A warning that this is likely to turn into a sweary post, so apologies about that.
Firstly I want to talk about lovely Noel Park, the area where I live in Wood Green. There's a wikipedia link to it here. It was made a conservation area and was given Article Four Direction status in 1982, which is meant to ensure that the houses keep their appearance and mustn't be altered without permission. The idea is to keep it looking pretty, because frankly, it's a lovely estate.
So, for example, you can't stick a satellite dish up on your house, or change the sash windows for alternative ones. Also you can't build extensions to the front (or back) of the house, and I suspect, you can't paint your house pink either.
Well, not in theory anyway...
The trouble is it's very difficult to stop people doing things, once they start. And this is what's happened over the last 10 or more years. It seems that this hasn't been policed particularly effectively, and now there are violations to these rules going on all over the estate.
There are lots of reasons for this. One in particular is that I don't think that many people who live in the estate even know that it's a conservation area, so have no idea they're doing anything wrong.
It's something that some of us locals have been thinking about, and one idea we had recently was to apply for a grant from the Making A Difference initiative to help raise the profile of it's conservation status by having some noticeboards put up with some history of the estate and also a map with points of interest on. These would be marked with plaques (like the Blue Plaques you see around) at each particular point of interest.
So I put together the application and sent it off. I asked for 5 grand.
I got a call today to tell me that we'd been awarded £2,500! That's all rather brilliant isn't it?
Obviously, we discussed the difficulty in affording all I'd asked for with the smaller amount of money and we thought about alternatives that would still have the impact of telling people about Noel Park, but on a more affordable scale.
I'm rather chuffed about this, and i'll keep you all informed about how it all progresses.
The timing couldn't have been better, as The English Heritage have announced this week their first ever Heritage at Risk register and Noel Park is one of the 3 Conservation Areas at risk. A link to this can be found here, and if you live in Noel Park it's worth a read.
I've also just finalised with Caroline Welch, the author of Noel Park, A Social and Architectural History, an event at the shop. Well, actually it's a historical walk of Noel Park followed by a snifter at the shop. August 13th 6.30pm kick off. So, if you want to learn a bit more about the area, this is another great opportunity.
OK here's the sweary bit.
Muswell Hill (I see it as the fancy hat that sits on Wood Green's head) 'celebrated' the opening of their first 99p store last week. Apparently it was chaos as eager shoppers piled in to pick up a bargain or two. Fights broke out and shoppers were locked in the shop until the scuffle was sorted out.
The local newspaper reported that local shopkeepers were worried that 'the new addition will cheapen the area and ruin its classy reputation.'
Happy shopper Susan Bennett said on the other hand "I just think it's brilliant and, more than anything else, it's great to see an empty shop busy again.
I don't think it will compete too much with the local traders because we haven't got anything else like this in Muswell Hill."
*** *****, co-owner of ****** **** Jewellers in the Broadway, said: "This is going to be the thin end of the wedge. It won't be long before we are another Wood Green or Turnpike Lane.
Fuck off *** *****, you pompous asshole.
Painting a whole area with your very thick and unpleasant brush doesn't help in any way.
I will say no more about it...