IARA AGM 2015 – report from the Chair and Secretary
We had hoped to have a mid year meeting, but following the General Election we had a new MP for the area, Keir Starmer, and saw this as a good opportunity to meet him and hear about his priorities. This took a bit of negotiation, but we managed to find a date in the end, and our general meeting took place on 21 September.
CFBL (The French School) kindly offered us a large meeting room and about 45 IARA members attended, as well as Tim Gray from Camden’s Environment Department. It was a well attended and interesting meeting and, we feel, has established an excellent basis for future contact with Keir Starmer as well as continuing our good relationship with Tim who has worked very well for the area for many years.
At the meeting we also adopted a new Constitution for IARA. The old one has served us for 40 years but no longer reflected the age of modern communication technology. We continue to work with the wider membership mainly through regular email bulletins and consultations – and through the website. If you know of people in the area who are not getting our mailings, encourage them to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put them on the list. The new Constitution requires the officers of the association to meet at least 4 times a year, and we held the first of these in October.
IARA subgroups keep busy, and what follows are some of their activities, as well as a brief summary of what else has been going on during the year.
Independent Elders of IARA
Some new members have joined the group this year, and we’ve had some lively meetings – some just a catch up and to flag up action needed on local issues, others with a specific theme. We’ve had several discussions about health issues, including an introduction to the Camden Community Physiotherapy Service, which is run by Connect. IARA member Jenny Rossiter gave us a very interesting introduction to Camden Guides and the walks that they run, and we hope to follow this up with a local guided walk when time and the weather permit. If you are interested in finding out more about Independent Elders email email@example.com.
Alma Street Fair
2015 saw the 9th summer fair (10th, if you count the one we held in 1988!), which was generally held to be a great success. We are grateful to all the IARA members and local businesses who made it happen, and for the great support we had from Camden Council in clearing and cleaning the streets so well before and after the event. The organising committee will meet in the new year to consider what should happen next year – please get in touch if you have feedback for us and/or would like to be involved in organising any future event. It is both a lot of work and a lot of fun – and it needs a lot of people to make it happen.
Trees and gardens
We have continued to liaise with the Council about our street trees, and are very pleased that they have given us some new ones. Little gardens under the trees continue to appear and to be maintained by residents. Robert continues his heroic efforts to maintain the community garden in Raglan Street, and Dilip and Don do the same with Holmes Road. A few of us had a good day in October tidying up that garden, which is often admired by people passing by and using the seats in front of the gardens. Please see the website for details of this.
CFBL (The French School)
Don, Jean and Adam have continued to act as our liaison committee with the school, raising any problems we have as neighbours and acting as a channel for communication (including occasional opportunities for paid work). If you are aware of any problems with the school, please email IARA.
A very energetic group of parents continue to run regular play days on the last Sunday in each month, in Ryland Road. They are always on the look out for people willing to help out as stewards for a couple of hours at each session – contact playstreetsNW5@gmail.com to find out more.
John and Paul attend the Safer Neighbourhoods Panel meetings and give us regular feedback. We are able to raise local concerns through them, so let us know if there are issues you would like raised about crime or other policing matters.
Planning and licensing
We receive and scrutinise Camden’s frequent notifications of new planning applications.
Where they are from commercial developers we consult members and respond if needed; where they are from residents we try to ensure that affected neighbours are aware of the application.
We and other local people have been involved in pre-application discussions with developers over major sites and in some cases (eg the Bird and Davis site in Holmes Road) this resulted in considerable improvements to the plans.
We consulted members and then supported Camden’s proposal to make an Article 4 application which would stop automatic change of use from offices to residential, as nearly all who responded feel strongly that we want to retain some employment in this area. Following this, we have recently worked on an application for the Beardsmore Gallery in Prince of Wales Road to become an Asset of Community Value, in the hope that this may prevent a change of use.
IARA has also signed up to CRAAC, the Camden Resident Association Action Committee, which is a group of residents associations campaigning for better protection for neighbours from damage caused by basement schemes.
Earlier in the year a small group of us met with Cllr Phil Jones (Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Transport & Planning) and our three ward councillors, to discuss the problems in Anglers Lane. We are still awaiting developments. Camden is considering a number of traffic management schemes in Kentish Town, any of which may have a knock on effect on other areas, and we are also very aware of the impact of heavy traffic when there is building development. All of these are issues that will need close scrutiny.
