Catching up – last visit of the day on Friday was to see the old railway track turned nature reserve at the back of Cumberland Road in Wood Green.
Haringey Council – having paid it no attention for years – suddenly seems to have served notices by letter about ‘encroachment’ to various houses whose back gardens adjoin the linear wood.
I went via one resident’s house to see what this ‘encroachment’ was. What I found was that the council boundary fence which might once have delineated where gardens stopped and the wood started is in complete disrepair. Decades ago some of the back gardens have ‘encroached’ by a foot or two. Given that this happened so long ago and many of the houses have been purchased with this tiny extra space in use as part of the house, the council has taken a very heavy-handed and unproductive approach. Where the encroachments have been tiny – as with most – they should regularise the situation and take action against the significant ones – such as one garden that has seemingly doubled its size and does encroach well into the wooded space.
Another is a fence which runs right across the wood at right angles to the houses blocking the walk altogether. Apparently, I was told, one resident does some clearing work in the wood and got a grant for this fence. But if you can imagine a linear walk, through a fantastic nature reserve, which you walk along – and then you come to a fence completely blocking your passage. I need to find out why Haringey Council has allowed this to happen.
So it’s the usual mix of some real issues that need tackling, but Haringey failing for years to sort out things and then taking a crude and heavy handed blanket approach. Not helped by the Council attacking residents for the rubbish in the woods, whereas the truth is that the residents and the erstwhile Friends of the Green had actually been clearing and tidying the space – where the Council had done absolutely nothing over decades.
I think there is something not quite right going on. Anyway – since the residents called me in – Haringey Council seems to have realised that they have been unfair (at least that is what I am hoping is the case) and have invited residents in for a meeting on Monday night. So I have said to the residents to see what the Council say on Monday – and if it is not resolved – then I will try and help them.