Haringey Council fails again with unique wrong-way roundabout

April 9th, 2014

Katherine and Ben give the thumbs down to Haringey's Magic RoundaboutA week too late for April Fools Day, Haringey Council have decided to rewrite the Highway Code and create a wrong-way roundabout.  The bungling Labour-run Council have created this ‘Magic Roundabout’ on the junction of Stapleton Hall Road and Oakfield Road.  The road markings encourage confused road users to navigate in an anti-clockwise direction rather than the usual clockwise.

Thankfully, the council has realised its error and removed the dangerously-wrong road markings. However, this is just one example of recent mistakes, which makes you wonder if Haringey Council has any grip on what its highways contractor is up to.  For instance, last week they had to apologise to residents on Inderwick Road after causing complete chaos by making everyone move their cars with no notice – only to realise they were fixing the wrong pavement.  A similar blunder recently happened in Uplands Road where the wrong section of road was mistakenly resurfaced – leaving the worst section with all the potholes untouched.

But then again perhaps this roundabout is just a clever metaphor for Haringey Council under Labour for the last 40 years – going round and round the wrong way.

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Councillors and MP back plan to re-open Weston Park Post Office

April 8th, 2014

Lynne and Katherine with local newsagent Mr ShahThe new owner of the newsagent on Weston Park is keen to re-open the Post Office counter that used to be based in the shop, until it was closed six years ago by the last Labour Government.  Mr Shah has enlisted the help of local councillor Katherine Reece and Lynne Featherstone MP who has contacted the Post Office in support of his bid.

Re-opening the Post Office would be a huge boost to the little parade of shops on Weston Park and would be extremely handy for local residents.  The last Government closed both the Post Offices on Ferme Park Road and Weston Park forcing many Stroud Green residents to join the queues at the main branch in Crouch End.

After years of decline the Post Office have started reinvesting in local branches – such as the one on Hornsey High Street, which I sometimes use.  However, getting them to re-open closed ones will be a challenge and I am pleased Lynne and Katherine are on the case.

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Narrow road junction gets long-needed safety improvements

March 24th, 2014

Improvements at junction of Lancaster and Stapleton Hall RoadsOver the last few years we received many complaints about speeding on Lancaster Road with too many cars and vans using the road as a cut through. In particular, many families walking to St Aidan’s primary don’t like the junction with Stapleton Hall Road where the pavements are very narrow. Therefore, I (and the other Lib Dem councillors Katherine and Ed) have been pressing Haringey Council to make the road safer for local families.

Over the last few years we have been successful in persuading the Council to find funding to improve both the junctions at either end of Lancaster Road.  But whilst the improvements to the junction with Upper Tollington Park went ahead two years ago – the changes to the junction with Stapleton Hall Road have been repeatedly delayed.
We have continued to press the Council and have now been promised the improvement works will start in the next few weeks. The changes should slow down traffic turning into Lancaster Road and make it safer for pedestrians to cross.
The council should be confirming details soon but do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.

In the last couple of years we have been successful in persuading the Council to find funding to improve both the junctions at either end of Lancaster Road.  But whilst the improvements to the junction at the other end of the road with Upper Tollington Park went ahead two years ago – the changes to the junction with Stapleton Hall Road have been repeatedly delayed.

I’ve kept chasing the Council and am delighted that – at last- works have now started to improve the road by narrowing and raising the road junction and widening some of the pavement. The changes should hopefully slow down traffic turning into and out of Lancaster Road and make it safer for pedestrians to cross.

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Victory in 4 year campaign to remove ugly old railings

February 7th, 2014

Albany railings in 2009Haringey is littered with ugly old rusting railings that serve no purpose and often seem to make crossing the road less safe. However the Council always seem strangely resistant to removing them.

One of the worst examples is at the junction of Albany Road and Stapleton Hall Road next to St Aidan’s School. Residents complain to me that the railings make it hard to cross sensibly and force people to walk out into Stapleton Hall road to go around them. Even the school agrees that the railings don’t help with safety and should go.

I first asked Haringey Council to remove the railings in 2009 but was told time and time again it wasn’t possible. The good new is that after 4 years of nagging they have conceded. I’ve now been told that work to remove the railings, and to lower the kerb to help people cross, will start on 17 February. Great news for local residents – its just a shame its taken over 4 years for the Labour-run Council to listen.

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Remember when our council tax bills used to go up and up every year?

January 12th, 2014

Haringey Council Tax

Thankfully that is not the case any more!

I wanted to share this excellent graphic on Council Tax increases in Haringey – from an article on Lynne Featherstone’s website. Its easy to forget but until recently inflation-busting increases were the norm – which is why we have the 5th highest council tax in London (out of 32 boroughs!).

Stroud Green’s Lib Dem councillors started campaigning for it to be frozen in 2009 to help local residents with the cost of living.  We’ve been successful every year since then – and thanks to all the pressure the Labour Council hasn’t reverted back to form and council tax will be frozen again this year.

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Labour: AstroTurf Finsbury Park to have more music concerts

January 6th, 2014

Astro TurfLabour councillors tonight voted through plans to treble music concerts in Finsbury Park despite huge opposition from local residents who are worried about the impact on the local area and park. About a dozen ordinary residents spoke out at the special committee meeting called by Lib Dem councillors to review the plans – including the Chair of Stroud Green Residents Association, the Chair of Governors at Stroud Green School and representatives of the Friends of Finsbury Park. Katherine Reece and I also spoke up in favour of keeping the current limit of five days of concerts.

Despite the passionate opposition from local residents, the three Labour councillors on the committee voted against any rethink of the Labour cabinet’s plans to treble concerts. I’m sure it is no coincidence that the Labour Chief Whip attended most of the meeting.

But the most astonishing part of the meeting was when one of the Labour councillors (Stuart McNamara) repeatedly suggested the solution to concerts damaging the park was to replace the real grass with artificial grass!  He clearly doesn’t understand what parks are for and that people visit them to see plants and nature.

A small positive from the meeting was that the Council agreed to set up a steering group of local residents to comment on and input into plans for events in Finsbury Park.  I hope this group can try and stop the events from causing too much disruption and damage to the park (and put a halt to any plans for AstroTurf!).

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Council forced to review plans to treble music concerts in Finsbury Park

January 5th, 2014

Katherine and me in Finsbury ParkKatherine Reece and I have ‘called in’ the Labour Cabinet’s decision to ignore the protests of local residents and park users and treble the maximum number of days of music concerts in Finsbury Park. This means there will be a special scrutiny committee meeting tomorrow at 6pm in the Civic Centre, giving local residents the opportunity to voice their concerns again.  The cross-party scrutiny committee has the power to ask the Labour cabinet to think again about the changes.

The proposals are controversial because they mean large parts of the park could be out-of-bounds for local residents for up to 10 weeks this summer – just when the park is often at its busiest with local families.  The plan has been opposed by local Lib Dems, but also by Islington Labour councillors and Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn. However, David Lammy MP – whose constituency covers Finsbury Park – has remained strangely silent on the subject so we don’t know his views!

I hope the Scrutiny Committee listens to residents concerns – after they were ignored by the Labour cabinet.  Most people don’t mind a couple of music concerts, but five weekends risks damaging the park and leaving local families nowhere to play this summer.

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