The Only Place For Pictures - an open letter to Enfield Council
Letter written by David and Teresa Colman of The Only Place for Pictures in Palmers Green hae written an open letter to Enfield Council officers on September 17th, explaining their concerns regarding the Mini Holland/Cycle Holland Project.
We are writing to you regarding the Mini Holland proposals which we understand will involve a cycle lane being introduced in Green Lanes from Enfield to Palmers Green Library and the consequent removal of pay and display car parking and bus lanes along this part of Green Lanes.
We have been resident in Palmers Green for over 30 years and had a retail shop and picture framing workshop, in Green Lanes, opposite the Fox Pub for the past 10 years. The implications of the Mini Holland proposal fills us with dread and this is not an anti cycling response but a genuine fear that it is a leap in the dark, that can only have a negative effect on the health of an already suffering High Street in Palmers Green.
Our key concerns are broadly as follows:-
1. The Effect on Buses
Whilst cycling does provide an alternative to the car we understand that only 0.7% of Enfield's residents currently cycle, and whilst it is hoped to increase this figure to 4% plus, this still means over 95% of residents will not be cycling. The real viable alternative to the car is the bus and the only way that they can operate efficiently is as a result of bus lanes; without which traffic congestion would be even worse.
2. The Effect on Trade for Local Shops
Many shops including our own sell products that cannot be easily and safely transported by bike. A 60x80 cm picture framed with glass is simply not a safe option on two wheels. We therefore have to accept the reality that the car and bus are the best means of travel and based on projected figures will be so for over 95% of the population. Therefore bus lanes and parking are essential.
You have only to look at the amount of land that Morrisons in Palmers Green and Sainsburys in Winchmore Hill allocate to parking, to realise the importance that these two incredibly successful companies place on providing adequate parking for its customers. We understand that the pro Mini Holland supporters have statistics that say that removing High Street parking will not have a detrimental effect on trade for local shops. If this were the case they why don't Sainsburys and Morrisons remove or greatly reduce the amount of car parking space that they offer and increase the size of their retail space as an obvious way to increasing revenue. They won't do this because they know they would lose customers and lose sales – just as we will in the high street if parking is reduced in Palmers Green.
3. The Health of the Community
We all recognise the problems of obesity in children and adults alike – diet and exercise are a key factor in resolving this issue. However, the provision of a cycle lane in the Enfield section of Green Lanes is not going to result in children/adults leaving their computer games and other gadgets and suddenly jumping on a bike – be real!
4. The Safety of Cyclists
Two of our employees currently cycle to work – one across the Borough from Edmonton and one up Green Lanes from Holloway. They both say they are relatively happy with the current overall arrangements, but the biggest problem is the poor physical state of the roads. In particular, poor drainage and pot holes – both of which can cause the cyclist to suddenly swerve without having time to signal or check that the road is clear and result in a collision.
Also we understand that Haringey will not be introducing cycle lanes on the stretch of Green Lanes in their Borough, which means that the cycle lane in Enfield's stretch of Green Lanes will literally be a road to nowhere!
5. The Cost of the Project
I appreciate that funding or part funding is from the Mayor's budget but ALL public expenditure is basically tax payers, i.e residents money. We as individuals and businesses provide ALL the money that you spend on our behalf. I simply cannot believe that the cost of stripping out bus lanes, pay and display street car parking, changing road junctions and the amount of Council time debating and communicating the issues of this project that is designed to help 0.7% rising to 4% plus of the residents is good use of OUR money. I do not wish to ignore the needs of any minority but I genuinely feel that more consideration should be given to the needs of the 95% plus of the residents including disabled and elderly people who physically cannot cycle, who can only be negatively affected by the impact of the Mini Holland proposals.
I understand that you are entering the consultation stage of this process and ask that we are invited to attend all relevant meetings to express the view I outlined above.
The Only Place For Pictures Ltd
David and Teresa Coleman of The Only Place For Pictures explain their concerns about the Mini Holland project