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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.
Residents and businesses in Steele’s Village are organising a Halloween pumpkin competition.
Judges will be looking for Haverstock’s spookiest Halloween pumpkins on 31st October, from 4pm. The competition is open to children of all ages whose families live, work, shop or go to school in the area.
To enter, please email organiser Lynn Whiting, or drop your details into any of Steele’s Village’s shops before Friday 28th October.
Now, the Mayor of London has also agreed to my other requests. In a letter dated 9th September, he says: “I understand the stop signs should be changed in the next few weeks, together with the on-board bus announcements. Other publicity, such as timetables, will be updated during routine reprinting. I wish the local businesses and residents well in this venture.”
So next time you’re on a 168 or an N5, listen out for an announcement saying “alight here for Steele’s Village”.
Meanwhile the Evening Standard has given our campaign some publicity. It’s true, of course, that to properly rejuvenate an area it takes far more than a new name – but it’s a good first step. I met with local residents and businesses last week and we have heaps more ideas to develop the area: watch this space.
If you were spending public money on new signage, the first thing you’d do is check the basics like spelling, yes? Not, apparently, if you are Transport for London.
As part of a package of measures to give Steele’s Village (the new name for the area between Chalk Farm and Belsize stations) a face lift, I recently wrote to the Mayor of London asking him to rename the bus stops. This was intended to help the new name take hold.
The Mayor agreed, and new bus signage was introduced this week: a real campaign success!
Unfortunately, however, the bus stops have been labelled “Steel’s Village” instead of “Steele’s Village”. The author obviously couldn’t see the massive banners hanging just behind the stop, displaying the correct name.
So, another letter is on it’s way to Transport for London, asking them to come back and correct their spelling…
Update (Monday 5th September 2011): My spies on Haverstock Hill tell me that one bus stop has now been corrected.
Steele’s Village? Where? A group of residents in Haverstock are hoping we’ll soon all be able to pin-point it on the map of London.
That’s because Steele’s Village is the new name for the area between Chalk Farm and Belsize stations, named after Sir Richard Steele, founder of the Spectator, who was a prominent local resident. The village has been christened by residents and businesses along Haverstock Hill, and they have grand plans for the area. However, the first step is to foster a real sense of place and put Steele’s Village firmly on the map.
Already, businesses have clubbed together to buy lamp post banners and fresh flower baskets for each of the shops. Now, we want the Mayor to do his bit too. I have written to the Mayor asking that, the next time London’s bus maps are reprinted, the two bus stops on the Hill are renamed “Steele’s Village”.
Names are important: they’re how we define ourselves and our communities in a sprawling mass of a city like London. You can read more about the campaign in the Ham and High newspaper, here.
Having spent the last few days talking to people in Camden and Chalk Farm, I wanted to record some of the uplifting stories I’ve heard. You can read my account of a difficult few days for our community at the Spectator website, here:
The latest news is hopeful. There was a very minor and isolated incident on Haverstock Hill last night which, while scary for those involved, was quickly dealt with by the authorities. The council has engaged in a huge clean up operation, services are running again as normal and the police are starting to investigate and charge those who were involved.
I’d urge any local businesses that have suffered damage or disruption to contact the council’s business rates department on 020 7974 6460. We have been assured that Camden will be symathetic to your position, but please do get in touch if you experience problems.
We are now entering a period of reflection, and there will be many questions asked over the coming weeks and months. I intend to focus my efforts on the areas that the council actually has some control over. Everyone has said what a huge difference it made to have an extra 200 officers out in Camden. Meanwhile, community police officers are a crucial link betweeen real people and the Met. They are known and trusted by residents, and therefore play a crucial role in collecting the intelligence that keeps people safe. Against this backdrop, the council must think again on their plans to axe community policing in Camden Town.
More on this soon, but do have a look at some of the stories from Monday night if you get a chance.
Camden Council’s Liberal Democrats are opposing the costly £17bn High Speed Two (HS2) rail project linking London with Birmingham. Although the scheme only brushes Haverstock at the junction of Eton Road and Adelaide Road, large parts of Camden will be torn up for no clear benefit to the borough.
Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr Keith Moffitt said:
“The current HS2 proposals will mean misery and blight for thousands of Camden residents in return for at best uncertain benefits.
“Camden’s Labour Cabinet have been dithering and sitting on the fence over HS2 for months although it’s clear that the proposals on the table are bad for Camden residents and are not even the best option for business or the environment.
“We believe in the environmental benefits of shifting travel from air and road to rail, but this scheme just doesn’t stack up. We have asked for a meeting with transport ministers to discuss our grave concerns about the project”.
Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Cllr Paul Braithwaite said:
“I love trains and, like many others, I started with the expectation that I’d favour this scheme. But the more deeply I’ve looked the more flawed it is. To contemplate spending £17bn in these austere times doesn’t make sense when a fraction of that sum could make big improvements to existing rail infrastructure. Currently only 40% of our network is electrified.
“The carbon cost of the concrete which would be needed to line 30 km of tunnels, plus the fact that HS2 trains would use two-thirds more electricity than Virgin Pendolinos, with 80% of UK electricity derived from fossil fuels, makes this proposal a carbon disaster.”
People who live or work in Belsize Park will be pleased to hear that, after a lot of hard work by local residents and our Liberal Democrat colleagues over the border in Belsize, postal services are set to return to the area.
From 4th October this year, Budgens on Haverstock Hill will be home to a 12-month trial of the ‘Post Office Essentials’ service, which provides most post office services. People who work will be particularly pleased to know that it will be open until 11pm Monday to Saturday and also on Sunday afternoon, so people will be able to access postal services outside of the standard opening times for most post offices.
The last Labour government closed post offices on Haverstock Hill, England’s Lane, South End Green and Belsize Village. We collected hundreds of signatures to make sure the government kept their hands off the branch in Queen’s Crescent. Meanwhile, Camden Liberal Democrats promised not to give up working to bring a post office back to Belsize.
It has taken a while, but thanks in a very large way to local residents and to Andrew Thornton, the community minded owner of Budgens, we have got there. Hopefully the trial will be successful and similar schemes can be opened in other areas that have suffered from post office closures.