Winchmore Hill: why action is urgently needed
On Saturday 13 July 2019 Cllr Nesil Caliskan agreed to add Winchmore Hill to the Palmers Green Regeneration Programme.
The following mission statement was provided:
TOWARDS A COMMUNITY LED VISION & ACTION PLAN
The council will ensure that the borough's town centres are vibrant, vital and valued, being successful in social and economic terms. Town centres act as community focused hubs and destinations through their distinct character, offer and connectivity to their surroundings
In 2016 the Regeneris report 'Economic Impact Assessment of the A105 Corridor Cycle Enfield Scheme'
commissioned by Enfield Council prior to the start of the cycle lane construction reported that:
"The town centre data reflects that Winchmore Hill Broadway is a prosperous town centre"
Similarly for Winchmore Hill Green Dragon:
"The town centre data reflects that Winchmore Hill Green Dragon is a prosperous town centre:
Is this still the case in 2019 after the A105 cycle scheme is in operation?
Winchmore Hill Broadway
Parking and loading bays on the west side of Winchmore Hill Broadway
have been removed.
This is what pedestrians have to contend with, now that cyclists have been given priority
Customers have been hit coming out of shops by cyclists
A zebra crossing and a central reservation on Winchmore Hill Broadway
have been removed because the road was too narrow for larger vehicles including buses.
Now fewer people are visiting and fewer people crossing the road, reducing the number of outlets they visit
The local economy has suffered, the butcher, the bakery, coffee shop, Bang & Olufsen showroom,
a beauty salon, interior design shop, a North London Hospice charity shop, the newsagents all report
that trading is down
Winchmore Hill Green Dragon
This is the junction at Vicars Moor Lane, with Waitrose on the corner; which has a small car park. The store is also popular with pedestrians.
X marks the spot where there used to be a central reservation.
Now that this has gone people have to walk around 100 metres south to the crossing or 300 metres to the north.
Many people either take a risk or don't bother to cross.
High streets up and down the country are suffering, as a result of changing customer shopping patterns and the over-expansion of many large multiple chains. However, in general local shopping centres are not subject to these trends as people use them for everyday times, because it is close to where they live; or because they provide important services or have a reputation for good service, so people will seek them out. If you make it less convenient for people to visit, many people will spend their money elsewhere.
Before the cycle lanes Winchmore Hill was assessed as a 'prosperous town centre'. Now, footfall is reduced, turnover is down, and there are around 18 units either empty or up for sale.
Many premises along the A105 in Winchmore Hill remain empty, as landlords struggle to find replacement tenants in the face of this economic disaster.
This email has been sent on 10/7/19 to Cllr Guney Dogan, Cabinet Member for Environment, who is now responsible the Cycle Enfield programme:
Dear Cllr Dogan
Perhaps we could set a time to talk so that I can explain to you the problems and the complexity of the A105 and A1010 cycle lane schemes that you have inherited?
In your response to my article in the Enfield Dispatch you implied that I was lying, which I don't take kindly to. It isn't the cycle lanes which are 'illegal' as such but rather the somewhat unorthodox route chosen by Mr David Taylor to construct this scheme. In September 2016, when faced with the need to hold a public inquiry/review of the cycle lane proposals because of the weight of public objections in the A105 statutory consultation, Mr Taylor chose to declare that all the changes to parking and loading along the route, where being made under an Experimental Traffic Order.
ETMOs can't be challenged, as they are temporary, reversible, normally used when sections of road are coned off for works etc. Without reducing the free parking and loading along large stretches of the A105, the scheme could not be constructed, because the carriageway is too narrow.
Last summer(July 2018) Mr Taylor declared that the scheme was now finished so that the traffic management orders were now permanent. He seemed to have 'forgotten' that these changes were made under under an Experimental Traffic Management Order until he was 'reminded'. The six month consultation undertaken from December 2018 to last month merely confirms that this is the case. Mr Taylor has now consulted on whether these changes should be made permanent or revert to what they used to be. If this sounds absurd, it is, that a multi million pound highways scheme should be build on a 'temporary basis'.
The scheme has had a significant - largely negative impact on the local area, from congestion, a high accident rate, rat running along alternative routes, reduction in pedestrian activity and a downturn of trade, which is threatening the fabric of our local economy. I will send you a quick analysis of this shortly which should alarm you.
LBE's own retail snapshot undertaken last year identified that there were problems, here is the report produced for the council.
It is gratifying that some action is now starting to happen, with the workshop in Palmers Green this Saturday. Palmers Green and Winchmore Hill were deemed to be thriving local communities in the economic impact evaluation undertaken for the council by Regeneris prior to the start of the project, with few empty shops. Now thee are 17 empty units in Palmers Green, with 18 businesses either empty or up for sale in Winchmore Hill along the A105. Whilst high streets across the country are suffering, such a rapid downturn is way beyond the macro trends.
Your consultants Regeneris (2016) did warn that should business turnover fall by more than 7% many would no longer to viable and that it would be a house of cards. Local shopping is predicated on convenience and people spending money in a number of outlets when they are out and about. I would be happy to supply you with the reports and a response to the flawed modelling should you wish to read them. The research concluded that neither Palmers Green or Winchmore Hill would be likely to benefit economically from this scheme, because the spending from people cycling would not counteract the loss of trade through reduction of on street parking and other changes. What was 'wrong' was their failure to identify the scale of the downturn. A cynic might say that the modelling was undertaken to satisfy the requirements of the client. Having spent a career in consultancy this is something I understand.
One of the major safety issues which needs to be urgently addressed is that there are key sections of the A105 where pedestrians can't cross because zebra crossings and central reservations have been moved or removed. This is of particular concern on the stretch of road south of Masons Corner, where it is around 400 metres between crossings. There used to be a central reservation close to the Green Dragon, now Waitrose. People are faced with walking hundreds of metres in the wrong direction, crossing the road when they think it is safe (sensory overload because of lots of factors to evaluate) or not cross. Business owners witness dangerous situations on a daily basis, people have been hit, fallen over orcas because they are more concerned about looking in three or more directions for traffic. LBE talk about 'desire lines' - how it is important to provide safe ways for pedestrians to cross the road, from A to B at the most obvious point when it suits the council, not when it suits people actually walking about the area. The scheme has failed TfL's own safety audits.
It needs fresh thinking, from you, the leader and the whole cabinet, as the problems being faced on A1010 are the same, perhaps even worse.
Palmers Green, (which has been equally badly affected by the A105 cycle lanes,
which has around 17 premises currently empty),has been selected as the first town centre
to take part in a ton centre regeneration programme, led by Enfield Council Leader Cllr Nesil Caliskan.
The workshop, followed by a tour of the area is the starting point of a project to help create community led
action plans to reinvigorate the borough's high streets.
Whilst Winchmore Hill is smaller than the other Enfield town centres - surely Enfield Council should be including it, to address the urgent problems that they have created?
The downturn in trade was identified a year ago in research commissioned by Enfield Council, but NO action taken.
N21 residents please lobby the Council to get the support that our local community needs