MP for Hornsey and Wood Green
Lynne Featherstone MP met with Duncan Wilson, the Chief Executive of Alexandra Palace, today. The local landmark recently secured funding of £16.8million to regenerate the Palace from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The local MP was updated on plans for the regeneration work, which is scheduled for completion in 2017 and will include a renovation of the theatre and the BBC television studios. The lighting in the great hall will also be restored and made more energy efficient.
Lynne was also informed about upcoming events at the Palace this year such as the Red Bull Soap Box Rally and the 150th Anniversary of the park. Celebrations will feature local bands, hot air ballooning, cricket and archery.
After the meeting Lynne Featherstone MP said:
“I am thrilled that Alexandra Palace has secured funding for its regeneration. It is a wonderful building and a source of great pride for the community. I’m very excited to see it return to its glory days.
“I wish them every success with the 150th anniversary celebrations this year and I look forward to seeing the end result of the regeneration project in 2017.”
Lynne Featherstone, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, today met with children from Rhodes Avenue Primary School to talk about the Global Campaign for Education UK’s ‘Send my Friend to School’ campaign.
The entire school came out to greet the local MP, visiting in both her capacity as a local MP and as the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department of International Development. Each child had made a paper model of their perfect teacher which were shown to the MP as she arrived.
The MP for Hornsey and Wood Green made a short speech about the importance of schooling for all children across the world and the UK’s role in helping that become reality. Lynne answered questions from the children about education and the Millennium Development Goals after which the children sang a short song.
In one class the children made a presentation about what makes a good teacher, while another year group outlined to Lynne how important it is to have good teachers.
The Minister for the Department of International Development was then handed letters written by the children on the value of a good education.
After the visit, Lynne Featherstone commented:
“It was wonderful to visit the children at Rhodes Avenue Primary School today and I was overwhelmed by their welcome.
“They have really taken the ‘Send my Friend to School’ campaign to heart and it is clear that they feel very strongly about it. I feel hugely proud to see a local Hornsey and Wood Green school engaging with such an important issue.
“It was a true pleasure to see the hard work they have put into making the models and writing their letters about the value of teachers internationally. A very special visit.”
Lynne Featherstone MP visited the Muswell Hill Soup Kitchen School for Volunteers last Friday and spent time talking to those currently training at the school.
Run by local resident, Martin Stone, the soup kitchen was opened in 1994. Based at the Muswell Hill Baptist Church, volunteers run the centre five nights a week with the kitchen serving around 8,000 meals a year.
The training programme at the school enables volunteers to learn about working with people who have multiple needs. The school also trains guests of the Soup Kitchen who have started to volunteer themselves in the areas of housing, housing law and supporting people.
After the event, Lynne Featherstone MP commented:
“It was a pleasure to see the work that is being done at the soup kitchen and to meet the volunteers training at the school. I would like to thank Martin for inviting me down to see the great job they are doing.
“It is a wonderful local initiative both in terms of the soup kitchen itself and the teaching that the school offers. I wish the volunteers every success with their studies.”
The survey asks residents for their views on local and national issues, and whether they have any problems they would like the local MP’s assistance with.
In addition, the survey offers residents the chance to sign the Liberal Democrat petition to protect our local health services.
Last year, the survey drew several thousand responses. Hundreds of issues raised by residents were followed up on by the MP and her casework team.
Residents can also fill in this year’s survey online (see below)
Commenting, Lynne Featherstone MP said:
“The annual survey is a great way for residents to have their voices heard on matters ranging from national Lib Dem policy to our local Lib Dem campaigns.
“We all know that the Labour-run Council are not very good at keeping our roads and pavements safe, or keeping our area tidy. That’s why we ask residents whether they have any issues with litter, damaged pavements or potholes on their road.
“All completed surveys are looked at and we will attempt to resolve any issues raised. I hope as many residents as possible take the opportunity to fill it in!”
NB Surveys are broken down by wards. check which ward you live in here: http://www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/ and click on the relevant link here:
Wood Green (Noel Park & Woodside) Residents: http://bit.ly/WoodGreenAnnualSurvey
Hornsey Residents: http://bit.ly/HOannualsurvey
Stroud Green Residents: http://bit.ly/SGAnnualsurvey
Highgate Residents: http://bit.ly/HGannualsurvey
Fortis Green Residents: http://bit.ly/FGwardannualsurvey
Muswell Hill Residents: http://bit.ly/MHannualsurvey
Crouch End Residents: http://bit.ly/CEannualsurvey
Bounds Green Residents: http://bit.ly/BGannualsurvey
Alexandra Residents: http://bit.ly/LFannualsurvey
What fantastic news to wake up to – Alexandra Palace has been awarded an £800k grant to get its restoration plans off the ground! This will be followed by a whopping £16.8million for construction work, once the plans have been finalised.
