Looking at Highgate with fresh eyes

Placecheck-photo columnIn mid-September 2012, more than 30 Highgate Neighbourhood Forum volunteers undertook a “Placecheck” of Highgate. Organised into eight groups by Professor David Porter, each team covered an area which could be walked in a couple of hours and which crossed expected “boundaries” like main roads, so we could experience our area in a new way.

The idea was to look at parts of Highgate we were less familiar with, talk to people we met along the way, take pictures and discuss what we saw. We asked ourselves:

  • What do we like about this place?
  • What do we dislike about it?
  • What do we need to work on?

The full report of what we found forms part of the public consultation events in January 2013. Here are just some of the issues that were raised:

  • Gated communities – and gated and fenced off front gardens – what is their effect on our community?
  • What is the role of public spaces like Pond Square, green spaces over the reservoirs etc?
  • How does Highgate relate to its green spaces: Hampstead Heath, Queens Wood, Highgate Woods, Waterlow Park, the Parkland Walk, allotments, playing fields, the golf course etc?

And some places that call for a strategy:

  • The Archway Road, including Aylmer Road and the Wellington Roundabout
  • The “Highgate Bowl”
  • The hidden gems of Highgate, like the Highgate Overground Station and the Parkland Walk
  • The North Road roundabouts

Plus some issues to take up with our Councils and TfL:

  • We badly need a properly worked out strategy to deal with traffic – particularly in the Archway Road and the High Street
  • “Civic vandalism” in terms of the signs the Councils put up and how they maintain them.
  • The need for better signage to major landmarks
  • Planning controls that are not being systematically applied
  • More care over the details e.g. over-large wheelie bins, potholes, trees etc.

NB Camden residents should note that the wheelie bins we found were in Haringey and that Camden residents do not have to accept the new wheelie bins. Please go to www.camden.gov.uk for more information.

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