Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Yesterday, I had the misfortune to find myself in the shopping mall. Walking out the big automatic doors and into the crowd of Star Wars pub extras who were smoking, spitting and squabbling on the footpath I witnessed what for me sums up the whole carbuncle on the arse of Haringey that is Wood Green High Road. One of the characters stormed through the crowd with his status dog in tow. I was reflecting on the fact that ‘status’ dogs don't seem to work (as the people who have them only ever seem to be what everyone else in society would consider low status). Everything suddenly went quiet except the ever present sirens. The status dog had stopped and released its copious bowels all over the footpath. It was like turning on the light in an HMO; the cockroaches screamed and scattered. The dog owner laughed and walked on. It was probably one of the most disgusting things I have seen or smelt in London. Eventually the crowd returned and watched the next horde trample the mess up and down the road. There was no-one to turn to, no-one to clean up and more importantly no-one with the authority to challenge and/or shoot the dog owner. Things just returned to normal.

The whole experience made me think how the council, local police and traders believe that we're all animals if they are happy for us to have to deal with this every time we go to the High Road. It's easy enough for me to hop on a bus and head off to Crouch End or Islington or even Enfield to shop but if you're older or disabled and have trouble getting around or not enough money for the bus it must be pretty grim to face it every day. Imagine how the standard little old lady dreads heading out into the crowds, litter, phlegm, smoke and anti-social behaviour of Wood Green every morning to get the milk.

Short of manning water cannons at each end of the High Road and employing some mercenaries with batons to control the crowds, I don’t know what can be done. Are there any clever ‘nudges’ or interventions that could improve Wood Green? Is it a matter of tarting the place up and hoping that the crowds respect their new surroundings? Is it signage to remind, and in many instances educate, people that spitting, littering and barging into other people is just not the done thing? Or do we just give up, bulldoze the lot and install a waterhole in the middle and let the law of the jungle and the status dog owners prevail?

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To be fair to Cllr Alan Strickland - not words I often use at the start of a sentence these days - as a Wood Green resident himself, he has been working with other local residents to come up with plans and proposals to improve the area.

As you are deeply concerned about it, how about getting involved with residents' groups in Wood Green and making your contribution to these initiatives? Or coming up with your own fresh proposals for improvement?

Personally, I like Wood Green and most of the people I meet there. Sure one or two of the more prominent buildings have been temporarily taken over by some appalling people from places like Muswell Hill. These incomers often seem deeply ignorant, close-minded and not really the "types" we want influencing and shaping Haringey. (If their building is high enough they probably have a window overlooking Ally Pally.)

But they are only a tiny minority and certainly don't represent the vast majority of people from the Muswell Hill area.

(Tottenham Hale ward councillor)

If this were Facebook I would 'like' that comment Alan :) 

I certainly think the successful traders in Green lanes could well afford to make a far higher contribution to the scheme.

You might want to ask some F.o.I. questions through the free website WhatDoTheyKnow about why their contributions were halved. And what arrangements (overage or clawback) are in place to repay all or part of the public money if they sell or lease improved premises.

(Tottenham Hale ward councillor)

I moved to St Ann's from Muswell Hill. Didn't realise our arrival from foreign climes had had such a negative effect on ones ability to regenerate an area. But yes my window does face Ally Pally and I love it! 

If you prefer I could invite some Hillbillies down for an away day and they can organic bun some hoodlums off east. 

Bulldoze the lot. In the 20 years I've been here it's only got worse.

I agree it's an appalling area. I wouldn't even consider going to the shops/cinema/anywhere there if I could avoid it. Just driving through the area makes me feel depressed. I don't know who was involved in the planning but you can't imagine it's possible to have done a worse job. I feel sorry for the older or disabled people who have to live there and might not have the option to go to a nicer area for their basic shopping. I would hate having to venture out into that dump everyday.

I don't know who was involved in the planning

KP, it was not only for planning approval that the council were involved in Wood Green Shopping City.

Haringey Council were the original developers as well, although this sole status waxed and waned. I first came across this history in researching decisions the council made over Alexandra Palace – which have not been consistently brilliant.

The nugget came up in an unexpected place: the significant (leaked) letter in 1996, from the Government's Treasury Solicitor to the council's then chief executive, rejecting requests for indemnification for millions of pounds of (bogus) debt attaching to our charity, Ally Pally.

Wood Green is the biggest shopping area in the Borough. The "Shopping City" had previously been cited by CEO Gurbux Singh as an example of LBH's ability to manage large scale projects.

I've attached the letter (see page 5). It's dense and requires more than one read-through to appreciate the extent of the Treasury Solicitor's indictment.

If a basic idea is misconceived, much of what follows will be sub-optimal. Council regeneration planning now turns attention (again) to Tottenham.

am a prospective councillor candidate
Highgate Ward | Liberal Democrat Party

Clive, are you able to point me in a definitive history of the shopping city? Am I right in thinking that originally John Lewis were going to be the anchor store? I wonder why they ultimately pulled out. Possibly it would have been a very different place if they had stayed on board.
Thanks for the article, good to have some background to the thinking behind the development and design of the shopping centre. 30 years on I do wonder if it achieved what it set out to do? I do use the high street and it does have a useful selection of shops that aren't available anywhere else in walking distance but the shopping experience could be improved if the council had the will

Delete the northbound bus stop outside the mall. Or at least move it back away from the bridge a bit.

Absolutely agree!  Maybe we could give Conservative a chance.  Labour have had their chance and have failed miserably!




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