When we were elected in Crouch End it was as the first Labour councillors in the ward since 2002. And in the two years since our election we’ve seen:
- Hornsey Town Hall open again with progress made towards finding a sustainable future for the building
- £8million invested in Park Road leisure centre including the protection of the much-loved diving board
- Over £14,000 invested in community groups in Crouch End to provide services for the disabled, protection of green spaces and to support art and culture including the Crouch End Festival
- Over £1million for roads and pavements with 56 roads designated as 20mph and almost 150 new street lights
- Waiting times for Homes for Haringey repairs reduced from 23 to 12 days in Crouch End
Times are hard for local councils and Haringey is no exception. The Conservative Government have cut Haringey’s funding by 40% since 2010. That’s £150million less money to look after our elderly, protect our children, keep our streets clean and maintain our parks.
Despite the massive cuts forced upon Haringey, we have worked hard for Crouch End. Crouch End is an incredible place, flourishing with creativity and community spirit. We’re proud to represent Crouch Enders and wanted to take this opportunity to share with you the progress that has been made to improve our area over the last two years.
In May 2014 we pledged to make improvements in 5 key areas to the people of Crouch End. In this blog, we review our progress against those pledges.
- Faster progress with Hornsey Town Hall
During the 2014 election we heard time and time again how frustrated people were that the Town Hall had been shut to the public and left to fall into disrepair. It was a frustration we shared and that’s why we made addressing it our top pledge to the people of Crouch End. We made it clear to colleagues on the council that we wanted to see the building open and in use again as soon as possible, with a sustainable long-term plan for its future put in place.
Prior to our election, the Town Hall had largely been sitting empty. Now, thanks to ANA, there is a rich programme of events, exhibitions and cultural activities for Crouch Enders and beyond to enjoy.
It has been fantastic to see the Town Hall thrown open as the HTH Arts Centre. Yet with at least £10million needed to restore the building and make it safe for use, it’s clear that this is not a long-term solution. We need to refurbish the building and find a use for it that can bring community access and generate revenue. At a time of massive cuts to our funding, Haringey simply cannot afford to do this alone. We currently spend around £250,000 a year just for basic maintenance of the Town Hall.
That’s why Haringey is looking for a partner to bring the Town Hall back into use. Recent history has shown us that it’s a complex challenge, but any bids which fail to demonstrate community use will not be approved by the council’s Cabinet (of which Jason is a member). Community access is the most significant criteria against which bids will be judged.
It’s worth highlighting the role of the Hornsey Town Hall Creative Trust (a group made up of local residents, of which Natan and Sarah Elliott are members) in all of this. The Trust undertook public consultation last year to feed into the future use of the Town Hall. You can read about it here.
The Trust are now part of the evaluation team assessing partnership bids, focussing on proposals for community access and use. For those who want to see the detail, a summary of the invitation to tender can be found here.
As a condition of the scale of the project, this is a detailed, complex, confidential and long process governed by European procurement rules but as local councillors we have worked hard to ensure the needs of the community are central to the judging criteria.
As ward councillors, we understand and share the concern local residents have for the building, and we too are determined to see it carefully repaired, restored and brought back into use. We’re pushing to ensure that there is some form of community governance arrangement and that whatever the final plans are, it will be written into legal agreements that the Town Hall square remains a public space for the community to congregate in the heart of Crouch End. That is an absolute guarantee.
We’re clear that any future use of the Town Hall must genuinely benefit the local community, must respect and preserve its outstanding architectural value and must be sustainable – so that we can be confident of a lasting future for this much-loved landmark.
From years of neglect to two years of action and a thriving Town Hall since we were elected, we’re proud of the progress that has been made and optimistic for the future of the most loved building in Crouch End.
- Improve Park Road Leisure Centre
In 2014 there was a massive campaign to save the diving board at Park Road leisure centre. The removal of the diving board was part of Fusion’s original plans for the refurbishment of Park Road. One of the first meetings we arranged as councillors after the 2014 election was with the campaigners, staff from Fusion (who run the leisure centre) and Haringey officers. We made it clear that the future for the leisure centre had to protect the diving board and we’re proud that the campaign was ultimately successful.
Over the last two years, £8million has been invested into improving the Park Road Leisure Centre. As a result of the investment the centre now has a modern fitness suite with state of the art equipment, a refurbished lido and improved facilities and access for disabled users. The council has also ensured that over-65s can use the gym facilities for free on weekdays between 9am-5pm.
However, we know that there are still issues with the leisure centre and will be working with the centre’s managers to support further improvements in the coming months. If you use Park Road and have any feedback that you would like us to share, please get in touch.
- Actively support fantastic local community groups and events
We are lucky to have some fantastic community groups in Crouch End. As your councillors, we are committed to supporting them to grow and thrive.
In 2015, Haringey rolled out a new ward budget scheme, which allocated £10,000 to each ward in the borough to support community-led schemes. Although the local Lib Dems wanted to abolish these budgets, as Labour Councillors we voted to keep them as we know they are a great way to improve Crouch End and Haringey.
