johan ROMAN; we shall be playing a Sinfonia by him, written in the Baroque style. The other is the 20th-century Kurt ATTERBERG (one of whose works is nicknamed the “dollar symphony” because it won an international prize of $10,000); his Suite No 3 for violin, viola and strings will be our concerto, with soloists Lisa Ueda (who first appeared with the WSO four years ago) and Ian Byrne-Brito. Alas, our programme will not include Denmark’s leading composer, Karl Nielsen, but there will be a work by his teacher at the Copenhagen Royal Conservatory, Niels GADE – three lyrical pieces called Novelettes.

 

So join us for a display of “northern lights” at the Winchmore Hill Methodist Church, N13 on

 

SATURDAY, 29 November 2014 at 7.30 pm

 

 

Tickets at the door will be £9, with concessions at £7.50, though if bought in advance the prices are £8 and £6.50; children under 12 are admitted free.  Proceeds of the customary raffle held during the interval will be donated to the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CECT).

 

     For advance tickets ring 0208 882 0351, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tags:   Music

What can we learn from Turnpike Lane DIY Streets?

Written by Colin Younger on . Posted in Quieter Neighbourhoods

Having posted some notes on the street redesign in the Turnpike Lane/West Green area. I went down this morning to take a look at the work. I still not sure how relevant this is to the Fox Lane area Quiet Neighbourhood sscheme, basically because the street plan is so different. However the individual elements may be of some interest. These are the subject of the attached photos which can be related to the original plan included in the earlier posting.

One thought arises is that if Fox Lane was included as one of the quiet streets as opposed to remaining as a through route, some of the elements could be incorporated. For example, raised tables and other features at cross roads could slow down traffic along Fox Lane. These and raised block work strips along Fox Lane would make it easier for pedestrians crossing Fox Lane.

The outer boundaries to the "neighbourhood" could be marked with the same sort of "neighbourhood gateways" – road surface changes and physical signs such as iron works and/or small trees. Changes to road surfaces in the north-south grid including raised tables could be used to slow down traffic (I sincerely hope that the smaller double pillows are not on the menu).

I also walked back between Turnpike Lane and Wood Green to see if any changes in play there had any lessons, not for Quieter Neighbourhoods as much as for Green Lanes in Palmers Green. It's still work in progress, but I'm not sure whether this is a case of lessons or warning! Essentially Green Lanes is being reduced to one lane in each direction, with bus stops being inset in to much widened pavements. Although this gives much more room for shoppers, it's not obvious that buses, cars or cyclists gain anything, nor is it going to be obviously easier to cross Green lanes away from traffic lights. As I said, this is work in progress and the final outcome may be different, but a continuous line of almost stationary traffic does nothing for tempers or air quality.

So having tried out the Haringey changes, and previously visited St Johns Road in Clapham (noted by LBE as possible a lesson for Church Street in Enfield Town) is there anywhere else I ought to sample? Any volunteers for a trip to Poynton?

To see all eight photographs, you may need to click on "Continue Reading".

stanmore road

St Nicholas Fair 2014 - stalls still available

Written by PGC Webmaster on . Posted in News

The organisers of the 2014 St Nicholas Fair still have a few vacancies for stallholders.

As before, the Fair will be held on Winchmore Hill Green, starting at 11am on Saturday 13th December and running through until 7pm.

If you're interested in having a stall or pitch at the Fair, all the relevant details and an application form are online.

To get an idea of the kind of buzz that the Fair has created in the past, watch this video:

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Tags:   Festivals

Civic Trust seeking to protect "community assets"

Written by Basil Clarke on . Posted in Conservation

Southgate District Civic Trust has begun compiling a list of "community assets" within its area of coverage, which includes Palmers Green and Winchmore Hill and is asking for suggestions for additions to its list. 

The concept of "Assets of Community Value" was introduced by the Localism Act 2011.  According to the Civic Voice website,

A building or land in your council’s area must be listed as an asset of community value if:

  • current primary use of the building/land or use of the building/land in the recent past furthers the social well-being or social interests (cultural, recreational, or sporting interests) of the local community
  • it is realistic to think that now or in the next five years there could continue to be primary use of the building/land which will further the social well-being or social interests of the local community (whether or not in the same way as before)

Owners of listed assets cannot dispose of them without:

  • letting the local authority know that they intend to sell the asset or grant a lease of more than 25 years
  • waiting until the end of a six week ‘interim moratorium’ period if the local authority does not receive a request from a community interest group to be treated as a potential bidder
  • waiting until the end of a six month ‘full moratorium’ period if the local authority does receive a request from a community interest group to be treated as a potential bidder

One notable building which has been suggested as an addition to the list is the Fox pub in Green Lanes.  It is feared that the pub might be sold to housing developers and demolished.  It is the only purpose-built pub in Palmers Green town centre, standing at an important junction.

The Civic Trust is an affiliate of the national organisation Civic Trust, which recently called for changes to the Localism Act to strengthen community rights, specifically:

  • extension of the moratorium period under the Right to Bid from six to nine months.
  • a business rates concession awarded to properties registered as assets of community value.
  • a separate planning use class for pubs.
  • an appeal system for applicants who are refused asset listing.
  • Government guidance for local authorities to ensure that ACV listings are treated as a material consideration when considering planning applications.

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Traffic calming - why not learn from what's happening in Edmonton and Turnpike Lane?

Written by Colin Younger on . Posted in Quieter Neighbourhoods

There's a lot more going on about traffic management/traffic calming locally than I had realised - in addition to Mini-Holland (rebranded as Cycle Enfield) and the Quieter Neighbourhoods schemes (see this article)  In particular two schemes, one in Enfield and one in Haringey, seem relevant.

