A peaceful idyll

Just off Park Road is a lovely open area of green land, long used for cricket and other sports. For many years the North Middlesex Cricket Club has been based there. This area has special qualities and – in something the authorities have got right! – it has been designated as Metropolitan Open Land, which means it can’t be put to other use.

However, many residents have been expressing concern at the recent take-over of the club by commercial developers who proudly announced that they were going to spend £4.5 million to modernize the club, including a new restaurant for 120 people and function rooms for 450 people.

Now – this will totally change the character of the area, and bring huge numbers of people in, with the traffic, disruption and noise that goes with it. Already, what was a location with well-kept cricket squares where players and spectators could watch a leisurely game of cricket, whilst imagining themselves in an almost rural idyll, is changing with an influx of much larger number of people, and little peace or tranquillity.

In the hustle and bustle of urban life, losing those little oasis of peace and tranquillity is a tragedy – we all need places to pause, reflect and move at a slower pace.

The site has provided a great balance between providing social, sports and leisure uses for the local community whilst also been green open-space with the environmental and wildlife benefits that brings.

So people are understandably nervous. The developers don’t seem to have done a great job around communication with the surrounding residents – and certainly many residents are complaining about not being kept informed of what is going on. The result has been the galvanisation of local residents associations into a group called Combined Residents’ Action Group (CRAG), contained representatives from the roads surrounding the open spaces and from CREOS – the local environmental protection and preservation group.

Already there has been a CRAG deputation to Haringey Council – which was well received by both political parties. CRAG has filed Freedom of Information Act requests for more information and has put Haringey Council on notice not to allow the developers to get away with developing the site without planning permission. Let’s hope that Haringey Council is ready to meet the challenge of keeping a close watch on the site.

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