I took an evening stroll around Noel Park tonight. I'm so depressed by the state of the place.
There is rubbish everywhere, the streets are strewn with it. It seems to disproportionately consist of wet wipes and beer cans, but I also saw dirty nappies, two pairs of dirty underwear, clothes, chairs, boxes, household waste, commercial waste. It's absolutely disgusting. Even where there are actual bins, they are overflowing.
Then walking by Shropshire Hall there was a big fight. I couldn't tell who was fighting and why, but it seemed to be at least 3 vs 3 and very nasty.
By the corner of Lymington Avenue and Pelham Road there was the usual set of youths smoking weed with one pissing up against the wall. They stole a moped on Friday night, I wonder what later tonight will bring..
What a cesspit we live in. Perhaps it is time everyone just admits that Noel Park is a dump. Me and my wife moved here under the mistaken impression it was a nice-enough area. Now I can't wait to get out. I'm so thoroughly depressed by the whole thing and I don't see any sign that things are likely to improve.
My wife and I are sick of reporting things; to the police, to Veola, to the Council. There needs to be a more proactive approach to how the area is managed and maintained. The current over-reliance on residents taking responsibility for the area clearly isn't effective - there seems to be too few people around who care.
Is there any hope? Does anyone feel there is? Even after the news that Haringey is the worst in the country for fly-tipping, there seems to be no difference. Perhaps a dirty protest where everyone empties their rubbish in to the middle of the street might draw attention to the issue? Get it some further press? Shame the relevant authorities in to action? Probably not. Anyway, I doubt there is any way to mobilize enough people in the area to action. Apathy and low-standards means Noel Park is doomed to further decline in to a Dickensian rat-infested, crime-ridden slum. Perhaps it already is one.
My negative tone is probably a fair reflection on how despondent I feel about the whole thing. I was out just a moment ago (at 22:30) and it's even worse right now. There is a serious homelessness and street drinking problem in the area, again I witnessed a teenager urinating on the street (despite the little lout living directly opposite) and there is an unbelievable amount of dog waste on the pavements.
I'm so fed up with everything. I want better than this.
I can empathise with you. This is a toxic mess resulting from years of neglect.
It's depressing to feel that you're the only person trying to do something but, believe me, you aren't There are a considerable number of people who are documenting mess and reporting it, confronting fly tippers and reporting antisocial behaviour to the non-emergency police line. We still don't have critical mass but things are improving.
According to the last census 11,000 people live in Noel Park, yet Noel Park net only has 353 members. I'm not saying that only people on Noel Park net are engaged, but most who are engaged and active seem to be. This gives you an idea of how far we have to go.
The rubbish and flytipping has worsened since Veolia and the council started fortnightly rubbish collections, but everything else has improved in the past 5 - 6 years since I've lived here. I've noticed new people moving in and taking pride in their homes, replacing plastic windows with sash and digging up concrete in front gardens and replacing it with actual gardens. People who've lived here longer say that they used to regularly see burning cars on the estate. Those I've spoken to say that it has improved vastly since then.
We've also got Noel Park Big Local--something I'd urge you to participate in, as well as the residents associations. The more we can get residents together to take action, the better our living environment will be.
On the flip side, Noel Park was part of Open House London last weekend. Over 50 people came to two tours around the neighbourhood from all over London and beyond. They rhapsodised about the beauty of the neighbourhood, and several said they wished they lived here.
I hear you Rachella.
Maybe one of those who went on the open house walk might be interested in buying my place...
Fortnightly rubbish collections is ridiculous. I think 2 wheelie bins is just about enough to sustain a family for two weeks, but most of the houses in Noel Park are overcrowded. I had to complain (several times) about a barking dog a few months back and there were three separate families living in a small two bedroom house (with 2 dogs in the garden). 2 Wheelie bins won't be able to cope with that for a week, let alone two.
The kids on the corner booted down the door to the commercial bin store on Lymington Avenue last night. I watched them do it and called the police, but they didn't come. They called me back at 11pm and said they hadn't been able to attend because they were too busy elsewhere. Makes me wonder why I bother.
I'd love to get involved in local residents' associations. I'm not sure big local is for me though. Me going to a baking class isn't really going to help anything. Reaching the disaffected and apathetic is the challenge, and the solution isn't obvious. I do wish you all the best with it though. I can't help but think the funding is a cynical attempt from the government to deflect attention (and responsibility) for maintaining an area away from those whose budgets they're cutting, on to local residents who have neither the time nor experience to effect meaningful change.
Can we have a meeting? I hear the attendance at the last NPRA meeting was very low; unfortunately my wife and I couldn't make it that time. I'd be well up for a meeting though. Preferably with some representation from the safer neighbourhoods team and the council.
The Big Local meetings are about strategy, not baking classes -- though it did fund a resident who is holding baking classes.
Big Local is about addressing issues that are important to residents and finding ways to improve them. Police and council officers do sometimes come to those meetings. There are also Police Ward panel meetings, held at the Salvation Army every couple of months.
I'm not sure when the next residents assn meeting is, but it will be posted on Noel Park net. The police ward meetings are organised and publicised by the safer neighbourhoods team.
So there is actually a safer neighbourhoods team? I saw a PCSOs and PC being told to 'suck their mother' when attempting to talk to the gang on the corner one day. They left after that. I had assumed the police had given up on Noel Park in favour of Crouch End or somewhere more politically active.
