A message from Louise Stewart, CEO Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust
With the Palace closed and events cancelled I genuinely thought the team and I would have time to catch up on tasks that we have been meaning to do for a long time, without the distractions of daily operations on site. That has not been the reality. It has felt like we have been under siege at times. I know that many local residents living on the park boundaries feel the same way.
Use of the Alexandra Park and Palace has been so great during lockdown that it has overwhelmed the resources and powers available to us. Nearly half the number of visits we get in a year have happened in the lockdown period. While the vast majority of people have enjoyed the park and palace grounds and behaved responsibly, the last three weeks in particular have seen a huge increase in anti-social behaviour, dangerous driving and illegal parking.
It has caused disturbance to local residents and visitors alike. It has also caused difficulty for the W3 bus, especially at night.
We have been very appreciative of the support we have received from the Police but we are under no illusion that this is using Police resource that is required over a much wider area.
We have made no secret of the fact that Covid-19 has left a huge hole in our budget, so our ability to throw money at the issue is even less plausible than in normal times.
However in discussion with the Police, TfL and Haringey Council we have taken the decision to close Alexandra Palace Way in the evenings until further notice. We will also be closing the parking bays on the road with appropriate infrastructure throughout the day and evenings.
This will cost the Charity in excess of £60,000. It is money we should not have to spend. Our funds are limited and would be better spent on improving the Park and Palace. However it is our job to look after it as best we can and to minimise the impact on our neighbours. We feel it is the right thing to do and we will need to work out how we pay for it later.
They are words I never thought I would say, it’s not the best way to run any organisation. But sometimes you just have to act and regrettably we have reached that point.
Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to the time when we can welcome you back to a fully opened Ally Pally once more.
Alexandra Palace is a charity, run for the benefit of everyone. Our Park, Palace and spectacular events have been enriching lives since 1863, but the coronavirus pandemic has hit us hard. To be blunt, we are looking at a £1m shortfall this year and the same again next year. We know this time has been hard on many people but, if you can afford it, your support will help us get through this crisis.