Thursday 28 February 2019

Edgware - A suitable case for treatment - A Guest blog by Mark Amies

By Mark Amies,

I've been meaning to write this for a long time now, my account of how Edgware has slipped into a mess, and the only people I can blame is Barnet Council, or 'The London Borough of Barnet', to give them their daft name. To walk through Edgware's town centre is to see a place that has become a mess through neglect, from a lack of interest by a Council that would rather it didn't have to have te area in its remit.
To walk through Edgware's town centre is to see a place that has become a mess through neglect, from a lack of interest by a Council that would rather it didn't have to have te area in its remit.

The streets are filthy,  and have not seen a proper clean in years. Just a quick pass through with a street cleaning machine, early in the morning. You can see this by the snail-like train it leaves.

Paving slabs are shattered, and jutting out, roads are covered in potholes, some having had bad patches, that have come apart only months after being 'repaired'.

You look at the Underground station, once a proud-looking building, and you see despair. It is filthy, the brick road surface in the forecourt is pitted and and the businesses surrounding it are not encouraged to present themselves in a decent way.

We get told that Edgware has plenty of shops. Yes, it's doing better than many high streets, but consider that fact that in February Marksand Spencer left the Broadwalk Shopping centre, after being there since the development opened in the late 1980s. That's not an endorsement is it?

The fact is that Edgware has become an unattractive place that  provides no draw, no focus. It's not for want of getting it sorted thought. Myself and a number of others have campaigned to get The much-loved Railway Hotel fixed up and to act as a focus of change. I'm not saying anything more about that, check the #railwayhoteledgware on Twitter to see what's happening.
Yet, with all of this we get told by the 'good news squad'  from Mill Hill,  the bloggers and tweeters who have multiplied in the last month, that everything is fine. Yet what would many of them know. They don't live in Edgware, they don't use the facilities, so why comment? Plus, if the mainly Conservative-adoring social media types are so adamant that all is good and that Barnet Council are doing a good job, where is the Twitter accounts for Edgware? The blogs? This tweet below  is just one example of the alternative reality that some would have us believe.
You see, it's easy to say everything is rosy when the place your in is nicer, but try living near Edgware. I used to shop regularly in Edgware, (and I live in Canons Park by the way), but now I'm thinking that Edgware is just  too depressing to visit.

There's so much potential in Edgware, there really is, but it is sliding into neglected dereliction and despair. It needn't be that way, but it needs some care and attention.

Lets get the conversation going. Let's give Edgware some Edge!

Mark Amies
Mark Amies lives in Cannons Park and uses Edgware Station for communting and Edgware High Street for shopping. He has been spearheading a campaign to Save The Railway Hotel. He is an expert on architectural heritage and has a regular feature on BBC Radio London every other Tuesday at 12.30pm on the Robert Elms show. You can follow Mark on Twitter -

Guest Blogs are always welcome at The Barnet Eye. Just email us BY CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday 27 February 2019

Culture Wednesday and The Wednesday Poem #54 - Cheddar Cheese and Celery


Cheddar Cheese and Celery
Live together in perfect harmony
Side by side on my dinner Cheese board
Oh Lord, Pass the brie?
We all know
That cheese boards aren't the same wherever you go
There is good and bad on every one
When we learn to live, we learn to give each other
Apple, Walnut and Endive
to bring Roquefort alive
Cheddar Cheese and Celery
Live together in perfect harmony
Side by side on my my dinner Cheese board
Oh Lord, Pass the brie?
We all know
That cheese boards aren't the same wherever you go
There is good and bad on every one
We learn to live when we learn to give each other
Apple, Walnut and Endive
to bring Jarlesberg alive
Cheddar Cheese and Celery
Live together in perfect harmony
Side by side on my dinner Cheese board
Oh Lord, pass the Brie?
Side by side on my dinner Cheese board
Oh Lord, pass the Brie?

Apologies to Paul McCartney

Union Street Cheese in Barnet
Cheese is a hot topic in Mill Hill. Our local MP Matthew Offord promised us a cheese shop if he was elected in 2010. We are still waiting.  Matthew's colleague Theresa Villiers MP has succeeded where Matthew has failed. Barnet residents are lucky to have the Marvelous and recently opened Union Street Cheese in Barnet High Street. We highly recommend them and wish them every success.

Please note that no cheese has been supplied to the Barnet Eye in exchange for this plug! Although we are happy to get some if you are feeling kind!

It is great to see that High Barnet has set up a brilliant site that is promoting its High Street. A model of a great community website. 

