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Parkland Walk (Highgate to Finsbury Park) Summary of Main Design
Parkland Walk (Highgate to Finsbury Park) Summary of Main Design Proposals (July 2007) Parkland Walk (Highgate to Finsbury Park) Summary of Main Design Proposals, July 2007 The following is a summary of the current design proposals for Parkland Walk (Highgate to Finsbury Park), that have been further developed by Mayer Brown Ltd. following the public consultations carried out between February and June 2007. These proposals have not yet been formally endorsed by the London Borough of Haringey, and are presented here as ‘work in progress’, to help people respond to the latest proposals for the Walk. Guiding Principles: (These are as specified in the original Borough of Haringey Terms of Reference for the project, with slight modifications in the light of the recent public consultations) 1. The design must retain and enhance the site’s existing rural feel and natural character, while providing an improved surface and route for all users 2. The design must be in keeping with the surroundings 3. Any negative effects on the site’s ecology must be mitigated, and positive effects enhanced 4. The design should encourage pedestrian movement, creating a safe and secure environment as far as possible, and providing access for those with reduced mobility 5. The design should be suitable for cyclists, whilst minimizing any potential conflicts between different users 6. The proposals should be widely supported through the public consultation process 7. The proposals should reflect the following hierarchy of function for Parkland Walk: (a) Nature Reserve (b) Pedestrians (including the mobility-impaired, joggers and dog walkers) (c) Cyclists Main Proposals: Path Surface and Alignment: 1. The majority of the path surface will not be changed. Repairs / re-surfacing is proposed only where there are problems due to excessive mud, or rough / protruding surfaces that could be difficult or hazardous for users. The percentage of the path area that may need repairs is not precisely known at this stage, but is likely to be significantly below 40%. Page 1 Parkland Walk (Highgate to Finsbury Park) Summary of Main Design Proposals (July 2007) 2. The materials used for repairing the path will be sympathetic to the existing path texture and colour. The recommended material for the base layer is dark grey crushed concrete – this is a more sustainable approach, by re-cycling old materials. On top of the sub-base, a surface dressing of crushed aggregate will be laid (about 2cm thick). The colour and texture of the surface dressing will be carefully chosen to match the existing surface as closely as possible. Natural weathering and accumulation of plant debris will ensure that new sections soon blend in with the old. 3. No path edging is proposed, except where necessary to prevent encroachment into path- side vegetation at ecologically sensitive points. 4. The existing path widths will generally be maintained along the length of the Walk. The width currently varies between approximately 2m and 5m. Where re-surfacing is proposed, the path will be laid to between 2.0 and 3.0m, to be in keeping the specific location. At existing ‘pinch points’, (i.e. where vegetation narrows the path) the width will be approximately 2.0m (note: in summer, plant growth may effectively reduce this to 1.5m). At wider sections, the re-surfaced width will be between 2.5 and 3.0m, depending on local circumstances. On very wide sections (e.g. where the path is around 5m), the path repairs may actually lead to a long-term reduction in path width, by removing the need for people to skirt around muddy sections, and allowing path-side vegetation to recover. 5. Existing path alignments will be largely retained. Long straight runs will be avoided, and in some places the existing meandering alignment will be enhanced, to maintain the natural feel of the Walk and also to reduce cycle speeds. 6. At several places, some specific ‘cycle speed reduction’ features are proposed – for example, (i) the existing pinch points and chicanes will be retained; (ii) rougher path surfaces will be adopted at sensitive locations – e.g. adjacent to the recreational facilities at Crouch Hill; at the top of the steps near Oxford Road; etc. Drainage 7. The elevated sections of Parkland Walk are mostly well-drained, except where walkers and cyclists have worn hollows in the path surface. The poorly-drained sections occur mostly in the cuttings, where run-off to the path edge is restricted and soil and plant debris has accumulated. 8. Where drainage problems occur, the main approach will be to raise and shape the path to ensure that surface water runs off into adjacent verges and path-side vegetation. 