The controversial Cinema or not… at the old Pizza Express Building

There has been a very full exchange of posts on the WhatsApp group and feedback received by email which led to a consensus. We have now distilled this into an objection which we have sent by email and added to the consultation site where it will appear in due course. D&D

Application – 2024/0601/P Site Address187 Kentish Town Road London Camden NW1 8PD

Comment from Inkerman Area Residents Association

Our residents association covers 12 streets, including this site, and we consult regularly on planning applications via emails to 400+ residents and WhatsApp to 200+.

When planning permission was granted for a 2-storey roof extension to provide more private residential accommodation, the only community benefit was the cinema space that was specified as part of the application

It was on this basis that there was general support for the application, which was not otherwise popular.

In the intervening 9 years, the space designated for a cinema has remained empty because, the owner says, they have been unable to let it on their terms, terms that include a relatively short lease and a high commercial rent.  They have on the other hand had the financial benefit of the additional storey.

Despite a number of approaches by cinema and similar organisations the owners have been unwilling to negotiate on their terms and the space has remained empty.

For our community, the grant of a class E planning use would signal the complete loss of a community asset, and a gift to the owner of a potentially lucrative space – including, eventually, the ability to covert to yet more high-end flats.

We have consulted our members on this prospect, and there is widespread opposition to this application.

We understand that, although it is very much a local preference for the owner to be prepared to negotiate with potential cinema providers to provide what was promised, if this proves unachievable, at least in the short term, then another use could be considered if it provides genuine benefit to the community. Residents would prefer to see this, rather than to leave the space empty.

We are therefore not altogether opposed to a grant of Class F1/F2, but are strongly opposed to a grant of Class E, which would clearly make a mockery of the original grant of cinema use only.

Our preference would be for the owner to come forward with a proposal for a specific use which has community benefit, and which would be covered by the existing planning status or F1/F2.

Please refuse this application as it stands, and notify us of any relevant committee date.

Alma Street Fair 2024 – a thank you.

In January this year IARA members agreed there was enough support to put on a Fair in 2024, after a year off with just the more limited “UnFair” event last year  – mainly fundraising for the MAP café. 

After months of work, it happened last Sunday – 23 June!  We have received a lot of messages of appreciation – and some reservations and suggestions (mainly about noise levels). 

The event this year was another reminder of what a diverse and wonderful community we live in.  The Fair relies on a huge amount of local support, and a planning group who do everything for free and in their spare time.

A big call out to Jonathan B for leading us through the months of preparation, hosting and cajoling us when needed, and keeping us on track.

A massive thanks to all the organisers

– To David P for once again doing an incredible job to manage what was a record 116 stalls who registered. 

– Thank you to all our residents, from IARA and nearby, who managed their own stalls. We hope you enjoyed the experience and still got the opportunity to look around a bit during the day

– To the organisers of the three stages – Chris T, Michael P and Danny C. The day would not be the same without them and their performers.

– To Jane and the support from Sarah H and Jeremy for the volunteer recruitment. This has become a critical role and one that requires much planning and dedication. Without it the fair          simply cannot function. We are enormously grateful.

– On this note we say a huge thank you to everyone who did volunteer. There are too many of you to mention but we are really grateful. It is your support that makes the difference!

– To Caitlin for working so hard on our sustainability theme and for producing a terrific programme. Thank you also to Ollie for its design

– To Debby, Sarah C and Jonathan F on the Bar Ink – it looked splendid (and quite French). 

– To David J, Vivienne and Trish and the local history group – thank you. It proved very popular with people finding out about the area and for some tracing the story of who lived in their house over 100 years ago.

– To Dilip, Jeff W, Peter, Jeremy on the wildlife and gardening stalls, which attracted a lot of interest.

– ​ To Paul S for acquiring, learning and then teaching everyone how to use the card readers.

– ​ To the Lido lifeguards who provided first aid.

Finally, a shout out to everyone who donated – Franchi, Ace Sports, and Mario for the prizes, Pricewise graphics, Kall Kwik Printing and Morgan Stationers for our extensive printing needs, and once again a huge thanks goes to Julia Evangelista for another amazing parade (see pictures above). 

And to the Camden Events team – for giving us the licence to have fun. And Veolia for cleaning up before and after. 

BTW here are the results of the prize draw:

Numbers were: 

191 – Mario’s breakfast – not yet claimed.

