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In Steele’s Village, popular actress and local resident Helena Bonham-Carter will switch on the Christmas tree lights on Friday 6th December.
Local businesses will be going all out to make Haverstock Hill sparkle – we are promised carols, cupcakes, chocolates, chestnuts, canapes and mulled wine. A children’s choir will perform at 3:30pm, with the adult choir following at 5pm and the big switch on at 5:15pm.
Meanwhile, Queen’s Crescent will hold their Christmas Market from 10am on Saturday 7th December. Alongside the traditional stalls will be visiting traders selling Christmas goods and specialist food – ideal for stocking up on gifts while supporting the local economy.
Hope to see you there!
Queen’s Crescent Market is offering business training to first time entrepreneurs who want to set up their own market stall.
The free two week traning course in Retail Business, accredited by City & Guilds, is aimed specifically at Camden residents who have been unemployed for three months or more. Those taking part will then be offered a rent free stall on Queen’s Crescent to kickstart their new business.
As local councillors we are passionate supporters of Queen’s Crescent Market – one of London’s oldest street markets and still going strong. This new scheme will help the Market go on thriving while giving a real opportunity to local familes looking for work. Liberal Democrats in government have already created a million new jobs, and we want to do our bit here in Camden as well.
If you are interested in taking part, please call 020 7267 6635 (extension 225) or email the market management.
Jill Fraser has clocked up an incredible ten years serving local people as Haverstock’s Liberal Democrat councillor.
Local residents first elected Jill in a sensational by-election in 2003. Back then Haverstock was solid Labour territory but, once people saw the difference a hardworking Liberal Democrat councillor can make, they elected two more of us!
Working with Jill has been a real honour. You would be hard pressed to find a local councillor who has a better understanding of the patch and people she represents. Jill is someone who sticks to what she thinks is right, never takes no for an answer, and always remembers whose side she is on. It is these principles that have led us to some terrific wins for local people over the years – from saving Bassett Street Garden; putting Steele’s Village on the map; securing proper investment for local homes after years of neglect by Labour; and, of course, Jill’s constant crusade to secure the future of Queen’s Crescent.
Last night we hosted a big party in Steele’s Village to celebrate Jill’s achievements, and were delighted that Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Simon Hughes MP was able to join us. But the real testament to Jill’s work was probably the large number of local residents, many of them not political, who also came along because they wanted to thank Jill for her decade of service.
So, big thanks to everyone who joined us, and here’s to the next ten years!
Camden Council have been forced to abandon their plans to sell off the much loved Bassett Street Community Garden.
We mounted a furious campaign after the Labour councillors who run Camden announced that the successful community garden would be bulldozed and sold for development, destroying years of hard work by local residents and activists.
But the council have today written to those who raised objections and said:
Following representations from the three Haverstock ward councillors, Councillor Fulbrook, the Cabinet Member for Housing, has decided not to continue with the consultation and determined that development/disposal will not take place and that the site will be retained in its existing use for community food growing. The Council will be in contact with the organisers of the food growing project to conclude a licence agreement for the continuation of their work.
This is great news as it secures the future of the Bassett Street Community Garden and puts it on a stable footing for the first time. A big thank you to all those who signed our petition and long may the garden thrive!
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.
A big thank you to everyone who has read this blog over the last year. I’ve been looking over our stats and am pleased to say we’ve had heaps more people reading this year than last – and using the blog to get in touch or comment on local issues.
We set this blog up to make it easy for residents to see what their local councillors are up to, and to be a community resource for local news and views. Hopefully you’ve found our posts useful – but we’re always keen to hear feedback so do get in touch if there’s anything you’d like to see more/less of, or that we can do better.
Meanwhile, (drum roll please), here’s our top 5 most read stories of 2011:
(2) Camden comes together after riots - there was huge distress and a hunger for updates and information after Chalk Farm Road found itself at the centre of riots in Camden.
(3) More than a Pizza Express – the campaign to save the old North London Polytechnic assembly hall brought together residents from across Kentish Town. We learnt we had been successful just before the Christmas break.
