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Play streets in Enfield are taking off!

Written by Clare Rogers on . Posted in Roads

At 2pm on Sunday 7 December we closed Devonshire Road in Palmers Green to let the kids play out – for the seventh time this year. We received our Temporary Play Street Order from Enfield council back in June, and ever since we’ve been closing the road to through traffic for a couple of hours once a month on a Sunday afternoon. We are carrying on through the winter. Temperature doesn’t seem to matter to the children, who make the most of the closed road to scoot, cycle, play ball games and decorate the tarmac with chalk. And it’s always great to see them bright-eyed and pink cheeked after two hours of haring around outdoors, rather than inside staring at an Xbox.

devonshire road play street n13Play street in Devonshire Road (photo: Phil Rogers)These monthly events have transformed our community. Children have made friends with neighbours’ children, and now some of them organise their own play dates during the week. Adults have also made friends. I met a neighbour this morning who said it’s taken her half an hour to walk the length of the street because she keeps bumping into people she knows. Many of the neighbours are on our mailing list and others regularly join discussions on our street Facebook page.

There are now sixteen London boroughs with play streets – and some, like Hackney, have dozens up and running. The good news is that we won’t be the only play street in Enfield for long. Residents from nearby streets including the Mall, Caversham Avenue and Old Park Road are taking steps towards getting a play street order of their own, and others a registering an interest. If you live on a typical London street – so long as it’s not a bus route – I’d recommend trying it. It’s a question of sounding out your neighbours, perhaps via leaflets through doors and an informal meeting. A majority of residents need to agree in order to be successful, so you’ll get to know lots of wonderful people you never realised were your neighbours. The actual event requires a handful of volunteers to act as stewards, keeping the street closed to through traffic and leading residents’ cars in and out safely. You don’t have to be a parent to be involved – our team of volunteers ranges from single people to grandparents.

Could your street be a play street?

We are inviting anyone who might be interested to an informatl discussion on Sunday 8 February 2015, 4pm, at Baskerville’s tearoom on Aldermans Hill. Rich Driffield from the charity London Play will be there to offer information and support. Enfield Council are fully supportive of the initiative.  If you would like to come, please let me know as soon as possible on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so we can give Baskerville’s firm numbers.

There is more information on play streets on the national Playing Out website,, and on London Play’s website at

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Posted: Yesterday 22:45 by David Hughes #625
David Hughes's Avatar
Well done Clare and friends.

For Enfield yours is a pioneering project which will go down in the history of the area, and I have no doubt will set a precedent for a more people-centred borough with a higher quality of life.

Step-free access coming to Palmers Green station

Written by PGC Webmaster on . Posted in Public Transport

Palmers Green and Alexandra Palace stations are among a list of 26 stations where step-free access to platforms will be provided, according to an announcement made today by transport minister Baroness Kramer.  The work, part of the Access for All programme, will be carried out by 2019.

The stations selected for the work were all nominated by the rail industry last year on the basis of criteria such as the number of passengers using the station or proximity to hospitals or schools for disabled children

Palmers Green is reportedly used by more passengers than any other station north of Finsbury Park on the Hertford line.  In the case of Alexandra Palace, the decision to install lifts to all platforms represents victory for a campaign run by London Travelwatch last year, which until now appeared to have been unsuccessful.

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Consultation on December 2015 train service changes

Written by PGC Webmaster on . Posted in Public Transport

Today (14th December) sees the start of the Winter timetables on the lines operated by Govia Thameslink, which include the Great Northern services out of Kings Cross and Moorgate..  Despite the publicity about "thousands more seats" on Great Northern trains, the improvements for commuters travelling from Palmers Green are far from dramatic:  four weekday evening trains will have six carriages instead of three and "some of the busiest" services on Saturdays will have six carriages too.

Further changes will occur in December 2015 and in 2018.  The 2018 changes should provide a marked improvement.  New trains will be introduced and at offpeak times and all day on Saturdays and Sundays there will be four trains an hour.  At Finsbury Park passengers will be able to change to trains running through the Thameslink tunnels via St Pancras, Blackfriars and stations right the way to the south coast.

