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Local residents have been invited to view South Hampstead Synagogue’s plans for a major expansion on their Eton Villas site.
The current synagogue building was completed in 1964 and serves the Jewish community in Steele’s Village, Belsize Park and beyond. The Synagogue tell me they want to create a modern facility catering for the same number of people as now, but with more space to act as a community hub. To do this, they intend to demolish the existing building and erect a new one.
There will be a public exhibition of the initial plans on Sunday 12th May, 11am to 3pm, and Monday 13th May, 4:30pm to 8:30pm, at the South Hampstead Synagogue. The proposals will then be developed through the Spring with a planning application submitted later this year.
Six local estates are stuck without heating and hot water for the third day running. The heating failure couldn’t have come at a worse time – with outside temperatures plunging into the minuses last night.
I have been in constant contact with the council on this critical issue. The burst pipe causing the problem was identified on the underground heating mains pipe work yesterday. The council’s contractors, Apollo, need to cut out and replace pipe work 1 meter either side of the burst. These works will continue from 6.30am today, when welders will begin the replacement of the pipe work.
After that, Apollo need to refill and vent any air to each of the blocks – this work is unfortunately expected to continue into Friday evening.
I will keep up the pressure on the council to have the work complete before the weekend – and am also urging them to provide extra electric heaters and open up the hot showers at Kentish Town Baths for affected residents.
The estates are Penshurst, Leysdown, Stonegate, Wingham, Westwell, and Chislet. If you are a resident in one of these blocks please do get in touch and I can keep you updated.
Update 9:30am Friday 22nd February: Camden have agreed to my request to allow residents of the affected blocks a free shower/swim at Kentish Town Baths. If you live in one of the blocks above you just need to report to the reception with proof of your address. This will apply today and tomorrow, when the works should be complete and the heating restored.
Update 9pm Friday 22nd February: The leak is now fixed and Camden are firing up the boilers again. It will take a few hours for heat to make its way through the system, but normal service will be resumed in the next couple of hours.
Camden Council have proposed allowing a mobile refreshment stand in Talacre Gardens.
It’s pretty obvious that what’s driving the council is a need to find new sources of income – this is part of a deal that would see sites rented out across 12 of the borough’s parks and open spaces. However, if litter and noise could be kept under control, and if the outlet were discreet, I can see that some people might like to be able to buy teas, coffees and snacks on their way through the park.
We also need to consider the impact on existing local businesses – both Cafe du Coin and (more recently) The Fields Beneath have loyal local audiences and have worked hard to establish themselves in the community.
I’m interested to know what you think before I respond to the council’s consultation. Please do drop me an email or, alternatively, you can complete the public consultation directly, here.
Camden Council has posted it’s winter weather pages once again this Decemeber, to carry all the information local residents will need if predictions of severe weather in the Borough prove to be correct.
If you’re a local community group in Camden you can get prepared by claiming your free snow shovel from the council.
Camden Town is known for it’s buzzing music scene and a new street installation, based on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame, is set to bring our unique heritage to life.
The project, led by the innovative business group Camden Town Unlimited, could see up to 25 artists honoured by a series of stones set into the pavement along Chalk Farm Road.
While lots of people will love seeing Camden’s cultural contribution recognised in this way, there’s no doubt some residents will shudder at yet another ploy to drag more tourists to Camden Town. Camden Market is already one of the most visited attractions in London – and while that’s great for the local economy and thriving local businesses, there’s no doubt the heavy flow of people can take its toll.
Personally, I think this installation could help. By focussing attention on the main streets, we should hold visitor’s attention and discourage them from heading off into the smaller residential roads where people live.
There will be a drop-in event for local residents and businesses to hear more information and express their own views on Saturday 17th November, from 10am until 2pm, at Castlehaven Community Centre. I first wrote about this idea almost a year ago, so it’s great the project is now at a stage where the community can have their say.