Culture Wednesday

The False Dots Live with friends at The Midland Hotel Hendon on Friday March 15th, free admission to celebrate the saving of the pub from demolition.

Be there or be uncircular!


Sunday 24 February 2019

Environment Monday - Holy Roaders - A Guest blog by Jon Klaff


Everyone’s favourite subject. Nothing seems to unite disparate groups than the quality of our roads. I sometimes think if we took some of the world’s most complex situations and asked the groups to sit down and discuss potholes, they’d see everyone hits common ground at some point.
What is an irritant to a car driver is a huge risk to a cyclist. Cars typically weigh a couple of tonnes, and if they hit a pothole they have to be going pretty fast to do damage. Cyclists, on the other hand, typically weigh in at around 100kg including bike, and a pothole causes no end of risks. For example, our very own Broadway has had some patchy repairs done to it. These still present what amount to a crevasse to a cyclist, and have done little to improve our safety. Car drivers, though, will love the repair as they will bounce off the patches.

If people think this is just hyperbole, just last week Mark Warren, the admin for Inside Mill Hill, was undertaking his usual commute home along the A41 through Hendon and Golders Green. He hit a pothole and came off. The resultant crash meant a trip to A&E, which was followed up a week later with three days laying in a corridor due to blood poisoning. It’s no understatement to say he’s lucky to be alive.

Mark, as is the way of the world, took to twitter to highlight the issue. At first, he underwent a round of “he said, she said” between TfL and the council as to whose responsibility the maintenance was. It took a minor twitter storm ( for TfL to admit it was their road and to fix it (rapidly I must admit).
In the cold light of day, I and a group of like minded friends at the Barnet Cycling Campaign, decided to look into what the actual process is for getting these nuisances fixed. We wrote to TfL and have just today also written to the council. TfL’s response has been built into a handy blog here and the council are looking to chase up on issues reported.

To save you a little bit of effort (it’s not that much but I love to help!):
  1. TfL are responsible for the roads on this map Anything else – go to Barnet
  2. TfL monitor and track issues reported via FillThatHole ( and can also be contacted via the customer services email address
  3. Contrary to some people’s belief, TfL do engage via Twitter and will take issue reports via it. Feel free to Tweet them. You don’t even need the right TfL account – they see them as a safety concern and will act on the information
  4. Report to Barnet via AND
    1. Whether Barnet monitor Fill That Hole is irrelevant. The Barnet site is not in the public record, and the council can avoid liability claims. This is why they don’t want you to use Fill That Hole – it the issue in the public record with a timeframe on it. Log on both, storing the council reference to show that you have reported the issue.
Meanwhile the Barnet Cycling Campaign is putting together a hotspot map of road issues in the borough. Barnet Cycle Route Issues. If you know of an issue, contact us via  ‎@BarnetLCC on twitter or on email, and we can help out where we can.
Jon Klaff is a Barnet resident and a member of the Barnet Cycling Campaign. Guest blogs are always welcome. 

Saturday 23 February 2019

The Saturday List #208 - My Top Ten London Underground Advertising posters

When I was at FCHS, we had an art teacher called Mr Nut. His parents had loingly called him Peter, so we all called hum Peanut. I thought I was the worlds greatest artist at the time, but sadly had no talent at all. In an art lesson, he asked us to say what our favourite painting was. For me that was easy. Back in those days, the trains from Mill Hill to St Pancras were occasionally what I called real trains. They had an engine on the front and proper carriages. The carriages had compartments where six people could sit. I felt this was the proper way to travel from Mill Hill to St Pancras. The carriages had paintings and there was one I loved that showed a stag in the Scottish Hills. To me this was the finest piece of artwork in history. My hand shot up and I explained. Peanut told me I was a pleb, adding "look up plebian in the dictionary as you clearly won't have a clue what it means".

When I did this I was perplexed


uk /pləˈbiː.ən/ us /pləˈbiː.ən/ formal disapproving

He used to make fun of what he called her "plebeian origins".
He retained a plebeian taste in food and drink.
I couldn't understand why someone of low social class would appreciate such a magnificent artwork. I have however maintained plebeian tastes in artwork. Over the years, I've realised that I much prefer good advertising posters to proper works of art such as the Mona Lisa. My fave of all are the London Underground Advertising Posters. Here are my ten faves. No explanation, they speak for themselves. Plebs of the world unite!











Hope you enjoy them.

