Public Meeting called on the Noel Park estate

Roberto Robles and Lynne Featherstone reporting issues on the Noel Park estate. Lynne Featherstone MP and local campaigners have called a public meeting to discuss Labour-run Haringey Council’s ongoing failure to repair and improve homes on the Noel Park estate.

The Liberal Democrat MP has long campaigned for repair work on the estate, and met recently with housing chiefs to put forward the case.

Local campaigners say the meeting will give residents a chance to have their voices heard, and discuss the problems they have with repairs to their homes.

The Labour councillor for Noel Park, who is also responsible for housing in the borough, has been invited to attend.

The meeting will take place on Monday the 17th February – 7:15pm, at Shropshire Hall (Gladstone Avenue, N22 6LD).

Local Noel Park campaigner Roberto Robles said:

“My colleague Colin Heinink and I think the Labour-run Council’s failure to do vital works to homes on the Noel Park Estate is outrageous. Many homes on the estate are in desperate need of repair.

“Shockingly, at the same time homes on the Noel Park Estate have been left to crumble, Labour-run Haringey allowed £3.7 million to be spent on bonuses for home repairs staff.

“Enough is enough. The Lib Dems have already started a petition and met with local housing chiefs. Now, we’re calling a public meeting so residents can have their say too.”

Lynne Featherstone MP commented:

“It’s about time residents were given a proper say on the repairs their homes need. For too long their own Labour Councillor, who is responsible for housing in the borough, has ignored them.

“It’s Haringey Council’s job to provide tenants with a decent standard of living – and the Government has given the Council extra money to do so.

“The Council have committed to make urgent repairs and consult residents – which is a step in the right direction but not good enough. This public meeting is the next step in our campaign to secure full repairs for residents on the Noel Park estate.”

Growing economy – Good news for Haringey!

Great news – the economy is growing at the fastest rate we’ve seen since 2007 – according to the Office of National Statistics.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also increased its growth forecast for the UK economy from 1.9% to 2.4%.

The UK has also seen a sharp drop in unemployment, and there are now more people in work than ever before. All good signs that the economy is recovering.

And we’re really leading the way in Hornsey and Wood Green. There are now over 1100 fewer people claiming Job Seekers Allowance than there were in 2010.

Youth unemployment here is now 3.8% – almost halved since 2010.

And finally, the number of registered enterprises in Hornsey and Wood Green is on the up, from 4,855 in 2011 to 5,450 now.

The plan is working – and so are we!

What changes would you like to see in Haringey?

Here’s my latest Muswell Flyer article – on the changes I want to see in our borough this year. Also available here

The Christmas festivities are over and I hope everyone had a great time welcoming in the New Year. Alongside my usual resolutions, there is something specific I want to see in 2014.

This year, I want to see a change in how our local services are run and how our council tax money is spent. And with a local election taking place in May – change is a real possibility!

Our borough has so much potential – it is a truly vibrant and diverse area. But, like many Haringey residents who contact me, I am fed up of paying one of the highest rates of Council Tax in London and receiving a poor service in return.

Last year, Haringey Council (which is currently run by Labour) failed to deliver on many key local services.

On housing, the Council allowed £3.7 million to be spent on bonuses for housing staff while cancelling vital and long-overdue repair works for local homes. I receive so many complaints from local residents in social housing about the lack of repairs – and I just cannot believe that millions have been spent on bonuses for failure.

Our local streets are also not up to scratch. A survey I ran last year on rubbish collections turned up over 400 complaints about missed collections, bins in the wrong place, and piles of rotting rubbish.

Another survey revealed hundreds of complaints about potholes and lighting, too – despite the Council promising a ‘pothole blitz’ earlier in the year.

And also – the Labour-run Council is still refusing Lib Dem calls for an independent review into Children’s Services, despite further shocking failures to protect some of the borough’s most vulnerable children.

This is a small summary of the problems we have in Haringey. Labour has had 40 years in charge of Haringey Council, and I think it’s about time that changed.

