The stressful street – a promising discussion about Hornsey Park Road

By Polly de Boer

Hornsey Park Road on Tuesday 19 October

On Tuesday October 20th 2021 our three ward councillors, Peray Ahmet (Leader of the Council), Khaled Moyeed and Emina Ibrahim, accompanied by Bryce Tudball, (Interim head of Planning Policy, Transport and Infrastructure) attended a meeting called by PMRA to address the chronic problems of life on Hornsey Park Road. Seven residents from the street attended, representing six households, as well as PMRA co-chair, Marcus Ballard. Each resident was invited to talk about the issues that most affected their life on Hornsey Park Road. There was a consensus that the pertinent problems are the volume of traffic, causing noise, fumes, pollution (including litter) and vibration; the damage to parked cars, front walls and pavements; the difficulty in crossing the road; the condition of the pavements and the road surface. The layout and management of the street means that pedestrians are squashed into a small pavement often without adequate space for push-chairs, wheel-chairs and mobility vehicles. The danger to cyclists was emphasised. The bends and varying width of the carriage-way encourages drivers to speed up, exceed the twenty mile an hour speed limit particularly on the southern section and by Mayes Corner at night. In many households residents have retreated to the back of their houses, leaving the street feeling unoccupied and darker for pedestrians.

Residents feel we have been neglected by the Council. Those present brought a hundred years’ experience of living on Hornsey Park Road and had raised these problems over many years without seeing any action. In discussion it was recognised that although the street is a continuation of Wightman Road (but without the weight restriction) it has never received the same level of attention or resources to improve it. A specific instance of our grievances has been the failure by Haringey and St William to provide a high quality plan for the area in the middle of the street opposite the lime-trees. We believe this area should be designed both to reduce traffic speed and provide a safe crossing to the new children’s playground and PMRA has itself proposed greening and traffic-calming measures. We want to see Haringey’s proposal upgraded to deliver this which repeated consultation has failed to achieve. Another area of concern has been the repeated closure of Mary Neuner Road over what is now a two-year period. This has made all the problems in Hornsey Park Road worse. PMRA considers Haringey has repeatedly made these decisions (at St William’s request) without taking the needs of residents into account and without consultation or discussion of the consequences with us. It hasn’t helped that officers and members so often seem to bring no awareness of past decisions and commitments and sometimes to believe measures to have been enacted which never have. 

The purpose of this meeting was to urge our councillors to adopt improving the lives of the Hornsey Park Road community as a political priority and to work with us to adopt a strategy that takes account of the centrality and importance of the street to Wood Green as a whole*.  It is nearly a year since we took our petition, signed by 374 people, to full Council - an effort which has come to feel as if it achieved nothing. We were heartened that all three councillors and Mr Tudball listened to our presentations, expressed an understanding of the problems and committed to taking the matter seriously. PMRA members and Hornsey Park Road residents now look forward to practical action. 

*Earlier in the day the emergency closure of the High Road meant the full diversion of traffic on to HPR – a reminder of how it was remodelled fifty years ago as the Wood Green ‘relief road’.

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