How not to plan ahead: Parkland Walk

Haringey can’t get it right for getting it wrong. It took a monumental effort to get Parkland Walk in the frame for a facelift and residents were delighted when finally it happened – but apparently just a little while later the revamped and refreshed walk is covered with rubble and mud!

It’s presumably the muck and mess from phase 2 – but how ridiculous to lay a new path etc when there was still work to be done further inside the park. The JCBs have churned up the landscaped reserved and the workmen are dumping earth and stones on the revamped bit. Stupid or what?

They say that the work will be completed by end of March 2009. Whoever phased this work should be hauled over the coals!

A trio of local issues

Evening sees Crouch End, Hornsey and Stroud Green Assembly. First big issue was the new Hornsey Depot development – where we are all worried that the development will steamroller ahead without taking heed of what local people want, albeit that there will be a process of consultation (a development forum prior to planning). Many concerns around school places, health facilities, more traffic and so on!

Then we had a presentation from the local Health Trust on Hornsey Hospital. I remain of the view that this hasn’t been thought through. We must not lose our local GP practises and the services must be what are needed not just what the Trust wants to give us. We need actual detail – none of which is really definitive to date. We want a replacement health facility for Hornsey Hospital – that means additional services to those we have now – and more doctors – not just nicking our existing ones from their local bases and centralising them on the Hornsey site.

Lastly – Parkland Walk. The results of the consultation held at Hornsey Town Hall showed (and we could have told them) that people wanted it first and foremost as a Nature Reserve, then for pedestrians then cyclists; that the drainage was the key priority for improvements, followed by repairs and better access to the walk and so on. Thank goodness local people rallied to the cause – and hopefully Haringey Council will now meet the consultation results with appropriate action.

Parkland Walk: progress from Haringey Council

Mosey along to the ‘consultation’ on the plans for Parkland Walk. It would seem from the number of times that officers told me that the priority for the walk was its role as a nature reserve followed by a walk for pedestrians – that the message has got through from we local people.

The fear was that Haringey Council – in order to get the dosh from Transport for London (from their cycling department) – were going to turn Parkland Walk into a commuter cycle track. I had, subsequent to hearing local peoples’ concerns, got with a Freedom of Information request documentary evidence that indeed that was what the Parkland Walk money was for.

Having put this in the public domain and got loads and loads of people to give me their views on the then proposals (which I forwarded to the Council consultation), it would now seem from looking at today’s plans that the Council has taken note. Mainly the grant now seems to be being proposed to be used for improving access, patching paths, putting in drainage and introducing better signing.

It was still quite hard to tell what surface material they were proposing for the patching of the paths – as they displayed a range of about four – with no indiction of their favourites.

If the work goes ahead as displayed – outside of a bit of concern about the steps that will be replaced by ramps for cycles, wheelchairs and buggies – it looks OK.

So – fingers crossed!

Parkland Walk, the local police and Bounds Green School

Lynne Featherstone trying out a bike at St Ann's police stationBucketing down, so I was not expecting a huge turn out for my litter pick along Parkland Walk. Not a complete washout however, as five very stalwart people turn up to do the honours. As it really is bucketing – we decide that today isn’t the day to do this as so much of the path is under water because of poor drainage. Now that is something that it would be worth spending Transport for London’s funding on improving the walk.

It is such a shame at this time of year when everyone has their fetes and summer fairs and street parties that the weather is so cruel.

But go ahead they do. So after Parkland Walk, I go on to the Open Day at St Ann’s Police Station where it is always fun as the station opens itself up to local people. A great example of the police trying to work productively with the local community – better police-resident relations means fewer crimes and more criminals caught.

Lynne Featherstone meeting one of the dogs at St Ann's police stationDespite the weather there is a good showing of people – and I get to be friends with one of the police dogs and ride (well sit on) a police bike.

All good fun!

And then on to the last wet outing of the day – to Bounds Green School (now with Junior and Infants with a single Head) for their summer fete.

The playground activities are somewhat hampered by the weather – but inside the stalls are doing a great trade. Last year I helped serve the hot food – this year I am on the lucky dip stall.

