Ward Forum – 21/07/20
Article written by Enfield Town Residents Association
This week Grange Ward made history by being the first Enfield Ward to hold a ‘virtual’ ward forum. And jolly good it was too. Even arch-technophobe moi had to admit that it
was easier than I had expected. The images were clear and – perhaps of
most importance for those of us d’un certain age, it was actually a lot easier
to HEAR WHAT WAS BEING SAID than is often the case in the Dugdale or St Peter’s Church. So it is with more confidence than usual that I can report that Sarge reported that – perhaps unsurprisingly, given the situation over the last few months – house burglaries and robberies had gone down. Thefts from persons have been ‘up and down’. The main
issue for police – and residents – for the past few months has been motor vehicle crime: thefts of, from and vandalism. However, he reported that information fed to the police by our various WhatsApp groups has led to the police now pursuing an investigation of one person who appears to have been regularly involved in motor vehicle thefts and other offences. So that’s something of a result!
The police have also been attempting to tackle speeding offences – these can have a double ‘pay-off’ as often a stop leads to discovery of documentation ‘issues’ (I think that translates as ‘a lack of’), for instance, that the driver has been driving uninsured. As a result the police have seized around 20 vehicles over the past few weeks. Speeding offences – you will probably not be the slightest bit surprised to hear – occur most often on Cecil Road, Old Park Ridings and London Road.
The councillors then gave updates on local issues.
Chris Dey reported that he was pleased to be able to say that the Council’s response to the COVID situation had been good, in particular the food hub on the A10 and the weekly food parcels distributed to vulnerable people around the borough. Regarding the ‘one-way’ system along the New River path in Town Park, it transpired that our councillors had asked for a one-way system to be installed because it is too narrow for people to pass whilst out walking. Unfortunately the message got somewhat garbled in the telling, leading to officers first of all closing off the footpath! Cllr Terry Neville had given them some ‘robust feedback’ (his words!) and (as you are all probably aware) it is now open for use again.
Terry then gave an account of the proposals currently being pitched by the Deutsche Bank group for the Precinct. The plan is to open up the precinct and make it brighter, make the access points on Church Street and Cecil Road more welcoming and make it more feasible to develop a ‘night time economy’. One of the more exciting suggestions being pitched is that we might get a ‘boutique’ cinema – possibly an Everyman… (oh please, please, pleeeeaaase).
Waitrose, M&S and Boots are viewed as key retailers and Deutsche Bank are keen to keep them onsite. Apparently our Waitrose (blessed be its name) is the branch with the lowest turnover in – er, it was either north London, the whole of London or perhaps the UK, but I must have been refilling my glass distracted at that point and can’t quite recall. Well, suffice it to say that our branch of Waitrose is not doing as well as it ought, and the feeling is that this is because of its limited opening hours. So it is hoped that by opening up the precinct and increasing evening opening hours will strengthen Waitrose’s performance (and that of the other retailers) hence helping ensure Waitrose stays put. The plan is to reconfigure the development by opening up the entrance to Church Street (beside Waterstones) and creating a new route through the precinct from Church Street towards the westbound bus stops on Cecil Road (in place of the rather narrow alley beside M&S). In addition the creation of a new pedestrian link to Library Green is proposed.
However, while it is keen to retain the ‘big names’ in the precinct, Deutsche Bank is nonetheless
aware that retail is changing. Its proposal therefore is to have fewer, but better, retail outlets in theprecinct. Harsh words were aimed by councillors and residents at some of the current offerings; it’s probably best to avoid saying anything further regarding which specific ones were pointed out in order to avoid legal challenges…
The proposal also includes the introduction of some residential accommodation as part of the
changes, and in order to bring in some funding to support the remainder of the work. Councillors
had emphasised that any such proposals must respect and be in keeping with the heights of local
residences. You can find the ETRA response to the Deutsche Bank proposals summarised in the section that follows the remainder of the Ward Forum report.
Cllr Neville went on to report on our councillors’ meeting with Dominvs, the group proposing to
build two blocks of flats on the site currently occupied by the Metaswitch site at 100 Church Street.
Like the ETRA committee they believe it is important to keep some space between the flats and the
pavement and to maintain the green space. Like us they too have concerns about the viability of
flats with no parking whatsoever. The fear has to be that we will end up seeing a re-run of the
problems encountered with the Burleigh Way development – the lack of parking there resulted in
few being sold. Cllr Andy Milne then took over and reported on the Ross House site proposals. These, it had been felt, were for ‘identikit tower block buildings’ ‘of no architectural merit’. The architect apparently had difficulty defending the proposals for that site and as far as our councillors are aware the proposal is currently being revised.
Cllr Chris Dey then gave an update on the New River Loop. As we have reported in several recent
newsletters there has been a problem with pumps along the New River and consequently water
levels along the New River and in the Town Park Wetlands have been low. The main problem now
appears to be that Thames Water fixed the last of the pumps that needed attention, but then
subsequently isolated it – but have not given an explanation for why they have done this. An LBE
officer is apparently dealing with this but is having trouble getting answers out of Thames Water.
Cllr Dey said if anyone wants to be kept in the loop about this issue to please contact him and he will include you in the growing list of people being cc’ed into the correspondence.
Lastly, Cllr Dey spoke on the death of Chris Bond, one of the Southbury Ward councillors. Although
on opposite sides of the political divide, all recognised Cllr Bond’s passion and enthusiasm for the
town centre. He had had a long career in local government and Cllr Dey praised his commitment to the borough.
Grange Park Residents Association – Crime Meeting 13/02/19
Last night I attended a meeting organised by Grange Park Residents Association. The sole agenda item was the Crime Wave hitting the N21 postcode in recent weeks and months. It was well attended by 200 residents from surrounding streets. Thanks to Fr Stephen from St Peters Church for opening up the Church and allowing it to be used to host the meeting.
The Metropolitan Police, Grange Ward Safer Neighbourhoods team were in attendance and updated the meeting on the latest crime figures for the ward. They were questioned by members of the public about some of the recent break-ins and the detection rate.
My colleagues and I addressed the meeting and praised the safer neighbourhoods team for their hard work. We pointed out that crime across the Borough had increased by 10% over the last 12 months. This is compared to a 1% increase over the rest of London. We are calling into the question the strategy and effectiveness of the Borough Commander and her leadership team.
My colleagues and I said that we would write to the Borough Commander and request a meeting with her. We would invite also invite representatives from the Grange Park Residents Association and key Neighbourhood Watch Residents. We would ask what she could do to address the concerns of residents? Particularly focus on the response times and detection rates.