Wood Green High Road

The Wood Green Audit

The Wood Green Audit was an audit completed with recommendations in 2006 by the people of Wood Green. The audit was led and prepared by
PARKSIDE MALVERN RESIDENTS’ ASSOCIATION, with general endorsement and contributions (direct and indirect) from:

Wood Green Town Centre – How It Is and How It Should Be – By the People of Wood Green, 2006
The Wood Green Audit 2006
Wood Green Audit Press Release and Summary

Residents Demand Improvements To Wood Green High Rd & Town Centre (Extract from summary document above)

On Saturday 14th October 2006 over 120 residents packed into Wood Green Library to take part in a historic public meeting and consultation event. The meeting was organised by Wood Green’s residents associations** and supported by the Haringey Federation of Residents Associations. The residents associations (RAs) unveiled, distributed and launched their highly-detailed 45-page ‘Wood Green Audit’, described at the meeting as ‘possibly the most comprehensive, constructive and broad-based document ever produced by Haringey residents about their own area’.

Those present, including 3 members of the Council Executive, various Councillors and the local MP, were asked to fill in consultation forms commenting about the extensive proposals for improving the High Road and the Town Centre generally. There were strong feelings expressed during the discusssion that residents’ needs and views have been neglected in favour of the High Road being a ‘cash cow’ for major business chains, and there was overwhelming backing for the Audit’s 12 Main Recommendations (see below). The Council is currently preparing a ‘Masterplan’ for the Town Centre area over the next 6 months – it was clear that the launch of the Audit has already had a huge impact, ensuring that the needs of local residents will not be able to be ignored or sidelined.

The local associations had organised an impressive wall display of maps and photos of each side of Wood Green High Road – a total of 34 sections accompanied by over 150 separate proposals for improvements. Those present filled in forms with their views on these proposals, and also on 12 main recommendations: 1. More Resident Participation. 2. Improve Back Alleys. 3. Better Road Safety. 4. Create Public Toilets. 5. More Greenery. 6. Better Public Spaces. 7. Sensitive Re-development. 8. More Pavement Widening. 9. Less Street Clutter. 10. Protect Heritage Sites. 11. Better Maintenance. 12. Good Planning.

Kate Huddie, the Secretary of Noel Park North Area Residents Association, chaired the event. She explained that her association had been ‘kick started’ in 2005 as a result of the scandalous sudden demolition of Wood Green’s oldest public building – the congregational chapel in Lordship Lane – which developers wanted replaced by a 16-storey tower block. This convinced people on the Noel Park estate that they needed to get organised.

Laurie Owen, the Chair of Parkside Malvern Residents Association (the lead organisation for the Audit), introduced the background to the Audit. He explained that there had been almost no consultation at all with local people in the first 6 months of the Council’s ‘masterplanning’ exercise. Therefore the local residents associations had decided to do their own audit of the High Road and surrounding areas, identify the problems (many of which were long-running and serious) and propose constructive solutions to ensure the area became one that Haringey residents could enjoy and be proud of. For the last 6 months, he said, Wood Green’s associations (representing an area with a total population of over 10,000 people) had collaborated, and produced the Audit. To ensure the fullest possible debate it had been decided, with the backing of the Haringey Federation of Residents Associations, to hold this Public Launch and Consultation Event. Detailed publicity leaflets had been distributed by local RA members to 4,000 local homes, and more were given out on stalls in the High Rd. He went through some of the key points in the Audit. In his view: ‘The Audit is in effect a Peoples Plan for Wood Green, and any plans that the Council come up with will have to be judged against it.’

After the discussion over 100 forms were filled in and many included further interesting and useful comments.

THE WOOD GREEN AUDIT: The Main Recommendations

1. More Resident Participation. Invite local Residents Associations to participate fully in all decisions affecting the Wood Green townscape. Participation must be at all stages of the decision-making process.
2. Improve Back Alleys. Set up a taskforce consisting of Council officers, police officers and representatives from local Residents Associations, with the brief of studying and improving the deep-seated structural and maintenance problems of the Town Centres back alleyways and formulating an action plan. Allocate a generous budget to implement the action plan.
3. Better Road Safety. Completely reconfigure the dangerous Gladstone Avenue and Watsons Road junctions in order to improve radically all aspects of pedestrian safety there. Improve pedestrian safety at existing pedestrian crossing points, upgrading wherever possible to Pelican status. Create new Pelican crossings in Turnpike Lane.
4. Create Public Toilets. Buy several small shops along the High Road for conversion into street-level staffed public pay-toilets, using compulsory purchasing powers as necessary. Enlarge the unstaffed Turnpike Lane Bus Station toilet to accommodate staff. One of these new toilets should be free. If possible, ensure all cafes have a licensing condition that their toilets are available for public use.
5. More Greenery. Carry out a major new programme of tree planting. Create new raised shrubberies at specified places.
6. Better Public Spaces. Transform the Town Centres ill-assorted series of hard-surfaced public spaces into an officially recognised Open Space Network. These should then be harmonised, humanised, and generally made more welcoming (with more greenery and benches), especially to families with children.
7. Sensitive Re-development. Encourage modest good quality 3-4 storey re-development of the Morrisons entrance building and the eastside stretch of buildings between British Home Stores and Westbury Avenue.
8. More Pavement Widening. Widen pavements at specified points, mainly along the eastside stretches between Gladstone Avenue and the Shopping City, and between Whymark Avenue and Westbury Avenue.
9. Less Street Clutter. Remove lamppost advertising banners, illuminated advertising stands and other unnecessary street clutter.
10. Protect Heritage Sites. Confer Local Listing status on six sites, and press for Grade 2 Listing status for Wood Green Tube Station.
11. Better Maintenance. Carry through a major upgrade of the cleansing and maintenance regimes, including daily anti-bacterial washdowns of the worst public urination spots.
12. Good Planning. Impose a complete change of ethos on the Planning Department in order to halt the blight of backend-ism (ie: the appalling series of rear views inflicted on local people by all the major building developments of the last thirty years), to reverse the drive to high rise intensification, and to instill respect for the Boroughs heritage.