MP for Hornsey and Wood Green
A story with a happy ending – shock horror! Without being overly twee – and not necessarily being always on the side of conservation per se (as to me it kind of depends what you are conserving) – I do believe that the appearances of Crouch End Broadway is definitely worth preserving and conserving – which means sometimes taking up the cudgels in its defence!
Let me explain. Crouch End Broadway is in a conservation area. But Haringey Council has introduced contracts to display adverts on banners hanging from our lampposts as well as a plethora of self-promotional council propaganda on same.
Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) availed themselves of this advertising opportunity and took out a contract with Haringey Council to display their banners in Crouch End. But they were – let us say – ugly, noticeable and then some. Basically they stuck out like a sore thumb – and so Councillor Dave Winskill (Liberal Democrat, Crouch End ward) and I launched a two-pronged attack on the garish KFC banners.
I’ve nothing against Kentucky Fried Chicken – other than its calorie count! – but the banners streaming (or should I say screaming) loudly in the middle of a conservation area were out of place in Crouch End.
First shot at Haringey Council brought complete intransigence from Labour over their removal. Pleas to Haringey to remove the banners fell on deaf ears with officials citing binding contracts as the reason they couldn’t be removed.
So I wrote to KFC’s UK Managing Director to request that they take action to ensure the withdrawal of the ad campaign.
As the ante was upped with questions asked at council meetings, Haringey Council finally took its fingers out of its ears and took action to end the contract and the banners were removed. That’s when politics works!
Now we need Haringey Council to make sure that future contracts only allow appropriate advertising sensitive to any local area they are placed in. – and that means in some areas, no advertising at all on lamp posts. As ever, one of the keys to sensible policy making is making sure policies aren’t just splattered across the whole borough ("Adverts? Put them everywhere!") but that local circumstances are taken into account. But for the moment – success!
(c) Lynne Featherstone, 2008