West Heath mayhem subsides after X Factor half term frenzy
PUBLISHED: 17:40 05 November 2009 | UPDATED: 16:32 07 September 2010
SCREAMING girls, traffic jams and hoards of paparazzi are still plaguing the leafy street in Golders Green where X Factor chaos has descended. The mayhem has grown worse on West Heath Avenue in the past few weeks as news spreads of where the popular TV sh
SCREAMING girls, traffic jams and hoards of paparazzi are still plaguing the leafy street in Golders Green where X Factor chaos has descended.
The mayhem has grown worse on West Heath Avenue in the past few weeks as news spreads of where the popular TV show's contestants are living.
Residents are furious at the way Barnet Council has handled the chaos, which culminated last week in the decision to close the road for five days to cope with the increased number of fans on their half-term school holidays.
West Heath Drive resident Roger Reynolds said: "There were huge traffic jams in other roads because of the closure. It took us 10 minutes to do 150 yards at one point.
"Originally the council said it would be closed for 21 days but I am pleased it has re-opened.
"The closure was very annoying for the residents and drivers. it was unconstitutional and undemocratic. My feeling is that they could have controlled it better without closing the road. That was just the easy option and it badly affected the residents.
"We are feeling the problems of the X Factor. They should have more security at the house. Golders Green is not really the right place for it. It is very busy already and there are a lot of schools around here."
Golders Green resident Karen Smith, who uses the road daily, added: "The sheer amount of traffic diverted elsewhere was dangerous and caused chaos because it is such a big house on a big road. Architecturally it stands out and the location has got out quite quickly. When the X Factor house was in West Hampstead it was more private.
"Now the schools have gone back it will probably be less of a problem. But there are still silly girls there. Two of them were crying when I went past."
Barnet's politicians have also taken a hard line on the effect the popular reality TV show is having on Golders Green and have called for it to be moved before its scheduled Christmas finale.
Liberal Democrat councillor Monroe Palmer thinks life would be a lot easier if Barnet Council was as helpful to its residents as it has been to X Factor's producers.
He said: "As soon as famous people have a bit of a problem we are out there closing the road off and they have put a guy out there on security duty, making sure the paparazzi behave themselves and stopping them from parking where they shouldn't.
"I would rather the contestants were put in a farm in the middle of a field. The place to watch television celebrities is on television. A residential road is a residential road and they have imposed upon the local residents the celebrity mania. We have traffic problems and jams in Golders Green anyway, without this adding to it."
Meanwhile Cllr Brian Coleman, Mayor of Barnet and London Assembly member for Barnet and Camden, is writing to Simon Cowell to demand that the X Factor mayhem ceases.
Cllr Coleman has called on the show's producers to "end the purgatory for residents".
He said: "This whole thing has got completely out of hand - shouting and screaming in the street, graffiti scribbled over gates and fences, and people running out in front of moving traffic.
"Who would want this commotion on their doorstep? X Factor's producers need to recognise their responsibilities. I shall be writing to Simon Cowell to say if they can't be good neighbours they should move to a more secluded location where they are no bother to anyone.''
Barnet Council took the decision on Thursday to close the road because of concerns for the safety of the large crowds of youngsters, some as young as eight, all trying to get a glimpse at the contestants.
Transport boss and Hampstead Garden Suburb councillor, Andrew Harper, said: "The council closed the road to ensure that children and young people were not in danger from traffic.
"Frankly the council and, I believe, the majority of residents, see the presence of the X Factor in the street as part of life's rich tapestry."
The road was reopened on Monday morning as the crowds died down when children returned to school.
Do you think X Factor should make an exit to the country? To join the debate write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Envoy from China says 'it's a no'...
THE house's presence in Golders Green has even caused a diplomatic row according to reports this week.
Allegedly the Chinese Ambassador who lives on the road complained about the late-night and early-morning noise disturbance from fans.
But Cllr Andrew Harper said Barnet Council had allayed the diplomat's fears.
He said: "I have spoken to residents about the presence of X Factor in their street, and they are pleased that the council has taken action.
"This includes representatives of the Chinese Ambassador, who is satisfied that the council, police and production company have put in place sensible measures."
... as trader says 'yes'!
THEY may be causing mayhem but at least the X Factor contestants are keeping it local and supporting traders in their adoptive area.
A Hampstead dentist was delighted to be offered the job of whitening all the finalists' teeth as they moved to their North London home.
Dr Mervyn Druian, whose surgery the London Centre for Cosmetic Dentistry is based on Haverstock Hill, has helped the budding stars to smile with a revolutionary teeth-whitening treatment, Thermal Diffuser system.
He said: "The finalists were a pleasure to work with and I wish them all the best of luck with the finals.