Mayor of Muswell: Ellie Seeks Your Vote!
By ellie on 7 May 2012
We’ve all been there, it’s four o’clock on a Sunday afternoon when you realise that if there’s any hope of eating sensible meals in the next week - and maybe even squeezing in a Sunday roast - you’ll have to brave the rush hour in Muswell Hill’s favourite supermarket (we all know which one I mean). While I am usually a fan of this particular supermarket chain, somehow the Muswell Hill branch seems to have the ability to induce crippling stress, fits of rage and the occasional relationship breakdown, particularly in said rush hour. The poor layout has a lot to answer for; alcohol in the middle (distracting to say the least!), short and randomly placed aisles, and the eggs... Where are the eggs?! I cannot drag my boyfriend there for love nor money (believe me I’ve tried both).
But it is the simple fact that every resident of Muswell Hill (and its surrounding areas) chooses the exact same time on a Sunday to complete their last minute shop, that’s the real problem here. Time is limited, patience and tolerance are few and far between on the Sunday hangover and there’s a sense of panic in the air (‘must get best free range chicken, before they’re all gone and I have to trek all the way over to another higher-priced unnamed supermarket’). As mayor of Muswell my first action would be to introduce 24:7 opening hours. Imagine the sense of calm and accomplishment you’d feel as you glided through blissfully yummy mummy, posh teenager and harassed-dad-free aisles, (at any time you please!) with every item on your shopping list ticked off and the whole lot under budget. Heaven.
The hills are alive
We’re always told to make the most of our assets and Muswell’s best asset is without doubt its ‘hillyness’. It keeps us flood-risk free (aside from the odd burst water main), provides a great cardiovascular workout and views over the city that rival those of every other capital lookout post (Primrose Hill eat your heart out); Muswell Hill’s great height is one of its greatest advantages. So, why don’t we celebrate it? Ok so once in a blue moon you might stroll over to admire the view from Ally Pally (nowhere near as good as the view from old railway bridge or the top of Hillfield Park by the by), but surely more could be made of Muswell’s great height. As one Muswell Hill resident once said to me, ‘Living up here is like being in a different world, we’re above the hustle and bustle of the city, we’re aloof, we’re better than the rest - and looking out at that view makes me feel fantastic, every day.’ And I bet there are hundreds of you out there who would agree with that sentiment.
So, I propose this necessary course of action. Make all roads into Muswell Hill (particularly Muswell Hill road) toll roads – free to use for residents of course! Or alternatively pay as you go escalators running up Summerland Gardens and perhaps running from LA Fitness through the carpark to the Broadway (let’s face it, that’s a long climb after a workout!). Then with the bountiful profits we can host whole calendar of hill-related celebrations; the Muswell Hill Carnival, winter sledging competitions down Muswell Hill itself and the annual Cheese Rolling festival. Then with the rest we can build a giant (long-awaited) village green which would hover 50 metres above the Broadway, where residents could come together to celebrate ‘hilly-ness’ and admire the aforementioned views. A step too far? Perhaps, but we can dream.
We’re going deeper underground...
I’ll just park the car. Ever muttered this ill-fated phrase on a Saturday lunchtime (or pretty much anytime) in the vicinity of Muswell? If so, I imagine my final suggestion will gain your full backing. ‘Just parking the car’, does not happen in Muswell Hill. Parking involves at least 20 minutes of super-sleuth style searching, close shaves, tense standoff in streets with room for just one vehicle to pass, culminating in a real hash job of parallel parking – on a hill. And no, we’re not going to pay £1.10 for an hour in a certain pay-and-display car park, there’s a recession don’t you know? Stressful, fraught and infuriating are understatements.
The simple solution? Well, yes in an ideal world we’d all cycle, but while the car remains king,underground parking is the way forward. Now, I’m no architect, but I’m pretty sure there’s scope for a large underground parking facility just below the Broadway. Room for 200 cars I hear you say? Yes please. And it’s free? I’m there. Think about it, if we were really going to go to town on this, we could also build an underground by- pass following the line of the main road, allowing the Broadway to be a car-free zone. The Broadway, in my humble opinion, is on the way up, but imagine the boost to its popularity if it was a pedestrian only zone? We’d be laughing.