News

ACTION LONG OVERDUE ON HIGHGATE'S 271 BUS TURN-AROUND CHAOS

Highgate Village has a unique character. It is one of London's few remaining inner-urban villages and much of its survival is due to the Highgate Society, long-standing resident-led champion of all that is good & great. Not least because the Village is in the heart of a Conservation area, the HS has for a long time now been trying, alas forlornly, to get Transport for London (TfL) to move the unsightly and disruptive 271 bus turnaround away from Pond Square.

£1 MILLION TRENCH!

A Hornsey man out jogging suffered serious brain damage after falling into a dangerous pothole dug by Haringey Council. Cost to all of us: £1 million. Kyle Bullock from Hornsey was out jogging when he stumbled into a pothole. He spent 4 months in hospital after suffering a serious brain injury, is now confined to a wheelchair and needs full-time care. After protracted negotiations, Mr Bullock was recently awarded £1m compensation by Homes for Haringey (what was the old Housing Dept). As usual, the ex-Council Dept initially denied responsibility only to cave-in when the claim got to the High Court. What are the lessons from this tragic tale?! Well, firstly, you can never rely on the Council or its poorly-supervised contractors to do work properly. Secondly, when it's caught out, never trust Haringey to do the right thing. Thirdly, when it comes to Haringey Council, honesty is the last refuge of the scoundrel!

CRIME FEAR ON GASKELL ROAD COUNCIL ESTATE

Local Conservative, Kay Carter, has written to Haringey's CEO expressing residents' concerns about burglaries and security. Residents on the Gaskell Road Estate have raised concerns with local Conservatives over a number of burglaries in the area. Council tenants especially are worried about the security of their properties after a series of break-ins to homes in the neighbourhood. In particular there are doubts that the council-fitted locks to front and rear doors are of a sufficiently high standard especially as the part-glazed doors themselves are not very robust. Local Conservative, Kay Carter, has now written to Haringey Chief Executive (CEO), Nick Walkley, outlining residents' concerns. “Everybody has the right to feel safe in their home,” says Kay. “For this reason I have written to Nick Walkley asking for a security review for Gaskell Road Estate residents. The council needs to address residents' concerns and, in particular, take the necessary steps to improve door security.” The issue of security is just one of a broader range of worries about the standard of council property maintenance. Housing stock on the Estate is largely pre-first-world-war and requires significant upkeep, but tenants are concerned about the quality of repairs.

FALSELY ACCUSED!

"We contacted our MP, our councillors and no-one, not one, responded” say local parents “framed” by Haringey.Few accusations are more damaging in today's world than that of child abuse. Yet this is precisely the false allegation laid recently at the door of a blameless couple in Haringey, ironically themselves experienced social workers. In true Stalin-esque fashion the Council had launched care proceedings based on one anonymous letter of malicious denunciation. In a landmark legal ruling, reported in the national press in April 2013, the couple were completely exonerated. At a judicial review, the Judge ruled that Haringey Social Services' actions were: “so flawed procedurally that they were unlawful”. Even more trenchantly, the Judge observed that there was “a distinct possibility that the parents' threat of making a complaint had triggered the Council's decision to escalate” care proceedings. He also awarded costs against Haringey. Conservatives take no pleasure in highlighting the Council's continuing pendulum swings from apathy (Victoria Climbié, Baby P etc.) to extreme overreaction. But, how many parents might now think twice about getting medical treatment even for a simple playground accident?

WE NEED MORE FLEXIBILITY FOR HOME WORKERS

With many Londoners of all ages working at least some days at home, home-worker and mother-of-two Kay Carter calls for more flexible ticketing on London Transport. Many Highgate residents are now working from home for at least part of the week. These local residents - and those who work part-time or who are, like Kay, working from home and trying to juggle their 'work:life balance' - find that standard weekly or monthly Oyster Cards look like increasingly poor value. That's why Conservatives on the Greater London Assembly are now working with Transport for London to offer better value to these customers. Home-workers are caught in a cleft stick -- either buy expensive tickets daily or buy a weekly ticket which they only part use. Conservatives are lobbying for more flexibility on ticketing so that Londoners have the option of, for example, buying a three-day per week TravelCard. This would make part-time working more affordable for commuters and should encourage those who are able to work from home to do so more often.Even with Tube upgrades, the building of CrossRail and introducing more carriages on many mainline trains, the rise in London's population is leading to ever more overcrowding on public transport. Encouraging home working, where possible, is a great way to alleviate overcrowding - and offering ticket incentives is a simple way to facilitate this.

GOING DOWN THE TUBE

“Commuters are getting fed up with the continuing lack of a down escalator at Highgate Tube station” says local mum, Kay Carter. And there's worse to come. Mother of two young girls, Kay is a frequent user of Highgate Tube where one of the only two escalators serving platform level has been out-of-service (OOS) for months as part of a seemingly endless project Various London Underground (LUL) notices confusingly say that it will be back in service in mid-June or mid-October and that “replacement” takes at least 5 months whilst “upgrading” takes up to 30 weeks. With the up-only escalator to Archway Road next in line to be put OOS, and the overall project running late, local Conservative Kay has now written to Boris Johnson, and to the boss of LUL, asking what can be done to accelerate the scheme's completion. Climbing the steep path to Wood Lane is no fun after a day's work! Kay has also sought an assurance that the work on Highgate's escalators - which started in 2012 - will not be allowed to slip into 2014.