Christian Wolmar on one of the Crayford Road benches
Published: 8 August, 2014
by PETER GRUNER
LONDON mayoral Labour hopeful Christian Wolmar is using his own road in Holloway as a blueprint for a stirring new campaign to bring “good neighbourliness” back to the capital.
Mr Wolmar, 65, lives in Crayford Road, close to the Nag’s Head, where residents have won plaudits for regular street parties and various meet-the-neighbour social events.
New park benches have just been installed in the road, along with a number of colourful floral displays. The plan is to eventually close one end of Crayford Road, reduce traffic speed to 5mph, and create a “play street” where children can run around in safety.
Mr Wolmar wants similar community-friendly streets to be adopted throughout the capital. He said: “Less than 100 years ago streets were places where people lived and kids played. People chatted to each other over the garden fence. There was little through traffic and not the large amounts of through traffic that we see today. In our street we are beginning to prove that with simple measures we can return to that environment.”
Mr Wolmar is calling for grants for people who want to create community-friendly roads.
“For years our kids have been imprisoned in their homes by fear of traffic. We must reverse that trend and reclaim our streets,” he said.
One of the organisers of Crayford Road’s good neighbourhood scheme is Dutch-born Roderik Gonggrijp. He helped get £1,500 funding for the bench and floral display from government agency Community First. They have just allocated another £2,500 for street trees and raised bedding.
“It all started with a street party in our road to mark the Queen’s Jubilee two years ago,” Mr Gonggrijp said. “For the first time we were able to meet neighbours we’d lived with for many years. Then we had another street party a year later and even more residents turned up. From there we’ve organised a gardening group and a book group.”