Last night's Winchmore Hill Ward Forum at the Orange Tree was by all accounts very informative and a success - apart from disruption from someone who will be standing in the council elections for one of the councillor seats in the same ward. It seems that the police even had to intervene. Probably no coincidence that the same man is the only person I've ever had to ban from the PGC forums because he persisted in attacking "the man, not the ball" and for unacceptable language.
Subjects covered included the cycle lanes, quieter neighbourhoods, a presentation by Guide Dogs for the Blind and further projects at Firs Farm. I'm pleased to see that the council are looking at the possibility of including a pedestrian phase at the Green Lanes end of Fords Grove. Generally speaking, Cycle Enfield has been good news for pedestrians, but not at this particular place (having said that, it was just as bad, or possibly worse, before the remodelling).
I know all this because of the messages that some attendees have posted to the Enfield Voices Facebook page. With their permission I've copied the posts - see below.
Post by Sarah Dodgson
Winchmore Ward residents had a good opportunity to hear from their Councillor and speakers from Guide Dogs for the Blind, the Firs Lane Wetlands, the local police and the Quieter Neighbourhoods scheme.
Residents will be interested to hear that the police will now be available to be spoken with in Hopper and Bean near the station as well as Grovelands Park.
I for one was glad that questions from politicians wishing to make a noise were discouraged. Although I don’t live in the area, my daughter daily walks through the new road layouts under discussion, to school, so I was glad to hear a detailed discussion of ongoing road design plans without acrimony.
This area has borne some of the brunt of displacement traffic and rat running so it was interesting to hear first hand the measured and careful discussion of the implementation of calming schemes, with some really positive feedback about the 20 mph scheme along Hoppers Road. The sad observation is that displacement rat running was still happening from Green Lanes and bad drivers are still bad drivers.
The problems with the pedestrian lights on the intersection of Station Road, Fords Grove and Green Lanes are now to be looked at again by the Council. “Good” say all the parents of children trying to catch the buses outside Capital House.
Without being parti pris (I am neither Labour or Conservative) keeping our ward forums informative and calm, discouraging bullying and harsh words, is an important part of keeping our civil society civil.
A lively discussion about which trees absorbed the most pollution and how to keep Thames Water on the ball about maintaining the New River, rounded out a really interesting evening
Guide Dogs for the Blind
- please tuck your car in if parking in your front garden
- Don’t leave your rubbish or bins where Blind folk walk
- If you notice the rotating feel-to-find-out-if-green-man-showing gizmo for the deaf blind on pelican crossings is broken - report it please
Firs Lane Wetlands
- 8500 crocus bulbs planted so worth a visit in the Spring
- Still fundraising for the community centre
- Mile loop path now complete for runners joggers and walkers
- Crime prevention tips and where to find your community police
- Put your keys into a tin box if they open your car with a signal that can be stolen
- Crime is down but burglaries still happens
- Sign up to their newsletter
Post by Ian Barnes
Really excellent report Sarah.
It was a really useful forum marred only by the unedifying event of a waiting Police officer having to intervene with an abusive audience member, the Conservative candidate Paul Mandel. I've never seen anything like it in all the years I've been attending the forum. The great irony is of course that Mandel does not even live in Winchmore Hill ward and yet tries to attend Winchmore Hill events without invitation in an attempt to politicise them.
Anyhow, some challenging questions to the Quieter Neighbourhoods officer really offered some insight into the way our roads are changing. The Sainsburys junction proved to be a real bone of contention which I hope will be taken further.
I have to say that I disagree with the rat-running observation though. I live on a road off Green Lanes and the traffic flow is pretty much the same as it was before the cycle lanes. The main issue we have is the road has always been a magnet for speeding drivers hence we hope to have traffic calming measures in place very soon.
Post by Sarah Dodgson
Thank you Ian Barnes
I think Winchmore Hill ward residents are doing a service for people living around this area, in keeping the Quieter Neighbourhoods team up to the mark, as so many of us travel through their area to Sainsburys, schools, faith venues etc and just coming and going.
Keep going on these intersection design and road planning stuff, because it's all work in progress. For example even if you choose a "no change" option for your road in a consultation, neighbouring roads choosing to be "calmed" will make your road the rat run of choice, so everything should be re-visit-able.
Post by Ian Barnes
Absolutely. I think the cycle lane team know there are snags to address - it's such a big project. Community feedback is invaluable when they can't monitor everything 24 hours a day.
It was also good to hear that there will be a statutory consultation about the Quieter Neighbourhoods down the line.
Post by Michael Joseph Cole
Yes, a very good report of an interesting meeting. I thought the talk given by the chap from Guide Dogs for the Blind. Also the Quieter Neighbourhoods discussion was very informative.
I’m not sure of the rules regarding who should be able to attend these meetings but I would have thought that they would be solely for residents within that ward.
It was a shame that Paul felt the need to interject even though he is not a resident of Winchmore Hill. This did create an unpleasant atmosphere which was unnecessary and does reflect poorly on the person concerned.
Post by Sarah Dodgson
I didn't intend to tread on toes of anyone else (incl. those in the citizen journalism proposal) who is in Winchmore Hill Ward so anyone who wants to do a report like this going forward, please do.
Non-residents can attend any of them I think, but in an observing/reporting capacity only maybe?
That was the spirit I went in, there has been confused reporting about some of the traffic intersection designs on the agenda, and both as a Winchmore School parent and a Winchmore Hill faith community rep. I was interested. But I think it is right to keep Ward Forums (fora?) for residents' issues.
This is where the discussion had reached at 3pm on Wednesday, but I expect there will be more contributions. If you want to keep following it, visit www.facebook.com/groups/763895757039726/permalink/1501295526633075/.