121 – Franchi drill – claimed   

376 – Ace Sports – claimed

What is the Inkerman Area Residents Association?

To remind established residents and to introduce us to new residents…

The Inkerman Area Residents Association (IARA)  is our local residents’ association. We cover the area bounded to the east by Kentish Town Road, to the south by Prince of Wales Road and to the west and north by the railway lines.

That’s about 10 streets. Prince of Wales, Anglers Lane, Alma, Cathcart, Raglan, Inkerman, Willes, Grafton, Ryland, Holmes and then tiny Perren St and Athlone St.

We started about 50 years ago. We are all volunteers. Anyone who lives here is automatically a member, and you can be involved in the association by coming to meetings and/or joining our ever-growing e-mail group, of over 300 residents, the main way we consult on local issues as they arise (e mail us on to join the group).

In 2021, with lockdown etc we created a WhatsApp group which now has over 212 members and is very lively. Just email us with your name, address and phone number to join.

It is extremely active about local planning and traffic matters as well as too many offers to list:  eg some very good quality furniture, tickets for events, cat food! etc. and requests for help and recommendations for resources and tradespeople as well as answers and offers of help.

And you can join one or more of the other WhatsApp groups:  The Local History Group has 27 members and we are responsible for the Local History section on the IARA website. Introduction to the history pages. The Theatre Goers group has 41 members and they have very successful evenings out together of theatre and sometimes supper. The Dog lovers group has 16 members and is a great exchange of information network. The SustainIARA has 22 members and is working on sharing knowledge of climate mitigation and resilience. Ideas about Green Issues and practical ideas about greening our homes Sustain IARA –  the Inkerman Area Residents Association sustainability group. Information sheet on some local houses.  The Trees and Gardening group of 23 members cares for the street trees and has recently broadened its remit to be an exchange of information and resources for all gardening including window boxes etc.

We play an active part in representing our interests to Camden Council, helping to make this an attractive neighbourhood and a good place to live.

We’ve been involved in major planning and environmental issues, (helping to head off some truly awful planning applications), last year successfully with the hugely noisy and objectionable Beer Garden and also successfully opposing the application by Segro for a warehouse in Grafton Rd.  See some of the recent updates.

The biggest triumph was joining with other local groups to defeat the application by Murphy’s at the top of the High St for a massive over-development – including 19 story tower blocks – blocking the view of the Heath.

In the past we have dealt with endless licensing applications, and with the Kentish Town Baths redevelopment, the French School, gardening schemes. Street parties and IARA meetings and events are a chance to meet neighbours and work out which issues are important for the area.

Past meetings have usually been well attended by residents, local councillors and – when there are particular issues to discuss – relevant council officers.

We have organised the Alma Street Fair most years which is quite a major event. See on this website and if you Google Alma St Fair you can see reports.

As of March 2016 we are now Inkerman Area Residents Association Limited.  ie we have limited liability so that the officers, Chair, Secretary and Treasurer, do not have unlimited liability if we go bust.  Registered office 31 Alma St NW5 3DH  Registered in England No. 10075818.

Welcome to our website

This is the website of the Inkerman Area Residents Association.   See above for information about the Association.

See also the articles reporting local events as well as links to other information about the area.

If you are interested in the history of the area, click on Local History in the column on the right for a series of maps through the years showing how the area was built up on fields.

In Local history there is also a link to the excellent Conservation Area Statement which has a description of all the streets and buildings in the Conservation Area which cover much of The Inkerman Area.

Any comments or suggestions:

A Very Short History of our part of Kentish Town.

Some of us who live in Kentish Town think the area is really interesting! Surprisingly, Kentish Town actually started some miles south – around the area of St Pancras old church. However the River Fleet ran through there and used to flood – so the inhabitants moved northwards up to the area we now think… Read more »

Introduction to the history pages

Before we start… please note this part of the website is still being developed. The history notes are available in sequence if you click on the Local History link to the right hand side of the page. And.. these articles are also spread through the main run of articles below. We hope to tidy this… Read more »

Local food and drink etc.

There was / is a posting on this website for our first attempt in 2012 – Local venues and other cultural links 2012. We’ve left it there for historic purposes. ie the Grafton Arms had just be rehabilitated … and the George pub was still going! This is an update in 2024: It is triggered… Read more »