Rail passengers are currently being consulted about the proposed new timetable that will start in December 2015.  A major change will be that trains will run into Moorgate between 6am and midnight seven days a week, providing direct services to the now busy Old Street area and cross-platform changes to the Victoria Line at Highbury & Islington.  However, it appears that Govia are not planning any increase in the frequency of services on the Hertford line, meaning that Saturdays and Sundays will still see only two trains an hour.

The information below is an excerpt from the 2015 changes consultation document:

Great Northern (Inner)

  • Letchworth Garden City, Stevenage, Hertford North to London
  • Welwyn Garden City to London

Mondays to Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays

Currently services on this route before 0630, after 2200 Mondays to Fridays, all day Saturdays and Sundays operate to and from London Kings Cross. It is proposed that services between approximately 0600 and midnight will operate after Finsbury Park to Moorgate serving Drayton Park, Highbury & Islington, Essex Road and Old Street.

As previously consulted by the Department for Transport and subsequently specified as part of the franchise, it is the intention that the majority of these early morning, late evening and weekend train services will operate to and from Moorgate instead of using London Kings Cross as the terminus station. This is in recognition of previous stakeholder requests following the increasing late night and weekend activity in the Old Street and Moorgate areas and also allowing much improved connectivity arising from key interchanges with the London Overground at Highbury & Islington and as well as continued London Underground connections at Highbury & Islington and Moorgate.

Aside from these changes, there are no proposed revisions to train services on these routes in December 2015.

Looking forward to 2018

From 2018 customers on this route will benefit from 150 brand new vehicles forming 25 6-carriage trains to deliver much needed capacity enhancements through additional services both during peak times and during the day. In conjunction with the increased capacity, there will also be additional peak train service to Moorgate, increasing the frequency on the route.

During off peak periods Mondays to Fridays, all day Saturdays and Sundays there will be an increase from two (Saturdays and Sundays) or three (weekdays) to four trains per hour between Herford North, Welwyn Garden City and Moorgate. Train services between Hertford North and Stevenage will also be increased from one to two trains per hour providing a better service for Watton-at-Stone and more connections with other train services at Stevenage.

From this time, services from the Herford North route will no longer operate north of Stevenage with trains taking advantage of a new terminating platform provided by Network Rail. This is aimed to improve performance both on the Hertford North route, enable additional Thameslink trains north of Stevenage towards Cambridge and provide the capability for more frequent services throughout the entire route.

The proposed changes to train services in 2018 will be consulted nearer the time once further development work concludes.


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Posted: 15 Dec 2014 20:21 by Basil Clarke #587
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What's disappointing is that we have to wait until 2018 to get decent service levels at weekends (four trains an hour instead of two). I can see that there are only so many trains and so much track capacity, but surely there are enough of both to run three trains an hour on Saturdays, especially once the service is running into Moorgate instead of Kings Cross. Even if all Saturday trains had six carriages, there would be overcrowding on some services going into town in the morning and early afternoon, especially when Arsenal are at home. I shall respond to the consultation making this point. Perhaps if enough people did the same, they might take note.

All the fun of the fair!

Written by PGC Webmaster on . Posted in News


Congratulations to Hugh, Ann and everyone else behind today's St Nicholas Fair.  A great success!  Thanks also to the Met Office for playing their part and bringing out the sun (the thermostat could have been turned up a bit higher though!).

The festivities will conclude tonight with a grand meteor shower, courtesy of

st nick x 2

St Nick in two of his guises

human fruit machine

A human fruit machine!

fairground organ

Fairground organ

Photographs:  Colin Younger

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Tags:   Festivals

Free removal of unwanted bulky objects and electrical items

Written by PGC Webmaster on . Posted in Council Services

Residents who want to dispose of unwanted electrical items or bulky furniture are being urged to take advantage for two free services Enfield Council is offering.

The services are being offered to encourage recycling, reduce fly tipping and promote the reuse of perfectly good electrical items that have been replaced or which are no longer wanted. Enfield Council is also providing free compostable liners for food waste in council libraries for a limited time.

Residents can arrange a free collection for any household electrical item that runs off a battery or a plug by ringing DHL free on 0800 085 1050.

Enfield Council also works in partnership with the charity Re-store to save good quality unwanted furniture from being thrown away. Re-store collect the items for free and then sell them to local people in need at reduced rates. 

