Lynne Featherstone MP calls for urgent meeting on local travel chaos

Lynne Featherstone MP has called for an urgent meeting with Transport for London (TfL) chiefs, as major roadworks continue to cause traffic chaos across parts of the Hornsey and Wood Green constituency.

Major works are currently occurring on Wood Green High Road and Muswell Hill Broadway. Both are causing buses to be diverted and cancelled, heavy traffic jams, and inconvenience for motorists and commuters.

Residents have expressed their concerns about the lack of notice given by TfL and Haringey Council before the works started. Traders are also not happy about the disruptions happening in the run up to Christmas.

A number of residents have contacted the Lib Dem MP to complain about the works and suggest alternatives. The MP for Hornsey and Wood Green will represent the complaints and ideas to TfL chiefs at the meeting.

Lynne Featherstone MP commented:

“The lack of notice from TfL and Haringey Council is appalling. As soon as I found out, I sent an email to residents to give them advance warning. It was the first many of them had heard about the roadworks.

“The works are now causing such a disruption, that I have called an urgent meeting with TfL chiefs. I will do all I can to get them to minimise the disruption over the coming weeks and months. I have a number of ideas from residents, which I am more than happy to pass on to them.

“I will also be raising the timing of the works at Muswell Hill Broadway with them. Surely, it should have been done over summer to minimise the impact on commuters and traders.”

Joining the CrossSafe campaign for road safety

Lynne Featherstone MP discusses the safety issues at the Junction with local CrossSafeN10 campaignersLynne Featherstone MP last week met with CrossSafe N10 campaigners to discuss the problems with the junction on Alexandra Park Road, Colney Hatch Lane, and Pages Lane.

The residents have long been campaigning for better safety on and around the junction.

On the site visit, the residents described the problems faced on a daily basis – including drivers not realising that there is a second red light and driving through, pedestrians not being able to see oncoming traffic, poor phasing of traffic lights, and no ‘green man’ signalling to guide pedestrians.

Campaigners say that these problems pose a safety risk – and that they have seen many near misses.

The Liberal Democrat MP – who has previously made representations on this issue – has now written again to both Transport for London and Haringey Council (who share management of the junction) and requested a site visit with them and the local residents.

Lynne Featherstone MP commented:

“These residents have done a fantastic job of raising awareness of this issue and campaigning for better road safety at this dangerous junction.

“I am happy to get involved to support their cause. I have now written again to both TfL and Haringey Council, demanding a meeting with them on site so they can see the problems for themselves.

“I hope this will lead to action – vast improvements on this junction may well be necessary to prevent a serious accident here in the future.”

Controversial bus stop set to move on trial basis

The location of the first stop on the W7 and 144 bus routes from Muswell Hill is set to change on a trial basis. The change, which was officially announced last night at a local area forum, follows a four year campaign by local Liberal Democrats.

The stop is located on the steep Muswell Hill. This has caused numerous problems for residents, who have complained about the inaccessibility and safety risks of the current location. The problems prompted Lynne Featherstone, local MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, and local Liberal Democrat Councillors to campaign for the bus stop to be moved.

In 2011, after three years of campaigning, the Liberal Democrat MP received confirmation that the bus stop would be moved to outside Boots on Muswell Hill Broadway. In July of this year, Lynne Featherstone expressed her anger that, despite the confirmation, the bus stop still had not been relocated.

Tfl have now launched an official consultation on the provision of a new, accessible stop. They propose that routes 144 and W7 would serve a new southbound bus stop on the roundabout between Muswell Hill Broadway and Duke’s Avenue. This would be the new first stop and would allow for a wheelchair ramp to be deployed. The consultation also forms part of the Council’s trial.

Sophie Erskine, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Fortis Green, said:

“After years of petitions, meetings and campaigning, I am delighted that an official consultation has been launched. This gives residents a chance to really get their views heard – so I encourage everyone to take part.

“I hope that finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and that the stop will be moved permanently.”

Commenting, Lynne Featherstone MP said:

“The location of this bus stop has been a long standing problem for many residents. Despite assurances that the stop would be moved, Labour-run Haringey Council never managed to coordinate this, leaving elderly and disabled users without proper access to the services.

“You can be sure that I will be responding to the consultation, and pushing TFL and the Council to ensure that the move is a permanent one.”

Bus accessibility for the W7 in jeopardy

Concerns have been raised with the Council after it was revealed that a bus stop in Muswell Hill used by residents to get to local health facilities may not be moved, jeopardising efforts to make it more accessible for elderly and disabled users.