DIY Streets Edmonton

Enfield are engaged with Sustrans on a "DIY" street scheme which involves Church Street Edmonton between the A10 and Hertford Road. Church Street has similarities to Green Lanes. It includes bus routes and is a busy through route, though the driver (no pun intended) was "to improve the journey to school and to other local amenities and tackle issues affecting their streets and promote more active, sociable communities."

Example of a DIY Streets Edmonton proposal for a junction on the Haselbury Estate (click on the map to enlarge)

DIY Streets Edmonton Church St-Winchester Road IntersectionDIY Streets Edmonton Church St-Winchester Road Intersection (click on the map for a larger version)

The DIY Streets Edmonton website isn't very clear on initial detail, but essentially the project seems to be focused on the shared space, not cycle lane priority, approach. If so, such an approach seems to me to be likely meet a greater range of road user and pedestrian needs in Palmers Green than the initial Mini-holland bid (which was focused on engineered cycle lanes). This would offer particular benefits to residents and the shopping environment.

Download an overall plan of the Church Street proposals (PDF 17MB).

Turnpike Lane/West Green DIY Streets

Sustrans have been working with Haringey Council since 2011 on the Turnpike Lane area. This scheme covers residential streets, none perhaps as busy as Green Lanes in Palmers Green, and with a much more complex road pattern than is covered by the proposed Fox Lane Quieter Neighbourhood. However the approach and outcomes seem to offer particular lessons for the latter.

turnpike lane diy project
Turnpike Lane/West Green DIY Project (click to enlarge)

There is an interesting Guardian article about the Turnpike Lane scheme, published in 2012 and headlined "Flowerpots not Bollards".  I particularly like the following paragraph:

"Rather than the blunt tools of speed bumps and chicanes, drivers are persuaded that they are now in a residential area through almost unconscious cues, such as patterned blockwork junctions, flowerpots in place of bollards and extended, gently rounded kerbs where pedestrians cross."

The Sustrans website has a page with an outline description of the scheme and the DIY approach.

I haven't caught up with the re-arrangements along Green Lanes from Turnpike Lane to Wood Green tubes, and there may be lessons too from this major scheme for Green Lanes in Enfield.

Lessons for Palmers Green?

If the March 2014 Palmers Green Public Realm consultation process had had time to develop on the Sustrans/DiY Streets consultation model, then we might have avoided the conflict we now face over the perceived negative impact of mini-holland. Is it too late to reconsider how the consultation should now continue?

On a similar theme, will the consultation on Quieter Neighbourhoods allow the same degree of community involvement as DIY streets has at Turnpike Lane and Church Street?

[Article modified on 7 November 2014 by adding additional DIY Streets Edmonton map]

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Posted: 07 Nov 2014 20:11 by Basil Clarke #499
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I've added a couple of additional plans to Colin's article, one showing the entire Church Street scheme, another showing the treatment of a road junction near All Saints Church. Click here for a larger version.

Though cycle lanes are marked on the plan, they are there only to explain how trafic will flow - they won't appear on the ground.

Traffic lanes don't seem to be favoured by Sustrans if they can be avoided, and in particular there are said to be so many parked carss along Church St that they can't be fitted in.

Truro House: Light at the end of a long tunnel?

Written by Colin Younger on . Posted in Conservation

Long delayed plans to restore one of Palmers Greens' most notable buildings - Truro House, located on the corner of Green Lanes and Oakthorpe Road - are finally set to move ahead after agreement was reached between its owners and Enfield Council.  

truro house mar2013The project involves restoration of the main house as single dwelling, conversion of the coach house into a dwelling, and the construction of two apartment blocks comprising 25 flats in total.

The redevelopment project was stalled for several years because of a dispute between the owners of the property and Enfield Council relating to associated Section 106/Community Infrastructure issues. Following resolution of this dispute, on 24 October the Council granted conditional planning permission for two interconnected applications.

The main application is listed as:

TP/08/2244 Restoration and repair of Truro House as a single family dwelling, conversion of Coach House to a single family dwelling involving demolition of existing workshop and external alterations, together with erection of a total of 25 residential units within 2 buildings, comprising one 2-storey block of 2 self-contained flats and one part 3, part 4-storey block of 23 self-contained flats incorporating accommodation at lower ground and roof levels, balconies and terraces together with provision of associated car parking, erection of gates and pillars, and access to Oakthorpe Road.

There are twenty four conditions attached to this permission, largely connected with the building process.

Because Truro House is Grade II listed, Listed Building Consent was required for the reconstruction of Truro House itself. With the agreement of English Heritage this was also granted on 24 October.

LBC/08/0024 | Restoration and repair of Truro House involving demolition and reconstruction of part of east wall together with internal and external alterations, demolition of former workshop adjoining Coach House (stables) and erection of a total of 25 residential units in 2 buildings within grounds.

There are thirteen conditions applied to this consent, focusing on the restoration of Truro House.

Full details of both applications are available on the Council website:

or visit http://planningandbuildingcontrol.enfield.gov.uk/online-applications/ and search under “Truro House”.

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Posted: 09 Nov 2014 18:56 by Basil Clarke #506
Basil Clarke's Avatar
There's a very interesting history of Truro House on Palmers Green Jewel in the North, including some details of the interior that I hadn't seen before.
Posted: 11 Nov 2014 13:36 by Rebecca Singh #515
Rebecca Singh's Avatar
I am so pleased to see this article and to hear of agreement on restoration such an amazing distinctive property.

