Miltons wheelie bins: Lynne Featherstone MP steps up the pressure

Cllr Bob Hare, Cllr Rachel Allison, Milton Avenue Resident Christopher Riley and Lynne Featherstone MP on Milton AvenueLynne Featherstone MP has today stepped up the pressure on Haringey Council to address residents’ concerns about the new bins on Milton Road, Milton Avenue and Northwood Road (the Miltons). The Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, along with Councillors Rachel Allison and Bob Hare, visited the Miltons in Highgate and met with residents to discuss the current situation.

The residents’ concerns arose when their green boxes were replaced with large wheelie bins by the Council, as part of their switch from weekly to fortnightly collections. The new bins were placed on the pavements, as they were too big to fit into front gardens, porches or drives. Residents were particularly concerned about the impracticality of the scheme, the lack of proportionality in the bin sizes, the visual affect on the Miltons.

Since the bins were replaced earlier in the year, residents have had ongoing correspondence with Council officials. However, the officials have so far been reluctant to remove or replace the wheelie bins with suitable alternatives. The Council did establish a consultation, but this was spurned by residents, who felt that none of the three options given in the consultation were adequate. An official complaint has now been made by one resident.

Lynne Featherstone, MP said:

“It is disgraceful that after months and months of complaints, the Labour-run Council will still not provide Miltons residents with adequate and practical bins. Clearly, one size does not fit all, and different residents have different needs. The Council have said that wheelie bins would only be issued if they could be stored off the street, so why won’t they replace the ones at the Miltons with a workable alternative?

I have now written to the Chief Executive of the Council, demanding action to solve this unacceptable situation.”

Haringey Liberal Democrats urge cabinet member to change policy immediately on “disastrous” children’s centre plans

Liberal Democrats have called on cabinet member, Cllr Lorna Reith, to abandon Haringey Labour’s plan to drastically scale back provision of vital Children’s Centres. At a special ‘watchdog’ committee this week she faced overwhelming resistance to her proposals.  

On Wednesday (8th June 2011) the Overview and Scrutiny Committee rejected Labour’s proposals and sent the issue back to the cabinet member for reconsideration by next Thursday.

Heads of local schools and children’s centres united to oppose plans which would withdraw funding from children’s centres at Rokelsey, North Bank, Highgate and Tower Gardens, after the Liberal Democrats successfully referred the issue to the committee.

Cllr Rachel Allison highlighted the effects of the removal of vital preventative services, the need to have universal access to children’s centres across the borough and need to listen to the concerns raised, including those from Labour backbenchers and Labour MP David Lammy who are against the plans. 

Cllr Katherine Reece, Liberal Democrat Children’s spokesperson, comments:

“It’s time that Cllr Reith stopped rowing against the tidal wave of criticism that overwhelmingly shows that her plans will damage our local children’s welfare, upbringing and safety. The tide has turned and Cllr Reith should change her policy immediately to ensure we have a better system in place by September.”

Cllr Rachel Allison, who presented the Liberal Democrat call-in, added:

“It is clear that the schools and children’s centre managers – those who know how to run their services better than anyone – should have control over how the reduced money for their services is spent. Withdrawing services at North Bank, Highgate and Rokesley when they could be kept going with only small amounts of investment will be disastrous. I hope that we now see a change in direction.”

Cllr David Winskill, Liberal Democrat Deputy Chair of Overview and Scrutiny adds:

 “The presentations and contributions form school heads, governors, parents and others were well reasoned and involved no extra funding. It is clear that Cllr Reith, as long ago as 2008, had the opportunity to engage with these groups to find a sustainable funding regime. I hope she will listen to what Scrutiny said and go and fully engage with the Children’s Centre Alliance on a more appropriate and locally delivered model of service.”

Fair Funding for Haringey’s schools – first consultation launched

To continue her fight for fair funding for Haringey’s schools, Lynne Featherstone MP is this week contacting thousands of local residents, encouraging them to respond to a consultation into school funding.
The consultation, the first of two that will be launched this year, went live today, and looks at the principles of changing the current school funding formula, that sees Haringey’s schools getting up to £1540 less than schools in neighbouring boroughs like Hackney and Camden. The review, which runs until the 25th May, asks for residents’ views on how the current system should change. A second consultation, that will look more specifically at new funding formulas, will be launched later in the summer.
Residents who want to respond to the current consultation, should do so online, by going to, or by emailing before 25th May. Any residents who need help, or need a hard copy should contact Lynne Featherstone’s office on 020 8340 5459.
Lynne Featherstone MP comments:
“For too long Labour starved Haringey’s schools of funding. But thanks to Liberal Democrats in Government, this situation is now being reviewed.
“It’s great that the Education Secretary acknowledged Haringey’s unfair situation in a recent letter to me. But the next step now is to make sure we all respond to this first consultation.
“We need to show a resounding support for a change to the unfair way our schools are funded, and especially that the additional costs of employing teachers and other staff in this part of London should be recognised. This is our big chance, please don’t let it slip by!”
Liberal Democrat Children’s spokesperson Cllr Rachel Allison adds:
“This is the first of two reviews we will see this year. This first consultation looks at the desire for change, and will form the basis for the second twelve week consultation later in the year.
“We need this consultation to be backed by as many people as possible, to give us the best options for the second consultation in the summer. Please help our schools get a fair funding system that properly covers their costs, by responding to both reviews, to give our children the best possible start in life.”