Lynne Featherstone with William Wawn at Bounds Green School's summer feteI don’t know whether that is demotion or promotion – but we did a roaring trade. 50p a go – and tickets ending with 0 or 5 – every one a winner!

I am pictured with William Wawn – the new Head of the two schools. It was very buzzy – and with a jazz band playing – the weather didn’t spoil the fun at all!

And then it was back home to stay out of the rain for a while!

Parkland Walk consultation meeting: 21st July

There’s an important consultation meeting coming up about the future of Parkland Walk – do make it if you can!

Here are the details I’ve been sent:

Dear All,

I am writing to invite you to a public consultation event that is being organised for the Parkland Walk (Highgate to Finsbury Park section) on Saturday 21st July. The aim of the event is to give members of the public an opportunity to participate in deciding and fine tuning the specific proposals to be implemented along the Walk.

Mayer Brown Ltd. is organizing the event on behalf of the London Borough of Haringey, as part of the overall project for Parkland Walk. Having received extensive public feedback during the consultations for the preliminary design stage, the Consultants are now amending and refining the design proposals for the Walk.

The amended and more detailed proposals will be displayed at the public consultation event, which is scheduled for SATURDAY 21ST JULY, between 10am and 5pm, at:


The proposals for Parkland Walk will be displayed on large scale drawings laid out on trestle tables. The public are invited to drop in at any time to inspect the proposals, and indicate their preferences in various ways (e.g. by means of stickers, flags, post-it notes, comments form, etc).

The display will include photographs, illustrations of specific features, and various options that people can look at and choose between. Mayer Brown staff will be on hand to answer questions and record people’s comments.

It is hoped that this event will help to ensure that the proposals adopted are the best possible for the Walk and reflect the wishes of the majority. I hope you will be able to attend the event, which is open to everyone, and please do inform anyone else who might be interested about the event.

If you need any further information, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Gallagher
Principal Transport Planner
Mayer Brown Ltd.


Bebo launch with Joe TrippiBebo event! Bebo – who are a social network outfit and on a promotional drive – and today took part in an event in Parliament about the impact of the internet and social networking on politics. Also there was Joe Trippi, but I was really there for the Bebo launch of the Be Cause scheme.

They have asked three MPs (one from each main party) to take part – using Bebo to promote a particular cause. In my case – it’s a litter pick in Parkland Walk on the 30th June. You can see the Bebo event here.

This is a very good example of how the net can be a socially cohesive tool informing and bringing communities together over a local concern. In this case – people are concenred about the future of Parkland Walk, so I’ve used the internet to run an online survey to gather in people’s views, emails to let people know what is happening on the issue and now – Bebo to bring people together (I hope!) to make a difference directly. And that’s engagement.

EXCLUSIVE: What Haringey Council really wants to do with Parkland Walk

Well, well, well! So when the hundred and fifty or so residents who came to the recent Area Assembly asked Haringey Council whether the fact that the funding for Parkland Walk came from Transport for London’s cycling department meant that they wanted increased cyclists and increased speeds and the Council said no – they were comprehensively mislead (and that is a polite term) – and the Labour councillors present just sat their silent.

How do I know we were misled? Well – I’ve bunged in a freedom of information request to see what (Labour-run!) Haringey Council really said in its bid submission to Transport for London and the results have just come back.

And the bid from the Council actually says that Haringey Council wants to increase cycling speeds on the Parkland Walk through “decreasing journey times for cyclists” and to “increase in the number of people cycling”.

From the details of the bid, Haringey Council clearly have been given this money to turn the Parkland Walk into a cycle speedway – but they haven’t admitted this to residents. Now – I could point to a hundred roads in the borough where the cycling provision is poor to dangerous and yet Haringey went for £400,000 for a cycling speedway that’s clearly quite inappropriate for Parkland Walk. The Council should have consulted residents before (yes – before you make the decision, that’s what really consultation means) they entered into this pact with Transport for London.

This issue just runs and runs!

Note: You can still take part in my online survey on the future of Parkland Walk.