Thanks, traffic, Women's Day, U3A, Haverstock Hill and Covid

Dozens of shoplifting offences have been reported on or around Muswell Hill Broadway. Picture: Googl

A 'masked singer' was heard on Muswell Hill Broadway - Credit: Google Streetview

For a moment, the Broadway was Italy

Betty Cairns, Victoria Road, Wood Green, writes:

Thank you to the unknown young man who rode through a grey, wet, miserable shut-down Muswell Hill Broadway wearing a mask last Monday singing (in a pleasing tenor) Verdi’s Va, Pensiero.

Just for a moment the sun shone and the Broadway was Italy.

The council must listen to residents

Judith Reinhold and Delia Limburg, King Henry’s Road, Camden, writes: 

As residents of King Henry’s Road, we recently received a card from Camden Council outlining proposed changes to King Henry’s Road, Elsworthy Road and Primrose Hill Road “to make the streets quieter, safer and healthier”. Residents are referred to a website and a consultation, which will be open until February 21, 2021.

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By their very nature, these proposals are controversial and far-reaching and require careful consideration. They will have a major impact on residential roads in the area and will result in even more congestion in Adelaide Road.

In June last year, Camden Council discussed proposals to make changes to King Henry’s Road and the surrounding streets establishing a Low Traffic Neighbourhood. No doubt fearing local opposition to this plan, Camden’s principal transport planner actually went so far as to recommend that the proposals “should not be widely shared or discussed”.  

The work was scheduled to begin in August 2020. Thanks to the intervention of two councillors, these plans were circulated to local residents and the overwhelming majority of residents objected to the plans which were then shelved. They have clearly now been reissued.

Is it any wonder that we have no confidence in the Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes which claim to benefit local residents, as there is clearly no intention on the part of Camden Council to listen to the views of local residents? We fear that they plan to implement these changes regardless of the  outcome of the  current consultation. Even before the consultation has ended, Camden have already posted parking suspension notices at the Eastern end of King Henry’s Road on both sides of the road for “traffic management”.

International Women’s Day

Catherine West, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, writes:

This International Women’s Day 2021, I wanted to celebrate some of the inspirational women who, even in these difficult times, haven’t stopped campaigning for – and achieving – real change.

Whilst restrictions mean I can’t hold my traditional event in parliament, I’ve arranged a virtual event on Monday, March 8 from 5.30-7pm. I’m delighted that I’ll be joined by  Kizzy Gardiner, trustee of Pregnant Then Screwed and the UK’s first locum MP; Anya Nanning Ramamurthy, local climate justice activist and member of the UK Student Climate Network; Bella Sankey, director of Detention Action, an organisation campaigning for detention reform and an end to indefinite detention; and Hope Virgo, mental health campaigner and founder of the Dump the Scales campaign.

Places are free but limited, so please reserve yours at

Here’s to the U3A

Maggie Crawford, on behalf of U3A in London, based at The Old Town Hall in Belsize Park:

Friday is a special day for members of the U3A in London as they celebrate adding one more zoom class to the 99 classes already online. 

These classes cover a huge range of subjects appealing to different tastes, but one that has been received much praise and thanks is one on artisan baking given by Cindy Zurias, a master baker.

Letters of appreciation show that a group of members learnt new skills, had a lot of fun, made new friends and now have a What’s App group to exchange ideas, news and recipes. 

Les, an enthusiastic member of the group wrote: “I joined thinking I would make the odd loaf of bread. I did not realise it would become a way of life...we now have a constant supply of wonderful additive-free nutritious bread...and cinnamon buns, pizza, croissants and naan.” 

This group of friends are now looking forward to joining the 100th zoom class on Friday.

What better way to mark this occasion than with an Indian cookery course, given by Amrita Narain. Amrita already has a loyal following at U3A as she returns to help beginners as well as experienced cooks to “leave with the confidence to create delicious and authentic Indian food in your own home - guaranteed!”. Amrita says: “The food is easy to cook and good for you - and easy on the pocket too.” 

Bon Appetit to all!

Rail card should be extended

Liz Thomson, Fortis Green Road, Muswell Hill, writes:

Three cheers for Ros Elsen. My first Senior Railcard expired in September – and of course I had the usual reminders to renew it. 