Collections are free and there is no limit to the number of collections each household can receive. Residents can book a collection online at the Enfield Council website or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 Restore will collect the following items:

  •  Armchairs
  •  Bed bases
  •  Bookcases
  •  CD racks and towers
  •  Chest of drawers
  •  Coffee tables
  •  Desk chairs
  •  Dressing tables
  •  Dining chairs
  •  Desks
  •  Futons (with mattresses)
  •  Sofabeds
  •  Sofas
  •  Stools
  •  TV stands
  •  Wall units
  •  Wardrobes
  •  Z beds
  •  Dining chairs
  •  Desks
  •  Futons (with mattresses)
  •  Sofabeds
  •  Sofas
  •  Stools
  •  TV stands
  •  Wall units
  •  Wardrobes
  •  Z beds

Microsoft Word course at Ruth Winston

Written by PGC Webmaster on . Posted in News

Ruth Winston Centre have some unfilled places on their next course in using Microsoft Word, which starts on 6th January, and is available to people aged 50 or above and residing in Enfield borough.

The course will teach you how to use Word to write letters, create cards and posters or colourful and attractive flyers, how to file your letters and print them off, how to produce tables and use many more features of MS Word.

The course comprises six one-hour sessions at 3.15pm on Tuesdays. The cost is £20 per person. If you're not already a member, you'll need to join Ruth Winston Centre.

To find out more or put your name down for the course, phone 020 8886 5346.

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New York has become a healthier city - so could London

Written by Basil Clarke on . Posted in Planning & Development

The website Changing London has published the fifth in a series of publications which set out "a vision for London's next Mayor".

A Healthy City - a city that does no harm and tackles sickness at source can be downloaded from the Changing London website.  The website's introductory page (reproduced below) concludes by pointing out the remarkable success of New York's Mayor Bloomberg in increasing life expectancy in his city through a series of measures to improve public health.

London is not a healthy place to live even by the standards of our biggest city rivals around the world. We have the highest rate of childhood obesity of any major city and more than half the adult population are obese or overweight. More than one million Londoners will experience mental ill health this year – the total economic and social costs are estimated at £26bn annually. And these issues disproportionately affect the poorest – those in some of the richest wards can leave a full 25 years longer than those in the poorest. London comes 7 out of 14 in health rankings of global cities.

We imagine how London as a city would look if it did no harm. For many, London is a harmful place: in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the violence we fear, the gap between the richest and poorest, and much more, our city can be bad for us. A city that does no harm would be made up of healthy communities, full of knowledgeable people.

To build communities that promote good physical and mental health the next Mayor must:

1) Tackle inequality: A more equal city would be healthier for us all. The living wage, a rise in the minimum wage, company pay ratios, stronger unions and more. We explored this in our third London Paper: A Fairer City.

2) Promote friendly communities and good neighbours: Severe loneliness is as detrimental to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day7, whereas living in a supportive community increases our chances of good health by 27%. Well designed streets, good transport, benches to share, plotting sheds and locally-delivered services: just some of the ideas we considered in our second London Paper: the Good City.

3) Make it easier and safer to cycle and walk: If more of us took more exercise we could prevent 4100 deaths each year. Only 13% of Londoners walk or cycle to work, yet in Copenhagen 50% commute by bike. This is about large scale investment in safe infrastructure – cycling lanes, pavements, crossings – closing roads and encouraging people to walk at least some of their journey.

4) Clean the air: The back of a car is far more deadly than the front: 4,500 people died from the effects of air pollution last year. London’s air is officially dangerous – in breach of EU safe limits. A determined Mayor could tackle this in the same way other cities have: strict emissions limits, retrofit vehicles, target hotspots. Build on the tradition London pioneered with the ground-breaking congestion charge but has let lapse since.

5) Make London safe: Violence and the threat of violence damage our health and wellbeing. A city that did no harm would be one in which we felt safe and free from harassment. City-wide women only nights – inspired by their successful adoption in Bogota – would send a powerful signal about our intentions, and should be backed up by detailed, practical work to make women and girls safer – and feel safer – in our city. Fear of crime has a dramatic impact on health, and should be brought down through careful work in communities.

6) Promote healthy food: Banning fast food outlets near schools, and lobbying for a national sugar tax, would be two important ways to make unhealthy food harder to access.

7) Ban smoking in parks: We support the London Health Commission’s call for a ban on smoking in outdoor public spaces like parks. It should be accompanied by increasing support for people to give up, and efforts to prevent children taking it up. Banning it outside hospitals would be a good first step.

