10 May 2018

London award for Mini Holland?

Apparently Mini Holland is one of the contenders for the London Civil Engineering Awards 2018. Actually the award is for the engineers, not the Borough of Waltham Forest. The voting website asks the public to ‘pick the engineering project they believe has inspired and delivered a positive impact for London’. Our local entry is Enjoy Waltham Forest, widely praised and derided as Mini Holland. Part of the voting is a People's Voice poll, which will give all concerned a chance to show what they think, even if it won't change anything.

The strange thing about the shortlist is the disparity between the projects. This is the competition shortlist:

- The entire Crossrail line, massively disruptive but something that will make life easier for millions of commuters.

- The new Victoria and Albert Museum extension.

- An eco-friendly water treatment plant in Highworth, somewhere near Swindon.

- Two very big tunnels, one for gas and one for electrical cables, useful but unexciting.

- Two more unexciting entries, the maintenance programme for London's flood defences, and a temporary 'marine facility' whatever that is.

- London's ‘first plastic road’, experimental recycled plastic road surfacing in Enfield.

- Enjoy Waltham Forest, £27 million worth of road surfacing and bollards. And aspiration to reduce the dominance of cars of course.

We recently got a Copenhagen crossing at the end of our street, at least it's nearly finished. No fancy planters or street furniture yet, but I live in hope, and I did happen to mention it to the Labour councillors who came round canvassing a couple of weeks ago. It's not really making a huge difference to be honest, the street drinkers still hang out there and leave their debris for the street sweeper. There is no bin so that's not really surprising. But I did vote for the local entry anyway. There are no actual prizes, just the prestige of winning the award. In a way it will be surprising if Crossrail doesn't win, as it's easily the going to have the most positive impact for London as a whole. But Enjoy Waltham Forest could be in with a chance. The voting is here.

Footnote - Enjoy Waltham Forest was one of nine finalists. No overall winner.