Local Liberal Democrats, who have been campaigning for the W7 and 144 bus stops to both be moved from Muswell Hill to Muswell Hill roundabout for many years, have said that the Council’s reluctance to trial a move for both routes is bad news for local residents.

The Council and Tranport for London (TfL) gave the green light to moving the stop on a trial basis last year.

Cllr Martin Newton (Fortis Green) comments:

“The Council recognises that the current stop on the steep slope of Muswell Hill is unacceptable and inaccessible for older residents and disabled bus users wanting to get to Hornsey Central Health centre.

“It looks like the Council will now only look at moving one route after the Olympics and this is likely to be the 144. There would be a solution to the problem of moving both buses if there was the will to do it.

“Unfortunately for older residents and disabled users wanting to go the health centre the Council seems reluctant to act.

“Liberal Democrats will keep fighting to have both these stops moved.”

Lynne Featherstone MP adds:

“Last year the Council and TfL agreed that this bus stop should be moved – I am furious that they have now gone back on their word.

“The slope on Muswell Hill hasn’t got less dangerous for older and disabled residents to walk up. The W7 stop must be moved and I will continue to fight for it to happen.”

MP gets assurances that worst bus in London will get better

Lynne Featherstone MP has recently been provided with assurances from TfL that the W3 bus, which this winter has been the most complained about bus in London, will see significant improvements.

In a recent response from TfL, the Liberal Democrat MP has been given assurances that the issues that led to the vast number of complaints, to do to with an unreliable, overcrowded service, are now being resolved. The Hornsey and Wood Green MP is now planning to hold TfL to their word, by surveying bus users in a few weeks time, to see if commuters are seeing the improvements.

Lynne Featherstone MP comments:

“With many people locally being completely reliant on the W3 bus to get to work, school or out and about, an unreliable service and overcrowded buses can mean a very bad start or end to a day, and worst case scenario leave people stranded.

“It’s essential that TfL works with the bus operators to address any reliability and overcrowding problems, and I am glad to hear that recent steps have been taken by replace old buses and resolve engineering problems.

“In a few weeks time I will launch a W3 survey to see if the service has indeed improved, so watch this space. And in the meantime, if any residents have any issues with buses, tubes or trains, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me, I am here to help.”

Northern Line closures: 20 months of misery ahead for local residents

Lynne Featherstone with local councillors Bob Hare and Neil Williams at Highgate tube stationLocal residents will not be able to use the Northern Line from local stations in Highgate, Archway and Finchley at weekends until December 2011 after tube operator, Tubelines, announced 82 weeks of weekend closures, starting on 27 March 2010.

The Liberal Democrats have launched a petition against the closures, saying that they will affect residents travelling into central London and will also have a detrimental effect on local traders in Highgate High Street and Archway, who rely on shoppers travelling in on the tube.

Liberal Democrats on the Greater London Authority (GLA), concerned that the issue has turned into a fight between a Tory Mayor and a Labour Government, rather than focusing on the needs of Londoners, have launched a five-point plan to ensure a better upgrade of the Northern Line, without the mass suspensions currently planned.

Cllr Martin Newton, Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson, comments:

“Local residents rely on the Northern line to get around at weekends. Twenty months of suspensions just increases the misery faced by travellers on the ‘Misery Line’.”

Lynne Featherstone, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, adds:

“We all want a better Northern Line, but not when local residents have to put up with 82 weeks of weekend closures.

“Many local traders in Highgate and Archway rely on trade coming from tube users. It is unfair for these businesses, already feeling the pinch due to the economic situation, to bear the brunt of these closures.

“I hope that local residents and traders alike will support our fight against the closures and the Liberal Democrats’ five point plan to a smoother upgrade of the Northern Line.”

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.”

Northern Line catastrophic proposals

When I heard the magnitude of the scale of the closures that Tubelines want during their upgrade of the Northern Line I thought they must be taking the you know what!

Sixteen months of early evening closures and something like 83 weekends – and we are talking major closures – either the whole caboodle and/or north of Stockwell. They must be bloody mad!

I could say ‘I told you so’ – ‘cos I did – endlessly when Labour forced the PPP (private public partnership) on us for the tube. The contract is a nightmare – and now we in North London (and the other end of the Northern line obviously) are about to be tortured endlessly by this dreadful arrangement.

Boris has woken up late – as usual – hope someone is checking what he said about the PPP! As Mayor he is now saying let’s change the contract to another private company. That would be out of the frying pan into the fire AND would cost a fortune to get out of the existing contract I bet. The shareholders wanting a slice is much of the current problem and definitely a huge whack of the ginormous price tag of £6 billion that Tubelines are asking for.

£6billion! It could be done for £4 billion I am sure – if the  shareholders and profiteers were not guaranteed under the PPP contract their rake off before the work even begins.