One step closer to fair funding for Haringey's children

The coalition government has announced it will be reviewing Haringey’s unfair school funding in the spring, after years of campaigning by local Liberal Democrats. Lynne Featherstone MP received the encouraging news in a recent response from the education minister Michael Gove, after writing to him about Haringey’s unfair funding.
In the letter, the Minister recognises Haringey’s special school funding case, where local pupils get up to £1,300 less than students in neighbouring boroughs, like Hackney and Camden. He has also confirmed that Haringey’s unique circumstances will be considered as part of a review to make the national school funding formula fairer and more transparent, due to be launched in the spring.
Since 2006, Lynne Featherstone MP has spearheaded the campaign to address the funding shortfall resulting from local teachers getting ‘inner London’ wages, but schools getting ‘outer London’ funding.
Lynne Featherstone MP comments:
“This is a real step forward for Haringey’s children, and for fair funding for our schools. I’ll be campaigning all out to make sure local people respond to the consultation later on in the spring.
“Labour kept depriving our children of fair school funding. But thanks to the Liberal Democrats in Government, Haringey’s special case has at last been recognised.”
Local Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Councillor Rachel Allison adds:
“The coalition understands the importance of extra funding for the poorest children, with local schools getting an extra £4.5 million in pupil premium.
“Changing Labour’s unfair funding formula is the next step in getting fair education for Haringey’s children.”

Extra funding for Haringey’s children – Lynne Featherstone MP

Haringey’s schools are set to receive an extra £4.5million after the Liberal Democrats announced major investment for schools in Haringey through the Pupil Premium this week.
In its first year, the programme will target £625m extra funding to the poorest children in school, with this figure rising to £2.5bn each year, by the end of this Parliament.
In year one, every school is guaranteed an extra £430 from the Government for every child on free school meals and every looked-after child.
Commenting, Lynne Featherstone MP for Hornsey and Wood Green said:
“The pupil premium provides more money for disadvantaged children and means a better deal for Haringey schools.”
“By helping some of the most disadvantaged children, we can help whole school classes work together better and move forward faster. This is great news for children, parents and teachers alike.”
Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Cllr Rachel Allison adds: 
“The premium gives Headteachers in Haringey the freedom to use the money how they want, in the ways they know work – not how politicians in Whitehall tell them to.”
“Enabling children from disadvantaged backgrounds to have the best possible start in life was a key pledge of the Liberal Democrats going into the last general election. The pupil premium delivers on this pledge – by providing schools with £430 for every disadvantaged child on top of existing pupil funding.”

Local Liberal Democrats step up the campaign against Northern Line closures

Lynne Featherstone collecting Northern Line petition signaturesTo help raise awareness of the proposed 82 weeks of evening and weekend closures on the Northern Line and to gain further support for their campaign Liberal Democrats have been out collecting petition signatures around Highgate Station.

Lynne Featherstone MP, Highgate councillor Rachel Allison and local Transport spokesperson Councillor Martin Newton spent Wednesday afternoon chatting with tube users at Highgate station and received strong support for their petition to get a better deal for commuters.

Local Liberal Democrats are concerned that local traders and residents will bare the brunt of the disruption caused by the 82 week plan, which is due to start on the 27th March.

The Hornsey and Wood Green MP has written to Transport for London (TfL) and Tubelines, urging them to consider an alternative five-point plan put forward by Liberal Democrats on the Greater London Authority which seeks to reduce the effect on local residents and traders.

Any Northern line user who wants to sign the petition should either go to or call Lynne Featherstone’s office for a hard copy of the petition.

Lynne Featherstone MP comments:

“We all want to see an upgraded Northern Line but the current plans will make residents suffer for almost a year and a half as the upgrade work is carried out on the Northern line – this is frankly absurd.

“It’s good to see that local residents share our concerns about how disruptive these works will be, and are keen to seen a less painful solution. By putting a strong case for a fairer upgrade deal to the people in charge I am hopeful we can get a better solution.”