"Quieter Neighbourhoods" consultation to start soon

Written by Basil Clarke on . Posted in Quieter Neighbourhoods

Palmers Green Community has obtained information about the extent of the "Quieter Neighbourhoods" that Enfield Council is planning to create in and around Palmers Green.  At next week's open meeting of Fox Lane and District Residents' Association the Council is expected to provide some more details of what exactly they have in mind and how they intend to consult.  Non-members of FLDRA who live within the Association's area - that  bounded by Green Lanes, Bourne Hill, The Bourne, High St.N14, Cannon Hill and Aldermans Hill - will be welcome at the meeting.

The Council's intention is to eventually create Quieter Neighbourhoods throughout the borough, covering as many as 37 residential areas.  The maps that we have obtained show the boundaries of six Quieter Neighbourhoods oovering parts of Palmers Green, Southgate, Winchmore Hill, Edmonton and Bush Hill Park:

  • Fox Lane Quieter Neighbourhood
  • Connaught Gardens Quieter Neighbourhood
  • Wolves Lane Quieter Neighbourhood
  • Fernleigh Road Quieter Neighbourhood
  • Haselbury Road Quieter Neighbourhood
  • Main Avenue Quieter Neighbourhood

The maps below show the locations of these neighbourhoods - click on a map for a larger version.

fox lane quieter neighbourhood-smallconnaught gardens and wolves lane quieter neighbourhoods-small fernleigh road quieter neighbourhood-small haselbury road quieter neigbourhood-small main avenue quieter neighbourhood-small

What exactly is a Quieter Neighbourhood?

The Quieter Neighbourhoods concept was first mentioned by the Council in its bid document for the Mayor of  London's "Mini-Holland" money, though in that document they are referred to as "Residential Cells".  The Cells as described in the bid document are closely modelled on current practice in Holland.  While for obvious reasons the Mini-Holland bid document emphasizes the advantages of the cells/neighbourhoods for cyclists, it is clear that there is a broader objective - to make life more peaceful, pleasanter and safer for people living in the hundreds of residential streets that are located within the cells created by the network of primary and secondary through roads - primarily through reducing "rat-running" and slowing down cars.

I've extracted relevant text from the main Mini-Holland bid document to show what the Council had in mind at the time (late 2013):

Our long term goal is to create this Dutch-style network of residential cells across Enfield [...]

We will [...] work with five to six residential cells per year, throughout the duration of the mini-Holland project to treat residential areas, particularly those where speeding traffic and rat running is a problem.

In the Netherlands, main cycle routes through residential areas are designated as ‘fietsstraat’, or bicycle streets. On these streets automobiles are ‘guests’ and motorists must yield to cyclists. Again, consistent signage and road markings signal the type of road and appropriate behaviour to motorists (as shown in the photos below).

The effect of the approach outlined above is to create a grid network of primary and secondary roads for through traffic with appropriate facilities for cyclists, and within the 'grid' residential cells comprised of tertiary roads are created (as shown on our network map, we have identified 37 residential cells).

The Dutch approach to these cells is as shared spaces where speeds and through traffic are reduced to ensure cycle safety. The outer edges of these cells have consistent signage and design features, such as entry treatments that signal to motorists to lower their speeds (as shown in the photo). In the Netherlands, these cells provide a safe network for cyclists, including children cycling to school or to visit friends.

[...]

Enfield Council is working with Sustrans on a DIY Streets project in Edmonton Green. This project is using a community-led design approach to improve the streetscape for children, pedestrians and cyclists. Through a series of on street ‘pop-up’ events the local community are invited to discuss the problems they face in their area. Residents are also contacted through schools, residents associations, community events and leaflets. Once this background data has been collected on an area, residents are invited to attend workshops and to discuss potential solutions for the problems. Typical problems include rat running, speeding traffic, poor pedestrian and cycling environments and busy roads.
 
An urban designer then uses the information gathered at these workshops to draw up options to improve the area. These options are then consulted on and the chosen scheme is piloted on street using, for example, sandbags and straw bales. If the pilot is successful, the scheme progresses to the engineering stage. If not, tweaks are made until a solution is agreed upon.

As detailed in section 3, we have identified approximately 37 residential ‘cells’ in Enfield. Our goal is to remove through traffic from these residential streets, so that only residents access these areas. This will provide a whole network of calm and inviting streets for pedestrians and cyclists, where traffic volumes and speeds are low and segregated facilities are not required. We will treat each ‘cell’ individually, using the community-led design approach detailed above ensuring that residents, schools, local traders and community groups are encouraged to participate in the designs of the schemes. This strand of the strategy will be delivered by the Mini-Holland Community Engagement officer and Urban Designer, with training support from Sustrans. The results of each scheme will be monitored using both qualitative and quantitative data, as set out in our monitoring proposal.
 
The results of the evaluations will be communicated with residents in new treatment areas, so that they can see the impact these measures have had on quality of life and other indicators. It is hoped that this approach will help foster support from the local community for proposed changes to the streetscape.

It would appear that the Council does not wish to impose a one-size-fits-all model for the Quieter Neighbourhoods, but instead will work with residents to develop schemes that suit each individual area.  Consultation has already begun for the Wolves Lane scheme and the Fox Lane meeting next week will mark the start of work on the largest of the areas - extending all the way from Palmers Green Triangle to Southgate Circus.

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Posted: 07 Nov 2014 16:53 by Karl Brown #497
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What a marvellous idea. The benefits this concept would seem to be capable of bringing to street life, such as health, happiness and house price enhancements would be supported by the encouragement the same should bring to help facilitate car use becoming but one part of a transport mix to include bus, cycling and walking, rather than its current assumed position as king over all. Our unhealthy, inactive society (see eg Public Health England, PHE publications gateway number: 2014319) may have the opportunity to revert for the better. I think I’ll become a supporter.
Posted: 09 Nov 2014 00:29 by Paul Mandel #502
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It seems that the council wants to make already quiet neighbourhoods such as the FLDRA area even quieter.
We’ll know more what this will entail in the coming weeks. But, the following is likely to be on the cards.