No – our best bet – is for Tubelines to want out of the contract themselves. Then LU / TfL who already had to rescue Metronet when they went under (the other private public partnership) to take over. Blimey – just when you think it can’t get worse – it does.

Having been Chair of Transport in London for nearly five years when I was on the London Assembly – and knowing a little bit about engineering and repairs as a consequence – I am sure that Tubelines have asked for way more closures than they need. The reason – well they would get charged a penalty probably if they over ran their agreed closure time – and so rather than risk penalties – I bet they have asked for loads more time in closures then is actually needed.

So – I have got my fingers crossed – just hoping that Tubelines want to get out of the kitchen!

Bounds Green Tube Station to be protected after Liberal Democrat campaign

Success as Bounds Green Tube gets listed after Lib Dem campaignBounds Green Tube Station has been designated a Grade II listed building by the Government, as the result of a two-year campaign by Liberal Democrats and local residents.

In July 2008, Cllr John Oakes wrote to English Heritage, requesting that Bounds Green Tube Station be put forward for listing by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport , in order to protect the much-loved local landmark.

Cllr  Oakes, Liberal Democrat councillor for Bounds Green, comments:

“I have long admired our tube station, and the way its Art Deco style makes it an ornament and a focus for the area’s residents.

“After a tour with local MP Lynne Featherstone, to examine its excellent restoration by Transport for London, I was surprised to find that it had not been listed in the same way as Turnpike Lane and Arnos Grove, two other stations dating from 1932/3 and influenced by the legendary architect Charles Holden.

“So I asked the Bounds Green and District Residents’ Association and the Hornsey Historical Society if they would support my application, which they kindly did.

“I am delighted to say that the Minister for Culture, Media and Sport has now recognised  Bounds Green Tube as an historical gem and a very worthy addition to Haringey’s protected buildings by giving it a Grade ll listing.  This effectively limits any changes or extensions, so that its clean lines can be  enjoyed by many future generations.

“The Minister echoed my application, by drawing attention to the station’s ‘special architectural interest…which responds appropriately to its suburban setting, while boldly announcing its presence.”

Lynne Featherstone, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, adds:

“Well done to all those residents who helped this wonderful campaign, to ensure a key piece of Bounds Green history is preserved.”

Cock-up, conspiracy or incompetence?

Lynne Featherstone, Cllr Martin Newton and London Assembly Member, Caroline PidgeonHere’s my latest column for the Muswell Hill Flyer and Highgate Handbook:

Finally I managed to get Transport for London (TfL), Haringey Primary Care Trust (part of the NHS) and me together in the same place to bang heads together about the need for better bus links to the new Community Health Centre on the old Hornsey Central Hospital site.

We have this wonderful new facility but, despite the transport issues being raised as a key issue at every public and private meeting (literally for years) by many people, nothing has been properly planned, delivered – or even promised for the future.

And of course now the new Health Centre is here – and operational – but not a new bus in sight. Loads of people joined in my campaign for a new bus to enable them to access the new centre when referred there from wherever they live in Highgate, Crouch End, Muswell Hill, Fortis Green or Alexandra wards by their own GP.

Imagine my shock when TfL said they had no idea that there were services were already being provided (with lots more to come) which would bring people from all over the west of Hornsey & Wood Green to the new facility. TfL seemed to be under the illusion that the only thing happening was that two GP practices had moved in and only they would need transport.

To be honest – I couldn’t believe it!

Given the promises on transport, the supposed discussions on transport – to be sitting there listening to the two key agencies basically saying that there was such a gap in communication that TfL didn’t know that there was an ongoing and expanding need for access to the site from provision of new services on the site was truly shocking.

From this ‘discovery’ TfL have now agreed to take away the issue and look at it properly. At least they now both seem to understand there is a problem with providing a major new health facility with no extra transport provision.

I have been contacted by many local people on the back of our campaign giving examples of problems they have encountered. One example is a team who have already moved into the new facility and whose clients will commonly have reduced mobility – albeit still very capable of getting on a bus if it can deliver them near to the health centre – are concerned about how their patients will get to them.

Another example is that of one local health worker who has contact with people with very differing needs in the borough who wrote to me to say that a number of people she is in contact with through her work have mentioned their concerns about the lack of usable transport links to the new site.

I don’t know what on earth has been going on – but you can bet my language to both the Chair of Haringey PCT and Peter Hendy (Commissioner of Transport in London) will be pretty strong as I bring this smartly to their attention.

Clearly this is a mess – and I just hope that both Haringey PCT and TfL sort it out now they have acknowledged that they haven’t even been looking at the right problem.