Steele’s Village will be getting spooky once again next week, with a halloween pumkin competition. Bring your entries to the Legal Cafe on Haverstock Hill before 5:30pm on Tuesday 30th October: there will be prizes for the best pumpkins!
There’s also Christmas festivities in the pipeline. If you’re local (or even not so local, but a fan of our fantastic High Street) be sure to put Thursday 6th December in your diary now for the Christmas lights switch on and carols.
An incredible 25,000 people came to see the Olympic Torch as it passed through Chalk Farm last month. Don’t despair if you weren’t one of them – there’s another chance with the Paralymic Flame this week, which will enter Camden at 10am on Wednesday 29th August.
The flame will travel through Regent’s Park, officially arriving in Camden from the Outer Circle, via St. Mark’s Gate, at the northern end of the park. It then makes its way south along the Broadwalk, before leaving the park and entering Portland Place in Westminster at about 10.30am.
Camden Council are hosting a morning of sporting activities to welcome the torch, promising football, volley ball and athletics for residents of all ages. Activities will be taking place from 9am to 11.30am at the northern end of Regent’s Park (or, for the less sporty types, it’s fine to just sit and watch the torch pass!)
As anyone who has found themselves fighting unpopular development plans will tell you, too often the planning system feels remote and out of touch with local communities.
This is particularly true in an inner city London borough like Camden, where we will always have large amounts of development, often radical and high profile.
The coalition government’s new approach to planning aims to give residents and communities more of a say in the decisions that effect their lives, by introducing Neighbourhood Planning Forums. These allow residents to come together to define an area and draw up a Neighbourhood Plan. Planning applications in the area are then assessed against the Neighbourhood Plan as well as the council’s planning policies.
We have a number of groups coming together in Camden to draw up Neighbourhood Plans, including the Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum which is currently considering where to set it’s boundaries. Some have suggested that West Kentish Town, the area in Haverstock bordered by Prince of Wales Road, Malden Road and Queen’s Crescent, should be included. But we need to know what local people think before setting the boundary.
Caroline Hill, Chair of the Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum, has written about this issue on the excellent Kentishtowner blog. If you live in West Kentish Town, you can read her contribution and have your say here, or drop me a line.
Our campaign to win protection for much loved local buildings has been won, as Camden Council launches a consultation on a “local list” for our area.
In recent years two important, historical buildings – the Old Chappell Factory and the former North London Polytechnic Buliding – have fallen under threat of demolition. The buildings were at risk because, although they are undisputably of local historical significance, to qualify for listing (and therefore protection under planning law) a building in Camden must currently have national significance.
After local people successfully fought to save both buildings, I proposed a “local list” for Camden so we could protect buildings deemed to have social, historical or community significance to people in the borough (if not across the country). The idea was quickly covered in the Camden New Journal and well received by local residents, campaigners and conservationists.
To their credit, the council will now introduce a local list, and are asking what criteria should be used to add buildings. Their sensible proposal would require buildings to meet two criteria from architectural interest, historical significance, town scape value or social value. However, the really important decision will be how buildings are proposed for and accepted onto the list. This process should be community led – with the criteria applied in a fair, balanced and transparent way.
You can have your say here.
Last night Cllr Bokth and I attended Haverstock’s Safer Neighbourhood Team meeting. This is the forum by which local people can influence and have a say over the prioirties of our local policing team. It’s also an opportunity for the police to feed back to us on current crime and safety issues in the area.
One noticeable increase has been burglary. In particular, properties with scaffolding outside have attracted crime and theft from opportune criminals making use of easy access to upstairs windows. This has particularly centred on the Prince of Wales Road area.
While the police are aware of the problem and doing what they can to help keep us all safe, the strong advice if there is scaffolding near your house is to check it is alarmed, check the alarm is working, and remember to keep upstairs windows locked.
The next public policing meeting will be the Safer Neighbourhood Team AGM, at Chalk Farm Salvation Army Centre, at 7pm on Tuesday 11th September. Do come along if you want to have your say on local policing.