The Forum wishes to make it clear that this piece represents the personal view of Simon Briscoe and does not represent the view of the Forum as a whole.
The more observant residents of the area around Highgate Hill will have noticed signs on lamp posts that set out Haringey’s plan for The Bank. The statutory notification is here and here. Some of those living on The Bank broadly support the changes as it removes parking and improves the immediate surrounds to their properties but there are other issues to consider: parking, road maintenance and transparency.
The three concerns are:
- Parking. Ten or so parking spaces will be lost – on top of others, this means about 20 CPZ (resident and business) spaces will have disappeared in the last couple of years in little more than 100m stretch of road. We learnt in November of more going in Cholmeley Park. Those that remain on The Bank will be narrower thereby limiting which cars can use them. This loss of parking cannot be afforded in an area of parking stress that is about to suffer further from changes in Islington’s CPZ rules. The change will clearly have implications for resident/business car owners, residents’ visitors, deliveries and those wanting to use the facilities of the High Street or visit Lauderdale House or Waterlow Park.Added on 1 March, 2017: The Forum has now met Haringey and Camden officials and Haringey will shortly consult on some additional parking spaces to replace those lost on the Bank. These should come into use at the same time as others are removed from the Bank.
- Repair. The Bank, says Haringey, is about to collapse. Some years ago, part of the wall fell onto the Highgate Hill pavement and was repaired – but obviously not very effectively. That’s why parking is now being removed – to get traffic away from the edge of the road. It might be argued that Haringey should maintain its roads properly. Neglect, followed by limiting their use when damaged can hardly be a model to be rolled out to other roads. The council has a poor maintenance record of this structure (just take a look at it) and failed to adopt a proposed weight limit when its own officers proposed one some years ago. They let contractors dig up the road who then fail to make good. (As Haringey’s annual spend is almost £1bn, of which £50m is on transport – see page 36 of the accounts – we are sure the road could be maintained.)
- Transparency. There is a key point of principle here. Like the plans or not, I feel that there has been insufficient transparency about what is driving the Council’s actions. Such a large removal of parking is not justified by the engineering reports that are publicly available. On issues like this, I expect the Council to act on the basis of evidence accessible to the public. Requests to see reports and other papers linked to decision-making have been refused when requested under FoI. Incidentally, the Council was a few days late putting proposed TMOs on line (and then back-dated the entry).
Haringey is also planning to introduce a 7.5t weight limit on The Bank. This is a step in the right direction but as virtually all the heavy lorries using The Bank are for deliveries – and deliveries are excluded from the ban – it is a token. Heavy lorries coming to the school (both ways up a one-way street) will still stress a highway ill-equipped to take such weights. (Channing has agreed to have deliveries by its entrance on Cholmeley Park.) We need a full ban, enforced by removable bollards, if The Bank is to be protected and the full amenity benefits are to be delivered. The southbound cycle lane will also be removed.
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