9. At a few locations (i.e. in some of the cuttings) this approach may not be sufficient. At these very poorly-drained sections it is proposed to: (i) provide soak-aways (e.g. near Homesdale Road entrance, and west of Crouch End Hill bridge – the latter fed by a shallow run-off Page 2 Parkland Walk (Highgate to Finsbury Park) Summary of Main Design Proposals (July 2007) channel); and (ii) encourage a few natural ponds at the path side (e.g. 200m east of Stanhope Road). Access Arrangements 10. A new access (steps) is proposed at Northwood Road. (There is no formal access from this road at present). 11. The steps at Crouch End Hill (west side) will be replaced with a ramp (tarmac surface), to assist people with pushchairs accessing the Walk. 12. The existing wooden steps at Crouch End Hill (east side) will be repaired / re-built. 13. Minor improvements / repairs are proposed for the other existing accesses – e.g. repairing steps and re-surfacing ramps, where necessary. 14. A new footpath access to Shepherd’s Close (at the north-west end of Parkland Walk) was considered, but is not recommended for the following reasons: (i) the path would not particularly improve the Capital Ring route, as it would not be shorter than the existing route via Archway Road (the latter also has the advantage of a controlled pedestrian crossing of Shepherd’s Hill): (ii) local residents are potentially the main beneficiaries of a new access to Shepherd’s Close, but consultations showed most residents were opposed to a new path, because of concerns about reduced security in the area; (iii) a new path would negatively affect the area’s ecology and natural setting. 15. At two existing accesses (Stanhope Road and Upper Tollington Park) cycle ramps are proposed (railway sleepers laid end-to-end), to help cyclists push their bikes up and down the steps. 16. At the steps to Milton Park, an informal ramp is proposed alongside, to assist pushchair access. Access for People with Reduced Mobility 17. The main measures to improve access for people with reduced mobility are: (i) improved surfaces (i.e. repairs) at all existing ramps leading onto Parkland Walk; (ii) renewal / replacement of handrails, where necessary; (iii) improved path surface, where currently muddy or exceedingly bumpy; (iv) provision of dedicated parking spaces for badge-holders outside the Holmesdale Road, Crouch Hill and Blythwood Road entrances. Gates and Fences 18. Following feedback from the public consultations, the recommended approach for gates and fences at entrances to Parkland Walk is to keep the arrangements as simple and uncluttered as possible. The main proposals are listed below. Page 3 Parkland Walk (Highgate to Finsbury Park) Summary of Main Design Proposals (July 2007) 19. All entrances to Parkland Walk to have a marker post, carrying an inset roundel saying ‘Parkland Walk Nature Reserve’. This clearly defines the Parkland Walk and underlines its role as a nature reserve, while remaining unobtrusive and avoiding being a target for graffiti. 20. At a few locations, a more prominent sign (same logo but larger size and mounted on a post) may be appropriate (e.g. Holmesdale Road entrance, Blythwood Road entrance). 21. At the entrance near Finsbury Park, a Parkland Walk roundel inset into the path is recommended – this will mark the start of the Walk, while avoiding being a target for graffiti. 22. No additional railings are proposed – the aim is to keep the Walk as open as possible. However, where existing fences are in poor repair, their replacement with black iron railings is recommended – this style of railing is already found in many places along the Walk, and is recommended as the common standard. Motor-Cycle Barriers 23. A major issue raised in the public consultations concerned the illegal use of the Walk by motor-cycles, either for joy-riding or as a getaway. After much consideration, it is recommended not to install motorcycle barriers at this stage. There are a number disadvantages associated with such barriers: (i) they create obstacles for all users at all times; (ii) they take up a lot of space and can be visually intrusive; (iii) they are not always effective in restricting motorcycles; (iv) they can reduce personal security for people on the Walk, by reducing visibility from surrounding accesses, and making it harder to leave the Walk quickly. 24. It is therefore recommended that illegal motorcycling on the Walk should be discouraged primarily through active community support to local policing efforts – e.g. reporting and responding rapidly when instances occur. 25. If it was nonetheless felt that motorcycle barriers were necessary, it is recommended that a preferred design should be pilot tested first at a single location, to test its suitability. (The most appropriate location might be the Blythwood Road entrance). If found to be acceptable, the design could then be considered at other locations, if necessary. Lighting 26. No street lighting will be introduced on the Walk (to keep it as a nature reserve and encourage wildlife, especially bats). 