1. 20 mph speed limits. 20 mph is too fast in many places and 30 mph is safe in others. Unnecessary and unreasonable 20 mph limits are frustrating, leading to them being almost universally disregarded by road users, and resulting reduced respect of the law generally.

Better to enforce a 30 mph speed limit and ensure all adult road users accept individual responsibility for their own actions and that children are given good road safety education at school.

2. Traffic calming measures.
Speed humps cause discomfort for drivers and riders including cyclists, encourage harsh braking and acceleration and they are largely unnecessary away from junctions, where mini roundabouts and speed tables are better solutions.
Chicanes and other narrowing also result in more braking and acceleration leading to increase pollution. They can be dangerous for cyclists when other vehicles overtake at the constrictions. They also reduce the space available for parking.

3. Closing of entrances on to main roads to eliminate so called “rat running”. This could actually increase vehicle movement within the “quieter neighbourhood” as drivers have to travel further to the remaining entrances and exits. At times where one of the surrounding main roads are blocked, local residential through roads enabling traffic to bypass an obstruction, preventing gridlock, that would occur if the council creates closed cells.

So to conclude: Without care in their design and implementation, so called “quieter neighbourhoods” will become frustrating neighbourhoods to get in, out and around.
Posted: 09 Nov 2014 12:37 by Karl Brown #503
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“Already quiet neighbourhoods..”. Not according to the Met’s specialist transport group it’s not, nor the local Police, nor the Council, nor the GLA and neither the unanimous FLDRA voters considering such a matter a few years back. That’s going to be the joy of local democracy when we can hear all views coming through the consultation rather than assuming the one being the loudest is right. A bit like the failed independent candidates, who I guess barely secured their deposit such was their share of the vote, when standing against Cycle Enfield initiatives in the recent local Council elections. And then there’s the hard data, always tricky to throw agenda’s against that particular wall.
But if there is a call for change we will also have the opportunity to assess subsequently developed mitigating proposals. And that seems entirely reasonable as an approach with no need to second guess or act as an anticipatory pseudo-traffic engineer.
Posted: 09 Nov 2014 14:57 by Paul Mandel #504
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Karl,

Ah yes, the area WITHIN, The Bourne, Bourne Hill Green Lanes, Aldermans Hill, Cannons Hill, and High Street Southgate, is a steamy cocktail of traffic congestion, pollution, antisocial behaviour and violent and drug crime, compared with most ather parts of London. All the local estate agents know that, don’t they.

In fact the only significant problem that may put off some people moving into the area is the problem of school catchments.

And no, I’m not second guessing a thing. Furthermore, I’m better qualified to give an opinion than you may think. Don’t be so patronising in your tone towards this "pseudo traffic engineer."

Best wishes.

Paul
Posted: 09 Nov 2014 21:57 by David Hughes #507
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Never have I heard such breathtaking contempt for the effect of traffic on residents', children and community as in Paul Mandel's contribution to this thread on 7 November; his whole piece was devoted to the effect of calming measures on the poor, poor motorists, and never a mention of the fact that the calming was introduced in the first place to deal with the thoughtlessness, or selfishness, or both, of drivers. Drivers brought calming measure upon themselves, and inflicted the disadvantages of the measures upon fellow drivers who were driving considerately.

Streets used to be alive with neighbourly activity - called community I'm led to believe- which old as I am I remember well; people chatting, kids playing, learning to ride their bikes. The arrival of cars need not have destroyed these strong communities, but it did. At first because the experience of speed is so different inside a vehicle than outside, but now also because the car has become the default way of travel whatever the circumstance or distance. We have a new mindset. Paul M.shows every sign of being at the extreme end of that change.

There is huge concern in Britain's medical fraternity about the effect of lack of exercise and poor air quality on health and longevity, and plenty of evidence of the fact that society at large no longer gets enough exercise from the daily requirements of living such as walking. And who suffers most? Kids of course, who have been deprived of their independence to a scandalous extent. Mind you biking - if you can't both walk and bike - is an excellent way of exercising. One up to the council.
Posted: 10 Nov 2014 10:26 by Karl Brown #509
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Just to clarify, issues and the known position over time of the various groups I mention relate solely to the issue of speeding in the FLDRA space, both within and on its boundary A-roads. The other Cycle Enfield Quiet Neighbourhood target issue of rat-running, be it absolute traffic volume or the use of residential streets by large commercial vehicles, may be an issue which comes forward in responses to the forthcoming consultation, but that aspect wasn’t an issue I was addressing in the post. If so, then I’m sure the Council will include such data in generating mitigating options to address the issue.
Other aspects such a drug crime, outside the clear remit of Cycle Enfield, would seem best raised via specific threads on those topics.
Posted: 10 Nov 2014 10:26 by Karl Brown #510
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Just to clarify, issues and the known position over time of the various groups I mention relate solely to the issue of speeding in the FLDRA space, both within and on its boundary A-roads. The other Cycle Enfield Quiet Neighbourhood target issue of rat-running, be it absolute traffic volume or the use of residential streets by large commercial vehicles, may be an issue which comes forward in responses to the forthcoming consultation, but that aspect wasn’t an issue I was addressing in the post. If so, then I’m sure the Council will include such data in generating mitigating options to address the issue.
Other aspects such a drug crime, outside the clear remit of Cycle Enfield, would seem best raised via specific threads on those topics.
Posted: 10 Nov 2014 14:15 by Paul Mandel #511
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David Hughes,

Let me make it absolutely plain to you that I am not extreme about anything. Nor am I in principle against what the Council is trying to do. I’m simply concerned that their plans if not properly thought through will create more problems than they solve

If anyone is extreme, it is you, with your unceasing diabtribes against motorists collectively. A group that makes up around 75% of the adult population, despite apparently being a driver and car owner yourself. By all means, blame individual bad drivers for their actions, but not all of us collectively.