Well, I'd be all over the police ward panel meetings or big local meetings then. Believe it or not, I'm able to be reasonably sensible in a meeting, avoiding the desire to be sarcastic when necessary.
I've sent the safer neighbourhoods team an email. The last set of priorities on their website are from November 2014.
Realistically I'm probably stuck in Noel Park until such time I win the lottery, so might as well try as hard as I can to work with the authorities to make it a slightly less horrible place to live.
I'm really sorry you're experiencing all these problems, Decky, and can only hope you don't give up on the area.
Noel Park is unique. I've lived in London for a while now and it's only in Noel Park that we've found friends and neighbours who would selflessly offer help and comfort not to mention who were always there for us. I would encourage you to read Sophie's blog post http://noelparknet.ning.com/profiles/blog/list?month=03&year=2013 and hear some of her experiences also.
You are doing absolutely the right thing, reporting problems to the authorities and in your own way contributing to the solution. It will be a long game that will need to be played, public services facing cuts and police officers stretched to one officer for every 5,000 or more residents regardless of where we live. Residents will therefore need to report actively to ensure resources will be directed to the area as the police are forced to work reactively and some issues will take longer than usual to resolve.
I run a neighbourhood watch on Hewitt Ave but open the meeting to residents from all over NP. I'll organise a meeting for later this month / early Nov and will publicise it on noelpark.net.
Heidi and Marie's suggestion of meeting up is a fantastic one, I can do anytime after 15 Oct.
I can only agree with you. It is totally frustrating. I have lived here a very long time - and it has not always been like this by the way. It has become much worse in the last few years. Actually it used to be fine, good even. Yes, it is not Crouch End (and I am glad it isn't as there is litter trouble there too, it is boring and too middle of the road). We shouldn't have to leave, something should be done. I do like living here. It suits me - I'm in Moselle Avenue and the immediate area around my house is fine, good neighbours, interesting people, neighbourly chats, help etc - yes, we have dumped mattresses etc too. So I am also frustrated, angry, desperate and pissed off with this whole neglect that is blatantly allowed to take place. I had a Scandinavian friend staying in my house when I was away this summer, she couldn't believe the amount of rubbish and she was very surprise at the lack of support from the council, Veolia etc. Indeed. I know. I grew up in Sweden, it is the total opposite, clean (well not everywhere, but generally), caring. It is also very much about attitudes, this whole thing.
I agree also that perhaps drastic action is the only thing that will be taken seriously. Nothing else seems to work, and we do feel we are totally wasting our time. I am reporting, calling, telling people off (pah), throwing rubbish back into people's gardens/bins where it's evident it belongs there... Often I find myself reporting dumped rushing on the MyHaringey App (this does work, but next day there is more to report..) when I should be doing something more worthwhile/important/work etc. But I continue to fight as I believe that is the right thing to do.
There is someone living opposite the launderette in Vincent Rd who is recording the goings-on and posting the evidence in the window of the launderette - see image attached. This is great so thank you to that person.
We have Councillors who should be more closely involved. I know they do, but we need more support, as we can't see a change, it is getting worse. I reported the littering in Vincent Rd/Salisbury Rd to the council, requested more bins. I was told the request was noted and probably would not happen as the council believe that will just generate more people littering! I am chasing this up - but it takes time and I don't have a lot of time. These messages should be forwarded to the Councillors, if they don't see them here.
The people living above shops in Salisbury Rd (can anyone confirm this?) are supposed to leave their rubbish in bags on the street in the morning, this gets collected each day. Well I don't think it looks very nice to have piles of plastic bags badly piled up and scattered here and there along the road. I walk there most mornings early and late at night. It is guaranteed ALWAYS full of everything from radiators, paint, socks, other disgusting stuff. It attracts more littering and people think it's ok to do this. Why can't they have monitored enclosed bins/skip areas around the estate? Small bins won't help here and there. I am working on some design ideas. I am also thinking a monthly street cleaning/demonstration day might be an idea. We could get funding for this - Big Local? There are charities also working in communities, I'll find out about them.
Just to let you know also that some residents have been involved in Noel Park Conservation Area Survey and Management Plan with the Environmental Officer Haringey Council and English Heritage. This is an ongoing project, where we are producing the picture of NP as it is (positives/negatives etc) with aim to improve the area, be heard and seen, get government funding, recognition etc. More on this when we have news.
So what do we want to do? Let's meet and see what everyone has to say and suggest. I could go on writing a PHD on this, so I shall stop here.
So let's arrange a meeting, I can only do weekends (lunch time on a Sat for example/Westbury) as I work far away and get back late most evenings. Or you can all get together and report back here to those who can't make it.
I love your post and completely agree. A pro-active approach is needed. I think meeting up to discuss how to try and take control over some of these issues is a great idea. My husband and I would attend--I think we'd prefer a weekend to make sure we could attend as well.
The person setting up the camera to catch fly tippers is brilliant and I think I'll have to get my husband to set up a camera for our flat as well so we can do the same!! Thanks for sharing that!
Thank you, Marie. Let's get a meeting set up soon. H
In some parts of Italy, city councils are using "hunting cameras" such as this one: www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00873DB5S
They are wireless and run on batteries, so can be moved easily. And there are trees in Noel Park to hide them :)