Liveable Crouch End: Council chief reacts to scheme’s critics and ‘understands concerns’

Traffic at the bottom of Hornsey High Street where it meets Middle Lane. Picture: Supplied

Traffic at the bottom of Hornsey High Street where it meets Middle Lane. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

After a series of traffic measures were met with anger from some quarters in Crouch End, the woman in charge of the scheme has reassured local people that she “understands their concerns”.

Cllr Kirsten Hearn, (Lab, Stroud Green), also told this newspaper that "lessons had been learned" from the two week trial of closures to Middle Lane and Weston Park which form part of the Liveable Crouch End scheme.

The councillor said: "I understand their concerns, but I have had some fantastic emails too. These are natural concerns that people are raising and I am happy about somes of thing that have been raised.

"What's more important is this is is all feedback. Lots of people said: 'I loved what you did.' Some said: 'I had a problem getting to this place.' That's all helpful."

Haringey's Liberal Democrat councillors - three of whom represent Crouch End - have repeatedly said that while they support traffic calming measures in principle, they have been disappointed by Cllr Hearn's unwillingness to attend a public meeting with Crouch Enders. During the trial, Cllr Luke Cawley-Harrison told this newspaper: "As local councillors, we are 100 per cent in support of liveable neighbourhoods. But we don't think the scheme as it stands will address the problem."

The Lib Dem environment spokesperson Cllr Scott Emery added: "The focus has to be to get more people away from car use."

Asked why she didn't attend a meeting arranged by the opposition Lib Dems in Crouch End, Cllr Hearn said: "Without getting into a fight with my Liberal Democrat colleagues, I couldn't understand the purpose of the meeting."

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Blaming some of the public outrage directed towards her on "the fact we live in an age of social media", Cllr Hearn insisted monitoring work around the trial was being studied closely.

"We are now feeding all of the information gathered into the mill. We had a significant amount of studying going on, and all of this will help us with what we are trying to do. There's certainly lots to be learned."

She added that "all of these people who were very cross" would, she hoped, "actually have a think and go to the next meeting", she continued: "That means they are more engaged. They may be cross but at least they're engaged now."

The council has now re-opened its consultation on the project, and Cllr Hearn said: "We'll consult again and we'll change things about. There's a long process of public consultation as we develop the scheme and progress our way through this."

The environment chief said her staff had also put on several drop-in sessions, including the day before the Lib Dem-organised meeting. She added: "I was happy and continue to be happy to engage in public meetings at the right time."

Ridge Road man Alan Roberts is one to have complained about the trial. He said: "It seemed like no-one had any idea this was going on until it started. My mum is 87. She couldn't get to the doctor's."

The consultation is open until November 10.