I could criticise certain bike riders who do not wear a helmet or make themselves sufficiently visible on the road. Shall I? Or is a matter of personal choice.

With regard to children, I am a family man. I know my child’s safety needs. I’ll also have you know that I am one of the few parents in the FLDRA area, to ever do the school run by bike. But on most days we take the W9 bus. I do not need a lecture from you.

My street IS STILL alive with neighbourly activity - called community, people do chat, my son learned to ride his bike on the pavement outside our house and in Broomfield Park when he was two. That was only three years ago.

Since the arrival of cars, more than a CENTURY AGO our wealth and wellbeing (including air quality) has improved exponentially.

David, you seem to live in an arcadian fantasy world and just don’t like progress. I’m sure you know that in the 19th Century, perhaps the era that you hark back to, most children didn’t receive much education, they worked in mills and down mines, in conditions that would horrify all of us today. Few adults were concerned about child abuse. In fact, you could say that with a beating being the norm for misbehaving, most children were in constant fear of it. Not only that, but the horse and cart was far more dangerous to a child then , than a car is today.

For the record, I am actively involved in a road safety charity and have been in a practical way for the past 12 years. I do things, rather than just talk about them. When I drive, I try to up hold the highest standards. I wish others to do likewise and most drivers’ behaviour is generally reasonable and the wilfully bad ones are a smallish minority. However, I do not wish to be part of a collective punishment for the poor behaviour of others.

But I suspect that what really differentiates you from me, is that you think the State or other collective bodies should be all controlling. I believe in the supremacy of the individual and with it, liberty and responsibility.

Best wishes,

Paul
Posted: 10 Nov 2014 16:07 by Andrew Nix #512
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Won't this just make the property of people who live on the Lake Roads even more desirable than they already are. While people who live on Green Lanes, Bourne Hill, etc. can expect even more high speed driving, noise, pollution than there already is?

Andrew Nix
Posted: 11 Nov 2014 08:41 by David Hughes #513
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Andrew Nix is spot on when he speculates that house prices will tend to rise should Quieter Neighbourhood status come to the the Lakes and Meadway Estates. Which in its way is a ringing endorsement of the council's plans; people like living on streets which are more people friendly.

And this issue gives us important guidance about how residents in the area should respond to the plans because within the estates there are wide differences between the various streets. Live on Harlech Road and you might worry about the safety of your kids but little else, live on Norman Road and you can probably discount traffic altogether (though I don't know it well), live on Conway Road and speed can be dangerous and intrusive, but traffic is light most of the time. Live on Old Park Road and you are faced with high speeds, even very high speeds and serious rat-running.

And my point, a point emphasized in the Residents' Association's flyer about the meeting, is that if you do live in a quiet place like Norman Road you are also responding to the plans on behalf of the people who live on Old Park Road - we really must decide as a community, not just in terms of our own situation.

And of course if you drive its very important to remember that the experience of being in a car at 30mph is very different to the experience of being in the street as a car at 30 passes. Calm streets are very important to community life, to cyclists, to parents.

Charity gala night at the Intimate, with a special guest

Written by PGC Webmaster on . Posted in News

Despite the name, Finchley & Friern Barnet Operatic Society, or FFBOS for short, is based in Enfield borough, rehearsing in New Southgate and performing at the Intimate Theatre in Palmers Green.

The next FFBOS show - the classic musical Mack and Mabel - opens at the Intimate on 12th October and runs until the 15th.

The opening night will be a gala performance in aid of Cherry Lodge Cancer Care in Barnet.  One of the guests will be Elaine Page, who is Honorary President of FFBOS.

See show details.


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Civic Trust to unveil plaque to pioneering wildlife photographer

Written by PGC Webmaster on . Posted in Local History

Southgate District Civic Trust and Enfield Grammar School are combining to place a local blue plaque on the house where pioneer wildlife photographer Oliver Pike (1877-1963) lived with his family from 1882 to 1914, 96 Green Dragon Lane in Winchmore Hill, which was the location for his early natural history photographs and books. The plaque will be unveiled on 16 November 2014 at 2pm by two of Oliver Pike’s grandsons, Jonathan and Richard Dollimore.

Oliver Pike was probably the first professional wildlife photographer and pioneered the development of equipment and techniques in both still images and cine-film. Many of his films are held in the British Film Institute National Archive and more information can be found at www.olivergpike.info and in a booklet just published by the Trust, Oliver Pike: Birdman of Winchmore Hill.

In the course of his work Oliver Pike lectured and showed his films locally as well as travelling all over the country to photograph birds, often in arduous conditions. He campaigned for the welfare and care of wild creatures and his continuing influence is still felt today in the fields of conservation and protection, Sir David Attenborough regarding him as a “pioneering figure”.

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Along Green Lanes by bike - the movie

Written by Basil Clarke on . Posted in Palmers Green Town Centre Improvements

A new film with footage of Palmers Green is now out - and Talkies hasn't yet shown it.

cycling along green lanes oct 2014The film is a little wobbly - understandably, since the cameraman, Paul Smith, was filming while riding a bike from Enfield Town to Harringay along one of the proposed new improved cycle routes included in the "Mini-Holland/Cycle Enfield" scheme, to get a better idea of whether or not the proposed new cycle lanes are needed.

His verdict?  "A route with great potential for cyclists if the Enfield council has the guts to bite the bullet and get stuck in. In the past, Enfield Council has given back monies intended to improve cycling in the ,but let’s keep the pressure on and ensure they don’t do so again."