So far we’ve allocated funding to some great causes:
- A £4500 grant for Crouch End Festival – The festival is a fantastic celebration of all things Crouch End and Haringey, bringing together community, creativity and local businesses to enrich the area.
- A £4200 grant for Crouch End Open Spaces to improve the Crouch End playing fields, so that the area is safe and in good order for residents to enjoy.
- A £1200 grant for Accumul8 – a brilliant local project that brings together the creative skills, knowledge and energy of the local community to work with young homeless people living at the North London YMCA Hostel as participants and partners. The project focuses harnessing their creativity with a focus on employability skills and producing creative products for selling at exhibitions and craft fairs.
- A £1500 grant for the Friends of Zen Hornsey Library – a fantastic local scheme dedicated to the restoration and maintenance of the courtyard garden in Hornsey Library.
- A £1000 grant for Crouch End Carers Coffee Morning – a local charity initiative that provides vital support for carers who have a family member who is very disabled.
- A £1000 grant for the Crouch End Open Door Young People’s Consultation Service which offers a range of support for young people including: Counselling, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness Based Therapy, Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy (DIT), Family Therapy, Group Therapy, Key support
- A £1000 grant for SEEDs Saturday Club for Learning Disabled Adults & their Families
We will continue to provide support for the brilliant groups in our community to help Crouch End and Haringey thrive. If you’re interested in bidding for funding from the Crouch End Community Ward Budget, please see more information here.
- Improve roads and pavements across the ward
One of the things that came up on the doorstep during the 2014 election was residents wanting more money invested in roads and pavements. We know that improving the quality of our streets through resurfacing, pavement and safety improvements and pothole repairs improves the quality of life for all residents– particularly children, disabled and older people. It also helps make cycling safer and more attractive, reducing air pollution as more people choose this mode of transport instead of driving.
Since we were elected in May 2014:
- 11 key roads in Crouch End have been resurfaced including Ferme Park Road, Haringey Park, Tregaron Avenue and Weston Park.
- Almost 150 new street lights have been installed on 18 different roads in Crouch End including Berkeley Road, Claremont Road, Gladwell Road and Priory Gardens.
- 10 roads in Crouch End have had their pavements resurfaced including Crouch Hill, Landrock Road, Park Road and Shepherds Hill.
- Cycling made easier with new bicycle hangers being installed on Birchington Road and Avenue Road.
These improvements cost well over £1 million and we hope to see more investment over the next two years. We’ve also made cycling and walking safer in Haringey by designating 56 roads as 20mph routes.
- Work with Homes for Haringey to ensure that repairs to homes happen faster
For those Crouch End residents living in social housing, we want to see them getting the best service they can. When things go wrong and they need repairs, we want to see this happen quickly as these residents are among the most elderly and/or vulnerable in Crouch End.
When we were elected in May 2014 the average waiting time for Home for Haringey repairs in Crouch End was 23 days. It is now just 12 days and we want to continue working with Homes for Haringey to bring that wait down even further.
What else has happened in Crouch End?
Aside from our election pledges, we’ve taken other steps to protect and improve services in Crouch End. New funding for Hornsey Library will deliver improvements to the in 2017. In 2010 there were many stories about local authorities shutting their libraries as a result of cuts. In Haringey we’re proud that we’ve protected our libraries and we intend to carry on doing so.
We’ve been concerned about crime and community safety. That’s why we’ve called two public meetings – one at the Earl Haig Hall and the other Hornsey Town Hall – so that local police, our GLA member Joanne McCartney, council officers and the community could meet to discuss how we can keep Crouch End safe.
At the last meeting, police presented statistics for crime in Crouch End for 2015. Of particular note was the increase in reports of robbery and theft by snatching, with thirty offences involving moped riders. In comparison to Camden and Islington, moped thefts in Crouch End and Haringey more broadly are relatively low. Offenders are less likely to be locally based and travel across London to commit these crimes. However, understandably there is a high level of community concern about these offences and the police are working hard to catch offenders.
There are number of practical steps that the police recommended Crouch Enders take to reduce their chances of being a victim of crime:
- Keep use of your mobile phone in the street to minimum
- Fit and use a front door mortice locks, including in houses divided into flats where these are more often absent
- Fit and use secure catches/ locks to windows, especially those on the ground floor
- Have some lights on a timer so that your home is never in darkness when it is unoccupied
- Secure your motor bike or moped to an anchoring device when it is parked at home
Martin Nicholls, our neighbourhood PC is very accesible, follow his updates and contact him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MPSCrouchEnd
Despite the massive cuts imposed on the council by the Conservative Government, over the last two years, we think significant progress has been made against our five election pledges.
However, although a lot has been done, there is a still a lot left to do.
That’s why we’re glad to be able to work with, and for, such an enthusiastic, committed and vibrant community. If there any local issues you want help with, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us (you can get our contact details by clicking our names below).
Your local Labour Councillors