BT appeal lodged over new street hubs in Crouch End

BT Street Hub Crouch Endjpg

The proposal outside the Town Hall square - Credit: BT

BT has lodged an appeal in an attempt to overturn a previously rejected planning decision to install two “street hubs” outside Hornsey Town Hall in Crouch End. 

The 3m-wide hubs are pitched as delivering ultrafast WiFi, with the ability to improve local 4G and 5G mobile coverage.  

Concerns have been raised about the design and motivation behind installing the hubs. 

In its decision notice on the original application last July, the council described the planned development as an “incongruous feature”, saying it would be “harmful to the special character and significance to this part of the conservation area”. 

BT filed the appeal in October last year, with Haringey Council accepting it the following month. It then became valid on February 1. 

It is not the only example of a planning application submitted by BT for the installation of their hubs, with a potential development in Muswell Hill, opposite the Everyman Theatre on Fortis Green Road, currently pending a decision. 

Mark Afford, chair of the Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum, described the hubs as “money-making exercises”. 

He said: “It's an abuse of the company's privileged position to attempt to roll out electronic billboards in every location they can think of.  

Most Read

“Crouch End is unfortunately no exception and the intended location on the Town Square surrounded by listed buildings reveals how little thought has gone into the proposal.  

“Hopefully the planning inspector will concur with the local authority's refusal.” 

Mark Afford, Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum chair 

Mark Afford, Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum chair - Credit: Mark Afford

A BT spokesperson said: “We have appealed a planning application to upgrade two existing phone kiosks in Crouch End with a new Street Hub 2.0 unit. This is in line with our wider plans to upgrade our phone box estate and declutter the street by freeing up pavement space. 

“Street Hub units deliver a wide range of economic, social and technology benefits to communities and local councils up and down the country – from connecting local residents, businesses and visitors to free ultrafast Wi-Fi, to ensuring that people can contact the emergency services or charity helplines in times of need.  

“Our new Street Hub 2.0 units introduce upgraded features such as the functionality to provide environment monitoring for local authorities, the ability to boost 4G/5G mobile coverage and free screen time to local authorities to help promote local community services.” 

To view the appeal, visit planningservices.haringey.gov.uk/ and search using the reference number HGY/2021/1652