However, Mr Smith's views are not shared by the Chairman of the Green Lanes Business Association, Costas Georgiou, who according to the Enfield Gazette, is adamant that there is no need to radically alter Green Lanes. He is quoted as saying "I have spoken to many cyclists who do not understand why you would not cycle on the secondary streets that run parallel to Green Lanes,” he told the Advertiser. “For instance, Fox Lane has no speed bumps on it whatsoever – so it is ideal for cycling.”  Rather strange logic on two counts:  first, Fox Lanes goes in a completely different direction from Green Lanes, and second, the absence of speed bumps encourages drivers to go too fast along this hilly and bendy residential street, making it less safe for cyclists.

Links

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Posted: 02 Nov 2014 19:55 by Colin Younger #483
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The film clip would certainly put me off cycling along the A105!
Of course this is a commentary taking the view of a cyclist, but the issue is how to take in to account the needs of all road users, bicycles, motorbikes, cars, vans, lorries and buses and pedestrians who need to cross the flow of all these vehicles.
Paul stresses how wide the A105 is, and some sections are fairly wide, but others such as in Palmers Green are naturally narrow. In addition, some sections the road have been narrowed for particular reasons, and in these locations cycle lanes of the width being proposed are to say the least problematic.
A key problem for cyclists which the film shows is in having to pull out from the nearside lane to pass parked vehicles and buses waiting at stops. At first glance cycle lanes may seem to be the answer to this. However….
I may have misunderstood Paul’s point, but I don't follow the argument which is that cycle lanes allow cyclists using them to slip alongside buses at bus stops. Surely buses are stopped to let passengers on/off? Passengers need direct access to the pavement, not to have to dodge cyclists as they get on or off the bus. Is the plan to have all bus stops inset into the pavement line to allow buses to stop to the left of the cycle lane? If so it’s not obvious from the outline plans I have seen.
There is a suggestion (again as I heard it) for cars to park only on one side of the road. But that clears the road in only one direction, and, given the need for “displaced” passengers and drivers to cross the road to their preferred side this runs the risk of increasing pedestrian accidents. People crossing roads will simply not walk along to the nearest controlled crossing unless it’s within a few yards of where they are parked.
The comment about wider traffic islands squeezing cars/buses etc and cyclists together is OK as far as it goes. However, I assume that these are deliberately made wider to accommodate pedestrians with shopping trolleys and pushchairs eg outside Sainsbury’s and other shopping areas, or where large numbers congregate to cross, eg near schools. How will this conflict be managed?
The run down to the A406 where there is a bus lane seems to show that the cycle lanes will result in a continuous queue of cars/vans/buses along much of the A105. In effect under the proposals it becomes a single lane north/south, with no or fewer left/right filters and turning lanes.
I can't see how this conundrum can easily be solved, but there may be a clue in the references to Poynton, which I still think is a better solution for the shopping areas, but don’t ask me how this can be done!

Plan to leave parks unlocked under scrutiny

Written by PGC Webmaster on . Posted in Parks & Open Space

Enfield Council's plan to leave parks unlocked overnight will be discussed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday.  The meeting will be held in the Civic Centre at 7.30pm on 29th October.

The proposal to cease locking parks for a trial period of one year is an economy measure -  a saving of £22.000 is anticipated.  The paper being considered on Wednesday envisages that vehicle entrances would still be locked overnight.  It also states that if a known specific increase in crime and/or anti-social behaviour occurs, gate locking will resume in the affected parks.

Even though the gates would be left open, parks would officially "close" at the stated times and police officers could lawfully remove anyone found in a "closed" park.

The paperwork for the meeting on Wednesday provides more details of the proposal and relevant background information and data, as well as descriptions of alternative options.

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Tags:   Parks
Posted: 30 Oct 2014 23:07 by PGC Webmaster #481
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At the Scrutiny Panel meeting opposition to the proposal to leave all parks unlocked overnight led to a deferral of the decision until April 2015. In the interim the Regeneration and Environment Departmentl will consult with stakeholders, such as Friends of Parks groups and the Police - failure to consult properly being one of the criticisms voiced by those opposing the proposals.

Residents' views on improving Palmers Green revealed

Written by Basil Clarke on . Posted in Palmers Green Town Centre Improvements

In March 2014 Enfield Council carried out a public consultation, using a vehicle parked in Green Lanes, with the aim of discovering what residents of Palmers Green thought about the town centre and what improvements they would like to see to the "public realm".

Model used for Palmers Green consultationA hundred people attended the consultation sessions, filling in a questionnaire, annotating a map and using a "Planning for Real" model of Palmers Green town centre to focus their thoughts.

A report based on the consultation exercise was expected to be published by Summer 2014, but to date this has not happened. However, in August I submitted a Freedom of Information request with the aim of finding out why the report had been delayed and what the survey had revealed.

A batch of information was duly provided in September. As the documentation appeared to suggest that the report's publication was only delayed, not cancelled, I initially held off posting any details of the information that was released. However, as we are now approaching the end of October, I have now decided to make the information public.

The key information provided in the FOI response is a copy of the draft report as at 5th September and photocopies of the individual questionnaires filled in by members of the public. However, the foreword to the draft report indicates that in addition to information gleaned from the questionnaires, the report writer has taken into account views expressed by people who stopped by and spoke to the consultation facilitators but did not fill in any forms.