In contrast to Labour, the local Lib Dems are constantly campaigning for improved local services. They’ve been instrumental in saving our parcel collection points and local train services, alongside pushing the Council into action on numerous issues – forcing them to consult on 20mph roads and to build new homes to ease the housing crisis, for instance.

The local Lib Dems are also committed to continuing the fight against development on Pinkham Way, and to improving the state of our streets. We’ve fought hard for independent shops by campaigning for thirty minutes free parking, and free parking over the entire Christmas period. And, the Lib Dems are committed to supporting our local Credit Union as an alternative to payday loan shops.

For me, the choice is easy. What we need is a Council that listens to residents and works for them. I will be campaigning hard to help the Lib Dems take control of the Council so that we can see real, positive changes to Haringey in 2014. Now, that really would be a happy new year!

A year of local delivery!

Here’s my latest Ham and High column, following a great year of working with local residents to protect our services

2013 was a year of people power in Haringey – with thousands of local residents and Liberal Democrats joining forces to protect local services.

At the beginning of the year, the proposed sell off of land at the Whittington Hospital was successfully halted, following a campaign by over 4,500 local residents and the Haringey Liberal Democrats.

Later in the year thousands of Lib Dem petition signers also prevented Royal Mail’s planned closure of Hornsey Sorting Office, and also stopped the threatened loss of local rail services at Hornsey and Harringay stations.

Local High Street traders also made their voices heard, calling for lower High Street parking charges. The Haringey Lib Dems and I backed them, by running a campaign for thirty minutes free parking and holding the Independent Shops Competition to give our best local stores some much deserved publicity.

The North London Waste Authority also finally backtracked on their idea to build a waste plant on the Pinkham Way site, thanks to a great campaign effort by the Pinkham Way Alliance, local residents and the Lib Dems. The NLWA still own the land, though – so we remain vigilant.

Last year was also great for jobs and apprenticeships – with more and more Haringey residents finding work. Since 2010, unemployment is at its lowest level in my constituency (over 1000 less JSA claimants), and youth unemployment has fallen by a third.

The apprenticeship event I ran this year was very popular and successful. I was so impressed with the ambition and drive of the young people who attended – and so were the employers. One Haringey young person was snapped up by an employer just a day after the event!

Looking forward to next year, I hope for more hard work and successes for the Lib Dems and people power. And one date in particular springs to mind – May 22nd, the next round of local elections.

Last year, Haringey Council (which is currently run by Labour) failed to deliver on many key local services. Our roads are in a state, two thirds of residents are dissatisfied with their rubbish collections, and Childrens Services has been tarnished with more child protection scandals.

And at the same time, the Labour-run Council continues to waste money. £3.7 million in shockingly large bonuses were dished out to repairs staff – while essential repair work to local homes was cancelled. It’s no wonder Haringey Council is the fourth most complained about in the country.

That’s why I want to see a change in how our local services are run and how our Council Tax money is spent.

And after this great year of local delivery and working with residents, I hope it’s the Haringey Liberal Democrats that take control of Haringey Council, so they can work with residents to fix Haringey for good.

Now, that really would be a happy new year!

Protecting our parks!

Haringey has a total of 19 Green Flag awards for its parks – Priory Park and Russell Park included.

Under the criteria, Green Flag parks are judged to be welcoming, safe and well managed, with active community involvement. It also means that they should be some of the best parks in the country.

But – I continue to hear reports of excess rubbish, broken glass, dog mess and damaged or missing equipment in the children’s play areas in these parks. This is not my idea of a welcoming or well managed environment!

I have been pressing Labour-run Haringey Council for repairs and maintenance to Russell Park for quite some time, and will continue to do so. Here’s a video taken from my recent visit there:

Over the summer, the children’s playground at Priory Park has also fallen into disrepair and many parents now consider it to be dangerous. The climbing frame, zip wire, sandpit and sandpit equipment are all broken, and it hasn’t been repaired or cordoned off to prevent children trying to play. Residents don’t think its good enough – and neither do I.

