Minutes of IARA meeting 28 September 2009

Present: David and Debby Hyams, Isabel Berwick, Hilary Barnes, Corky McGuiness, Liz Woodeson, Charles Collett (Alma Street), Anne Darrell, Diana Harewood, Don Hibbs, Adam Leys, Barbara Storey, Geraldine Shelton, Dot Goodwin, Sarah Harvey, Jeff Baynes, Belinda Low (Willes Road), Helen Hodgson (Inkerman Road), Dominic Tinley, Lucy Brennecke, Anne Hearn (Ryland Road), Doreen Bartlett (Prince of Wales Road), Mary Hill (Raglan Street), Graeme Caul, Richard Organ (Grafton Road)

In attendance: Sean Cranith (Head), Margaret Harvey (Chair of Governors), St. Patrick’s School

Apologies: Sgt. Peter Ryan

1. St. Patrick’s School
(i) Planning application
Sean Cranith outlined the school’s planning application for a two storey library/music room fronting on to Holmes Road, and a one storey teachers’ preparation room fronting Raglan Street. He took us on a tour of the site and explained the plans. Building should be completed within 2010. No major concerns and we agreed to support the application. We also agreed to make the point that Camden should not be approving further applications for housing development until there were enough school places in the borough, and should prioritise school applications. Action – Debby and David

(ii) Developing community links
Sean welcomed the chance to meet residents and would welcome greater involvement in the school. Looking for ex-teachers to consider individual tutoring, volunteers (need to get CRB checks) for hearing readers, local people to be “mystery guests” for Q & A sessions with the children. He also suggested residents could use the beautiful new quiet garden by arrangement with the school, for lunches, meetings etc.

(iii) Water for the neighbouring raised beds
Sean and Margaret agreed to consider a written proposal for a metered water supply to be run from the school to the raised beds. We therefore need to come up with a viable, costed proposal to go to the school governors. Action: Gardening group.

2. Other planning applications

(i) Holmes Road college
The college is up for sale and agents for developers have approached us to get a sense of what kind of change of use residents might support. The meeting felt strongly that the building should remain in the public and/or education sector and we are opposed to change of use (see 1(i) above) and want the building retained for educational or community use. We should ask Camden to take a proactive approach, allocate a planning officer, and seek suitable buyers. There is a rumour that the French School is interested, and Camden LEA is itself very short of school places.

(ii) Magnet Site
Planning consent is sought for more student accommodation on this site. In line with previous views, we have written to object, and to ask for the application to go to committee for decision, so we can ask for or support a delegation. There are major concerns about noise (the present student block is causing problems to Holmes Road residents), and we do not support change of use when it reduces the dwindling employment opportunities locally. Action – Debby and David

3. 2010 Street Event
Diana reported briefly on the feedback from this year’s event; mainly very positive but with some reservations. The majority view is that we should scale down next year’s event, with less emphasis on big name music and more on community participation and local performers. It may be possible to get some funding from the music industry for equipment hire etc, as all the funding Camden gave us this year was needed for basics like toilets. Agreed that Diana coordinates a subgroup, including our business friends, to plan for next year. A big appreciation and applause for her and others for a great event.

4. Winter event
IARA has some funds donated from a street event stall, and there is general support for the idea of a winter event, combining a story telling evening with a pre-Christmas party, probably at MAP. Provisional date Friday 4 December. Action: Diana

5. Green Issues – next meeting
Next meeting focus on green issues – either a normal evening meeting probably January or February and/or a Green Day in the Spring. To explore and discuss: Firstly home centred, domestic issues like home insulation, replacement windows, solar panels and to hear the experiences and advice from members who have installed these. Secondly local area issues – should IARA or Kentish Town become a Green Area like Belsize Park? Should we sign up to the new campaign 10:10? – aiming to reduce our carbon footprint by 10% in 2010 (and our fuel bills) Then – wider issues of Camden recycling and green priorities. Then – wider national and international aspects.

Mary Hill mentioned that she had had a green audit and was acting on advice including new windows and will report on the results.

6. Trees
Members have been concerned for some time about Camden cutting down trees very quickly and replacing them very slowly if at all and with unwelcome species. Debby reported that some members had met with Richard Hillard, a member of Camden’s staff who offered some tree replacements. There was a lengthy discussion about preferred species: Amalancias, Acers, Ginko, Maidenhair. Never the ‘lollipop / bushes on a stick’ trees that have been popular with Camden recently. Action D&D:

[Since the meeting, these discussions and proposals have been taken further in written negotiations with Camden in a satisfactory way – as attached below.]