Recommendations

Based on the views expressed during the consultation exercise, the Council officer responsible for drafting the report drew up the following recommendations:

  • The 'town like feeling' and sense of place should be underpinned through public artwork, outdoor seating areas, more greenery and improved pedestrian environments, particularly on Green Lanes
  • The requirements for parking on Green Lanes should be further evaluated (and additional consultation undertaken) to ensure that parking is located correctly and that it can be integrated with cycling proposals and proposed additional greenery, while also addressing concerns from residents regarding lost parking spaceBetter, safer cycle lanes should be created within the area – having designated cycle lanes may help to reduce problems with cyclists using the pavements on Green Lanes and Aldermans Hills
  • Further improvement proposals for the area around the Triangle should be developed, to ensure that this location remains a focal point in the area and becomes a place for 'people rather than traffic'
  • The feasibility of suggested traffic calming measures and parking management in residential roads should be further evaluated
  • Potential improvements to crossing points and new crossing points in proposed locations should be further investigated
  • The potential for improving and moving the existing market to a more visible location (possibly using the wide pavements on Green Lanes) should be explored
  • High quality ornamental planting areas and tree planting should be introduced in key locations such as Green Lanes, Aldermans Hill and the Triangle. This can help to create 'green links' from the high street into existing green spaces.
  • Potential 'quick fixes' such as repairing potholes, gating alleyways and more policing in locations which suffer from antisocial behaviour (for example the area around the station, Fox Lane and the Lodge Drive car park) should be identified, while more complex issues such as the requirement for parking and cycle lanes are evaluated further
  • The resident suggestion to expand the street play scheme on Devonshire Road (drawing inspiration from earlier schemes by organisations such as 'Playing Out') should be explored.

Report findings

The main part of the draft report is made up of sections describing "consultation themes" and "key locations". These two sections are reproduced in full below.  Please bear in mind that this is only a draft.  We do not know whether the final report is due to include additional sections, nor do we know whether the writer is/was planning to look through the source data again and possibly make some changes.

Posted: 26 Oct 2014 16:58 by Rebecca Singh #474
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Hi Basil - I've just joined the PGC website and saw your update/post on improving Palmers Green and the info you got from the FOI request. I was just wondering if you know where it all goes from here? And at what point the 'recommendations' (which I agree with wholeheartedly) become a plan and who will be tasked with implementing that plan? I'm keen to be involved in any way I can.
Posted: 26 Oct 2014 19:02 by Basil Clarke #475
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Welcome to PGC, Rebecca.

Good question, and wish I knew the answer.

If you dig back into some of the earlier articles on the Palmers Green Town Centre Improvements page you'll find some background and some clues as to how things might progress. In particular read the article dated 29th June.

Look also at the discussion thread about "Cycling and Cycle Lanes" and the document that shows how the consultation process will work when "Mini-Holland/Cycle Enfield" is implemented.

"Mini-Holland" and the Palmers Green Public Realm Enhancements are intimately connected because it is the cycling improvements money from Transport for London that will be used to improve the general environment in Green Lanes (and elsewhere in the borough).

This will be the second stab at improvements to PG town centre. Two or three years ago the Council was planning various improvements and there was a public consultation - the responses are on this page of the website. There were some interesting ideas put forward by a group called Improving Our Place - in fact, I think they may have been responsible for triggering the whole process (and they in turn were triggered by the loss of the magnificent horse chestnut at the Triangle). Anyway, that all fell through because no money was available.

This time money will be less of a problem because of the TfL Mini-Holland money. However, Mini-Holland itself is extremely controversial. The Council's first idea (and probably still their preference) was to put cycle lanes right through PG on both sides of the road, with a certain amount of "light segregation". This proposal is fiercely opposed by people who don't want to see any reduction in road capacity and particularly any reduction in roadside parking. The anti-cycle lanes campaign is being led by the Green Lanes Business Association and the N21 Online website - both are concerned primarily about potential loss of custom for shops along Green Lanes if customers can't park nearby. This is a legitimate - though not necessarily well-founded - concern, but the propaganda put out by this group is sometimes of questionable accuracy.

The two extreme views are, crudely put, on the one hand, optimise conditions for cyclists by giving them lightly segregated cycle lanes all the way from Enfield Town to PG; on the other hand, leave things as they are along the A105 and send the cyclists along back streets. But there are also people, myself included, who don't much like either of these. I would certainly like fewer noisy and smelly cars and more quiet and clean bicycles in Green Lanes, but as a pedestrian I think that two lanes of high-speed cyclists and two lanes of cars would be more of a barrier to crossing Green Lane than the present generally sluggish car traffic. And to boot, the proposals would do away with some of the pedestrian refuges, at least one bus stop and various bus lanes.

What I and others are looking for is a solution that works for all street users - pedestrians, shopkeepers, cyclists, drivers, bus passengers, and people stopping for a chat with friends in a pleasant environment, with a bit of bustle yes, but not overly polluted by noise and poisonous fumes. I'm not sure what that solution would look like - shared space is a concept that might be appropriate, but might present problems for disabled people.

As I understand it, consultation on the Enfield Town-PG cycle route will begin imminently, but only involve a few chosen "stakeholders". By the time the Council publishes its amended plans, it may be too late to make any significant changes. So if anyone has any innovative solutions, the time to speak is now.
Posted: 26 Oct 2014 20:54 by Colin Younger #476
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One of the areas of controversy, apart from the question of car parking, is that of the fate of the Palmers Green Triangle. Traffic planners have long wanted to replace the large pedestrian island (a "traffic splitter" in their terms) with a simple T-junction. Removal was part of the mini-holland bid.The recent consultation however indicated a significant degree of support for its retention and improvement.

The Triangle has been denuded of the (diseased) huge horse chestnut, the railings around the disused public toilets (which might yet find a new home protecting the Broomfield Park conservatory), large planters and (perhaps?) some seating. Strangely, promises of re-planting and a general greening up have failed to materialise. The triangular clock is the only addition, though that is not without controversy. Personally I think in retrospect that it would have benefited from being taller, and perhaps being in a slightly different position, but that is hindsight, and I know that there are issues with regard to the lighting lay-out of the whole area which constrain this.