8) Build decent housing: Good health comes from good housing. The new houses London desperately needs must be well designed and built so they improve our health rather than exacerbate our health problems.

And the next mayor must ensure we have the information to keep ourselves and others healthy

1) Tackle mental health stigma: The best thing a new mayor could do would be to “speak openly and unsqueamishly about mental health”. One in four people have mental health problems11 – more than voted for Boris Johnson in the last election. Public advocacy should be combined with practical support – training for TFL and shop staff on how to support people with hidden disabilities, and a more generic version of the ‘baby on board’ badge.

2) Introduce health traffic lights on restaurant food: Following New York’s example, to allow diners to make healthier choices about their meal.

3) Learn the signs and symptoms of cancer and the importance of screening: So that the one in three of us who will get cancer can catch it early on and get it successfully treated.

4) Learn first aid: Between 10 and 15 people die in every borough every week, who might have been saved if those around them knew first aid.12 It should be a compulsory feature on the school curriculum and available to all employees in workplaces.

5) Do it together in a Save Ourselves Week: Every year, a week in which the whole city collectively applies the discipline, the excuse, the pressure and the knowledge, to do the things we know we should but we’ve never quite got round to doing in the past, like checking for cancer or learning first aid.

New York has become a public health mecca for many over the last few years, as Republican Mayor Bloomberg’s determined, evidence-driven assault on causes of ill health – cigarettes, trans-fats, sugary drinks, a lack of walking and cycling infrastructure – was regularly mocked and attacked by right-wing critics but hailed as revolutionary by public health professionals worldwide and led, over the course of his three terms, to a three year increase in life expectancy, almost double the US average. Can London’s next Mayor steal his crown, and London become – in the words of the London Health Commission – the healthiest major global city?

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Chase Farm redevelopment - application for outline planning permission

Written by PGC Webmaster on . Posted in Planning & Development

The application for outline planning permission to redevelop Chase Farm Hospital is available on the Enfield Council website (click on this link).  Members of the public are able to submit comments up until 15th January.

The application seeks approval for the principle of the development, the amount of development, the maximum three-dimensional extent of development and access arrangements. If approved, these would form the parameters upon which future reserved matters applications would be based.

The proposal involves:

  • the replacement of most of the existing healthcare buildings with a new building to accommodate services in a modern and more efficient manner;
  • the retention of the existing multi-storey car park and Highlands Wing, both of these structures would be improved and extended;
  • the provision of up to 500 new residential units; and
  • the creation of a new primary school and the provision of temporary teaching facilities that will be used until the new permanent school facilities are available for occupation..

chase farm redevelopmentClick on the map for a larger version


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Sewing workshops at Studio 306

Written by PGC Webmaster on . Posted in News

Starting early in 2015, the not-for-profit organisation Studio 306 will be running sewing workshops.  Starting with the basics - how to thread a needle - and ending up creating beautiful cushions or patchwork quilts.

Studio 306, based in the Chocolate Factory in Wood Green, has the aim of empowering disadvantaged local individuals. It offers a creative space for people who are recovering from mental illness, where they can rediscover forgotten skills, develop new ones and boost their confidence.

To find our more and to register, call 020 8365 8477 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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St Nicholas Fair - one week to go!

Written by PGC Webmaster on . Posted in News

After hundreds of hours of preparation and nearly a year of planning, the St Nicholas Fair will be here one week from today.

There will be 85 stalls with a huge variety of foods, clothes, jewellery, gifts and unique hand-made items.  Plus a whole day of free children's entertainment run by volunteers from Hang out the Bunting, Lolly Pots, Nelly Jelly, Pirates and Princesses, Monkey music, Disco Ducks, Tatty Bumpkin and last but not least Smart Play.In addition there will be the amazing Mr and Miss Ballooniverse.

The Tessa Stevens Live Stage will be presenting an eclectic mix of opera, choirs, brass band and rock, with the 80s band Matchbox playing their top ten hits to finish off the day at 7pm.

The event will be opened at 11 am by the Mayor of Enfield and David Burrowes MP. 

St Nicholas himself will be leaving St Pauls Church car park around 11.50 to make his way up to the Green and in keeping with tradition will be handing out small gifts to the children on his route up Church Hill.  All parents with their children, please come and join him around 11.45 in St Pauls car park, and follow him up the hill as he makes his grand entrance onto the Green by horse and carriage.

