Long history of broken promises over health centre bus route

I attended one of the three public consultation workshops run by Health Link www.health-link.org.uk for Haringey PCT last December. There, people in the catchment area of the new health centre participated in an evening of events to capture thoughts and i

I attended one of the three public consultation workshops run by Health Link www.health-link.org.uk for Haringey PCT last December. There, people in the catchment area of the new health centre participated in an evening of events to capture thoughts and ideas, of which there were many.

As a Campsbourne estate resident whose GP practice is in park Road next door to the centre, I know that it is next to impossible to travel via public transport from my estate (north of Hornsey High Street) in any realistic way - so I raised this.

The initial response was: "Get the W7, it stops right outside.'' I pointed out that at present it takes a long walk (especially if you have mobility issues), getting the 144 from the High Street to the junction with Park Road, then another long walk to the centre. They seemed to be focused only on Muswell Hill residents and felt the W7 dealt with those.

I raised this again later and explained that the only bus running along my part of Hornsey High Street is the 144 that stops at the end of Priory Road before going up Muswell Hill. It does not link with the W7. I was told that the PCT had already been in talks with TfL and were in ongoing discussions to resolve what they described as a major problem because many of the potential patients come from my area. I took this at face value.

On April 14 I was invited to a pre-opening site visit conducted by Mr Dilo Lalande from the PCT (assistant director - governance, based in St Anne's). I again asked about bus links and he told me that the PCT was still in talks and hopeful of getting improved bus routes before the centre opened.

So I checked the TfL website which advised me to walk to Priory Road, get the W3 to Tottenham Lane, then walk!

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This leaves a large part of the potential catchment area with no direct transport. So if Dial a Ride isn't an option, people will be encouraged to drive. Hardly ideal.

I emailed TfL to ask how their talks with the PCT were going. Their response was less than satisfactory. They made no reference to the talks with the PCT and said that, in essence, unless there are sufficient potential passengers they will not change existing services.

Their advice to me is that the health centre is well served by the W7 and that I can get off the 144, walk along Park Road and get the W7 for one stop. Or stay on the 144 part way up Muswell Hill; get off and cross Muswell Hill (where and how they fail to explain); walk 50 metres uphill to the W7 stop and get off at the health centre! Not only is this inconvenient and dangerous for elderly, immobile or ill people but costs two bus fares each way. They finish by saying there are no plans to enhance services to the health centre.

I copied this reply to Dilo Lalande asking for any news about the bus service. He did not reply.

On June 21 I attended an Area Assembly where transport was the theme. Peter Bradley from London Buses attended and I asked him about this matter. He said he was unaware of the problem but would 'take it back' as all issues like this should be considered.

I spoke to MP Lynne Featherstone who was also there to say I had received her leaflet that showed she had been raising the bus link and told her I had been in communication with TfL/PCT. I said the latest news I had was that TfL had no intention of considering a direct route from Hornsey High Street. She hoped this was untrue as she was still being told it was under consideration by both TfL and the PCT.

In late June Dilo Lalande eventually replied. I was sent a copy of a letter from the PCT to TfL which clearly shows no contact had ever been made by the PCT before May 19. It seems both me and the MP had been lied to consistently by various PCT personnel. It also explains why the London Bus rep had no idea about it.

Even so their request to TfL is all about Muswell Hill residents who say the W7 bus stop is in the wrong place - no mention of the Hornsey area.

He also said "We undertook a mystery shopper - transport study earlier this year but found the results did not concentrate on length of time it took to travel to Hornsey. We will be asking the company used to reconstruct this study".

So, after this issue was raised at public consultations and I had been told this specific issue was being looked at they spend public money on a useless transport study.

Last week your report confirmed that there are no new bus plans but that Lynne Featherstone was optimistic about 'a bit of a breakthrough' following a meeting with Peter Hendy, London's transport commissioner (Calls for new bus service dismissed, H&H Broadway August 20).

As far as I know, as stated by TfL, they will not change existing services.

I am not surprised that so far they have only two GP practices in the hugely under occupied centre (and one of those forced in by the PCT as they owned the Middle Lane site and closed it, so forcing the move).

I can see no incentive for any GP from my area relocating if their patients can't get there.


Campsfield Road, N8