Friday 22 February 2019

The Friday Joke - Hilarious Spoof blog launched in Mill Hill!

There is nothing that we love more than a good laugh on a Friday. We are pleased to announce that a hilarious (well almost) spoof blog has been launched in Mill Hill, to give unbiased commentary of the what is going on. They say:

We have jobs like most people in the UK at this time of more employment - more than at any other time in history.  Therefore, unlike other bloggers we dont have time to post every day.  In addition the opinions and views on here are not of the Council or any single political party. 
I love a good bit of impartial news, so who are the team?

First of all there is Jenny. Who is Jenny?

JENNY |  will write our SATURDAY REALITY CHECK article which will look at a political idea in Mill Hill which has been controversial and try to drill down to the facts.  Jenny is a Conservative supporter.   Each week instead of being bombarded with dogma Jenny will Fact Check the claims by all the parties in Mill Hill about important issues.
 I think it is absolutely Marvellous that Jenny will be giving her unbiased view.

Then we have David.
DAVID |  will write the FRIDAY ROUND UP article which will take the week's political stories in Barnet and keep you up to date.  David has been a Conservative voter but also has leanings towards the social policies of the Prime Minister which he hopes to see once Brexit is achieved.
As it is the tradition of Barnet Bloggers to provide a Friday Joke, we await the first, hilarious commentary later. If anyone see's David can they remind him that The Prime Minister is actually the leader of the Conservative Party and her social policies are the party policy (Sorry I had to put that in just in case anyone missed the witty ironic humour that David seems to excel at).

And finally, we have Victor. It seems Victor is too busy working on a Sunday to write, so he will simply edit the stories. I wonder if he is a Vicar as he is keen to spread the 'Good News'. I am looking forward to this as Mill Hill has not had  religious blog previously.
VICTOR | will now edit the SUNDAY NEWS which will feature Good News from around the AREA.  The original offer of writing was withdrawn because of work commitments

The blog states on its editorial policy
"We dont think that censorship or blocking is the way forward." 
Sadly they haven't told the bloke who writes their twitter feed (or is it more ironic humour).

Just to spell out how impartial they all are, here is the end of the blog

Working together will improve Mill Hill.  We have nothing to do with any political party and will not attend council meetings. Like you, our readers, we are ordinary voters. 


1. To Improve Mill Hill we need to be positive about the area
2. Brexit is an opportunity and should not feared
3. The Conservative Council is the best option out of the alternatives for Barnet
4. Enough Blogs are negative about the area/council so we will balance that. It does not mean that we think everything is perfect.  We want to provide a balance.

I urge everyone to follow this amazing addition to our local debate. It will be great to read a impartial coverage from these group of ordinary Mill Hill Conserative voters. The Barneteye cordially invites them all for a a cup of tea at our expense. We could learn a lot about writing exciting blogs from their team!

It looks as if it will be a hoot! We suggest that as they want stories submitted, having an email or an address to send them would help.

The Positive benefits of a Hard Brexit

I have a confession to make. Like St Paul on the road to Damascus, I have had a revealation. Mine was on the road to Dunstable, delivering some lube oil for a Slumpet to an indisposed musician. Whilst I normally listen to Robert Elms on BBC Radio London, I'd had to borrow a car as madame had mine. The borrowed motor, although a fine beast of 1950's heritage, didn't have a working radio. As poodled up the A5, I got to thinking about #Brexit and I realised that I've been fundamentally wrong about the whole Brexit issue. Not only that, I realised that the happiest and healthiest thing for the UK would be if the hardest of hard Brexits took place and it turned out that Project Fear was right. 

Such a hard Brexit will result in food shortages that will require rationing for the foreseeable future. As happened in 1940’s this will cut obesity and diabetes. If there are energy shortages this will see the return ifTed Heaths three day week, which massively increased uk industrial productivity and gave us all 2 days extra off. Lack of imported food will improve profitability of local food producers. And most importantly, Music is always better in times of recession and difficulty, so I eagerly await a resurgence of punk rock and 40s Glen Miller swing.

The more I pondered the issues, the more I saw the immense benefits. A lack of medicines would result in a massive decrease in people needing treatment by the NHS as they are wheeled off to the morgue, resolving the budget crises. We will no longer need to rip up the green belt to house the people attractec by a booming economy. As for poor air quality, none of us will be able to afford petrol as that is traded in hard currency and the £ will crash, so we'll all have to walk, get the train or use our rusty old bicycles.  We'll be far fitter. As spares for German and French cars become impossible to source, due to queues at customs, Honda will realise their mistake and we'll soon be all be driving around in British made Japanese cars. 