Other highlights will be carols performed by the All Churches Choir and an ice rink in the centre of the Green.  And rides in a Victorian-era omnibus sponsored by Mostons Accountants.

The last St Nicholas Fair, two years ago, was a great success (see the video below).  This year's will be bigger still!

For full details see the St Nicholas Fair website.

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Tags:   Festivals

March to mark one year since stabbing of Joshua Folkes

Written by PGC Webmaster on . Posted in News

Sixteen-year-old Joshua Folkes was stabbed to death in Palmers Green on 3rd December 2013.  To mark the anniversary of this sad event, the campaigning group Get Outta the Gang is organising a march on the afternoon of Saturday 6th December from Palmerston Road to New Southgate Cemetery.  The march will commemorate Joshua and so many more young people who have died as a result of gang violence.

Read more about the march on the Get Outta the Gang website and on North London Today.

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Decluttering our streets to make them safer and pleasanter

Written by Basil Clarke on . Posted in Roads

A newly published guide to street design sets out the latest thinking on how roads and streets in cities, towns and villages can be decluttered and redesigned to make them not only pleasanter to look at and to use, but also significantly safer.

Street Design for All - "a compilation of current thoughts and practices in the art of Street Design" - reflects the work and ideas of professional road engineers and of campaigners for improvements to the "public realm".1  It provides an easy to understand explanation of how established urban street design practices that were intended to improve safety have in many cases had the opposite effect.

The innovative new approaches to street design that the booklet describes have been proven to reduce casualties without causing additional traffic congestion.  In addition, by enhancing the attractiveness of the public realm they encourage people to regard urban streets as places to visit rather than just to pass through, bringing benefits in terms of both economic and psychological wellbeing.

Significantly, the new guide has been endorsed by Robert Goodwill, the Minister for Transport, who has recommended its use by local community groups to help them contribute to the redesign of their localities.

The arguments set out in the booklet include the following points:

  • Design and manage the street for a sense of place as well as for movement.  It is important to understand how a particular street works as an individual place; particularly the human activities that give a street its character.
  • Design the street to enhance its sense of place.  People appreciate streetscape, not only fine vistas and historic buildings but the seemingly ordinary.  It is important to cut street clutter so that disabled people can move about more easily and the special qualities of a place can be seen more clearly.
  • Encourage wellbeing through healthy, active lifestyles.  Wellbeing includes mental as well as physical health. Streets that are designed to be interesting, welcoming and safe encourage more people to walk and cycle as part of their daily life.
  • Design and manage the highway to make unsafe actions less likely.  A greater understanding of drivers’ behaviour based on what they actually comprehend as they travel along a road helps anticipate how they are likely to react to various street conditions. If the road is "self-explanatory", drivers are more likely to know what to expect in the road ahead.
  • Aim for total street design-not just individual uncoordinated components.  Quality streets balance the needs of all road users: pedestrians, cyclists, people with disabilities and drivers.

A running theme is the importance of "decluttering".  Apart from the obvious aesthetic benefits of reducing the amount of intrusive street furniture, road safety is actually increased by dispensing with the proliferation of signs, road markings, traffic lights etc.  These are all intended to reduce the likelihood of accidents, but paradoxically, because they increase driver confidence, they lead to increased speeds and decreased driver vigilance, and hence to more collisions with worse consequences.  Better to design "self-explaining roads" - roads that on the one hand will reduce driver confidence, making them slow down and become more vigilant, while in the other hand making it easier for them to see potential problems because their attention is not distracted by a large number of signs and markings. 

pedestrian injuries vs speedThe author is clear about the importance of keeping down vehicle speeds in contexts where they are likely to come into conflict with pedestrians.  The chance of a pedestrian being killed or seriously injured in an accident involving  a vehicle travelling at 20 mph is less than 3%, if the vehicle’s speed is 30 mph the likelihood is 20%. Where the speed is 40 mph, it rises to 90%. - the accompanying graph speaks for itself.

The booklet contains sections on streetscape and creating a sense of place and goes into some detail with regard to the design of pedestrian crossings, the best types of paving slabs and "street corner geometry" (an important aspect of pedestrian safety).

