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The new neighbourhood watch for Park Avenue and New River Crescent got off to a lively start on 3rd June, when around 30 residents attended a meeting at the Fox, set up at the initiative of Pamela Ramtohul, a relative newcomer to Palmers Green, who in preparation for the meeting called at every house in Park Avenue and most addresses in New River Crescent. She told the meeting that she had become aware that there was a proper community spirit in the streets, though less so towards the Green Lanes end, where there were more flats and bedsits and a more transient population.

The liveliest discussion related to unsavoury activities in the mews on either side of Park Avenue, giving access to the back of the shops and flats in Green Lanes. There were complaints about general untidiness and overflowing waste bins in both mews - apparently a result of landlords not providing enough bins and waste carts being unable to get past parked cars to empty the bins. There was also concern that emergency services would be unable to access entrances to flats in the news because of the parked cars. According to one member of the public, the mews are classified as "public wasteland", meaning that no-one is reponsible for their upkeep. However, the most serious issues related to drug dealing "all day every day" and suspected prostitution in the mews. One resident said that he had been complaining to the police and council for thirty years to no effect. People were unhappy about the idea of their children having to walk past the mews on their way home.

Advice on how to report suspected criminal acitivity was provided by Jennifer Arkwright, the Police Community Support Officer for Palmers Green. She emphasized the necessity of providing exact details of time and location. People should not dial 999 (except, of course, in a genuine emergency), but should call 101 and ask that a message be passed to the Palmers Green Safer Neighbourhoods Team.

It was quite clear, however, that police and PCSO presence in the ward is, to say the least, extremely thin, especially since the last round of cuts last year.

Other matters that were discussed included:

  • cars driving at high speed along Park Avenue
  • alleys between back gardens - should they be gated, who was responsible for them, should people be allowed to extend their garden by incorporating part of an alley?
  • free newspapers (especially the Enfield Gazette) being left sticking out of letterboxes
  • the external state of the lock-up garages at the end of Park Avenue
  • dog mess.

On a more positive note, the meeting welcomed the idea of trying to organise a street party or summer barbecue.

 

The new neighbourhood watch for Park Avenue and New River Crescent got off to a lively start on 3rd June, when around 30 residents attended a meeting at the Fox.  The meeting was organised by Pamela Ramtohul, a relative newcomer to Palmers Green, who in preparation for the meeting called at every house in Park Avenue and most addresses in New River Crescent.  She told the meeting that from talking to people she had become aware that there was a proper community spirit in the streets, though less so towards the Green Lanes end, where there were more flats and bedsits and a more transient population.

The liveliest discussion related to the mews on either side of Park Avenue, giving access to the back of the shops and flats in Green Lanes.  There were complaints about general untidiness and overflowing waste bins in both mews - apparently a result of landlords not providing enough bins and waste carts being unable to get past parked cars to empty the bins.  There was also concern that emergency services would be unable to access entrances to flats in the news because of the parked cars.  According to one member of the public, the mews are classified as "public wasteland", meaning that no-one is reponsible for their upkeep.  However, the most serious concerns related to drug dealing "all day every day" and suspected prostitution in the mews.  One resident said that he had been complaining to the police and council for thirty years to no effect.  People were unhappy about the idea of their children having to walk past the mews on their way home.

Advice on how to report suspected criminal acitivity was provided by Jennifer Arkwright, the Police Community Support Officer for Palmers Green.  She emphasized the necessity of providing exact details of time and location.  People should not dial 999 (except, of course, in a genuine emergency), but should call 101 and ask that a message be passed to the Palmers Green Safer Neighbourhoods Team.

It was quite clear, however, that police and PCSO presence in the ward is, to say the least, extremely thin, especially since the last round of cuts last year.

Other matters that were discussed included:

cars driving at high speed along Park Avenue
alleys between back gardens - should they be gated, who was responsible for them, should people be allowed to extend their garden by incorporating part of an alley
free newspapers being left sticking out of letterboxes
the external state of the lock-up garages at the end of Park Avenue
dog mess.

On a more positive note, the meeting welcomed the idea of trying to organise a street party or summer barbecue.




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Garry Humphreys's Avatar
Garry Humphreys posted a reply #312 06 Jun 2014 20:40
Thank you for such a comprehensive report of this meeting! May I add to some of the topics you have reported?

With such a small Police presence for the whole of Palmers Green ward, we need to involve our ward councillors, and I suggested the newly-elected ones (possibly Mary Maguire, who hasn't previously served as a councillor to my knowledge) should be invited to attend our meetings, hear what people think, and take this up at Council level on our behalf. That's what our ward councillors are for!

As well as the problems relating to the mews on the north side of Park Avenue is the loitering and drinking in the area opposite, behind Gatehouse, where there was a lot of verbal abuse aimed at passers-by last year, as described at the meeting by a neighbour whose flat overlooks the area. Lack of a Police presence only encourages use of this area.

The people who extend their gardens over the alleys are breaking the law, no doubt about it, for whether the alleys are still a public right of way or not, now that many of them have security gates, is neither here nor there: they are still intended to provide rear access to gardens and anyone preventing this by encroachment is clearly breaking if not the law then certainly local by-laws. If people look at the Land Registry documents relating to their properties the position of these alleys is clearly stated. We all need access to the rear of our properties - I can't take garden rubbish through my house, my new washing machine could only be got in through the back entrance, tree surgeons pruning my elder tree gained access and removed branches via the back gate and along the alley. This is why the alleys need to be kept clear and accessible for every house.

The alleys behind the shops are intended as service roads for the shops, for delivery of goods, disposal of waste, etc., and are almost certainly 'public' - i.e., maintained by the council at public expense just like any other thoroughfare. The public also has the right to walk along them, but I wouldn't, given the current situation. Undoubtedly a large-scale Ordnance Survey map would show all these features and their status, and might prove to be an essential tool in resolving all manner of issues the Neighbourhood Watch might come up against.

From my bit of Park Avenue, we also relate to adjacent houses in Lightcliffe Road and Kingsley Road, who share the same rear alleys, rather than to New River Crescent, but I realize that a line has to be drawn somewhere. Pity though ...

Pamela also reported someone who had suggested a Controlled Parking Zone! This was proposed by the Council several years ago and we opposed it fiercely (and won) - it went to a hearing before an inspector. The point is that it would only operate during the day when there is normally no parking problem in Park Avenue/New River Crescent, but wouldn't apply in the evenings. Also, people resented having to pay to park in front of their own homes! That's a non-starter, NOT to be encouraged! The Council would seize on the idea (it would make money for them) so please don't suggest it.

A street party might be a good idea, but I'm fiercely opposed to barbecues because of the pollution thrown into the atmosphere and the carcinogenic poisons (heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) that result from animal fats falling on hot coals. See blog.doctoroz.com/oz-experts/the-hidden-dangers-of-grilling . So, have a party if you must, but can the food be prepared another way?

Finally (and apologies for this long post), the daft idea of closing off the bottom of Park Avenue: just imagine all the car turning that would have to take place for the cars to get out again. I bet the people who made this suggestion never thought of that! Or the constant bumping of cars over speed humps 24 hours a day. No, No, No!