(4) Voting to save Camden’s libraries – Labour’s threats to the borough’s libraries has been a long running political battle this year, with lots of public support for the Liberal Democrat motion to reject closures. Queen’s Crescent Library may have been saved, but not all libraries are yet in the clear.
(5) How Chalk Farm survived the riots – after the immediate shock, lots of people tried to make sense and draw lessons from the riots. I penned a piece for the Spectator website reflecting the experience in Chalk Farm.
Schools and children’s services look set to be hardest hit by the strike action tomorrow, while many other services in Camden will remain open or partically open.
In Haverstock the notable exceptions are Talacre Sports Centre and Queen’s Crescent Library, which both look likely to remain closed for the day.
I’ve reproduced the council’s full summary below, but it’s worth keeping an eye on Camden’s website for further updates. For more information on the background to the strikes and the government’s most recent offer on pensions, the Guardian has a pretty balanced report, here.
Children, schools and families services
- Schools – most schools in Camden will be closed. Parents will have been informed by their child’s school.
- Integrated early years– parents will have been informed by their Children’s Centres. Most will be closed.
- Family services and social work– we will deal with cases on an emergency priority basis.
- Integrated youth support service–YOS Highbury court and essential services will be open.
- Children, schools and families customer service and complaints– will offer a reduced but open service.
- Welfare, inclusion and support in education– will offer a reduced but open service.
- Children’s social work and QA – an emergency service will operate.
Housing and adult social care services
Most of our housing and adult social care services are expected to remain open or partially open, including some of our frontline adult social care services. We are not expecting any of these services to fully close.
Please see a summary below, which will be updated on Wednesday morning:
- Assessment and care management service (this team assesses people’s social care needs and arranges services accordingly) – will be open.
- Careline telecare (our 24 hour telephone support service for vulnerable people) – will be running
- Temporary accommodation (hostels) – will be open
- Residential care homes – will be open
- Supported living services (support services provided to vulnerable tenants) – will be open
- Housing repairs and improvements – will be partially open. We are rescheduling planned work so that we will be able to respond to emergencies and urgent repairs
- Passenger and accessible transport service – is expected to run as usual but will be assessed on Wednesday.
Culture and environment services
- Libraries– we expect to open Swiss Cottage, Holborn and St Pancras libraries, however activities planned for 30 November will not be taking place. All library activities and services will run as usual from Thursday 1 December 2011.
- Camden transport services – there is likely to be considerable disruption. Demand for services will be assessed on the day.
- Environment services – there may be slight delays but most activities will not be affected.
- Leisure centres – Talacre Sports Centre as well as Cantelowes and Camden Town sports pitches will be closed.
- Registrars will be open for the registration of deaths.
As anyone who’s ever tried to walk down Queen’s Crescent with Jill Fraser will tell you (it can be quite difficult getting past all the people who want to chat), she is probably one of the best known local councillors in Camden. Jill works hard, knows the patch inside out, and is a genuine local champion.
So it’s great to see Jill recognised by the Liberal Democrat blogger Mark Pack, who has written about her story in his “local liberal heroes” series focussing on excellent local councillors. In the piece, Jill says: “I won because people knew me and I had won lots of battles for them… I don’t believe in giving up.” As Jill’s colleague, I can say that is definitely still true today!
Residents in the Queen’s Crescent area are probably a bit bleary eyed like me this morning, having been kept awake by numerous helicopters in the area until gone midnight.
Those in Bassett Street will also have noticed a large number of police vans on the street.
I’ve been in touch with the police this morning and am pleased to say that, contrary to rumours last night, the activity was not linked to rioting and was not another planned raid of the style we saw last month. Although the police haven’t released a huge amount of detail, it’s clear that this was an attempted arrest of someone who then decided to go on the roof. Officers and helicopters were then called in to surround the building.
So, pretty disruptive, but no cause for panic. Sometimes, that is the nature of life in Central London. Hopefully we can all catch up on sleep tonight…