It concludes with some advice about undertaking local projects and assessing whether the correct balance has been struck between road safety and other considerations.

1 Street Design for All by Colin J Davis, published by CJDA Ltd for PRIAN 2014.  Available for free download from this link.  The publication was issued jointly by the Public Realm Information & Advice Network (PRIAN),  the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT), Civic Voice and the Department for Transport, with assistance from English Heritage, the Institute of Highway Engineers, Living Streets, the National Heart Forum, Transport for London and the Urban Design Group.

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Posted: 06 Dec 2014 10:44 by David March #559
David March's Avatar
Basil - excellent review of this interesting guidance.

Colin Davis has a long established track record of promoting 'common sense' solutions to street design, and one which breaks across the different 'professional' approaches to street design. I hope Enfield gets Colin Davis to give a seminar to all officers involved in different aspects of street design - perhaps the Triangle would be a useful case study for the workshop. I only live in hope!
Posted: 15 Dec 2014 16:16 by Karl Brown #583
Karl Brown's Avatar
Park Lane Poynton

A poem by Ian McMillan, written for the eighth edition of the Space Place Life publication of The Academy of Urbanisation to celebrate inspirational places of urbanisation which people have worked hard to nurture over many years.

I couldn’t have written this poem a few years since;
I couldn’t have read it out. There’s no way you’d have heard it
The noise of the traffic was enough to make you wince
And if you think about Shared Space then this weren’t it.
And I’m writing in a language that’s local and demotic
To describe a transformation from red stop lights
To a place that’s welcoming and truly democratic
From a stuck traffic jam to a Transport of Delights
Because this is a truly local answer to a problem that
Scarred a lovely village and cut it clean in two
So if you wanted to cross to the barber’s from your flat
It would be quicker if he posted the scissors to you!
Now the traffic slows, the people walk; space is truly shared,
Poynton’s been completely changed. My poem can be heard.

You can watch Poynton’s transformation here

Making a success of a Town Centre is so much more than its trade base and its immediate (car) parking spaces. Poynton certainly addressed some of the (much) wider aspects. Happy people it seems.

Public transport users group seeking a new meetings venue

Written by PGC Webmaster on . Posted in Public Transport

The Enfield Transport Users Group (ETUG) is a forum that meets several times a year to discuss the provision of public transport within the Borough.  It brings together representatives of various official and voluntary organisations - including councillors and officers from Enfield Council, TfL, train operating companies, the Enfield Commuter Group, the Federation of Enfield Residents' and Allied Associations (FERAA), the Enfield Over 50s Forum, organisations representing disabled people, several residents' associations and individual residents.

ETUG meetings are open to everyone residing in the Borough - the next meeting is at the Civic Centre on 4th December.  Until now Enfield Council have provided the meeting venue and secretarial services, but because of Council expenditure cutbacks both these services are due to be withdrawn some time in the New Year and ETUG will therefore have to find replacements.  They are looking for a venue for up to six meetings a year which is accessible to most people, plus a minute taker.

During 2012 and 2013 ETUG collaborated with Enfield Council's Public Transport Consultative Committee to carry out a thoroughgoing review of bus services within the Borough, producing a document proposing various changes.  The Review focussed on improving services without the need for any additional buses, concentrating on the following requirements:

  1. Improved access to hospitals (long a concern of users and heightened by recent changes in the provision of health care in North London);
  2. The needs arising from the Council's regeneration plans;
  3. The need to serve the Borough’s secondary schools and needs arising from the expansion of schools;
  4. Improving access to identified areas of particularly low accessibility;
  5. Addressing issues of level crossing closures;
  6. Improving access to Industrial/Retail Parks.
  7. Improve the interchanges with railway/tube stations

Details of the bus review proposals were released in March in response to a Freedom of Information Act request and can be viewed on the What Do They Know? website.

Enfield Council and Transport for London will shortly be publishing the results of their discussions about whether and how to implement the Review's proposals, and ETUG are planning to convene a public meeting in January to discuss the Council's response.

Useful links

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Downton star to discuss mid-life crisis this month at the Fox

Written by PGC Webmaster on . Posted in Theatre and Cinema

downhill dec14Talkies Community Cinema rounds off its Autumn season on 10th December with Downhill, a humorous but touching look at men's mid-life crises, starring local actor Jeremy Swift.