27. Street lighting on roads near the entrances to the Walk to have hoods, to reduce spillage onto the Walk. Page 4 Parkland Walk (Highgate to Finsbury Park) Summary of Main Design Proposals (July 2007) Direction Signage 28. Direction signage for the Walk has two components: (i) signage on the Walk itself; (ii) signage on adjacent roads, leading to and from the Walk. 29. Signage on the Walk: It is proposed that a uniform style of signage should be adopted on the Walk. Currently there are at least three styles of direction sign. The options for future signage are: (a) to adopt one of these styles as standard; (b) to develop a new style of sign specifically for the Walk. Views on these alternatives are being sought through the consultations. 30. Signage to and from the Walk: At present, the only street signs indicating Parkland Walk are those highlighting the route of the Capital Ring (a signposted walking route around London). The following recommendations are made for future street signing to/from the Walk: (i) Signs pointing to Parkland Walk to be provided at important road junctions in the vicinity of the main entrances to the Walk (e.g. Archway Road, Crouch End Hill, Crouch Hill, Mount Pleasant Villas/Blythwood Road junction, Oxford Road/Upper Tollington Park junction, and from Finsbury Park); (ii) The signs pointing towards the Walk will say: ‘Parkland Walk Nature Reserve’, and will not specifically indicate a cycle route. (At main entrances to Parkland Walk, however, some indication of shared pedestrian / cycle use will be necessary); (iii) On-road cycle routes in the area to be well signposted (both the London Cycle Network and local routes). The aim is to encourage utility cyclists (as opposed to leisure cyclists) to use the on-road routes. Benches, Waste Bins, Display Panels and Notices 31. No changes to existing benches are proposed, except to replace the seat east of Mount Pleasant Villas. The latter is vulnerable to graffiti, and also of a different style to other benches along the Walk. It is therefore recommended to replace this seat with one matching others on the Walk. 32. Views on the need for additional seats are being sought through the consultations. 33. There are currently three different styles of litter bin along the Walk, and it is recommended that a single uniform style is adopted. Also, it is recommended that dog waste bins are re- positioned adjacent to the litter bins, to reduce clutter. 34. The two existing interpretation panels (at Holmesdale Road and west of Upper Tollington Park) are to be retained, and two additional panels are proposed: (i) on the bridge over Page 5 Parkland Walk (Highgate to Finsbury Park) Summary of Main Design Proposals (July 2007) Stapleton Hall Road bridge; (ii) on the Crouch End Hill bridge. These panels would describe the history of the old railway. 35. Views on the replacement of notice boards along the Walk are sought through the consultations. Recreational Facilities 36. Existing recreational facilities to remain (e.g. skateboard ramp at Crouch Hill). 37. Joggers’ exercise equipment proposed at two, possibly three locations (e.g. old playground near Holmesdale Road; near skateboard ramp at Crouch Hill). 38. Possible scope for enhancing recreational and educational facilities at Crouch End Hill (to be further explored) – e.g. involving the local café and the old Crouch End railway station. Ecological Management and Mitigation Measures 39. Pre construction inspections for bat roost potential of any of trees scheduled for felling. 40. Inspections of structures for bat roost potential if works vary from those currently proposed. 41. Two-stage clearance of vegetation suitable for reptiles, 42. Vegetation clearance outside of the bird-nesting season (March-August inclusive). 43. Vegetation management to provide habitat to compensate for any loss of reptile habitat. 44. Re-instatement of varied path-side vegetation structure where this is lost or reduced. 45. Scrub and tree management to restore Florence Road Grassland. 46. Protection of notable plant species during works. 47. Minimising damage to tree roots in areas requiring excavation. 48. Managing works in the vicinity of Japanese knotweed in accordance with Environment Agency guidelines. 49. Control of lighting to avoid impacts on feeding and foraging bats. 50. Use of surface drainage to use runoff to provide small wetland features. 51. Use of different substrates for path resurfacing to provide opportunities for a variety of species to re-colonise path edges. 52. Under-planting woodland and at woodland edge with native scrub species to provide additional nesting and foraging opportunities. Page 6
"Parkland Walk (Highgate to Finsbury Park) Summary of Main Design"