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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

We are launching a campaign for lighting up Downhills Park!

To get involved please email

tottenham@acorntheunion.org.uk

frederik.gentz@acorntheunion.org.uk

Given the number of dangerous incidents and lack of public safety in Downhills Park as well as the increasing need for open space accessibility, we need adequate, proper lighting in the park. With many local residents feeling unsafe walking through the unlit park at night, it is the council’s duty to ensure public safety, and proper lighting in our parks is a step towards demanding the council makes public spaces more accessible. 

Local Tottenham residents deserve to feel safe in their own public spaces.

Increased lighting in Downhills Park would: 

  • Make the park more accommodating and accessible to the local community and community groups.
  • Reduce the number of dangerous incidents and opportunities for criminal activity. 
  • Reduce local people’s travel time as they could cross through the park instead of walking around it because they feel unsafe. 
  • Give locals a safe, accessible free space to use during the COVID pandemic. 
  • We demand that Haringey Council put proper lighting in place in Downhills Park thereby increasing public safety and accessibility to better open spaces in our area!

Petition

Our petition has just started circulating and has almost 200 signatures so far with lots of support both online and on the streets, 

Testimonials from members of the public and ACORN members who voted for the campaign:

"When we come back from basketball it's often pitch black in the park. You never know who could be about.”

"More lights would make people feel safer and that's always a good thing. I'd definitely support better lighting!"

- Local resident Tom, who walks his dogs in the park.

"We're here all year round and in winter you just can't use the park after 4pm, none of the play area is lit up either. We think more lights is a great idea!"

-  Local parents supporting our campaign in Tottenham

Campaign background and research 

The campaign was brought forward by community organisation ACORN’s Tottenham group and won the vote out of three potential first campaigns by local Tottenham residents at the ACORN Tottenham group launch

The campaigns presented for local residents and ACORN members were all researched thoroughly prior to the meeting, including hundreds of hours and thousands of doors knocked, research into the area, listening to people’s issues, speaking with local councillors and council workers, and balancing the amount of people power the ACORN Tottenham group currently has with the winnability, achievability and success of ACORN Tottenham’s first local campaign. 

Following the outsourcing of road maintenance, lighting, housing, rubbish collections across the borough, residents felt it was a good hyper-local campaign to start off with in order to start winning for the people of Tottenham. 

Following the outcome of the result, ACORN Tottenham members and supporters have been signing the petition, doing research, mapping out the park, looking into lighting and placement, gathering testimonials from local residents, researching the effects on local wildlife and speaking with a few local councillors, as well as photographing the park at night.

 

FAQs

Who are ACORN?

ACORN is a democratic, member-led community organisation first founded out of the civil and welfare rights movements in the US in 1970. ACORN UK was founded in 2014, winning back for communities in the UK. While it has gained a popular reputation as a fighting tenants union, it is a union for the community which also does member defense cases for people in all kinds of housing crises, as housing is one of the top issues most people face, including eviction resistances, poor quality housing and bad landlords.

 

ACORN is a community union for the working class where local groups come together to fight issues and win back for their community - from stopping a power plant being built next to a nursery to Corona community support to getting rubbish collection company Veolia to start properly collecting rubbish in low-income neighbourhoods. Members give whatever time they can each month and every member gets a vote and say on the direction the group takes. 

Lighting will disturb wildlife in the park?

This has been something the campaign is incredibly conscious of and one of our members, a physicist who specialises in light, has been assisting with research. The  impact of LED light at night on conservation in cities is quite limited, and even has benefits in some cases

With regards to certain animal species such as bats, there is official guidance on how to adjust light settings to minimise potential harmful effects to bats so they can live, roost and use the park skies peacefully.  

That being said, the purpose of the campaign isn’t to flood the entire park with scorchingly painful light but just to increase lighting along the footpaths and in the playground to increase public safety. Lighting won’t majorly disturb wildlife as it will only cover the actual footpaths and cycle paths, the majority of the park will still be dark at night time.

It’s already included in the upcoming budget.

It's been mentioned in a proposal which hasn’t yet been approved. The proposal also doesn't mention Downhills Park specifically but vague general plans and one not to be implemented for another 4 years. We need a clear commitment from the council they will follow through with this now.

Area is not that bad for crime, and lighting won’t solve crime.

Of course lighting alone won’t stop all crime in the area, but it will make residents feel more safe, prevent accidents, and improve visibility which will deter criminals and anti-social behaviour. Besides the Tottenham residents who voted for it at the launch, we’ve been doorknocking and speaking to people who live in the area - during one of our most recent conversations a senior mentioned Downhills Park Cafe could stay open later, decreasing loneliness, especially during the Winter months. 

The crime rate in the area is above the Haringey average, with violent and sexual offences and anti social behaviour being the most common (November 2021). Even if the park itself isn’t as bad as other parks, the roads around it are a crime hotspot with many potentially crossing through the park. 

Tags for Forum Posts: downhills park, friends of downhills park, street lighting

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Hi, please can your post a link to the environmental impact report for this proposal? Thanks

Wondering how this proposal would impact on the wildlife in the park?

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