Vision for new spaces for artists and creatives to trade on Broadway lanes

The vision for Avenue Mews from Place-Make architects and planners

The vision for Avenue Mews from Place-Make architects and planners - Credit: Archant

A Muswell Hill architect has a vision to develop a parallel route for small businesses, artisans and creatives, so they can trade from lanes and sidestreets behind the Broadway.

Avenue Mews as it is now

Avenue Mews as it is now - Credit: Archant

David Edwards, an architect planner, is inspired by the Lanes in Brighton, with thriving independent dressmakers, artists and potters selling their wares on the backstreets.

He believes the Broadway has the talent, as showcased by the Farmers Market at Alexandra Palace on Sundays and the Muswell Hill Creatives, a collective of artists and traders.

Queens Lane could be a work space for creative industries, Avenue Square could launch a book fair and outdoor cinema and Church Square could boast music and street theatre.

But the sidestreets behind the main shops are currently treated as “left over” spaces which are poorly mantained, with closed frontages, irregular surfaces and limited lighting.

Mr Edwards, who runs a small architecture firm from his home on Muswell Hill Road, believes there is an “urgent need” to create affordable working so creative industries can remain and grow.

The 39-year-old said: “There’s already a fine network of mews and lanes, but unless you need to park a car or throw away waste, there’s no reason to go down those streets.

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“With a little investment and a bit of effort, the spaces could be opened to create something positive for local residents and businesses.”

He thinks Muswell Hill should take a lesson from Hampstead and Highgate, with their side lanes put to good use with small shops running off the main streets.

While Muswell Hill was developed in the last century, Hampstead and Highgate have been built and developed into complex and bustling streets over thousands of years.

The idea is still very much in its early stages, but Mr Edwards has been in contact with Haringey Council, Muswell Hill Creatives and the Friends of St James Church in Muswell Hill.

He wrote in the brochure for the concept: “Haringey has become a hub for arts and crafts, mixed media and creative activities... This is sustained by a community of local producers, artists, jewellers, dressmakers, carpenters, bakers...However increasing rents along main roads and a lack of alternative opportunities present a significant challenge to Muswell Hill’s social and physical make-up...

“There is an urgent need to create affordable working, meeting [and] preparation space.”