Major Scheme - major disappointment - now underway

Not much to say - work started in April on the 16th month scheme to repave the High Road, remove the clutter of bins, bollards, old signs and railings, improve lighting and plant some trees. The choice of grey, standard pavings slabs (apparently, to be carefully laid') seems to sum up what is a dull and lacklustre scheme, expensively presented but offering very little to deal with the area's historic problems. Having set itself clear objectives, the council did not listen to the concern of the community when drawing up this scheme. Let's hope it really will create the much needed change and sense of pride in an area that has recently attracted the best 'value and convenience' retailers but failed to be an attractive destination for most other purposes. With a price tag of around £4.2m, it certainly should but it has shrunk to a fraction of its original ambition. Alexandra Road, hailed as one of the few east-west links in the area is to receive just three trees and have its pavements re surfaced, in standard grey, of course. Meanwhile, our community gardening is creating a truly valuable east-west link, between Alexandra Road and Hornsey Park Road, now used and appreciated by thousands of people every day, as compared with the 'muggers' alley' reputation it had before we started.

Notices are up around the area as the council seeks to wrap up its plans to undertake long over due maintenance and improvement of the High Road. After years of neglect, the scheme will concentrate on replacing dangerous pavements, installing new street lamps, replacing the existing award winning bus shelters (which have their problems, we must admit) with standard ones and removing out of date and damaged street clutter (railings, bins, old phone boxes and the like).

There is little that meets the aspirations set when the scheme was first introduced to us. In short, it is a bit of a flop. But, at last the broken pavements, puddles and dark corners should be gone.

Lack of aspiration? Wood Green High Road Scheme

Lack of aspiration? Wood Green High Road Scheme

As users of the town centre and at the receiving end of the many problems caused by traffic and anti-social behaviour emanating from it, residents are entitled to be angry and feel let down that their ideas and needs have been so completely ignored. We all agree that maintenance was long overdue and that the drainage must be made to work but attending to these and other high street infrastructure does not amount to a 'Major Scheme' styled as being "ambitious, visionary and vibrant".

The Association's greatest concern is the impact of changes at the High Road end of Alexandra Road, where the traffic lights are to be removed and the road narrowed. We have previously asked for a 7.5t weight restriction on vehicles entering Alexandra Road and for parking between the junction and Martins Walk to be replaced with a limited number of loading bays: the spare space should then be made into attractive amenity space and the top end of the road made a calm space adjacent to the High Road. The area should also be redesigned to stop the constant urinating against walls and other anti-social behaviour stemming from the High Road. If there is one area that really lets down the town centre and reveals the council's bad planning and poor management of the High Road, it is the top of Alexandra Road.

Once again, the council has proved it doesn't listen, and cannot spot problems and find solutions: in taking money from TfL for a Major Scheme of supposed London-wide importance, it has created a routine maintenance scheme unlikely to change perceptions of the area or the way residents, visitors and businesses interact to make the town a better and more sustainable place. We should not forget that officers for this project deliberately killed off our plans for a pocket park to compliment the Major Scheme: in return, they have offered precisely 'nothing'.

We need a safe junction and less traffic in Alexandra Road and improvements at the end nearest the High Road. The mending of pavements, better lighting, removal of broken and useless clutter and puddle fixing are givens.

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