There have been mixed messages from councillors and officials over the last year about the future of the Triangle. Whether the Triangle could be improved and retained in some form of "shared space" scheme remains to be seen, but the tenacious hold that removal seems to have on the mind of traffic planners may be an indicator.
Posted: 27 Oct 2014 10:42 by Karl Brown #477
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Basil, if I may, one minor correction: Improving our Place and its identified benefits from a social-centric Triangle and improvements to the nearby shopping areas predated the loss of the chestnut tree; and the ideas didn’t fall through, rather than agreement was that Palmers Green would become a priority investment area once Ponders End and Meridian Water were taken care of, and then subject to capital availability, ie we are now where we hoped we would be, indeed via the successful Mini Holland bid, getting there far earlier than I had personally expected. The largest risk currently seems to me to be losing that goodwill, and hence investment potential, through a focus on individual trees rather than the collective wood.

Town Centres are far from areas of purely commerce. That is perhaps the first area on which to reflect. Transport hubs, social spaces and a whole lot more.

There are then some much bigger issues resulting in very wide strategic themes which will inevitably impact on any decisions. Why for instance do we have extremely aggressive (80% reduction by 2050) CO2 targets and fresh, closer, ones emerging only last week. Why is London threatened with fines of hundreds of millions of pounds due to air quality breaches – and hence premature deaths. Why, last week, did Public Health England highlight that 1 in 6 UK deaths is directly due to inactivity, even suggesting simple changes to lifestyle such as – wait for it, and leading with – cycling to the shops. Mental health effects, I believe, 1 in 6 of us at some stage, possibly the biggest health cost to the UK, and its biggest cause is apparently loneliness. And then we read the NHS risks financial meltdown.

If I can quote for a rather splendid group of papers now emerging from Changing London (www.change-london.org.uk), this one “ A Fair City”

In the late 1800s policymakers began to realise that designing and building homes, streets and public places with due regard to sanitation and public health had a direct impact on the fitness and wellbeing and especially on the economic productivity of the nation. A series of public health measures were enacted which were radical at the time but which today we take for granted.

We know that the built environment also influences the way we interact with one another and so affects our mental wellbeing as much as our physical health, but still planners in the UK largely ignore this dimension. The parent of a primary school child, for example, knows how their local network expands and improves when they join the school gate fraternity. A peer network evolves sharing knowledge and, often, practical help. Just as the school gate brings together people with common interests and concerns so too do allotments, places of worship, local shops, outdoor markets, cul de sacs and even shared dustbins. We can design social interaction into the places where we live or we can design it out.

It’s a complex mix now being assessed within PG. What I would ask is for everyone to stand back, drop their own personal hobby-horse - and we all have them – and think the big question. What exactly are we trying to achieve, holistically, and then consider the various strands now in play. It’s not an easy one and there are a lot of bricks being thrown which tend not to assist.

It now appears that another wide ranging and informed set of thoughts has been provided to the Council which you have surfaced for all to assess. Far better, as much appears to be, a focus on what people want PG to be rather than the main attention being what it shouldn’t. That’s easy, change is hard. Let’s see what comes out of this latest raft and in the meantime perhaps there are visions out there of how PG could look like which could be shared on the Community web site. Personally I like the idea of designing in social interaction, probably more attractive to recruiting and retaining shoppers than parking spaces, but like everyone else in this one, I don’t have the data to make the claim.
Posted: 30 Oct 2014 15:11 by Basil Clarke #478
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This week's Enfield Gazette carries a report on the publication of the survey data by this website. It also includes the response to the publication by Enfield cabinet member Chris Bond, who is quoted as saying that the responses will be considered along with those from two upcoming consultations - on Cycle Enfield ("Mini-Holland") and on Quiet Zones.
Rather disappointingly, Councillor Bond doesn't say whether or not the Council is planning to publish the survey findings, just that they'll be considered...
Posted: 07 Nov 2014 15:54 by Holly Bothwell #495
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Thank you very much for posting this, Basil - the summaries provided contain such a lot of positive comment and pride in the area from the residents surveyed, more so than I'd have dared hope for. Fingers crossed that the Council decide to publish their findings henceforth, instead of you needing to extract them through FOI requests!

Rebecca, one thing that may help you become more involved in the process is to write in support to anyone who will listen. I assume that your representative in Parliament is David Burrowes MP. He is not in favour of the current Mini Holland proposals and seems quite happy so far to swallow the line from the Green Lanes Business Association, which is a pity - and one thing you can do is write to him directly to remind him that he represents you, not just the GLBA. Mr Burrowes is broadly in favour of improvements to the environment for pedestrians, and I know him to be familiar with and supportive of the work of Living Streets, but he may need a gentle reminder that these proposals are designed to make our streets more liveable. You may also like to take some time to correct any troublesome misinformation that ends up in local newspapers. None of this will have much effect on the Council departments who are tasked with carrying out the work, but it certainly might discourage them from handing the money back, which they have sadly done before. Supportive voices and constructive criticism will go a long way.

As Basil says, the Mini Holland proposals are going to be what brings us the money to pay for improvements to Palmers Green across the board, so it's important that the dialogue is not dominated by a single group protecting its own interests - especially when their concerns about imminent ruination are not borne out by evidence from any town, borough, or area that has made changes to improve the walking and cycling environment.
Posted: 11 Nov 2014 13:40 by Rebecca Singh #516
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Holly thanks for your reply and I'm sorry I did not see it sooner (still getting used to navigating the forum). I will as you suggest write to My Burrowes and the Council and anyone else for that matter. Thank you.

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