As for litter, as we will no longer be able to afford expensive sugar based sweets and drinks, our parks and hedge rows will be spotless from litter.

It all made perfect sense. I was so excited about this that when I arrived at Joe's and handed over his consignment of lube oil, I just had to share all of this. Joe smiled and suggested I have a nice cup of tea and a chocolate digestive. After this and a quick discussion about the relative merits of the trombone playing of J.J. Johnson and Billy Watrous I found myself feeling much better. 

I do wonder what Mrs T had slipped in my porridge at breakfast, I think she's had enough of me and is trying to do me in. I am feeling much better now. She has been acting very strangely recently, I am not sure whether it was just the full moon or the first sun of the spring.

Thursday 21 February 2019

A few random thoughts on life, the Universe and everything in Mill Hill

I've spent the last month engrossed in writing my book. This is the story of The False Dots and Mill Hill Music Complex studios. It's reached 85,000 words and I've given the 2nd draft to a couple of trusted family members who are far more literate and less dyslexic than I am to proof read. I have kept all blogging and other activities to an absolute minimum during this time, as I have really had to focus on trawling through my memoirs. As I explained, the only things that I've really put any effort into are the Environment Monday series of blogs. The situation with Folly Brook has caused me a massive concern as we walk our dogs down this path 3-4 times a week. I've also sort of kept up with the Friday Joke. A friend sends me these every week and I quite enjoy trying to find one that is printable here. I also enjoy compiling the Saturday lists and the tweets of the week.

Writing the book has been quite a traumatic experience.  I've buried many dark memories and writing it all down has made me confront a few demons. I am not really sure that I was quite ready for the experience. In the history of the band, there were some pretty big feuds and fallouts. You tend to forget about them and get on with the next phase of your life, but digging it all up has been quite painful.

As to the story of the studios, retelling the story, and recalling the passing of Ernie Ferebee in 2001 was especially difficult. When you have spent seven years busting a gut with someone to set up a business and they pass away just as things are starting to bear fruit, it is a very cruel twist of fate, especially for his wife and kids. Life is like that, just when you think that things are going swimmingly something kicks you square in the nuts.

Tonight we have a planning meeting for the Mill Hill Music Festival. The festival will be happening in Mid June. We have more or less finalised the programme and so we are now sorting out the practicalities of putting it together. This is the type of thing I enjoy, putting on great music on our doorstep. It is amazing that the Festival is in its third decade. I doubt that when Jane Ellison and Marion Dewing first had the idea that they knew it would have such legs. Having a successful community means having such events and getting people involved. There are always plenty of people who talk a good game, but when it comes down to it, they don't cut the mustard. I am lucky to be part of the Festival committee as we have a solid track record and we all know what we are doing. I saw the same thing when I recently visited Cricklewood to meet the Town team. The secret is teamwork to deliver a common goal. Things break down quickly if cliques and factions stafrt to form or inner circles exclude people who do most of the work from decision making. It never ceases to amaze me when grown up adults start to behave like five year olds The trouble with some community organisations is that because everyone is a volunteer, they don't feel they have to compromise to achieve the agreed destination. I think that the secret of any successful committee is to restrict it to people who want to do work and give up time. I personally hate meetings, I'm far happier doing practical things on the operational side.

For the last couple of years, I've been helping John Gillett of the Mill Hill Neighbourhood forum to put together live music shows in the Broadway in the summer and at Xmas. It is great to have live music in our town centre. Last summer we had a particularly glorious summer festival.I have found it quite depressing at times to see how much John has had to do and I do wonder why more people don't pitch in and help  As a local business, we've probably donated over £5,000 worth of equipment and logistical support to the project. The only costs for the MHNF have been for the actual hours worked by freelance staff. If every business based in Mill Hill pledged 1% of their profits to supporting community activity in Mill Hill, be it in cash or logistical support, then we could have the most amazing festivities. I think that would have been an amazing investment. I'd love to see things like the local restaurants having free tasting platters etc on the Broadway at key times during the shows etc. I always hear the refrain that traders are busy, but I am sure none are busier than me. Our business probably has longer hours than anyone apart from the convenience stores. I make the time to get involved. If you have a product worth selling, then surely the best thing you could do is engage with your customers?

