Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Some of you may recall that in Aug. 2010 I mounted a campaign to have the garish Kentucky Fried Chicken lamppost banners removed from Crouch End Broadway. Following a press campaign Lynn Featherstone took up the cause and, despite the council having committed to a 15 year contract (!) KFC elected to remove the banners within six weeks of the start of the campaign. Reee-zult!

As part of the campaign I launched an on-line petition: ‘Ban the Banners’ -
(www.gopetition.com/petitions/ban-the-banners.html) It received 90 signatures and is still open for those who wish to ad their names and, more importantly, leave comments.

The sad fact is that I was only successful in having the KFC banners removed from Crouch End Broadway. Hundreds more equally garish banners litter the borough (I shall be taking some photos shortly.)

I recently saw in the Ham and High that road casualties in the borough had risen by a worrying 25% over the past 12 months: the greatest increase of all 32 London Boroughs. Furthermore, the number of accidents involving cyclists doubled from 2007 to 2009. The council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods stated that they are ‘looking very closely at the data to understand the reasons and put in more safety initiatives where they are needed’ which suggests to me they don’t have a clue why this dramatic increase has taken place.

I wrote to the head of the council Claire Kober and suggested that anything which distracts motorists from giving full attention to the road ahead should be removed. I have just received her reply:

“The posters are designed to be read by pedestrians. Road users should not allow themselves to be distracted by any form of outdoor media.”

It is my belief that, far from targeting pedestrians, these bright, garish banner ads are, in fact, aimed at drivers. I cite Muswell Hill whose steep gradient means that it is not a favourite stretch of road for pedestrians. Along its 300 metre length there are no fewer than 11 lamppost posters located, I would suggest, to catch the eye of the many drivers who take this route and who are often caught in traffic jams at the top and bottom of the hill.

In any case, Cllr. Kober’s claim that road users must avert their eyes is, to my mind, absurd. If a brightly coloured image occurs within peripheral vision then the eye is automatically drawn to it. If we follow the argument to its conclusion, all shopkeepers would be banned from displaying brightly coloured packaging lest thieves be tempted to steal them.

I intend to ramp up my campaign once again to have the lamppost banners removed. But I need your help.

As a driver have you found your eyes drawn to the banners? Please let me know and sign the ‘Ban the Banners’ petition. Leaving comments gives me further ammunition with which to approach the council. Thanks for taking the time to read the above.

(Full response from the council available on request.)

Brian Bowles

Tags for Forum Posts: Campaign, advertising, borough., from, have, lamppost, removed, the, to

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When i drive i never look at ALL street signage, it's impossible because you'd never get above 1 mph, let alone advertising signs. I can't imagine myself driving along and then saying to myself ''Wow ! there's an ad for KFC'' and then crashing my car.
Thank you for your feedback. BB
We should never allow ourselves to be tempted to look at the signs, eh? Well, human nature is to do so as you well point out, it would be hard not to with something screaming for your attention. I would suggest we would not even be tempted (let alone allow ourselves to succumb to temptation) if they were not there in the first place. If they are for pedestrians, then a thorough risk analysis would identify that only signs that are visible from a footpath would reduce any temptation to zero! So design your signage so only pedestrians can see it- or just don’t have it to start with.
Thank you for our feedback. Can I suggest that you sign the petition and pass the word on to like-minded Harringayians. BB
Harringayians I think you'll find the term is Harringayites.
Harringavians, please.

(note to OAE - root is " Via " not " Avis "
The term for folk from Harringay is 'Harringayish' (like irish, swedish or turkish)
Done. As to Alan's point about large advertising billboards, I am absolutely with you there too. I used to live in the US for a short time, and I found it appalling the way their littered their visual environment with so much garish advertising...

Sadly I feel we are going the same way, but the reality it most of the billboards are on private property and there may be little we can do about that except on an individual basis, however the subject of this discussion are under the control of a body that is supposed to report to us as citizens of this borough. (Don't mean this to sound as arsey as it reads, but hopefully you get the point...)
Aside from the perhaps pedantic point that a 20mph sign is a form of outdoor medium, being distracted is an involuntary state imposed from without. If you decide not to be distracted by something, you have already been distracted by it.

The banners serve no purpose other than to generate income for the Council and to create visual pollution.

Away with them ! :-)
Thank you for our feedback. Can I suggest that you sign the petition and pass the word on to like-minded Harringayians. BB
I'm always puzzled that people with - understandably - negative views on these lamppost banners don't seem to mention the enormous billboards which "litter" not just Haringey, but every major city and most of our roadsides.

Distraction to drivers and a cause of accidents? I don't know. But increasingly they're not just larger and multiplying, but turning into illuminated lightboxes which cause light pollution. Animated ads are common. And no doubt the future will be 3D with sound. In other words, they'll no longer be billboards but giant digital signage screens.

The very large and wealthy companies which own these sites are clear about their aim. For example this is from the JCDecaux Website.
"The most noticeable networks delivering standout and coverage"
"JCDecaux's billboard network has the most illumination, greater POSTAR noticability and higher audience delivery. A huge investment programme in this growing sector means our sites are always best maintained and utilise the latest technology for unmissable displays 24/7."

It also seems to me that - on the whole - it's the poorer parts of our towns and cities which have the highest concentration of these signboards inflicted on them.

Perhaps now that Lynne Featherstone MP is a Government minister, she'll speak up just as critically and help push through effective action to control this spread and give local councils greater powers to prevent the proliferation.

I'm also puzzled that the petition says there are 130 banners. My impression is of many more.



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