Jeremy is well know to viewers of Downton Abbey, in which he plays Maggie Smith's butler, Spratt.  And he is currently rehearsing for a major role in an amazing production of the Railway Children at King’s Cross Station (featuring a proper steam train!)

After the screening Jeremy will answer questions from members of the audience.

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Tags:   Cinema

Council scheme to help people in long-term care lease out their home

Written by PGC Webmaster on . Posted in Council Services

Keeping House' is Enfield Council's innovative scheme for property owners living in long term residential care.

For people moving into long-term care the cost, time and effort needed to maintain an empty property can prove challenging. Properties often remain unoccupied for lengthy periods of time, falling into disrepair and can attract anti-social behaviour.

Under this scheme homes can be leased to the Council for a fixed period of time (five years) and provide guaranteed rental income to help fund the cost of care. These houses can then provide a much needed home for those families in housing need.

The scheme will be fully managed by the Council giving homeowners and their families piece of mind that once a lease period is agreed, rent will be paid regardless of whether the property is occupied or not. At the end of the lease period the property is returned to the owner or alternatively the lease can be extended.

To find out more download the 'Keeping House Scheme' leaflet from the council's website at It gives full details about eligibility, grant funding for renovation work, and advice. Property owners can register their interest by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call 020 8379 1001.

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Healthwatch Enfield looking for volunteers

Written by PGC Webmaster on . Posted in Health Services

Would you like to help improve local health and social care services? Can you help Healthwatch Enfield reach out to local communities and find out about their experiences as patients, carers and service users? Do you have personal experience, skills and enthusiasm to offer?

We welcome and value contributions from all sections of the community, including people of all ages from 16 upwards.

We are currently looking for volunteers for the following roles:

Click on each heading to read a description of the role

If you are interested, please visit our 'Get Involved' page for more information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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Southgate local history publication wins award

Written by PGC Webmaster on . Posted in Local History

In the same week that Southgate District CivicTrust placed a blue plaque on the former home in Winchmore Hill of wildlife photographer and author Oliver Pike, their members celebrated winning the Local History Publications Award for Best Journal 2014 for the latest edition of their local history bulletin, Oakleaves. The prize was given on Saturday 22 November at the annual Local History Conference held at the Museum of London by LAMAS (London and Middlesex Archaeological Society). 

Edited by Peter Hodge, Oakleaves 5 has articles about the early days of the Trust, suffragette activity in the local area, letters from Flora Robson to friends in Palmers Green, a Victorian dispute over religious ritual at St Paul’s Church Winchmore Hill, Risley Musical Theatre Company, Shakespeare productions at the Intimate Theatre, the Pike family and a miscellany, People and Places. Also included is The Early History and Mystery of Oakfield Road, Southgate by the late Geoff Jacobs, which in its previous essay form won the Mary Larrett Award from Edmonton Hundred Historical Society.

For information about obtaining Oakleaves and other SDCT publications, see the SDCT website.

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Further Council spending cuts - where do you think the axe should fall?

Written by PGC Webmaster on . Posted in Council Services

Message from Enfield Council.

Despite having already made £75million of savings over the last four years Enfield Council now needs to find a further £80million savings over the next four years. By 2017/18, Enfield’s funding from central government will have been reduced by a further 25% meaning that, like most local authorities, Enfield is facing its toughest financial challenge to date.

We would like to invite you to attend one of our focus groups where you can find out about the services the Council provides and tell us what your priorities are over the coming years.

Your views are really important to us and the feedback from the focus groups will help inform elected members and senior officers, shape Council services in the future and help us in making the difficult decisions about the Council’s budget.

The focus groups will take place on:

  • Mon 24 Nov, 10am – Civic Centre
  • Thurs 27 Nov, 6pm – Civic Centre
  • Wed 3 Dec, 10.30am – Civic Centre and Green Towers, Edmonton
  • Thurs 4 Dec, 10am – Civic Centre
  • Thurs 11 Dec, 2pm – Civic Centre
  • Mon 15 Dec, 6pm – Civic Centre and Green Towers, Edmonton

If you would like to take part in a focus group please can you indicate your preference of date(s) by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Or you can call on 020 8379 4651 or 020 8379 3912.

If you are unable to take part in the focus groups, you can also contribute and give us your views by taking part in the online budget consultation.

The online budget simulator will be available until 31 December 2014.

