I am concerned about the increase in disruptions during recent events in the Park, and wondered how these have affected other people? I am thinking in particular of the Classic and Sports Car Show (28-30 Oct, see picture) and the Fireworks Festival (over 2 days, and for longer each day, this year). Briefly, the issues which I have experienced/been alerted to include (further details below):

(1) Closure of Alexandra Palace Way and consequent diversion of the W3 bus over most of 3 days for the Car show, and over much of 2 days for the Fireworks.

For the Fireworks Festival only:

(2) The erection of barriers in the Park for 3 days from early Thursday morning, preventing people from using large areas of the park on the Thursday, and from crossing it north/south on the Friday.

(3) The closure of the footbridge over the railway (when Alexandra Palace Way was closed) in expectation of overcrowding. Pedestrians and railway passengers were instead sent round over the road bridge, whose footpath is no wider than the footbridge.

(4) The lack of any notice about the diversion of the W3 bus on the bus stop in Station Road; the arrivals indicator continued to announce buses that did not arrive.

These issues are likely to arise more frequently in the future, given the expected increase in the number of events in the Park, and the proposed closure of Alexandra Park Way for some of these. I am not personally averse to some increase in events in the Park – theatrical productions without amplification (apart perhaps from opera!) seem a great idea, and the occasional silent disco might not be a problem. The Palace does, after all, need to recoup the loss of subsidy for the Park from Haringey Council.

In general, I think the AP&P Board and Trust have done wonders to turn the fortunes of the Palace around. We are no longer threatened with a giant casino or unnecessary cinemas. It is no longer a white elephant accumulating debt at the top of the hill, and the refurbishment of the old theatre – unthinkable until recently – will be the most amazing achievement. But if the People’s Palace needs to increase the number of its events, it also needs to consider the resulting disruption to the local – and wider – community, and take some measures to alleviate it. And maintain satisfactory co-ordination with Govia ThamesLink and Arriva/TfL.

- - - - - -

Filling out the issues which I referred to above:

(1) Diversions of the W3 bus (between Lordship Lane N22 and Middle Lane N8) between 10.30 and 3pm each day of the Car show, and for several hours each day of the Fireworks Festival. A few residents living near the Park were notified a fortnight before the Car show, but since this bus route stretches right across the borough, this was of no use to the many others who use this excellent bus service. The diversion of the W3 bus for the Fireworks Festival cannot, of course, be avoided because of the massive crowds in the Park (but see suggestions below) - it is an annual custom. But diversions for random events throughout the year are a quite different matter. It makes a mockery of a bus service if people cannot rely on it.

The Palace has been reluctant to discuss this issue. I understand that the closure of Alexandra Palace Way for the Car show was not even mentioned to the residents’ and interest groups attending the special meeting of the Consultative and Advisory committee on Sept. 29th. I also had no response to my two emails sent to

The road was closed during the Car Show because of some short supercar parades which were very badly attended – see the photo above taken a minute before the start of one of them – and were hence a very poor reason for suspending the bus service (see my email about this). The road was not closed for last year’s event, and I hope they will reconsider doing so for next year’s.

I realise that Alexandra Palace Way is a private road, but the Palace presumably does not wish to alienate local people (and the many other users of the W3 bus) who, like other Londoners, are very reliant on public transport.

(2) Erection of barriers in the Park – various people walking to school/work have complained of not being able to get across the Park on Friday 4th Nov. One mother with 2 children and their bikes was particularly incensed, having instead to get the train from Ally Pally to Hornsey (just one person can have problems trying to get on the train at that time!).

(3) Closure of the footbridge – I was crossing the railway at 6pm on Friday 4th in the opposite direction to the oncoming crowd, and was alarmed at the narrowness of the footpath on the road bridge which you cannot get off because of the concrete baffle extending the length of it. We had to use this bridge because the footbridge had been closed, in expectation of overcrowding,

Meanwhile (4) the crowds were accumulating in Station Road because there was no notice on the bus stop indicating that the W3 bus was suspended on that part of its route. I understand that it is not possible to stop the arrivals indicator from announcing buses that do not arrive, but the suspension could be announced on the lowest line of the indicator, where other such notices appear. The 184 bus was also diverted for just 45 mins, curiously, late on both evenings of the Fireworks.

Rather than getting buses diverted from the area, so that crowds of people fill the local roads, it would make more sense to have shuttle buses going to Wood Green (and other?) stations.  During the Fireworks, shuttle buses could take advantage of the lack of traffic and parked cars at the bottom of Alexandra Park Way to turn in the layby there. This is much more necessary since the Fireworks Festival lasts several hours now, on each of 2 days.

For other events which do not attract such massive crowds as do the Fireworks, but which need to use the road, perhaps it could be closed to regular traffic, but not to the W3 bus.

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  • I absolutely agree with everything Annabel says except it bein reasonable to divert the W3 bus. I do not see why it has to be diverted. If Haringey Council is so scared people might see the fireworks without paying them, they could just ask tfl to stop the busses stopping in the Palace Park when the fireworks are on. Banning them  completely is excessive.

    • Great idea, Tom!  The buses would have to go very slowly, mind you, with those massive crowds dashing across the road while staring into the sky at the fireworks ... Actually, the fireworks only last half-an-hour - or they used to - so a gap in the service for this half-hour might be ok?

    • Yes, I could live with diverting the W3 for half an hour, or even few hours on each day, but they do it for days. It's like they think people are going to camp in the park for days beforehand to see the fireworks for free.

  • I absolutely support Annabel's analysis here and from day 1 have been pursuing the various authorities myself, including TfL, the Council and Catherine West (who is now 'investigating'.) I eventually had a couple of responses from our Councillor, Pete Mitchell, which didn't really seem to grasp the difficulties posed by this lack of cooperation between stakeholders. Besides a proper investigation now eg of why TfL did not mark the bus stops and adjust Countdown (very feeble response from Bus Alerts on Twitter) we need firm reassurance instead of stonewalling that future events will benefit from coordinated action and dissemination of information not only to locals but people further afield. I've spoken to many people who were hugely inconvenienced by all of this and on the Thursday preceding the fireworks closure (well, it had already started then) I missed all but ten minutes of a costly appointment. I look forward to seeing what others say about this.

    • I realise my post was misleading - the diversion of the W3 bus for the Fireworks Festival clearly cannot be avoided because of the massive crowds in the Park. It is an annual custom. But diversions for random events throughout the year are a different matter.

      Since the Fireworks Festival lasts so much longer now, and over 2 days, I suggested that the crowds on the roads could by reduced by shuttle buses taking people to and from the bottom of Alexandra Palace Way. They could turn in the lay-by there, taking advantage of the lack of traffic and parked cars.

    • Yes I agree with you on this. Of course divert the W3 for the annual fireworks display but other than that, disruptions to the W3 need to be kept to an absolute minimum. Quite a few local residents don't have cars (my household among them) and so public transport is vital all year round. I also think that better communication with TfL could help resolve some of the matters raised in your original post.

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