Haringey Council are clearly not doing a very good job of maintaining standards. Once again I have written to them, highlighting this and calling on them to take immediate action to repair the equipment and cordon it off in the meantime to protect children using the park.

They have replied tell me that work does need to be done, especially on the sandpit which ‘is past its expected life span’ – but they still suggest that all park equipment is ‘safe to use’. Local people disagree – and I will carry on campaigning for change!

Lynne Featherstone MP campaigns to clean up Russell Park

Lynne Featherstone MP meets with residents at Russell Park to discuss problems with the upkeep of the park. Lynne Featherstone MP on Friday met with local campaigners, Friends of Russell Park, and residents to discuss the upkeep of Russell Park in Wood Green.

In previous months, complaints have been made about the state of the park. Residents have been concerned about unsafe play equipment, dog fighting, antisocial behaviour and weeds.

Along with local campaigners Craig Brown, Roberto Robles and Colin Heinink, the Liberal Democrat MP launched a petition, calling on Haringey Council to take urgent action and clean up Russell Park, including fixing the damaged playground areas.

On the visit, the MP for Hornsey and Wood Green spoke about the steps she was taking to push the Council into action, and noted down the residents’ further concerns.

Following the visit, Lynne Featherstone MP commented:

“Russell Park is a lovely green space and community asset. There are play areas, a community centre and plenty of open grass.

“Unfortunately, though, the Labour-run Council has not been looking after the park properly. Swings have been chewed by dogs, the play areas are not locked at night, and weeds are overgrown in many areas.

“There are some fantastic local residents and friends of Russell Park, who work tirelessly to try and keep the park in order, but they need help.

“That’s why the local Liberal Democrats and I launched a petition, calling on the Council to take action.  I hope as many residents as possible sign it!”

Lynne Featherstone MP comments on the sale of the missing “Banksy”

The Banksy piece on Turnpike Lane, before its removalHornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone has expressed her disappointment at learning that the missing Banksy from Wood Green has been sold at auction.

Reports suggest that the piece has sold for more than £750,000. This is despite a direct plea from the Liberal Democrat MP last week, calling on the owners of the piece to “do the right thing” and return it to its original home. The mural was removed from the wall of Poundland in Wood Green in February.

Lynne Featherstone MP comments:

“Local people have been dismayed by the removal of the Banksy piece, so of course I’m disappointed that it has been sold.

“At this time, we don’t know who the piece has been sold to, but I now call upon the buyer of the artwork to make this piece of work public, so we can all enjoy it again, or return it to its rightful place in Wood Green.”

Lynne Featherstone MP issues public plea to missing Banksy ‘owners’

The Banksy piece on Turnpike Lane, before its removal

Local MP Lynne Featherstone has today issued a public statement to the current owners of the missing Banksy piece, which was removed from a wall in Turnpike Lane in February.

The Liberal Democrat MP has ‘called on the consciences’ of the current owners, and urged them to ‘do the right thing’ and return the piece to Turnpike Lane, before it is too late.

The owners have allowed the Sincura Group to auction the piece on the 2nd of June, at an exhibition in Covent Garden, London. If it is not sold at the exhibition, the owners will sell the piece directly to an American collector.

The Sincura Group claim to have ‘no doubt’ that people who currently possess the piece are indeed the legal owners.

Lynne Featherstone MP issued the following statement:

“On June 2nd, the Sincura Group plan to put the infamous Banksy piece up for auction at an exhibition in Covent Garden, London. The piece was removed without warning from Turnpike Lane in February – to the dismay of local residents.

“Sincura do not own the piece.  The Sincura Director says that he is ‘the good guy’ – that he has put a lot of work into finding the piece and its owners. He is exhibiting it in the hope that it will be sold to someone who will either return it, or keep it somewhere with public access. This is admirable, perhaps, but also incredibly optimistic.

“If the piece isn’t sold on the night, Sincura say the ‘owners’ will sell it directly to an American collector. The piece will then be lost for good.

“This has left us campaigners in a catch 22. We don’t want the piece to be up for auction and bought by a random private buyer. We don’t want the piece sold to a collector who will keep it in a warehouse. We want our Banksy back in its rightful place – the streets and community of Turnpike Lane.

