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Camden Council have proposed allowing a mobile refreshment stand in Talacre Gardens.
It’s pretty obvious that what’s driving the council is a need to find new sources of income – this is part of a deal that would see sites rented out across 12 of the borough’s parks and open spaces. However, if litter and noise could be kept under control, and if the outlet were discreet, I can see that some people might like to be able to buy teas, coffees and snacks on their way through the park.
We also need to consider the impact on existing local businesses – both Cafe du Coin and (more recently) The Fields Beneath have loyal local audiences and have worked hard to establish themselves in the community.
I’m interested to know what you think before I respond to the council’s consultation. Please do drop me an email or, alternatively, you can complete the public consultation directly, here.
Camden Council are threatening to water down road safety procedures at Dalby Street, a road used by hundreds of people a day to access Kentish Town Sports Centre.
Dalby Street was controversially officially handed over to a developer last year. With plans to build luxury flats over the road, an independent inspector found that traffic marshals would be required, all day, to allow people to reach the sports centre safely. He also said that Camden Council, as the body supposedly representing the interests of the public, should have the final say in how these access arrangements operate.
Remarkably, Labour-run Camden is now considering cutting the marshaling provision – because it will be too onerous a responsibility on the developer. Worst still, Camden may offload it’s duty for regulating and instructing the marshals onto the private developer and his customers – who have a financial interest in keeping road safety procedures at a bare minimum.
Talacre Sports Centre is one of the most popular and important facilities in our borough and it’s users need to be able to access it safely. I have written the the council to raise these concerns, and to urge them to remember whose side they are supposed to be on. Road safety has to come first.
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.
What did we learn at the Haverstock Area Action Group tonight? Quite a lot! The main points of our community discussion were:
- Lots of people on Ferdinand Street are extremely angry about council plans to sell off the garages next to Broomfield estate. Incredibly, the residents who actually lease (and pay for) the garages haven’t even been told what’s happening or when they will be turfed out. We passed a resolution calling for the council to make alternative local provision for the garage tenants, and to ensure any subsequent development on the land doesn’t adversely affect existing residents or businesses.
- The council also plan to sell land at 159-167 Prince of Wales Road, but while they are waiting they will lease it to Findon, the developer of the Dalby Street project, to use as storage and temporary offices. This is outrageous behaviour by the council: when we repeatedly asked if we could use the land for temporary allotments we were told No, but an unpopular and controversial developer has been welcomed with open arms. It’s no wonder people often feel the council aren’t on their side.
- If you needed proof that ALMO scars still run deep with Camden tenants, the land sell off prompted a bit of a history lesson about why Camden needs to raise this money for housing anyway. It’s not a story that does the Labour party much credit, and people are still pretty angry about the way they were treated.
- My colleague, Jill Fraser, updated everyone on the plans for Queen’s Crescent Market and, modest as ever, played down her own role. Fortunately, we all know the truth! The idea of training local young people to manage their own stalls was particularly popular.
- Finally, we had a presentation from the Dalby Street developer and the council officer charged with enforcing the chaos at the site. Rahel Bokth challenged both on the need for a full, independent road safety audit; while everyone had something to say about the way construction has been carried out. We will go on watching developments closely and putting strong pressure on the council to act where appropriate.
Talacre Gardens took another step closer to becoming an official Town Green today.
Over the last few months, the council have been sorting out all the legal technicalities and working with the Friends of Talacre Gardens to agree the exact boundaries. I’ve had word that all the necessary paper work has been completed and sent off today, so the Town Green should be formally approved very very soon.
Watch this space!
Camden Council’s executive has tonight voted on the proposal to register Talacre Gardens as a Town Green, with three Conservatives voting against, one abstaining, and all six Liberal Democrats voting in favour.
So the Town Green is passed!
After a hard fought two year campaign it’s great to know that Talacre Gardens will now definitely be protected. Residents in our corner of Kentish Town are over the moon.
Those with long memories will know that this is just the latest chapter in Talacre’s messy history. The gardens were born with the clearance of slum housing in the 1970s, but residents had to fight the council every step of the way to create the precious park we see today. More recently, the ugly shadow of the Dalby Street development forced residents to recognise that, as the pressure on land in London grows, there will be more and more pressure to use every last scrap.
Talacre Gardens, at least, is now safe. It’s been quite a journey for all those of us who have done battle for Talacre, and I would like to warmly thank all those people – both in Camden and further afield – who got involved and supported our campaign. Similarly, the Liberal Democrat councillors who took this decision showed that they trust the local community and are not afraid to be bold and radical when it comes to protecting what is special about our borough. Whatever the future may bring, we have a guarentee that this green lung will remain.
The campaign to protect Talacre Gardens for future generations has generated huge support from those who use and enjoy the park every day. Here, I join Jo Shaw and local residents in explaining why it’s so important that Talacre is granted Town Green status.