'We want people to care about the area' - £4.2million Wood Green town centre refurb underway

Haringey Independent: Councillor Stuart McNamara keeps an eye on the work being carried out as a bus stop is dismantled in the town centre Councillor Stuart McNamara keeps an eye on the work being carried out as a bus stop is dismantled in the town centre

A £4.2million refurbishment of Wood Green town centre that is expected to take more than a year to complete is well underway.

The Haringey Independent visited the area this week to meet with some of the project managers and ask how they expect to limit disruption during the large-scale work.

The project, funded entirely by Transport for London (TfL), involves ripping up and replacing the pavements and road surface throughout the town centre, as well as installing new bus shelters, trees and other street furniture along the way.

Labour’s cabinet member for environment Stuart McNamara and project manager Steve Jones took the Independent on a tour of the building work that got underway last month.

Although the town centre remains fully open, building work has temporarily closed off two bus stops outside Morrison’s supermarket and the Odeon cinema, while pavements are restricted on both sides as paving slabs are painstakingly replaced.

Poor signage was evident on our short visit, with numerous people approaching ourselves and the contractors asking where the bus stops were and where they were supposed to  get on.

Mr Jones said the signage was a TfL issue and insisted he would get on to them to limit the obvious confusion.

But despite one or two teething problems, work is progressing towards what the council hopes will be a positive regeneration of the bustling town centre.

Councillor McNamara said: “It is in need of an uplift. Eleven million people use Wood Green tube station every year. This is one of the biggest footfall areas outside of Oxford Street and it is the heart of the borough.

“We want people to come here to shop – it is a major economic centre. There is a growing cafe culture and there are more people spending time here, plus there are a lot of young professionals moving into the area.

“Us contributing towards its growth by making sure the streets are safe, clean and attractive is very important.”

The work, which has been more than two years in the planning, is expected to be completed by June next year, with the road resurfacing the final thing to take place.

Steve Jones, major schemes and projects manager, said: “This is one of the biggest sizes of investments from TfL – it is a massive development.

“We want to people to care about their area and, when they do, there is less littering, less people loitering around. It is a reduction of crime and it makes Wood Green generally a more pleasant place to be.”

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