Diana raised the issue of the trees by the raised beds in Raglan Street being excessive, causing too much shade and bird droppings and possible subsidence to the houses in Inkerman Rd.

Members mentioned very poor maintenance of the trees that have been planted with some pruning so severe it killed the tree and others not watered which was a part of the contract.

Strong praise and thanks to the gardening group especially for the endless work on the raised beds in Raglan Street which are always a delight.

The meeting was told that Camden recycling now includes all mixed plastics including plastic bags, yoghurt pots etc which were previously not accepted. Batteries are both toxic and have valuable recyclable contents and should be recycled at the Recycling Centre or at the Post Office which has a collection box. Brown compost boxes are being trialled in some parts of the borough.

Fran Evans (who was brought up in Alma St) is now a Waste and Recycling Advisor at Camden Council and promoted Camden’s Waste Week which many members signed up to.

Trees in the High Street were discussed. We remembered that previously we have been told that they cannot be planted in the pavement due to ‘services’. We also recall the previous experiment with trees in large containers on the pavements which sadly became public dustbins and were not maintained. The impossibility of trees planted in pavements was challenged by one member who told us about Walworth Road in Southwark where a very satisfactory arrangement has been achieved with trees in the pavement although they must have as many services as Kentish Town. Agreed this will be pursued with Camden.

The £10k on offer to each ward was mentioned and this would be a good use.

The fact that the paving of the High Street had to stop before it was completed was also mentioned and this will be raised with Camden. Action D&D.

7. Traffic nuisance.
Several members mentioned the Veolia lorries are again causing a nuisance with ran-running as are UPS and Camden’s own vans. Ralph Scott has had negotiations with Veolia and UPS and will be contacted about this. [Any precise agreements that exist will be circulated] Members were urged to take numbers of the vans so they can be reported.

The light sequence at the top of the High Street, junction with Regis and Leighton seems to be causing delays in traffic with consequent increased air pollution. This will be raised with TFL. Discussion as to whether TFL could be invited to a future meeting as a number of issues we raise are their responsibility.

8. Foxes.
Several members reported fox nuisance; rubbish sacks being torn open; (four foxes were seen apparently playing football with rubbish sacks in Alma Street recently) fouling in gardens, diggings and bird catchings. Allegations of cat eating were denied; cats in turn were accused of bird eating. Nothing conclusive was decided except that it is best not to put out rubbish overnight – especially if it contains meat; best to put out early morning on rubbish days.

Date of next meeting……. TBA early 2010.

Correspondence with Richard Hillard.

Subject: Inkerman trees
Date: Mon, 5 Oct 2009 10:56:52 +0100
From: Richard.Hillard@Camden.gov.uk
To: inkermanara@hotmail.com
Dear Debby and the residents,
• The Prunus autumnalis flowers from November though to March. Prunus pandora is more of a spring flowering tree producing pink blossom, if you would prefer this?
IARA: Spring flowering, please. RH: Prunus Pandora it is.
• We are looking to replace the white birch at Alma Street with the same species.

IARA: Could we have a Persian Ironwood here instead? RH: The Persian Ironwood is suitable for off street locations, due to its growth pattern/spread, but on a narrow street such as Alma Street it is unsuitable. So we will stick with the white birch.
• We can go ahead and plant a standard Rowan at the side of 38a Willes Road.
IARA: Ok. RH: Great
• I have discussed the issue of Raglan Street with Alistair Smith again and although we will not plant a Birch tree another potential would be a Parrotia persica (Persian Ironwood). “This really is one of the finest trees for autumn colour, giving a display of crimson, purple, red and gold. A beautiful, small, rounded tree with grey-brown bark which becomes attractively mottled with yellow.” This suggestion goes along with the previous options of an Amelanchier or a Prunus Pandora. Please could you inform us of your preference from these three?
IARA: Persian Ironwood, Vanessa version please RH: Ok
• We have a policy where we do not remove trees unless they are dead, dying or dangerous. On inspecting the tree, at Inkerman/Willes Rd with the slightly raised root ball, it posed no apparent risk now or in the foreseeable future. However we have noted the general distaste for the ‘lollipop’ type trees and will be looking to avoid planting any more in the Inkerman area in the future. IARA: Thank you
Best regards,
Richard Hillard
Assistant Arboricultural Technical Officer