Highgate Councillor Rachel Allison adds:

“I’m really worried that local traders in Highgate and Archway will suffer if their weekend trade is continually disrupted like this.

“From chatting to local Northern line users, it’s clear that a deal that doesn’t prolong the pain is preferable. Please take a minute to sign the petition and back our campaign.”

More car club bays for Highgate after Liberal Democrat success

Residents in Highgate will have more access to car club vehicles, after Haringey Council agreed to adopt Liberal Democrat councillors’ proposals to provide more car club bays for local people.

Haringey Council has taken up Liberal Democrat Councillor Neil WiIliams’ calls for improvements to the initial scheme, set up last year, which failed to include the densely populated Miltons area of Highgate, east of Archway Road, and the north of Highgate, near the Kenwood Estate.

Haringey Council is now proposing that four more car club bays will be installed – two near the Kenwood Estate and two in the Miltons area. The new bays in Highgate are part of an expansion of the car club scheme, which will provide an additional 39 spaces.

Cllr Neil Williams (Highgate ward) comments:

“I am glad that Haringey Council has recognised our calls to make it easier for local Highgate residents to use the car club scheme.

“It hasn’t been long since my colleague Cllr Rachel Allison led the campaign, successfully, for the introduction of a car club scheme in Highgate. Now we have a scheme that is thriving and expanding.”

Lynne Featherstone MP adds:

“Car clubs are vital in the continuing fight to reduce our carbon footprints. Well done to Highgate councillors, for helping to get better access for local residents.”

Locations of the new Car Club bays:

  1. Sheldon Avenue N6 4NJ: two car club parking bays near Kenwood Estate.
  2. Tudor Close N6 5PR: two car club parking bays in Homes for Haringey car park.

Hundreds of local residents back Liberal Democrat campaign for safe crossing on North Hill

North Hill petition: Cllr Rachel Allison, Lynne Featherstone MP and local resident Jenny BouchamiHighgate Liberal Democrats and MP Lynne Featherstone have this week sent in a petition to Haringey Council signed by over 400 local residents backing a campaign to improve safety at a dangerous pedestrian crossing.

The campaign to get a pedestrian traffic light on the North Hill crossing, located next to the Highgate Group practice and close to the Mary Feilding’s Guild, has been running since the spring, and has proven exceptionally successful. Almost one in 20 Highgate residents have signed the petition.

Lynne Featherstone MP comments:

“It’s fantastic that the campaign has picked up such speed and has got the backing of over 400 local residents.

“Now the council will have to sit up and take notice- and do something to deal with this clearly dangerous crossing on one of Highgate’s busiest roads, right next to the old people’s home and the only GP practice in Highgate.”

Highgate Councillor Rachel Allison adds:

“Some of Highgate’s most vulnerable residents use the crossing on a daily basis. It should not be too much to ask for to them to feel safe crossing this road- and I certainly hope Haringey Council will agree!”

What developers do in Highgate

Stomped around three developments in Highgate with the top team from Haringey planning department earlier today. After weeks of correspondence and rows – today’s walkabout perhaps clarified a few things – but not anything that should make anyone feel happy. For it would seem that unless a developer adds another floor / administers monstrous harm in terms of impact on neighbours – there is very little that Haringey can do that will deal with developers who given an inch take a mile.

Having looked at one development in Sheldon Avenue which looms large over its neighbours – the height the house has been built to is definitely not the height that they expected from the planning permission – or width or depth for that matter. On close examination – and with use of a scale – you might just detect that the proposed house would be higher but the earlier streetscapes show that the proposed house has the same height of eaves as the next door neighbour. I don’t know – but it seems that Haringey didn’t intervene when first called to see the increase in footprint, then didn’t act on other bits and pieces notified to them and now say that the ‘harmful impact’ isn’t great enough to win any appeal that the developer would make if they enforced.

Game, set and match to developer. Albeit they have issued a formal warning and are going to ask this particularly developer to come in for a ‘chat’. That might help for future – but not for the current situation there.

We, Cllr Rachel Alison and myself, will be asking for a range of actions to be taken – one of which will be to ask that Haringey get height specifications on proper drawings. Any decent architect would put on their drawing – do not scale off of this. I am not sure whether there is any liability on Haringey or not – but we will be enquiring further. Otherwise – I can’t see what there is to stop any developer expanding on plans regardless of planning permission. Of course, the officers are right in that the developer can always apply retrospectively for permission – but I think the harm is done because local residents expect Haringey to have a duty of care to ensure that what gets permission is that which gets built – and nothing more!