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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.
Plans for the mass redevelopment of the Hawley Wharf site opposite Camden Market have been submitted to the council this week.
For over two years, I have been working with other local councillors, residents and business groups to influence the developer’s proposals. While it’s great that this ramshackle and tawdry site (partly gutted by the fire back in 2008) will finally get a make over, we need to make sure the development respects our local area and makes Camden Town an even better place to live.
Judged against these criteria, and despite the developer taking on a few of our ideas, I believe the proposals currently fall short on several scores:
- Just 8% of the new housing on the site will be affordable, despite Camden setting a target of 50% and housing being the priority need in the area;
- Open spaces are poky and overshadowed by huge blocks;
- No evidence has yet been provided that local transport infrastructure will be able to cope with large numbers of extra visitors to a new four story “market”;
- There is no mechanism to secure new outlets that will bring retail diversity to Camden, to appeal to a different demographic.
Frankly, this new development feels like a shopping mall disguised as a market. Yet there is already a huge, commercial market on the other side of Chalk Farm Road, attracting thousands of visitors a week.
I believe most residents and local businesses would like to see a scheme that looks to Camden Lock’s origins as a place for craftsmanship, entrepreneurship and creativity, while offering something for the local people who currently feel frozen out of their own area.
The plans will see this excellent local charity almost doubling in size, with two side extensions providing an extra hall, kitchen and offices. Once built, the revamped community centre will be able to help even more local people in the Camden Town area, which is probably why so many residents enthusiastically backed the proposal.
If you were one of those who joined me in sending in representations urging Camden Council to give the plans the go-ahead, thank you. You can take a look at what the completed development will look like here.
They will be holding a consultation event to get feedback from local residents this Tuesday 17th May, at Castlehaven Community Centre from 7pm.
Castlehaven have been bursting at the seams for some time and, with more room, will be able to do even more good work within the community. If you want to see the plans for yourself please do pop along to the event on Tuesday.
Our campaign against disruption from large scale construction on Harmood Street was covered in the Camden New Journal this week. You can read the paper clipping by clicking on the image above.
To be clear: residents accept the need for development on this site, which has been an eyesore for years. However, we strongly feel that the council has failed to properly evaluate all the different options for accessing the site.
This is very relevant for those engaged with other large sites around Camden (for example, the Hawley Wharf project). We need to make sure developers are clear at an early stage not just about what they are building, but also how they intend to build it.
I was bowled away by the number of residents who turned out last week to protest against council plans to allow up to 30 construction trucks a day to use their road.
Residents in Harmood Street have been horrified by the plans, which represent a lengthy, major disruption to life in this quiet, residential street. Having received dozens of letters and emails, it was clear that we needed to take action to show just how high emotions are running.
Camden Council have shown a complete lack of backbone in their dealings with the developer. We need to consider the impact of construction far earlier in the process, and developers should be told that they have to respect their neighbours.
Development doesn’t always have to be bad for an area. However, by refusing to take meaningful steps to protect residents’ quality of life, the council completely undermine faith in the process and naturally makes it more likely that people will oppose development in the future.
A big thank you to all those who attended Holy Trinity Church last week to debate the progress of the Hawley Wharf development, and also to those who couldn’t make it but took the time to send me their views by email.
We had a vigorous discussion, with a general consensus that more affordable housing should be a priority in the development. You can read a more full account in today’s Camden New Journal.
As ever, do get in touch if you have any thoughts you would like to share.
I have been campaigning to make sure that residents’ voices are heard in the huge new Hawley Wharf development, opposite Camden Market.
This group is led by local residents and aims to involve as many people as possible. By joining together we have a much better chance of influencing the council and the developers to make sure that the new development makes our area an even better place to live.
At the meeting we will discuss employment opportunities for local people; how we make sure new shops and markets appeal to local residents as well as visitors; tackling anti-social behaviour and the strain on public transport, and lots more. I will be in the Chair and do hope as many people as possible will come along and share their views on the future of our area.