Localism means that we need your views. During the summer we endeavoured to deliver questionnaire leaflets to every household in Highgate. Hundreds of you responded – mostly via this website – and we have now analysed the results. The results form part of the evidence used at our public consultation workshops.
Other evidence came from the street engagement work we have undertaken during the winter: interviewing the traders in the Archway Road and the High Street; asking community gatherings across the area (but particularly on the social housing estates) to collect ‘wishes for Highgate’; and asking shoppers what they would like to see replace the current 271 bus turnaround at Pond Square.
A summary of the survey findings:
What do you like? and what don’t you like? were the simple questions.
“The best place to live in all the world” was one person’s view of Highgate. Just “a great place to grow up” and “the sort of place where people stay“, was another. The “village atmosphere” was mentioned more than anything else as explaining this and typical adjectives were “oasis“, “pretty” and “individuality“.
The five most mentioned more precise aspects were:
- The built environment – an enthusiasm for architecture, buildings, heritage and history.
- Green/open spaces – the Heath and Waterlow Park, but also less obvious places such as the Parkland Walk.
- Neighbours, the people and the broader sense of community.
- Amenity – from pubs/restaurants/cafes and shops to schools and events.
- Location – it’s “high up” and close to the centre of London with good transport links.
There was support for the HNF aim to be a “local voice” preserving and enhancing Highgate. As one respondent said, they like Highgate because it is place where “people care about what happens“.
Despite the wide range of positives, respondents were not shy of suggesting things they don’t like or would like to see the councils or the Neighbourhood Forum tackle.
Banning 4x4s, dogs and “snooty” people would seem to be beyond the scope of the Forum but the main themes to be addressed were:
- Traffic – be it noise, pollution, speeding/queues, safety ……
- Retailing – a desire for more diversity, range and independents – and fewer estate agents.
- Parking – it’s clearly time to review restrictions and enforcement.
- Buses – a strong desire to remove the 271 terminus and to get some east-west routes going (not least to reduce the unpopular “school run”).
- Planning – respondents want to stop over-development and go “green”!
- “Wasted resource” – the survey shows an enthusiasm to “do something” with the Archway Road and the “wasted jewel” of Pond Square.
- Councils – “lets prod them to get done the little things that get missed”.
The report also lists nearly 50 thoughts or bright ideas, small and large, from respondents to spark conversation.