You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘camden town’ tag.
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.
Controversial plans for a four storey retail development in the middle of Camden Town were dramatically thrown out by councillors last night.
Local residents were out in force to protest against the proposals, which were also opposed by many local businesses and respected groups including English Heritage and the Design Council. Speaking on behalf of residents at the planning hearing, I highlighted the four storey mall masquerading as a market, the negative impact on the conservation area along the canal, and the concentration of retail spaces which would have created a tourist trap by day and an empty ghetto at night.
There has also been widespread criticism for the failure to provide affordable housing for local people.
It didn’t have to be this way. Local people, through the Hawley Wharf Working Group, have spent years working with the developer trying to shape and improve the proposals. The developer has paid the price for ignoring the wishes of our community.
Now we need to move forward together. We want to see a development that respects the unique heritage of Camden Town; improves the market so it is sustainable in the long term, and offers more affordable housing for local families. A new school would be welcomed, too – but not as a sweetner to an otherwise disastrous development.
Camden Town is an incredible place – which is why we will continue fighting to secure a decent scheme on this huge and critical site.
For the full story, have a look at this week’s coverage in the Camden New Journal.
Tonight the planning committee will make its decision on the proposed Hawley Wharf development in Camden Town, which will affect the character of our area for a generation.
We’re hoping for a strong turnout at the Town Hall to show the committee how strongly local people feel about the plans. If you want to demonstrate your support, please come along to Camden Town Hall, Judd Street at 7pm.
I will be speaking at the committee, and have joined together with councillors in neighbouring Camden Town with Primrose Hill ward to send the following letter to our local papers today:
We represent different political parties, but have come together to urge our colleagues on the planning committee to reject the damaging Hawley Wharf proposals. We don’t oppose development – but we do oppose bad development.
We have spent almost four years working with residents to influence and improve the developer’s plans. Unfortunately, our conclusion is that they just aren’t good enough for our area. And it’s not just local people who say that – both English Heritage and the Design Council have raised objections to the scheme.
Camden Town is a special place with a unique, vibrant atmosphere. The new plans would replace the independent, entrepreneurial spirit of trading in Camden with a four storey shopping mall, designed to attract maximum numbers of tourists and freeze out residents. We need a development with open space the whole community can share; affordable homes for local people, and diverse shops and services that people of all ages want to use. A new school could be a useful addition locally – providing it doesn’t mean there’s no social housing.
Even at this late stage it’s not too late to protect the future of Camden Town – by sending the developer back to the drawing board and asking him to come back with better plans as soon as possible.
Cllr Chris Naylor (Lib Dem), Cllr Pat Callaghan (Labour), Cllr Matt Sanders (Lib Dem)
Update: we won! Scheme thrown out by 7 votes to 5. Camden New Journal has full story here.
Council cuts to the street cleaning service has led to a large number of complaints from residents living off Chalk Farm Road.
Camden Town has the fourth largest night-time economy in the UK. This may be good for local businesses – but the inevitable by-product is unfortunately a whole trail of rubbish and debris down residential streets in the morning. This is worst on Saturday and Sunday mornings, after the local bars and clubs have been at their busiest – and residents often emerge to find discrded take aways, vomit – and worse – on their doorsteps.
It therefore makes no sense that the streets off Chalk Farm Road have been allocated their (now weekly) sweep on a Wednesday – four days later.
While everyone understands that councils have to save money in difficult economic times, they must do everything they can to minimise the impact. Labour-run Camden’s £4m cut to street sweeping (almost 50% of the total £9m budget) is going to be felt even more keenly when it is being applied in such an illogical way.
Streets in the heart of Camden Town need a weekend sweep – not rubbish sitting in the street to ferment until Wednesday.
Those who have been less than complementary about development plans for Camden Market (including English Heritage, the Design Council and many local residents) might be breathing a sigh of relief when they see what was originally being cooked up.
Buried away in an obscure part of the internet are what looks like early plans for the iconic market site… let’s just say it’s not exactly pretty.
And can anyone spot the glaring ommission?*
* The not-so-eagle-eyed will have noticed that much loved Castlehaven Community Centre, not even part of the development site, has been entirely airbrushed out of the drawings above…
Camden’s musical heritage could be celebrated by bringing a “Music Walk of Fame” to our streets.
The walk of fame is being proposed by a group of local entrepeneurs, working closely with Camden Town Unlimited, and would initially honour 25 artists with stones set into the pavement along Camden High Street and Chalk Farm Road.
The installation could give local residents a real sense of pride in the exciting, dynamic and creative part of London that we live in – while helping local businesses by bringing fans to the area for the first time. And, by following the route along the main road, visitors would be encouraged not to wander off into residential side streets.
What do you think of this idea? Do you support it? How do you think the first stars should be chosen? How can local residents get involved? I’d love to hear your views so do drop me a line.
The fight to stop Labour closing and selling off Mornington Crescent Sports Centre has been lost – the site will be advertised as a “development opportunity” in Estates Gazette this week.
Many in Camden will still see this as a completely senseless decision. Mornington Sports Centre was refurbished and reopened just two years ago, at a not insignificant cost. Camden are therefore throwing a huge amount of taxpayer’s money down the drain, while taking away an important place for local residents to keep fit and healthy.
As Camden’s official opposition we used every means at our disposal to halt the sale – offering an alternative budget showing how the council could make savings elsewhere and forcing the Resources Scrutiny Committee to look at the decision again. Meanwhile, the Camden Sports Council came up with their own excellent plan to keep the centre open for the community. Labour Councillors have, however, refused to budge.
So, Mornington is now under the hammer and we all have to hope that those who use the sports centre will be able to find somewhere else affordable to go.
A developer is attempting to demolish the old Snooker Hall in Camden Town, in breach of planning rules.
This is a travesty and real shock. I sat on the planning committee that refused development on the site, which includes the much loved Crown and Goose pub – and I still think it was one of the best decisions we have made. The quality of the proposed replacement building was astonishingly poor.
Residents first raised the alarm when scaffolding was erected at the snooker hall last Friday. In response, the council visited the site and spoke to the site manager, who confirmed that they were commencing work. The council then issued verbal and written cautions, pointing out that the demolition of a building in a conservation area without consent is a criminal offence. We know that the developer has received these warnings, but intends to continue anyway.
The next step is to serve an enforcement notice on the developer alleging unauthorised demolition. This notice will require the developer to re-construct the parts of the snooker hall that have been demolished.
Camden’s officers and councillors from across the political divide have been doing all we can to stop this unauthorised demolition. It is appalling that the developer has so little respect for due process and we will continue to push Camden to take the strongest action possible to bring him into line with the law.
The Hawley Wharf Working Group have declared there are “fundamental” problems with the Hawley Wharf scheme, and urged Camden Council to reject the plans in their current form.
The Working Group is made up of a large number of local residents associations and organisations who have been scrutinising the developer’s plans for over two years. They have a deep working knowledge of the plans, have canvassed opinion locally and staged public meetings as the application has developed.
Many aspects of the development have been welcomed – such as a new art house cinema, provision for local retail, and the continued use of the railway arches for industrial and employment uses. Ultimately, however, the Working Group concludes that these benefits cannot make up for the overall negative impact on Camden Town.
The council set up this group, and the meetings have been chaired by local councillors. They have a strong, clear mandate, and Camden needs to take these concerns seriously. It wasn’t a great sign that the group were not allowed to present to planning councillors alongside the developers this week, meaning those who will make the final decision only heard one side of the debate. The Working Group representation makes the alternative case.