'Something out of Blade Runner?' BT eyes screen near cinema

The proposed BT street hub for St James Square in Muswell Hill

The proposed BT street hub for St James Square in Muswell Hill - Credit: BT/Google

More than 170 objections have been lodged against BT’s plan for a 3m-high digital screen in Muswell Hill.  

The telecommunications giant has submitted proposals for a freestanding “street hub” near the Everyman cinema in Fortis Green Road. Critics fear the screen’s location could impede community events in St James Square. 

The screen would provide Wi-Fi, charging, information and advertising. Haringey Council recently rejected an application for two of the same street hubs outside Hornsey Town Hall in Crouch End.

John Crompton, from the Muswell Hill and Fortis Green Association, said: “The proposed development, by reason of its size, scale and prominent location next to a listed building in a conservation area would be out of keeping with the design and character of the existing street scene.   

“It would add to street clutter without providing any public benefits of acknowledged importance in return. We would therefore urge the Council to refuse the application.” 

John’s objection is among scores of other criticisms put to the council via its online planning portal.  

One resident from Connaught Gardens wrote: “This is an appalling proposal.  

“Is BT trying to re-shape an Edwardian shopping area to look like something out of Blade Runner? Impertinent, unnecessary, unwelcome and out of character. It should be rejected forthwith.” 

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BT claims that its street hubs deliver a “wide range of economic, social and technology benefits to communities and local councils up and down the country”.  

A spokesperson for the company said: “Our planning application for this specific street hub site in Muswell Hill is still in progress.  

“We will continue to work closely with Haringey Council to understand feedback from local residents as we discuss plans for street hubs in the area.”   

Members of the public were able to submit their views to the council until July 30.  

A decision on whether to approve the plan will be made by Haringey in the coming weeks.

For more information see planning application reference number HGY/2021/1865.