Earlier this week, the Barnet Eye announced plans for a massive controlled parking zone, which will cover almost all of Mill Hill on match days and run for five hours (1pm to 6pm) whilst rugby matches last under two hours - http://barneteye.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/saracens-cpz-zone-set-to-turn-mill-hill.html - a fairly big issue you may think. Sadly, the local press don't seem interested. Not a peep about the scheme from either paper. The Barnet Eye is a tadsurprised about the total lack of interest from our local papers. I believe the scheme will cause massive disruption for both businesses and resident.
I also emailed several local politicians including my MP, Matthew Offord, My GLA rep Andrew Dismore, my local councillors John Hart, Brian Schama and Sury Khatri, the leader of the council Richard Cornelius and the cabinet member for parking, Dean Cohen. I stated my objections to the scheme, made some positive suggestions, and asked to be consulted on the scheme. The only response I had was from Andrew Dismore, who agreed with my sentiments. From the rest of them? Not a peep. Not even a "thanks for the email".
What is even more interesting is when we actually look at where our councillors live. I f you look at the map of the area, lots of roads are marked in green as "past this point" parking. I assume that these will have special restrictions for the match days. What is interesting is that two of the councillors live in the exclusion zone. It seems that neither of their roads have been shaded in in green. This is especially odd as the councillors road (Sherwood Drive) is less than 5 minutes walk from the entrance to Copthall from the Great North way.
When you consider that the councillors house is three times closer to the stadium than Parkside and perhaps four times closeer than Holders Hill Close, which is in the green area, one can only wonder ?
The whole bais for this scheme seems flawed to me. I fully accept that measures have to be taken to control parking, and I fully accept that the area will have to be a fairly large space, given that the stadium only has parking for 700 vehicles. Assuming that Saracens fill the 10,000 seat stadium, that will mean a lot of cars trying to park somewhere. I have no idea if this is true, but I've been told that 10,000 seats is more than all of the council car parking spaces in the London Borough of Barnet.
One avid reader made an excellent point. There is a derelict tube line running from Mill Hill East, directly to the Stadium. This line has long been highlighted as one that could easily and cheapely be reopened. Sponsors of the Brent Cross Light Rail scheme included the link in their plans. It would certainly ease travel problems if the spur was reopened for match days. As the track is already there, I can't believe that the costs would be too prohibitive. It would also be highly useful for people visiting Copthall Swimming pool and for pupils and staff of the local schools. It would also make it much easier for Mill Hill residents to access Finchley Memorial and Barnet General hospitals if the shuttle service was made a regular pattern. Sadly Saracens have expressed no interest in this scheme.
I am dismayed that there seems to be no interest in the matter at all from our MP. Mr Offord replied to me saying that he only looked at correspondence with my address on it. A lame excuse indeed, given that he knows me quite well.
I wish Saracens well for their plans at Copthall. The stadium did need developing and their plans will hopefully add much needed sports facilities for the Borough. The downside is that no thought at all has been givento traffic management. Given that Saracens have no association with Mill Hill, having been based in Watford, it is clear that most fans will drive to the stadium. One suspects that this will cause havoc and that Mill Hill residents will not forgive their Tory councillo9rs in 2014, when the fulle xtent of the mayhem has dawned on the residents. maybe that is why our councillors can't be bothered. they know they are doomed, so why bother?