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Traders fear for future in 'rat-run' crackdown

Plans to place an emergency access gate across a Muswell Hill road to stop motorists using it as a short cut have been condemned by traders.  council chiefs. Council chiefs are considering a request by residents living in Grosvenor Road to have the traffic-calming measures introduced in the street this summer, following long-standing safety fears over speeding traffic.

The plan involves placing a four-foot-high and four-metre-wide gate across Grosvenor Road, at the junction with Goodwyns Vale, to deter traffic from Colney Hatch Lane using the road as a rat-run through to Alexandra Park Road.

The gate, which will cost 9,000, is designed to give emergency crews access to the road when necessary, through the use of special keys.  But the proposals have upset some traders situated in adjoining Wetherill Road, who claim the move will drive away customers, with some even claiming the plans could send their businesses to the wall.

Geoff Austin, who runs the Good News newsagents in Wetherill Parade with his wife, said: "This will take away many of the customers who drive past here.  This shop has been here for for 100 years, and all the shops down here are small businesses.
"It could have the effect of pushing us under.  There are loads of people who stop along here on their way to work or on the way home.  If we lose their custom we lose a major part of our trade."

Liam McGroaty, who opened his Stone and Marble store in Wetherill Parade two years ago agreed.  "At least 20% of my trade comes from people passing by in their cars.  We've just started to build our customer base and have got a good reputation.  This will not help us at all."

Wetherill Parade features five shops, including specialist stores selling marble, antiques and cakes.  Under the scheme, part of nearby Muswell Lane will become a one-way area, easing fears expressed by residents that traffic entering Grosvenor Road from Colney Hatch Lane would use their road instead.

Councillor Lucy Craig, who is backing the traffic-calming measures, said that traffic in the Grosvenor Road area had become unacceptable.
"I have been inundated with letters from residents who are sick of motorists using this area as a quick short cut. 
"Parents are too frightened to allow their children to walk to school on their own, because they are so worried they will be involved in an accident.
"I am saddened if traders believe that their businesses will suffer as a result of the measures, but I believe the safety of the residents comes first."

Consultation documents on the plans, which could be in place by June, were distributed to residents this week.

  Shops Saved   Architectural Salvage  

Article and photograph Ham & High

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