Traders hail £2m award for Green Lanes facelift

The main shopping area in Green Lanes will be radically transformed after the Mayor of London awarded £2million to a local traders’ group, rejecting the option preferred by Haringey Council.

Shopfronts will be restored, Green Lanes railway bridge will adorned with lights and and 14 street corners on the Harringay Ladder will be turned into “micro squares” as part of the group’s plan, which was the only one of three proposals in the borough to be funded.

“This is the highest Green Lanes has achieved,” said Rob Chau, secretary of the Green Lanes Traders Association (GLTA), which won the bid. “It shows Boris Johnson understands high street life and wants to engage with residents.”

The bid was greatly helped by last September’s Food Festival on Green Lanes, he said, which attracted a crowd of nearly 20 thousand people to the food stalls and music on offer.

The Mayor’s Outer London Fund yesterday awarded nearly £32m of funding to 18 boroughs across London, after filtering through over 80 bids. The Green Lanes was successful despite Haringey Council withdrawing its support for the application. Council leaders chose instead to support a rival bid for regeneration in nearby Tottenham High Road, which was not successful.

Cllr Nilgün Canver, who chairs the Green Lanes Strategy Group, said it was brilliant news: “This is a testament to 10 years of partnership working with the council, traders, community groups, residents, local councillors and the police. Together we have helped transform the image of Green Lanes and now we can transform the infrastructure too.

“With this help from the Outer London Fund I can’t wait to see a new, improved street scene for local people and visitors to the borough.”

Cllr Karen Alexander, councillor for the Harringay ward covered by the scheme, said it was the quality of bid that helped it triumph, despite the Council’s withdrawal of support. :A third Haringey bids for an improvement scheme Muswell Hill was also unsuccessful.

The Green Lanes scheme covers the area of north of the London Overground station. The first stage involves improving lighting on the underside of the railway bridge itself, creating a glittering gateway to the street beyond. Work here should be completed by the end of this year.

The next stages involve regenerating the high street’s shopfronts and creating public seating areas on payment junctions with streets of the Ladder. Mr Chou said one of his association’s ideas was to build canopies that stretch across the road and the microsquares, allowing greater all-weather use and the possibility to hold regular street markets.

“Green Lanes is a Victorian high street, more than a hundred years old,” he said. “It has always missed out on funding before. We want to buff it up and bring it out.” It is the largest public funding boost the street has received in more than thirty years.

The GLTA will be putting their ideas forward in a public consultation before work begins. The group aims to target independent traders, rather than the larger banks and supermarkets, and help them restore their buildings – for instance, by replacing ageing aluminum with more resilient hardwood.

Tony Staples, from Jan Kattein Architects, which worked with the GLTA on the winning bid, said the first stage of the scheme – illuminating the railway bridge – should be finished by the end of this year, while the entire project delivered by 2014.

Mr Staples said they had understood Haringey’s Tottenham scheme was more likely to be awarded funding: “We didn’t think we would win at all. We’re delighted that it has been successful.”

Originally published in Londra Gazete, 19 January 2012.