The team at Ally Pally want to transform the eastern wing, by bringing the Victorian theatre and BBC studios back to life and making it accessible to the public.
The local Liberal Democrats have been campaigning for 15 years for proper plans to revamp the Palace and Park. It hasn’t been an easy ride – as the Labour-run Council bungled decision after decision, trying to sell off the landmark and costing the taxpayers millions in the process. But finally, the Palace is now moving in the right direction.
Duncan Wilson, the Chief Executive of Alexandra Park and Palace has said that: “The ‘People’s Palace’ in its entirety can now become a reality and we are thrilled that the HLF have endorsed our plans for its future.”
I am so happy, and couldn’t agree more!
Here is the quote I sent to the press first thing this morning -
“Congratulations to the team at Alexandra Palace, who have successfully secured millions in funding for the historic site.
“From the start, the bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund was well researched and involved local people. The proposals for the theatre and TV Studios attracted particularly strong support in the public consultation – so it’s great to see them at the centre of the restoration plans.
“After years of turmoil, the Palace is now well and truly on the right track and has taken a great step towards securing a long term future. Thank you to the Alexandra Palace team, and to the Heritage Lottery Fund. I can’t wait to see the results.”
Ps – I recently described Alexandra Palace as my favourite landmark, and made a recording as part of the ‘London Beyond Sight’ project. You can listen to it here.
Here’s my most recent Ham and High Column on Policing in Haringey
Policing in Haringey is undergoing major changes. This all started last year, when the Conservative Mayor of London announced that changes would be made to policing in Haringey and across the city.
In the current economic climate, changes have to be made to make policing more efficient and cost effective. But from day one, the Lib Dems were clear that any changes should not have a negative impact on public access to the police.
Police front counters, for instance, are vital local services – allowing victims to go and report crimes face to face, in a safe and secure environment. We all hope that we will never have to visit one, but it is certainly reassuring to know they’re there.
So, when the Mayor mentioned that front counters might be closed and replaced with contact points, we started expressing our concern and asking questions.
Straight away, Lib Dem London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon asked the Mayor for a guarantee that there would be no time gap between a front counter closing and new contact point opening.
The Mayor gave this guarantee, and went on to say that no front counter would be lost without an ‘equivalent or indeed better’ replacement – open for the same number of hours.
During the consultation period, the Haringey Lib Dems and I called on the Mayor to keep to his word.
You can imagine our disappointment and anger when the Mayor announced his final plans, which include the closure of Muswell Hill volunteer counter. This would leave a huge chunk of the borough without proper access to front counter services.
Yes – changes had to be made, but not like this.
In response, I have launched a petition, calling on the Mayor to retain a local base for the Safer Neighbourhood Team on, or near, Muswell Hill Broadway with an accessible front counter for the public to report crimes.
Hundreds have signed already, and residents can add their names here: http://bit.ly/MuswellHillPolice
After launching the petition, I met with Haringey’s new Borough Commander – Victor Olisa. I was very pleased to hear that he had contacted the volunteers and is keen to keep a police presence in Muswell Hill. But Haringey Police need help finding a new location for the service – as the Met will be selling the building it currently operates from.
So, Haringey Police are willing to keep the volunteer counter service, but only if a suitable location can be found. Please contact me if you have any ideas for a suitable location for a front counter service in or around Muswell Hill.
We also saved this very front counter once before. With enough support from residents and Haringey Police, we can do the same again.
The front counter – which is run by volunteers – was earmarked for closure by the London Mayor as part of his ‘Crime Plan for Haringey.’
The Liberal Democrat MP launched a petition last week, calling on the Conservative Mayor of London and the Metropolitan Police to maintain a front counter service and police base in Muswell Hill.
During the meeting, the Borough Commander said he had spoken to the 70 volunteers who staff the front counter. He affirmed his commitment to keeping the volunteers and a contact point, despite the Mayor’s decision to sell the building that the counter currently operates in.
The Borough Commander further confirmed that Haringey Police are looking for a suitable replacement premises in Muswell Hill. In the mean time, the volunteers will operate from the safer neighbourhood team base in East Finchley.
Lynne Featherstone MP commented:
“It was fantastic to see the Borough Commander’s enthusiasm for keeping a police contact point staffed by volunteers in Muswell Hill.
“This is a vital local service and it would be such a shame to lose it. Residents should always have access to a local and safe place, where they can report crimes face to face.
“All we need now is a suitable premises for the front counter. It must be fully accessible and have at least two rooms. If anyone has any suggestions, please do let me know so I can pass these on to the police.”