Last year, I put a post up on Facebook asking how many people would be prepared, in principle, to invest in a community pub in Mill Hill Broadway, I suggested a minimum investment of £1,000. I had pledges of over £150,000. I have been asked for an update. I have spent the last year trying to pull together a plan to do this that will work. I have done a huge amount of hard work, market research and planning. Despite the good will, any such plan would have to be finanically sound and offer a good product. There are several key issues. The biggest is that none of the current premises available are suitable. I think that for a town centre community pub on a High St to work, it has to do a lot of things that the size of the units seems to preclude or the costs would make prohibitive. The only units of the size/locatio that would fit what I want to do are Pizza Express, Prezzo and El Vaquera. All are currently occupied. Units such as the creamery are far too small, Hetheringtons would not have a suitable space for smokers and if they do not currently have food/drink there are licensing issues. I personally would not get involved unless there was space for regular live music, served a good range of proper beers and recognised the value of experienced bar staff. Nothing annoys me more than being served beer by bored looking people who make no effort to engage. I think that is a major reason for the decline of pubs. It is a reason why Emily and Are at the Chandos Arms in Colindale are successful. I am now considering a radically different scheme, but as this would require some good will from Barnet council it may not be feasable.

On the subject of the Council, I had a great meeting today with Hale Councillor Laithe Jajeh at Scratchwoods. I invited Laithe along to hear my ideas for improving the space and to show him a few problem spots. I'm pleased to report that it was a very productive meeting and Laithe pretty much agreed with me on all points raised and has taken away the actions. It seems to me that the new generatuon of Councillors at Barnet are a significant upgrade on some of the old guard. Helene Richman and Alex Prager in West Hendon are doing great things with regards to saving the Midland Hotel and other things in the locality. A rather silly person was taunting me saying that my efforts had been hijacked by the Tories and Matthew Offord. His new leaflet has him posing outside the pub. As far as I am concerned, if he has got involved good luck to him, that is what I want local politicians to do and it would be ridiculous to get upset if someone helps. In Cricklewood Anne Clarke is also doing great things. Barnet Council is in a massive mess. I just wish that we could have a sensible, grown up debate, putting politics to one side and resolving the issues. I know that there is quiet, behind the scenes agreement on this among many of the newer, more sensible councillors.

There are a couple of bigger stories going on as we speak that I'd also like to say a few words about. I was born, raised and still am a practising Roman Catholic. At the Vatican, the Pope is currently chairing a special session to try and resolve the problems the Church has had with paedophile priests. Growing up, I personally never saw any of this abuse. I was an alter server as a child and attended local youth clubs etc. When reports first started to surface I found them hard to believe. As the truly industrial scale of the abuse became clear, I have become more and more horrified.  I have lost faith in the ability of the Church to administer its own affairs. If the Pope and the church was serious, the answer is obvious. Simply open the files and invite the Police in and do it in every country on the planet. Every single paedophile in the Church, who has abused anyone should be turned over to the relevant authority. If they are a true Christian and repent, they should hand themselves in. If they are not, then bang them up. The sheer hypocrisy of the church opposing adult, consensual sex between people of the same gender, whilst facilitation the molestation of minors is revolting beyond belief. As far as I am concerned, the church for me personally has been a hugely positive part of my life and the priests I have known have been wise and honest councillors to me. I am however in the position where I simply cannot defend or excuse what has happened any more. It has made me think more widely about the issue. Paedophiles wangle their way into all manner of postions of responsibilty where they have access to vulnerable children. The damage they do is a lifetime curse. Their re-offending rates are far higher than just about any other sort of criminal, a friend of mine was a former Governor of one of the UK's best known prisons. He told me that in his experience paedophiles only stop when they cannot physically abuse any more, because it is their most primal desire. I am not a believer in the death penalty, but do believe that convicted abusers should not be able to re insert themselves into positions of trust in the community. I wouldn't mind if they became lighthousemen in the outer hebrides, but do we really want such people in positions where they could have access to young people? I would suggest well monitored gated communities for people who there is any chance of re-offending.

And finally I've got to say something about the current spate of MP defections. It is early days. It  remains to be seen if they have a coherent plan. My view has been for some time that we need a realignment of the parties. Over half of the Labour Party MP's are out of step with the leadership. As for the Tories, I think they are in denial as to how much of a mess their party is in. Sadly in both the Tories and Labour, many MP's are unprincipled and are only interested in their pay checks. They know that if they join the independents, they are effectively dead in the water after the next election. My best guess is that this is all a flash in the pan and in 20 years, the names of Soubrey et all will be long forgotten. Whilst I thought that the coalition showed that such a government could deliver and produce stable government, Tories and Labour hate the idea. In short, they'd prefer a completely broken party clinging to power, than a realignment where the majority of the UK's voters had a government that represented them.

