Through the course of the silly matter of the lethal broken bollard on Hampden Road by Hornsey Station, I learned that there's a Brexit Agreement style standoff between Haringey Council and Network Rail over the road.
The history of this stretch of Hampden Road has left it in the ownership of Network Rail. But over recent years there's been a disagreement over who's responsible for maintaining the road and for enforcing regulations on it.
As a result, the most we could get the Council to do with the broken bollard was to cut off a piece of steel rod dangerously sticking into the roadway. Network Rail wouldn't lift a finger. They were happy for the danger to remain as long as they didn't have to back down in their tiff with Haringey.
Also because of this stand-off, the road provides a perfect free-parking space with restrictions unenforced by with the Council or Network Rail, despite the double yellow lines.
There can be no doubt that the availability of this free parking encourages car use and attracts traffic to the Ladder. Wood Green shoppers perhaps?
Surely, in this time when unnecessary car use is being discouraged, sorting out this Barnier-Frost style face-off provides an easy win.
Since this section of Hampden Road is full of parked cars at `10pm this evening, I think it's pretty obvious that they belong to residents of the new flats.
Haringey Council assured us that this would not happen but - Haringey Council eh ?
Haringey Council also won the appeal to the Mayor’s office about the planning application due to a bald-faced lie they told about the status of this land in their Local Plan.
Whether it's about undelivered promises or deceitful practices, we should hope for better from the Council but we need to enure ourselves to not getting it. (Big thumbs down too to the Mayor’s office got not fact checking).
As it happens, I don’t mind the development. But the road needs sorting.
Below is a letter about the ownership of this road sent from Network Rail to Haringey Council in the Summer this year.
Having reviewed our records, I note the status of Hampden Road and the parking have been the subject of debate and attempts at resolutions since at least the mid 1970s. In trying to resolve the parking issues I think it is important to understand the history which I have set out below.
- In the absence of anything to the contrary I believe Hampden Road was constructed at the same time as the East Coast Main Line. Network Rail’s predecessors purchased the freehold to the land on which most of the road is situated in 1846 and in 1887. Network Rail does not own the freehold to the section over New River and up to the junction with Wightman Road.
- When the status of the road was discussed in the mid-1970s, enquiries into ownership of the road between New River and Wightman Road were unsuccessful.
- I am confident in saying that Hampden Road was historically a private road with multiple parties having rights to use it – including all those with a frontage onto the road. This reflects the Highways Register held by the Council – that said the Streetworks Gazetteer records it as Public Highway status.
- The Railway Company agreed to resurface the road on a without prejudice basis in the 1970s and it was agreed that, due to issues with parking affecting access into the railway yard, measures would be installed as a deterrent – this included fixing ‘No Waiting’ signs, double yellow lines and 3 strips at intervals across the kerbs.
- The intention was that the authority for prosecutions under Railway Byelaws. The current Byelaw No. 14 references prosecution for parking on contravention of traffic signs but the problem was and remains that the Byelaws only apply to ‘trains, track and stations’ – while it could be argued that Hampden Road is an approach to Hornsey station and therefore covered by the byelaws it was considered that any prosecutions under the Byelaws were possibly open to challenge and it is my view that this remains the case.
For ease I have attached an extract from Byelaw No 14 for reference
- It should be noted that even if the byelaws are considered to be applicable, it would only be in relation to that section of Hampden Road within Network Rail’s ownership and not the section between the river and Wightman Road.
As Hampden Road provides access to Network Rails land holding – while I am not familiar with the location I have no doubt large vehicles including lorries will use the road for access into our land and so it is in Network Rail’s interest to assist in finding a resolution.
One suggestion I have considered is either for Network Rail to dedicate the road to the public or for the Highway Authority to adopt the road; this would enable prosecutions to be made using highway legislation for the entirety of the road, removing ambiguity around use of the byelaws. Perhaps, if this is a preferred way forward, we could look to arranging with all those with a frontage to the road contributing towards bringing it up to adoptable standard? I am of course open to other suggestions.
My understanding is that the council department responsible have yet to engage with the suggestions made in this letter.
Residents use the road for parking, (so change the lines.) It is an emergency access and delivery point for the network and depots.
If the depot can’t get access, things might change.
I approached Volker Fitzpatrick and got the hostile arc cut railway ends removed as bollards, in favour of something less hostile. Surfaces and lighting was also improved, the greatest shame was that Network Rail stopped short of a Station sign at the entrance to railway sporoach and the £2M lift system for the station. ( I expect they asked the contractor to over quote to seam the intervention too expensive, but not for commuters to Woking.)