More information on the Council website

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Traffic calming: Is it needed and what are the best methods?

Written by Basil Clarke on . Posted in Quieter Neighbourhoods

The Quieter Neighbourhoods schemes which Enfield Council are planning will use various "traffic calming" measures, the aim of which is to reduce traffic accidents, encourage walking and cycling by reducing the stress associated with heavy or fast traffic, and generally make life pleasanter for people living, walking or cycling along residential streets away from main roads.

Traffic calming is not universally popular - concerns include noise and damage to cars allegedly caused by speed humps and hindrance to access by emergency services caused by road closures.  Furthermore, some people consider that it is an unnecessary restriction with few if any benefits.  However, there are strong arguments in favour of traffic calming.

Cutting the number of casualties

Analysis of road safety data shows clear benefits in terms of reductions in deaths and serious injuries.  Two studies of 20mph zones with traffic calming, both looking specifically at schemes in London suburbs, have confirmed significant reductions in injuries and deaths.  One study found a reducing of 42 per cent in all casualties, the other a 50-56 per cent reduction in deaths and serious injuries (click here to read more details). 

Quite apart from the human cost of road deaths and injuries, they impose an economic burden both on the country and its taxpayers, because of the cost of emergency and health services, and on companies, who need to recruit and train new employees or get by without them while they are in hospital.

While improvements to cars have reduced casualities among drivers and passengers (though they are still unacceptably high), this is not the case for pedestrians.  Nationally, on average 16 pedestrians are killed or seriously injured every day.  In London the long-term improvement in pedestrian casualty figures has gone into reverse (see this article), one probable cause being changes to traffic light phasing introduced by the current London Mayor.

What are streets actually for?

Obviously, streets in residential areas are there for cars to drive along.  However, this is only one of several functions and, until relatively recently, not the most important one.  Other obvious functions are for people to walk along and cyclist to ride along.  But streets are also a social space for people to stroll along, talk to their friends, for kids to play,.. 

Unfortunately, for the right reasons - with the goal of improving safety - traffic planners have made the wrong design decisions.  By using physical methods or road markings to deliberately segregate cars from pedestrians, and sometimes also from bicycles, they have given drivers the impression that the carriageway "belongs" to them alone.  With the added confidence that this gives them, drivers tend to go faster, and a vicious circle sets in because people on foot and children at play react to the increased risk from fast cars by retreating indoors, making drivers all the more confident that the roads "belong" to them.  And so on...

Traffic calming - more imaginative approaches

Traffic calming measures are aimed at redressing the balance by forcing drivers to slow down and deterring them from using what should be purely residential roads as through routes.  But the physical methods that predominate don't always work and may have negative side-effects.  For instance, merely putting up signs ("20mph", "Play Street" etc) only works when drivers take any notice.  Blocking off roads can cause problems for emergency vehicles and force drivers to make noisy and polluting three-point turns.  When speed bumps or cushions are installed, some drivers go over them too fast (creating noise nuisance), others accelerate after a bump then brake sharply, wasting fuel.

In recent years more imaginative methods have been introduced.  They make the environment pleasanter and more interesting and have a psychological effect on drivers which causes them to become more aware of their surroundings and to slow down.  Often this is done by de-emphasizing separation between carriageway and pavement, reducing drivers' feeling that the street belongs to them - the "shared space" approach.

The "DIY Streets" approach promulgated by Sustrans uses these kinds of technique.  But others have taken them further, implementing traffic calming "via intrigue and enchantment", "mental speedbumps" and "civility outbreak".

People living in a residential street in the suburbs of Oxford that was suffering from severe traffic problems experimented over a four year period with "Road Witching" and other forms of "folk traffic calming" measures.  Methods included "chevron parking" - residents parked their cars at a 45 degree angle to the kerb.  This leaves sufficient room for traffic to drive by and not only makes parking manouevres easier, but actually fits in more cars.  The effect on passing drivers is to impede the view ahead and create enough uncertainty to cause them to slow down.  Other experiments involved painting large colourful patterns on the road and pavement.

The most famous exponent of "shared space" in the UK is Ben Hamilton-Baillie, who earlier this year gave a talk in Enfield Town.  His successful schemes cover not just relatively quiet side roads, but also a busy A road where it passes through the village of Poynton in Cheshire.

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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.”

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