Wednesday 20 February 2019

Culture Wednesday and The Wednesday Poem #53 - Don't feed the Trolls

Don't feed the Trolls
The unknown keyboard soldier in his first floor flat,
a hundred different profiles feed the ego of this twat,
anonymously sniping if you will not play his game,
why the great big mystery? what can be his name? 

A mine of contradictions and a secret hidden past,
none of it revealed by the characters he cast,
a suburban Walter Mitty with a vanity to match,
if you sup from his cup, what virus will you catch?

Be warned on social media, things are not all that they seem,
what could be the purpose, behind this cunning scheme,
cut out the oxygen, pour water on the coals,
take my advice, please don't feed the trolls

Copyright 2019 Roger Tichborne

Do you have a poem you want to share with Barnet? Why not send it to The Barnet Eye for publication.

Please note that any likeness to any individual corresponding with The Barnet Eye in the above poem is purely coincidental. It is a simple montage of  some of the silliness I have seen over the past ten years on social media in Barnet presented in my own inimitable poetic style. Many thanks especially to Mike Freer MP for the inspiration for this one all those years ago! One handed bloggers everywhere will salute you! Be nice to each other.

Culture Wednesday

We are lucky to live in a great place, there is plenty going on. Every Wednesday, we'll give a roundup of what is going on, so we are launching Culture Wednesday, the day when we do culture in Barnet, a Poem and news on local music etc and I pick my favourite video of the week

The False Dots live at the Midland Hendon 15th March
The False Dots live at The Midland Hotel in Hendon - This is multi faceted celebration. We are celebrating the listing of the Midland as an asset of community value, preserving the pub for future generations. We are also celebrating the 40th Birthday of the Band, who had their first rehearsal 40 years ago. And finally, it is our drummer Graham Ramsey's birthday. Graham is one of the true diamonds of the local music scene. Before joining the Dots, he played with the B'zuka's, appeared at the Marquee with Mod Revival band The Mods and has probably jammed with more musicians at more places than just about anyone in the Borough of Barnet. Please come down and join in the fun.

And here is my favourite Youtube video of the week. This is the incomprable Les Paul introducing Steve Miller, playing the Jazz Standard "God bless the child". I love this song in all its forms. Keep your kids safe and cherish them. A message we should all agree with.

Tuesday 19 February 2019


Dear Residents,

Firstly, I would like to say hello.  My family and I moved into Mill Hill a year ago and, for the first time since arriving in London 20 years ago I finally feel that this is home. Thank you to all those who have gone out of their way to make us feel welcome.

I am writing to you today in order to tell you why I have created the Saracens Parking Petition and what I would like it to achieve for all of us.

I am hoping that if you agree with me, you will support me either by signing the online petition or by offering some of your time to help.  There are a number of ways to help (see end of this post) so if you are interested, please do get in touch.

The Problem:

The Saracens host rugby matches at Allianz Park around 16 times per year.

To prevent non-Residents from parking on Residential streets on these 16 or so match days per year, the Council and Saracens decided to create and implement a controlled parking zone (CPZ) in the streets around the Allianz Park.  It then offered Residents the opportunity to get free parking permits - paid for by Saracens (not the Council).

While many Residents have received these permits, there are still a considerable number of Residents who continue to this day to suffer parking fines on these match days.

I have come across a number of very reasonable circumstances that resulted in local Residents being unfairly and unjustly fined for parking in their own streets. Here are just three examples of many:

1.       I have received complaints from Residents, who received fines for courtesy cars while their registered cars were undergoing.  As this was such a temporary state and as Saracen matches are so far and few between, they simply did not think about applying for permits for these temporary cars or could not apply fast enough.  As a result – they were FINED!

2.       I have come across instances where Residents legitimately applied for a permit online but the Council took too long to process and deliver these permits.  As a result – they were FINED!

3.       I have encountered Residents who found the event day signage of their street misleading and believed that they did not need permits on their particular streets.  As a result – they were FINED!. 

(By the way, this confusing signage is a big issue in Barnet and the London Tribunal actually agreed that the signage is misleading and represents entrapment and ruled against the Council ordering them to cancel the fine).

What is the Extent of the Problem?

