Christmas shoppers face ‘car park chaos’
12 November 2008
CHRISTMAS “chaos” looms for shoppers at a Harringay retail park if its owners and supermarket giant Sainsbury’s do not agree plans to solve traffic problems.
That is the warning from Haringey Council, which has strongly criticised Sainsbury’s and Arena Retail Park owners Wildmoor Properties for not signing up to traffic flow changes it says would easing long-running congestion problems.
Councillor Brian Haley, cabinet member for environment and conservation, said: “It’s incredibly disappointing and frustrating for us that Sainsbury’s and Wildmoor can’t reach agreement on our main solution to the traffic problems.”
The council says it has been trying since March this year to broker an agreement with Sainsbury’s and Wildmoor Properties to ease congestion around Williamson Road, which leads out of the retail park and its junction with Green Lanes.
A package of different measures is in the pipeline to solve the problems including a Sainsbury’s planning application to change traffic flow in Williamson Road and traffic light changes at the junction of Green Lanes, which began this week.
But the council says Sainsbury’s or Wildmoor are still unable to agree its main solution – temporarily blocking the right turn into the car park entrance closest to Green Lanes.
The council says this will stop “traffic conflict” between motorists entering the car park and those turning from Williamson Road on to Green Lanes.
It would also allow a new two-lane exit from Williamson Road into Green Lanes, with left and right turn exits. The council believes this would cut motorist waiting times.
Under the council plans, drivers would still be able to enter the car park from an entrance further along Williamson Road leaving from the exit nearest Green Lanes.
The opposition Liberal Democrats have also weighed in.
Ward councillors Karen Alexander and Carolyn Baker said in a statement: “Residents have now suffered months of traffic misery. With the Christmas period looming things will only get worse.”
But Sainsbury’s hit back, arguing company representatives “of the highest level” had been trying to solve the problems, including contacting Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
Sue Willcox, Sainsbury’s head of town planning and transportation, said: “We are very disappointed that Haringey Council has chosen to blame Sainsbury’s for the delay in reaching an agreement on a highways solution for Williamson Road.
“We know that our customers are suffering due to the congestion and have been pressing hard to resolve the issues for over a year.
“We have already submitted a planning application for such improvements and continue to be in regular contact with the council and Wildmoor Properties to try and progress works at the earliest opportunity. The last thing we want is more delays for Sainsbury’s customers over the Christmas period.