Calls for street lights to be fixed as Alexandra Palace receives grant
- Credit: Jeanette Geller
Funding shortfalls have been blamed for stretches of road being left dark through Alexandra Park, causing people using the bus stops to raise safety fears.
In an email seen by this paper, the Alexandra Palace Estate Management (APEM) said "improving the Park lighting was a project in our strategic vision prior to the pandemic", adding: "However, budgets have been cut to a level where only critical works have been possible."
This was confirmed by a spokesperson for APEM, who said only four street lights are currently not working, three of which are by the bus stop.
It was announced last week that Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust will receive a grant of £702,000 from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund, which it said it will spend on utilities, security and staffing on the 196 acre site.
Jeanette Geller, who lives in Springfield Avenue, Muswell Hill, raised the alarm in September.
She told this paper: "There are approximately five street lights not working around the W3 garden centre bus stops and the path to Grove Avenue, making it extremely dark and making passengers getting off the bus in the evening feel very vulnerable."
On December 13 she walked her 17-year-old daughter to the bus stop by Alexandra Palace Garden Centre at 6.50am where they had to wait in darkness for her bus.
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"Alexandra Palace can rig up temporary lights for two days when there is a firework display, a commercial venture, then take them down because people using that path every day for work and school aren't paying to come on to the grounds?" she said.
"And nearby Alexandra Palace Garden Centre can temporarily light up their premises like Wembley Stadium to protect their Christmas trees, and yet the council can't temporarily light up two bus stops to protect their residents until permanent repairs can be made?
"Will it take a woman or child being attacked and assaulted for someone to get the message that this is an issue right now, and has been for months?"
Haringey Council said it needs approval from the Alexandra Palace Estate before repairs can be done.
However, the Estate said it needs "to have a solution for how to do the repairs" and it is looking at "temporary solar solutions" although no timelines could be given.
Louise Stewart, chief executive of Alexandra Park and Palace, said: “We understand the concern with the lighting in this area and we have been working to find the best solution.
"The infrastructure in the park is very old, so simple replacements and repairs are not always immediately feasible.
"We’ve had success in lighting up other locations in the park that have experienced similar issues and we are also exploring longer term upgrades, including options such as solar powered lights and LEDs.”
A spokesperson for Haringey Council said it does "not have enforcement powers" to ensure Alexandra Palace supplies "sufficient lighting".
The council sent an engineer on December 15 to look at the site and said it would provide an estimated cost for the repair works for approval by the maintenance team at Alexandra Palace.
“Community safety remains a priority in Haringey, and we have made significant investment this year in upgrading CCTV across the borough and our entire street lighting network to make it safer for residents and visitors of Haringey," the spokesperson added.
“Although the street lights through the Alexandra Palace Estate are on private land and therefore not our responsibility, we have been working closely with the managing organisation to resolve the issues they are currently facing, including carrying out a number of repairs in the area recently.
“We are very limited on the action we can take with it being private land, but we will continue to support Alexandra Palace by providing investigations into the faults and will carry out the necessary repairs once approval has been received by the managing organisation."
They said the engineer recently carried out a night patrol to identify which lights were out and sent a report to Alexandra Palace.
"Our community safety and ASB enforcement team is also engaging with Alexandra Palace to ensure community concerns are resolved as speedily as possible," they said.