“So now I make this direct plea to the owners of the Banksy piece: You have this one last chance to do the right thing. You have deprived a community of an asset that was given to us for free and greatly enhanced an area that needed it. I call on you, and your consciences, to pull the piece from both potential sales, and return it to its rightful place.”

Lynne Featherstone MP launches constituency wide Annual Survey

a pile of the MP’s annual surveysLynne Featherstone MP has launched her 2013 Annual Survey. Liberal Democrat volunteers are currently delivering the surveys to people across the constituency of Hornsey and Wood Green.

The survey asks residents for their views on local and national issues, and whether they have any problems they would like the local MP’s assistance with.

In addition, the survey offers residents the chance to sign the Liberal Democrat petition to protect our local health services.

Last year, the survey drew several thousand responses. Hundreds of issues raised by residents were followed up on by the MP and her casework team.

Residents can also fill in this year’s survey online (see below)

Commenting, Lynne Featherstone MP said:

“The annual survey is a great way for residents to have their voices heard on matters ranging from national Lib Dem policy to our local Lib Dem campaigns.

“We all know that the Labour-run Council are not very good at keeping our roads and pavements safe, or keeping our area tidy. That’s why we ask residents whether they have any issues with litter, damaged pavements or potholes on their road.

“All completed surveys are looked at and we will attempt to resolve any issues raised. I hope as many residents as possible take the opportunity to fill it in!”

 

NB Surveys are broken down by wards. check which ward you live in here: http://www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/ and click on the relevant link here:

Wood Green (Noel Park & Woodside) Residents: http://bit.ly/WoodGreenAnnualSurvey

Hornsey Residents: http://bit.ly/HOannualsurvey

Stroud Green Residents: http://bit.ly/SGAnnualsurvey

Highgate Residents: http://bit.ly/HGannualsurvey

Fortis Green Residents: http://bit.ly/FGwardannualsurvey

Muswell Hill Residents: http://bit.ly/MHannualsurvey

Crouch End Residents: http://bit.ly/CEannualsurvey

Bounds Green Residents: http://bit.ly/BGannualsurvey

Alexandra Residents: http://bit.ly/LFannualsurvey

 

Lynne Featherstone MP gets answers from Banksy exhibitors

The Banksy piece on Turnpike Lane, before its removalLynne Featherstone MP has today spoken to the Director of the Sincura Group – the company which will exhibit and possibly sell the Banksy piece ‘slave labour.’ The piece recently went missing from the wall of Turnpike Lane Poundland, sparking numerous campaigns and calls for its return.

The MP for Hornsey and Wood Green wrote an email this morning asking Sincura to clarify whether the piece will be exhibited or auctioned, and for their comments on the legality of its removal from Turnpike Lane.

In a follow up phone conversation, the Sincura Group Director confirmed that the piece will be shown at their exhibition at the Film Museum in Covent Garden on the 2nd of June – and that there will be an opportunity to purchase the piece. They said, however, that if the piece is not snapped up on the night, it will be sold to a private American collector.

Similarly, Sincura have confirmed that, if the piece is pulled from sale before the event, it will be sold by default to the American collector.

The Group, who say they will not profit from or make commission on the sale, also claim to be “entirely satisfied that the mural was legally salvaged.”  This contradicts previous statements from the property owners, who were adamant that the piece was removed without their knowledge or consent.

Commenting, Lynne Featherstone MP said: 

“The story of the Turnpike Lane Banksy gets more and more bizarre. After being withdrawn from sale in the US, the piece arrives back in the UK and will be put up for auction again.

“The Sincura Group is saying that unless their auction goes ahead and another buyer is found, the piece will be sold to an American collector and lost forever.  This leaves campaigners in an impossible position regarding whether to call the auction off or not.

“This seems to leave us one option – to track down the current owners and plea directly to them. Unsurprisingly, they have remained anonymous to date – but I will do my best to expose them before the 2nd June.”