Since starting this petition I have come across a large number of locals who have complained that they have been fined.  However, it comes as no surprise that, despite a Freedom of Information request, the Council refuses to divulge how many Residents have been penalised and fined for parking in their own streets during Saracens match days. It is clearly an embarrassingly large number because if the number were small, I guarantee you that they would be eager to find a way to publish those numbers.

So, while I simply don’t have numbers to support any claims, from my many conversations it seems that almost everyone I speak to has been fined or knows others who have been fined.  Based on this, I can only draw the conclusion that the numbers really are embarrassingly high.

The Solution

The solution is actually very simple.

We are not looking to cancel the parking restrictions.  On the contrary, we agree that this is a good tool for protecting the local Residents.

However, in order to better protect those legitimate Residents who just want to be left alone to live in their own streets without being fined and penalised, we suggest a very simple amendment to the way the enforcement is applied.

As per the wording of the petition itself:

We, the People......  (apologies to Gouverneur Morris)

We agree and approve the current system whereby local Residents can register their vehicles for free Event Day parking permits.

We also agree with the procedure followed that if a warden sees a vehicle parked without the Event Day permit, then a penalty ticket should be issued.

However, we propose the following amendment to ensure that Residents are better protected, not penalised:

If, for any reason a legitimate Resident has not managed to organise a Saracens Event Day permit in time, or has not managed to renew the permit in time or has changed cars and not managed to change details with the Council in time, or for any other reason has not managed to organise or alter a legitimate permit in time, and if that Resident’s car is ticketed, then that Resident will be given 14 days to register for an Event Day permit in the usual manner and with the usual paperwork required.

And if that Resident does indeed submit a valid and successful Event Day permit request within those 14 days, then that parking ticket will be automatically cancelled.


However, the Council clearly prefers to penalise its own Residents rather than protect them. Pity!


Back to Basics – The Essential Guiding Principles & Values of our Council

When considering such cases it is important, in my mind, to go back to basic core principles and core values and use these as a starting point.

Principle 1:  This is a rather naive but fundamentally important principle that Barnet Council is OUR Council and that the Councillors are OUR representatives and serve us and our interests. By extension, the Councillors, the Council itself and all its subcontractors need to remember that their primary objective and indeed duty is that serving, representing and protecting its Residents.  As simplistic as this sounds, we should be very careful not to lose sight of this all important foundational principle, or everything else unravels very quickly.

Principle 2:  Building on Principle 1 above, we should then absolutely expect our Council and its officers at all times to strive, work towards and find creative ways of helping and protecting its Residents - not to find ever-creative ways of punishing us and penalising us or seeing us as cash cows.

When it comes to these principles and values, it is very important that everyone at Council remembers this in all their dealings with Residents.  However, similarly, it is equally important for Residents to remember this and indeed to reinforce and expect these foundational principles to underpin all our dealings with our Council and our Councillors. This is our duty as much as it is our privilege.

I am encouraged to note that when campaigning for local elections, most (if not all) Councillors voice statements to this effect and talk in these terms, so I this is clearly not such a naive notion on my part.

Back to Basics – The Specific Purpose of the Saracens Parking Restriction

Here too, in all discussions relating to the Saracens Parking Restrictions, we must remember the basics.

The primary (and only)  purpose of this particular parking restriction was to placate local Residents who were rightly worried that if the Saracens were permitted to host matches in the area, then too many non-Residents would park in local streets on match days.

As the Council was clearly keen to do business with the Saracens, the olive branch offered to Residents was to introduce the parking restrictions to prevent non-Residents from parking in local streets on match days.  However, free permits would be offered to local Residents.  It is interesting to note that Saracens agreed to pay for these permits, not the Council.  So when the Council turns around and tells us how generous they have been ... need I say more?

The Council claims that they can’t amend the Saracens Controlled Parking Zone rules without amending ALL Controlled Parking Zones across Barnet

This raises a few points.

The first is that the Saracens CPZ is very different in nature and in structure to all other CPZs in the borough. 

a.       Unlike other CPZs, this one is not a constant, every day, year-round CPZ but only applies on a few days of the year with dates being decided throughout the year.  This makes it very erratic in nature and difficult to tune into.
b.      Unlike other CPZs, this one has not been created primarily for the benefit of the Residents.  This one was created specifically to enable a private organisation (Saracens) to host matches that would generate private profit for itself.
c.       Unlike other CPZs, when this one was created, both Barnet Council and Saracens specifically stated that Residents would not be inconvenienced.  While the Council claims that it cannot give numbers of how many Residents have been penalised by this specific CPZ, it is clear that the numbers are very significant and it is clear that many Residents feel that this is fundamentally unjust and yet another money making scheme for no other purpose than to promote the profits of a private organisation (Saracens)..
The second point is that, despite the fact that this CPZ is very different in so many fundamental ways to the more traditional CPZs , if you keep in mind that the primary objective and purpose of the Council is to serve, represent and protect its Residents, and that the primary purpose of CPZs in Barnet are to protect reside Residents and to ensure that they can freely park in their own streets,  then I actually do not see any reason why ALL CPZs should not work in the same way that I am proposing for the Saracens CPZ. 

