A Community Network for Bowes Park and Bounds Green
I was not able to attend the BWF last month so I was delighted to find an account of the meeting from a local resident on 'Enfield Voices'
Another informal write up in a series on Ward Forums in Enfield by Sarah Dodgson
A hopeful but uncertain evening...
Bowes Ward (my home turf) was the biggest turnout by far (50 people) which bumped us into the main church at Trinity at Bowes. I think about 10 people were non resident supporters of the proposed road re- routing scheme brought by Better Streets for Enfield and supported by the Green Party,(which seemed unfair when some other parties had not had a chance to comment but there you go - we are nearly in election time).
A feisty audience with a lot to say primed by leafleting the weekend before on the roads affected - this is grassroots activism at its bumptious anecdotal best. To be fair many of the residents there had been campaigning on various schemes for redesigning the roads west of Green Lanes over as far as Telford Way,for more than six years. Schemes approved in the past had not made it through the Council’s complex (some might say Labyrinthine) implementation processes. The frustration in the room was vocal. The reality is that many of those present are living with air pollution well over the legal limits so, however unpopular, something has to happen to prevent serious damage to health. As always something that suited one road (Brownlow) did not suit another (Warwick) so it was refreshing to have a whole area scheme to discuss. Better Roads for Enfield hope to call another meeting about this before the Council goes into electoral purdah so watch their space for more news. However even they noted none of their proposals were likely to be put in before 2020 and would need two years of chaos before reducing traffic levels, leaving one wondering if face masks are the only solution?
But to begin at the beginning - sadly no police report here (called away to an actual incident).
In their absence there was a lot of anecdotal about local crimes (shops being broken into by roof climbing and sewer diving). This included an allegation of attacks on school children passing the cafes on Green Lanes, which was disconcerting to the parent of a school child who has walked past said cafes for 5 years and not had any incidents reported to me.
If people turn up to Ward Forums to make such frightening comments they might at least stay to listen to the solution, which is fairly obvious - A Public Space Protection Order. Any cafe whose customers molest school girls needs to be deprived of either its license or its pavement chairs. But if the accuser won’t stay to talk, and no one backs them up with corroboration, one is left wondering how the Council or feminist campaigners like me can tackle the issue. Violence against women and girls should be taken more seriously than this. ( see post meeting note in comments below that this single incident has been reported and action has been taken).
Bowes Ward has a mobile CCTV which is supposed to be a deterrent but sounds as though it is mostly used to confirm belief that we live in a crime hotspot while not
providing images good enough to identify the perpetrators.
Back to the problems caused by cars .... which can be summed up as follows :
there are too many of them driving through our patch and no one knows where to park. The stress of driving home after a long day at work and having nowhere to park was particularly noted, as well as living in a house rattled by rat running speeders and heavy lorries. A controlled parking zone covering the whole ward was strongly advocated, although as with the road scheme referred to above, consultation processes and fairness in weighting the responses, was also discussed.
Ironic to hear that some think a consultation needs a 60% approval on a 60% turnout to be considered effective (ahem Referendum ahem). Also how can disapproval of the scheme by those living in less stressed areas be managed. That aside, it is true that the Council needs to take wider considerations into account than an unrepresentative vote at a Ward Forum. However much we raise our hands on the evening how do we know who at the Forum has the right to vote and is fully informed. For example our unable- to-attend disabled friends, using the Dial a Ride bus, are not going to welcome road narrowing that stops their bus getting to them.
Anyway we await developments, although the closure of the Palmerston Road access to the North Circular, which has been approved by the Council and comes into affect soon, was not a popular move and seemed to contradict the whole Area scheme under discussion.
All this discussion of the west of the ward left little time for news of developments at Southgate Cemetary, a zebra crossing on Chequers Way and the development proposed for the Ritz Parade by Notting Hill Housing Trust (although it was noted that canyon development along the North Circular would not help air quality considerations unless restricted to low rise blocks).
Cllr Yasemin Brett reported on efforts to have the buses on the North Circular replaced by low emission vehicles.
Cllr Achilleas Georghiou reported on estimated costs on various schemes intended to prevent rat running from the officers at HQ (which left one wondering why the Better Streets people were not talking to them directly?)
And it was Alan Sitkin’s last Forum as he is standing down at the election so a round of applause ended a hopeful but uncertain evening.
I participated this time as it is my Ward. Back to observer status next
time. All welcome if they behave and don’t eat up residents’ time.
(I hope the proposed scheme and map can be linked here to Enfield Voices so those not able to get out to the meetings can see what is proposed and discuss further whether it is practical).