IARA Chair’s report 2018
How we work
Most of IARA’s activities take place through subgroups and by email, so if you know people who are not signed up for emails do let them know. It is frustrating that so many of the new flats in the area have security entrances which makes communication difficult, so any contacts that could improve us being able to communicate with new residents would be really helpful.
Planning, licensing, the environment and the High Street
We continue to get the notifications of planning applications in the area, which range from applications to prune a tree to applications to build a multi storey building. For domestic applications we try to make sure that anyone who might be affected is aware (you need to be on our email list to make sure of this). For bigger, commercial applications that might be controversial we consult you and then, if there is a common view, we put in comments from IARA.
There have been a few issues this year – currently there is an application to put a 7th storey on top of the student block going up in Holmes Road on the old Magnet site, and there have also been applications to amend plans for the former Addison Lee building in Spring Place, and the former Pizza Express building at 187 Kentish Town Road.
We also approached Camden to lobby for the Raglan Day Centre building to be kept for the community – either for older people’s housing, or for genuinely affordable housing – but Camden has committed itself to selling it to the highest bidder in order to contribute finance to the new Independent Living Centre being build in Greenwood Place.
We continue to work with other Kentish Town activists through Kentish Town Road Action, to resist late night licensing applications and poor planning applications. We supported efforts (particularly by Adam) to get Camden to take enforcement action against the company that, with no planning consent, put up hideous radio masts on Crown House in the high street and were delighted to see that the company’s appeal to the planning inspector failed and Camden’s refusal of retrospective permission was upheld.
There is currently a lot of activity around traffic pollution in Kentish Town Road, and a small group of us have continued to meet with Camden officers and councillors to work on plans to get traffic away from small residential streets (particularly Anglers Lane).
After a long campaign to stop huge tourist coaches using the bays intended for school and sports use we can finally claim success, with a time limit now in place outside the French School, and soon to be implemented in Willes Road outside the Baths.
Gardens and trees
The neighbourhood gardeners, particularly Robert, Dilip and Don, continue to do fantastic work maintaining and improving the two community gardens (Raglan Street and Holmes Road), and planting up and looking after beds created around the street trees. We need more residents to adopt any new, young trees planted by the council to make sure they are watered and to report any problems. We have found the council’s tree department very helpful and responsive when we report issues, so it is worth doing.
Alma Street Fair
We had an active organising group of about 14 people, with Jonathan Bradley taking the lead as the main organiser. Jonathan can’t be at the AGM, and has sent this report:
1. We had excellent feedback. People seemed to really enjoy themselves on the day. There were no incidents and it was trouble free.
2. Residents will possibly recall we had major issues with parking restrictions in the lead up to the fair. Camden’s sub-contractor posted incorrect days and times, re-posted and still got it wrong! We never fully got to the bottom of this. Apologies for the confusion this caused. We will pick this up with Camden because we definitely do not want a repeat.
3. We will re-group early in the new year to see if there are sufficient people from the local community to help organise again. This is 100% volunteer based and without a core team of 10 to 12 people we struggle to make the fair a success. It is a lot of work but ultimately very rewarding. If you want to join the organising committee let me or Debby know. At the first meeting we will set the date for the fair.
4. If being on a committee is not your thing but you would still like to support we do need volunteers on the day. In fact we need more volunteers probably next year. We did not have quite enough for this year’s event, particularly in the morning set up period. If you don’t mind getting up early on a Sunday, and I do mean around 8am, and can support this would be great. Again let me or Debby know.
5. Finally, if there is something you want to stage at the fair, whether that be for children or for an art zone or for a stall let us know. We are very open to new ideas. This year we did a small parade which we had not done before. We are always up for trying something new!
Independent Elders of IARA
The mailing list is now 34, and anywhere between 4 and 14 people have met at our 5 meetings this year. We cover any issues that members want to bring to the meetings – and to some extent the group acts as the eyes and ears of IARA.
We have discussed, among other things, planning, trees, rubbish, traffic and coaches, and the group has identified many issues for IARA to take up with the council – in many cases with a successful outcome. The meetings are very informal (thanks to MAP cafe and The Grafton for hosting us) and we enjoy the social element as much as the business.
One of the original aims of the group was to think about how we as a community can help each other as we get older, and we are keen to identify anyone who might benefit from contact with the group. We have had good liaison with Age UK Camden, with an invited speaker to talk to us about the Care Navigators project, and about Ageing Better in Camden. If you know anyone who might like to be involved with the Elders please put them in touch.
Safer Neighbourhood Panel
Our representatives John and Paul regularly attend Panel meetings and raise local concerns, as well as liaising with the Safer Neighbourhood police officers over issues that arise between meetings. Crime rates are relatively low in our area, but issues raised have included antisocial behaviour, drug dealing and, most recently, a so-called antique dealer knocking on doors (thanks to Christopher for identifying that this individual has a criminal record and is not to be trusted). Please keep letting us know of any crime related matters so that they can be raised at Panel meetings.
Magnet Site Working Group
IARA has 4 people on a Working Group that was established for the developer to work with the local community during construction works. CFBL (The French School) hosts the meetings, which are attended by representatives for the developer, CFBL, sometimes the local authority and, more recently, representatives from the StayClub, who will be running the student accommodation. Generally, the meetings have gone well and have been a useful channel for raising, and sometimes resolving, residents’ and the school’s concerns – so we were extremely concerned to see the recent planning application to further extend the buillding, just as the end is in sight for construction work.
CFBL/IARA Liaison group
The group was originally set up during the construction phase at the French School and has worked hard to deal with residents’ concerns. Not all of these can be easily resolved – in particular there have been issues over school parents misusing residents parking bays, and over speeding scooters on the pavement (ridden by parents, as well as students). Generally, we have a good working relationship with the school and we have recently agreed that the need for regular liaison is no longer there, and that issues between IARA and CFBL can be raised as and when they arise. Thanks to Adam, Jean and Don for all their work on this over the last 8 years.
The play sessions, which are held on the last Sunday of each month in Ryland Road, continue to be a great success and have proved a very good way for families to meet. It’s also an excellent template for having traffic free streets, at least some of the time!
Inkerman Area Residents Association Limited
Financial Statement 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019 (Provisional)
Balance B/F from 31 March 2018 6964.55
Alma Street Fair Profit 345.20
OTHER EXPENDITURE £
2018 AGM 300.00
Co. House Filing 2019 13.00
Website 2019 62.40
Corporation Tax 2018 22.00
Current Closing Balance c/f (loss) 6874.35