By so doing, the Council will help keep the streets clear for the use of its own Residents and protect its Residents in the process by introducing the proposed amendment that will protect Residents and prevent them even further from being penalised for parking in their own streets.  

And by doing so, the Council would be doing nothing more than its duty to its Residents.

The Council asserts that if Residents make mistakes, they should be penalised and fined.

This kind of sanctimonious, self righteous and arrogant attitude has no place in our community and we Residents should not tolerate this kind of behaviour from any of our representatives.

However, for those who do indeed think that way and who manage our affairs in such a “live by the gun” manner , I would expect nothing less than for them to “die by the gun” too.  The list of mistakes and transgressions is too long and not the essence of this post, however the current bin collection fiasco comes immediately to mind.

My only question to them is if they would prefer to be fined personally, or should we just expect them to do the honourable thing and figuratively fall on their own sword.  A simple resignation would suffice in my mind and represent justice enough.

What is the Responsibility & Role of Saracens in this Matter?

As mentioned above, both the Council and the Saracens promised that Residents would not be inconvenienced by these match days.  And as mentioned above, this promise has not been fulfilled.  Too many Residents have, and continue to be financially penalised for parking in their own streets, despite this empty promise for no other reason than to facilitate and augment the profits of the Saracens.

From the many conversations I have had with Residents on this matter in the short time that I have been working on this petition, the resentment of Residents toward Saracens is clear and growing.

I have been told that that Saracens is not really keen to help and would prefer to pander to the will of the Council (its Landlord) but, as resentment continues to grow, political pressure will eventually take its toll on the long term future of the Saracens in our neighbourhood.  We have seen how the mighty Capita has been increasingly falling from grace over time and where this is all going to end.  Similarly, it’s just a matter of time before a similar fate and a resultant fall from grace could start to develop for the Saracens.  All contracts come to an end and need to be renegotiated and local support will continue to diminish over time if Residents continue to be penalised and fined in this manner.

For this reason, I think less of a “there is nothing we can to about it” approach and more of a proactive involvement to find a genuine and just resolution would better serve the long term interests of Saracens.

And to this end, I invite (urge) the Saracens to come forwards and talk to us and work much more closely with local Residents to persuade the Council that our amendment is a step in the right direction and should be supported and passed.

We would welcome any help that you would like to offer.

There are a number of ways for help and support this petition.

Add your Name to the Petition.
The simplest way to help is to add your name to this petition.  If you go to  (it will direct you to the Barnet Council’s official Petition Website).   Please just add your name and help grow the numbers.

Volunteer to be a Street Ambassador
As you probably know your neighbours better than we do, and if you are gregarious by nature, please volunteer to be a Street Ambassador to canvass and collect signatures from your neighbours and from friends and family who live in Barnet.

Help with our Petition Table on the High Street
We are planning on having a Petition table on Mill Hill Broadway on certain Saturdays and Sundays to promote the petition to local shoppers and Residents.  So here again, if you are more of a people person and would like to engage with locals and talk to them about this petition, please let us know which date would suit you to volunteer at our table.

Flier Distribution
If you prefer something less people centric, or if you prefer to help while walking the dog, why not volunteer a few hours to help distribute fliers in your area.  This can be done at any time of day or night. 

Shop Owner?
If you own a shop (or work for one), you could help by agreeing to place one of our posters on the shop window and also place a pile of fliers on the sales counter for customers to pick up.

Blogger/PR Specialist
If you are a blogger with your own following, we would very much appreciate you writing a post about this issue to help spread the word.  Alternatively if you are good at getting press coverage, please help us get local and regional papers, radio, TV to cover this petition.

Anything you wish
If none of the above tickle your fancy but you have a better idea of your own, we are all ears!  Please come talk to us.

We, the parking penalty petition people, look forward to hearing from you.

Frank Orman
Frank Orman is a MilL Hill Resident. Guest blogs are always welcome at The Barnet Eye