Liveable Crouch End: MP raises emergency services issue as community split over traffic scheme trial

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

Days into Haringey Council’s trial of a number of traffic measures designed to encourage sustainable and active travel, local MP Catherine West has written to the council to raise public concerns about emergency services access while a Hornsey councillor warned of the importance of not alienating the community.

In response, Haringey's environment chief Cllr Kirsten Hearn (Lab, Stroud Green) said that despite the "temporary disruption", the council believed "the trial is an important and positive step".

The community has been split by the trial so far, with complaints about displaced traffic on one hand and people welcoming efforts to improve the environment.

It has seen Middle Lane closed to through traffic for a fortnight - with blocks in place in a number of other roads to prevent rat-running.

Catherine West tweeted on Monday night that after a high level of correspondence she had written to the town hall's chief executive to ask them to engage with public concerns - including about how the road layout changes had affected the emergency services.

She posted: "Thanks to all raising the serious issues of traffic disruption around Middle Lane today. V worrying is inability of emergency vehicles to reach their destination.

"I have written with urgency to the CEO at the Council and will ask her to reply directly to you, copying me in."

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Hornsey councillor Adam Jogee, said he was in principle he was behind the scheme and there "has to be a way forward" for green measures, but added he had been concerned by the engagement strategy. He told this newspaper: "The number one problem has been communication and engagement with residents. My fear is we are making it difficult for us to carry residents with us in future."

Cllr Jogee (Lab) added: "It was always going to be a big change, let's see where we are at the end of the week."

In her statement, Cllr Hearn said: "We understand the changes are bringing a measure of temporary disruption for road users, but we believe the trial is an important and positive step to gather valuable data and views from the community to move this project towards improving Crouch End's environment and making the area friendlier for sustainable forms of transport."

She added that Haringy had made a number of environmental commitments and said: "This cannot be achieved without firm and decisive action - and sometimes that means disruption too."

Hornsey local Jake Morris told this paper: "If there is a problem with this trial it is that it is too short.

"Two weeks does not give people a real chance to change how they travel. If done right, this scheme should bring real benefits including wider pavements, much improved crossings, a better W3 bus service and more peaceful streets. It needs to be given a chance."