The Mayor’s ‘crime plan’ for Haringey will see Muswell Hill’s volunteer front counter closed, and counters at Wood Green and Hornsey stations downgraded from 24hrs to part time.
The Haringey Lib Dems responded to the initial consultation, and spoke out against the proposals. After the final announcement, Local Lib Dem councillors have written again to the Deputy Mayor for Policing expressing their disappointment.
In November, the Mayor of London promised “equivalent or superior access to the police.”
The petition calls on the Mayor to keep this promise, and maintain a front counter service and police base in Muswell Hill.
Cllr Richard Wilson, Lib Dem Leader of the opposition, added:
“The Mayor’s decision to close Muswell Hill police counter is extremely disappointing. We will continue the fight to keep a front counter and safer neighbourhood team base in Muswell Hill.
“I urge local residents to sign our petition and put pressure on the Mayor to change his mind.”
Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone said:
“The final crime plan announced by the Mayor was extremely disappointing. During the consultation period we conducted a survey, and it was clear that residents wanted their front counter services to stay.
“We were promised equal or better access to the police, but the Mayor has simply not delivered this. It is unacceptable and I will continue the fight to keep this counter open – as I did successfully in 2011.
“Residents can now sign our petition, which calls on the Mayor to retain a local base for the Safer Neighbourhood Team on, or near, Muswell Hill Broadway with an accessible front counter for the public to report crimes.”
The Haringey Liberal Democrats and Lynne Featherstone MP last week launched a petition for 30 minutes of free parking on Haringey’s High Streets. The petition has already been signed by 399 people with another 105 people liking the campaign on Facebook.
The campaign has also attracted the support of traders in Muswell Hill who recently gathered a petition with over 5,000 signatures, calling for lower parking charges.
The campaign for 30 minutes of free parking was sparked by the Labour-run Council’s decision to double parking charges in Muswell Hill, Crouch End and Green Lanes from £1.40 to £3 per hour.
So far the Council has refused to bow to pressure from traders, residents and Haringey Lib Dems on the issue.
The Lib Dems believe that 30 minutes of free parking would boost trade on local high streets and support the independent shops that make Haringey’s high streets unique.
Lynne Featherstone MP and Haringey Lib Dems are calling on local shoppers to add their support to the campaign and sign the petition here.
Jim Jenks, Muswell Hill councillor and Lib Dem spokesperson on parking comments:
“The council must do more to support local businesses. Independent traders are struggling and 30 minutes of free parking would encourage more people to shop on our high streets and boost local trade.”
“I encourage anyone who lives in Haringey or shops locally to sign our petition and put pressure on the council to introduce 30 minutes of free parking on high streets.”
Lynne Featherstone, Lib Dem MP for Hornsey and Wood Green comments:
“I’m delighted that our petition has already got the support of hundreds of people!
“Haringey Lib Dems and I will continue to campaign to get the Labour Council to make the change and introduce 30 minutes of free parking.
“It will benefit local residents and help to keep small independent shops on our local high streets.”
Peter Drummond, local resident and President of the British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC), comments:
“I support the campaign to lower parking charges on high streets. In my view, it is absolutely critical that high streets are not put under even greater pressure, and that local councils do not simply see parking charges as a revenue earner. If they do, retailers will fail, rents and rates will reduce and in the long run the council will be worse off.”
Last year, retailers on Muswell Hill Broadway reported months of poor trade after the parking charges were increased from £1.40 to £3 per hour.
The traders started a petition to lower the charges – which attracted over 5,200 signatures – and presented it to Haringey Council. Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone also wrote to the Labour-run Council and requested that the charges be lowered. Despite this, the Council refused to reduce the charges.
Lynne Featherstone MP and the Haringey Liberal Democrats are now calling for 30 minutes of free parking on Haringey’s High Streets, to encourage people to stop and ‘drop in’ to the Borough’s independent shops, and boost their trade.
Jim Jenks, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Muswell Hill said:
“Haringey retailers need our support. But the Haringey Labour Council has, as usual, a ‘one size fits all’ approach with high parking charges throughout the Borough. We need local parking solutions that help get more people into our shops.
“We need as many people as possible to support our campaign, so we’re encouraging our supporters and residents to sign our petition and let their friends and families know about it, too.”
Lynne Featherstone, Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green commented:
“In my constituency, the high streets in places like Muswell Hill and Crouch End are packed with independent retailers. It sets us apart from other places which are full of bland chain stores.
“I’m afraid this refusal to listen to trader’s concerns is typical of the Labour-run Council – more interested in making a quick buck on parking fees than preserving our community assets.
“I urge anyone who wants to support independent shops – and would like to enjoy 30 minutes free parking – to sign our petition.”
Sign the petition here.