To do so seemed pointless as we still couldn’t really travel – and because several months earlier I had written to Senior Railcard to point out that it had essentially been unusable since March. There was, of course, no reply which only added to my ire. 

While refunding money is probably impossible for various reasons, it ought to be possible to add an extension on to renewals. It should, by rights, be a year – we will still basically be locked down and unable to travel until mid-March – but six or nine months would be a nice gesture. 

People are likely to travel a good deal once we are able to do so, meaning more money in the rail pot. It won’t make up for what’s not been spent these past 12 months – but private rail franchisers and their investors will just have to (in that ugly current parlance) suck it up.


Lord Fiske, chairman of the Decimal Board, at the Strand in London in a Woolworths store testing out

Lord Fiske, chairman of the Decimal Board, in a Woolworths store testing out the new decimal currency system ahead of the 'other D-Day' - Credit: PA Archive

Keith Martin, Friern Park, Finchley, writes: 

The chair of the Decimal Currency Board, Lord Fiske, hoped that the other D-Day on February 15, 1971 would be described as “the non-event of 1971”. My poem Nostalgia, attached, may bring back further memories.

Though I wouldn’t suggest that neuralgia
Is good for the problems we face,
There’s a case for a dose of nostalgia
To put all our tensions in place.
An anniversary now celebrated
Is the D-Day in seventy-one,
When a new currency was created
Of one hundred pence in a ton.
And the stars of this great celebration
Are the folks in the numerous care homes,
Who remember, with fondness and passion,
The way shillings fed gastronomes.
Why, for tuppence you’d get half a Mars bar.
For Thruppence a box of Maltesers.
For fourpence a book where the yarns are.
For a tanner a test full of teasers.
To try counting pence, use your fingers.
There’s ten of them, ask Aunt Susanna.
She remembers, the memory lingers,
“There’s a lot you could buy for a tanner!”

Haverstock Hill

Linda Grove, Belsize Lane, writes:

Congratulations to Amit Shah for standing up to Camden Council over the lack of consultation about the cycle route on Haverstock Hill, NW3. I wonder why none of our local councillors had alerted their electorate to Camden’s plans?

I’m sure we are all in favour of walking and cycling but what we need to remind all our local councillors and Camden is that they must give their electorate transparency and consultation with any projects.

Universal credit

Cllr Anne Clarke (Lab), London Assembly candidate, Barnet and Camden, writes:

The chancellor must use his Budget announcement on March 3 to keep the £20 weekly uplift in universal credit payments. 

This has been a lifeline to the most vulnerable in our community and the many thousands of Londoners who have lost their livelihoods during this pandemic.

This is the very least the government can do to keep countless households from falling into poverty. Even with the extra £20, universal credit claimants are struggling to make ends meet.

A recent study conducted by the Welfare at a Social Distance project has revealed that a significant number of new claimants have been unable to eat regularly or healthily, pay bills or put away a modest amount of money each month.

Too many Londoners on low incomes are becoming trapped in cycle of economic insecurity by a welfare system that has been ground down over the last 10 years.

During this prolonged national crisis, we must see ministers repair our safety net by also increasing statutory sick pay so it is line with the London Living Wage, boosting local housing allowance so it covers average rents and scrapping the five week wait and two child limit on universal credit payments.

Get the test

Joanne McCartney (Lab), London Assembly member, Enfield and Haringey, writes:

Around one in three people infected with Covid-19 do not display symptoms- and this is a conservative estimate. 

Asymptomatic carriers can still pass it onto others which is why it is vital that we all continue to play our part to break the chain of transmission as we await the full rollout of the vaccine.

One of the best tools available to us is precautionary lateral flow testing which can detect asymptomatic cases that would otherwise go undetected in the community.

I would strongly encourage local people without symptoms, especially those who are leaving the house to work to go and get one of these tests regularly. 

More information on the location of lateral testing sites in the borough can be found at for Haringey.

The rules remain the same for those displaying Covid-19 symptoms in that they should immediately self-isolate, book a test on the NHS website and contact the council if they need financial support. 

We are seeing the NHS make encouraging progress on vaccine distribution. 
Now ministers must urgently fix contact tracing which continues to fall very far short of the mark.