Are our high streets about to be sacrificed for the Mini-Holland Superbike Highway?
PRODUCED WITH PERMISSION FROM ANTHONY WEBB
Enfield Council is very pleased to have been selected as one of the three boroughs to have received funding to develop safe bike lanes across the borough, as part of a major campaign to encourage people out of their cars and onto bikes, hence the 'Mini-Holland' concept. The A105 (Green Lanes) is key to creating a 'cycling highway' into Central London. Here is a summary of what Enfield Council is proposing along Green Lanes, taken from the Bid Document, which you can access below.
* At least one good commuter route from the borough to central London the A105 - comprising Green Lanes, Ridge Avenue, Park Avenue and London Road – is a major corridor for traffic through the borough, connecting Enfield Town to the A406 and continuing south into Haringey. As with the A1010, there are a number of schools located along this route but few students cycle to school. There are also a number of local shopping areas including at the junction of Green Dragon Lane and Bush Hill, by Barrowell Green and at Winchmore Hill.
* P58 Many of the car trips along the A105 are local journeys, 5 miles or shorter. In fact, the A105 provides a direct route,only 3 miles in length, linking two of the borough's major town centres, namely Enfield Town and Palmers Green. As noted above, lying between these two town centres are smaller retail areas within the A105 corridor that generate even shorter journeys made by residents living along or in the vicinity of the route. With no significant points of severance along this corridor, there exists a huge potential for cycling along the A105 within Enfield if cyclists can be made to feel safer in the presence of the motorised traffic that it carries.
* The typical kerb-to-kerb width along the A105 is 12 metres. Aside from the higher levels of frontage activity within the 'high street' sections there is little parking in evidence along much of the main road. We will put this surplus carriageway space to good use by creating continuous 2 metre wide cycle lanes along each side of the road between Broomfield Lane and Enfield town, using armadillo and planter segregation. This will ensure clear passage along
the road and provide a dramatic increase in the level of comfort felt by all riders choosing to make use of this direct inter-town route. The proposed facility will improve conditions for existing cyclists and make this mode a genuine alternative to the car for many more besides who wish to cycle but dislike mixing with main road traffic.
* The proposal is, therefore, to aspire to provide 2 metre wide cycle lanes along either side of the A105 between Broomfield Lane and Enfield town, segregated with armadillos and planter boxes.
This map (Fig 7.2), although poor quality shows the proposed route.
You can view the whole document here by clicking on the document image
Consultation on these proposals will begin with both businesses and residents shortly. The Council does anticipate opposition. Buried in the report is this statement from Cllr Chris Bond,
"There will be tough decisions along the way, particularly regarding removing on street parking to fit in new cycle lanes and reducing through traffic from residential streets. But in the long run, the benefits to the borough will outweigh the costs and we intend to work with local residents and businesses throughout the process to ensure that the greatest benefits are realised from these proposals."
Cllr Bond, Cabinet M
A recent report published by Deloitte, ' The Deloitte Consumer Review: Reinventing the role of the high street' argues that "Consumers need to be brought back to the heart of every proposition in the high street"
"Deloitte research shows that the main improvements consumers want to see on their local high streets relate to parking and store choice, with 60% of consumers wanting more free parking and 59% wanting a better selection of shops. Moreover, 57% want to see more independent stores and one-in-two want to see more specialist grocery shops such as baker or butcher.
Nearly half of consumers would like to see more community activities such as festivals and markets in the high street as well as free Internet access using Wi-Fi. Third of consumers would like to see more services for the elderly and more public places to high socialise. The research also indicates that the majority of consumers want to see fewer charity shops". Read the reporthere
This is an exciting project, with highly laudable objectives, but removing on-street parking will be a final nail in the coffin for many of our local shops and services in Winchmore Hill and Palmers Green, with the lost of hundreds of jobs, investment opportunities and local amenities that are a vital part of making these vibrant and sustainable local communities, not just residentail ghost towns.
Having a safe and easy cycle route into Central London may well encourage more people to cycle to work. It probably won't reduce many car journeys into London, as it likely that many potential cyclists are currently using public transport.
We all live busy lives, we use our cars to ferry our children to school and activities, to go to Sainsburys and back, but we do also stop off at local shops if we can find a parking space. Removing on street parking will have a massive impact on this local community. I would urge people to participate in the consultation process.
Enfield Council's grandiose 'Mini-Holland' projects could be the final nail in the coffin for many local businesses