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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!)
The Olympic torch will begin the final day of its journey around the UK here in Haverstock ward.
The torch will set off from the Roundhouse on Chalk Farm Road at 6:45am on 26th July 2012, before making its way down the High Street, past Camden Market, through St. Pancras Gardens and Granary Square and ending it’s trip through Camden at St. Pancras International Station.
For more information, have a look at the Olympic Torch Relay page on Camden Council’s website, here.
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.
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.
The council have announced that a staggering 22,000 people have visited Kentish Town Baths since they opened at the end of July. As a regular user, I’m pleased that so many people are enjoying the baths too. They really have been a huge success and the queue often stretches out of the door on a Saturday morning.
My colleague Flick Rea, who pioneered the restoration work as Camden’s Executive Member for Culture, said: “That tens of thousands of people have rushed to use the baths shows that the spectacular refurbishment was worth every single penny. It’s absolutely wonderful to see this building back where it belongs at the heart of the community in Kentish Town.
“For many years Labour stood back while this beautiful piece of Camden’s heritage became down run down: at one point they even wanted to have it demolished. I’m very proud that the Liberal Democrats stepped in to save the Baths. It was the right decision, and leaves a lasting legacy to the borough.
“I hope thousands more will visit the baths and enjoy the great facilities there for years and years to come.”
Seriously, it’s not that often that major projects such as this are delivered on time, on budget and go on to attract huge visitor numbers. Well done to Flick, and to all the Camden officers who worked so hard to make this happen.
Two projects given planning permission last night show how decisions taken by the Liberal Democrats are set to benefit young people in Camden for many years to come.
Firstly, the Talacre Boxing Club is set to be fully rebuilt, with much needed new housing above. This is something that Jill Fraser has pushed on for years, and was steered through by my colleague Ralph Scott when Liberal Democrats led the Council. Together with Kentish Town Baths, another achievement that we can be proud of, and the ongoing success of the Talacre Sports Centre, the new boxing club will provide an answer to the much repeated moan “there isn’t anything to do around here”. There is, and there will soon be even more.
Also, the UCL Academy, a partnership between Camden Council and a first class local university, was granted planning permission and is now just waiting for government money to be approved. The Academy was a key manifesto commitment for the Liberal Democrats in 2006 and, although slowed down by national Labour’s painful bureaucratic hoops and local Labour’s delaying tatics and sabotage attempts, it now looks well on the way to becoming a reality.
Good news for all those who care about Camden’s young people, both at school and out of school.
UPDATE: The government has now confirmed that building projects at the UCL Academy, Swiss Cottage Special School and South Camden Community School will go ahead. Read what Camden Lib Dem Leader Keith Moffitt has to say here.
The spectacular revamp of Kentish Town Baths was unveiled to the public today.
Back in 2006 the Liberal Democrats pledged to rescue the fabulous building, and we did: on time and on budget. I have been priveldged enough to have several sneak previews as the building work progressed, and also kept a close eye on the project as Chair of Camden’s Culture Committee. It’s been a real model of how councils should manage large projects, with the Viictorian heriatage of the site respected and the baths’ user group consulted every step of the way.
It’s vital that we protect sports and leisure facilities, particularly those aimed at young people, so we are delighted that Liberal Democrats on the council were able to secure a make over for the Boxing Club on Talacre Road.
A planning application has now been submitted to demolish the existing club building and replace it with a brand new club house with flats above.
Jill Fraser and I had a sneak preview inside Kentish Town Baths this week.
Lib Dems on Camden Council kept a key election pledge by investing millions in the much loved historic building, which had fallen into chronic levels of disrepair under Labour. It’s great that the baths will soon re-open for local people to enjoy: on a personal level, I can’t wait to be able to pop down Prince of Wales Road to get to my local swimming pool.
Although there are dust sheets everywhere and lots of work still to do, the building is coming along really well and starting to take shape. The fully restored Victorian ceilings are looking spectacular, and there’s a wonderful bright and airy feel which will make the centre a fantastic place to visit to stay fit and healthy. As well as the three pools, there will be a gym and fitness centre, and the council are exploring the possibility of an interactive games room to attract younger people.
This project just goes to show how precious our local heritage is: Labour should be ashamed of themselves for allowing such a magnificent building to fall into ruin.
We’re hoping the building will be open in the Summer: watch this space for further updates.