We have also now obtained consent from the Council to install a traffic mirror at the junction of Inkerman Road and Grafton Road. We have ordered one and Bartletts will put it up for us (as they say, it will hopefully avoid anyone driving into their shop front!)
Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum
We are represented on the committee for KTNF which is producing a local plan which will have some statutory planning influence. After considerable local consultation the plan is ready to send to Camden for consideration and then it goes to a public referendum.
This continues to be updated with news and reports – http://www.inkermanresidents.org.uk/ and has a history of the area in maps. And a recent fascinating report about bollards including the listed one!
IARA Financial Statement 1 January to 31 December 2015
(Provisional 23 November 2015)
Bank interest 5.74
Street Fair (bar profit) 756.76
Meeting collections 40.00
AGM raffle Dec 2014 95.00
2014 AGM 754.80
Copying costs 51.90
Traffic mirror 139.06
Overall Profit (loss) (111.76)
Balance b/f from previous year 8475.78
Cash on hand c/f 8364.02
The Inkerman Area Residents Association
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting 23.11.15
Alma St: Charles C, Liz W, Hilary B, Lesley A, Debby H, David J, Jenny R, Poppy S, Patricia D, Lucy P, Daniel O, Alison L, Terry D, James W, Dilip L, Ian D
Willes Rd: Jeff B, Diana B , Rosemary W, Jean H, Danny A, Julia F, Adam L, Michele L, Vivienne M, James H, Michael S, Belinda L, Tom C
Cathcart St: Kate V
Raglan St: Robert L, Gregory M, Paul S, John N, Harriet C, Mary H
Ryland Rd: Anne H, Sophie H, Gail N, Trisha M
Brinsmead: Chris C, Liz de K
Inkerman Rd: Helen H
Councillors: Meric Apak and Jenny Headlam Wells.
Don H, Sarah M, Francis G, Charlotte H, Anthony K
2. Minutes of the AGM 8.12.14 were agreed. Proposed by Robert. Seconded by Jeff.
3. Election of officers: no other nominations were received and the existing officers were prepared to stand again. Proposed by Diana. Seconded by Hilary. Voted unanimously.
4. Chair’s report: see attached.
Debby went through the report highlighting certain matters. Emphasised the new constitution and the regular meetings of officers which are taking place.
She explained more about the activities of the independent elders group including health, exercise, Camden guides. There have been seven meetings so far this year. We are hoping for a local walk to be organised in the New year.
Adam expanded on liaison with CFBL (the French School), including getting them to turn down the volume of the ice cream style chimes that are used to summon the children to class etc. Issues regarding the coach parking bay in Willes and Cathcart are not yet resolved. The problem is that any coaches can park and not just school coaches. Three parking spaces in Cathcart were installed, possibly because of a misunderstanding (we had agreed two originally). One is right outside a house which is oppressed by large coaches parking there. We are hoping that Camden will bring in a time limit for parking which should alleviate the problem.
CFBL have promised to replace the cherry tree in their grounds facing Cathcart Street, but this has not yet occurred.
This takes place in Ryland Road on the last Sunday of every month. The elders group helped set it up and it has been very successful, but extra help by way of stewarding is always needed.
There is a potential issue about the redevelopment of the Magnet site which will involve the movement of heavy trucks for many months. So far there seems to be no traffic management plan as part of the planning application. There are also concerns about the overall traffic management for major sites such as the Raglan Street Estate.
We discussed the Article 4 issue and the fact that it is too late for Anglers Lane where the large studio building is in the process of conversion to residential.
There are concerns about the traffic in Anglers Lane, heavy vehicles and the speed table causing major vibration issues. Meric confirmed that some proposals are to be consulted on, and will pursue this for us.
Pizza Express building. The previous owner got planning permission with two options The first with nine flats and no cinema. The second with 12 flats and a 40 seater cinema.
The building and the planning permission have now been sold on. The new owner has gone for the second option but wants to increase the size of the cinema to 78 seats, and to have a café bar. They expect to be on site in spring of next year. It appears to be a socially minded developer who has a good track record.
Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum. Paul explained that the draft neighbourhood plan had been progressed. It had been hoped that it would by now be ready for a referendum but in fact the final version of the plan has now gone to Camden who will take six weeks to refer it to an independent inspector who will decide if it conforms with statutory planning. If approved it will go to referendum, probably in June or July. This all represents four years of work. One outcome is that Camden have taken on board some of the recommendations and policies proposed in the plan in their own new local plan.
5. Financial report: Paul introduced the accounts. We have a very healthy reserve but he pointed out that it costs £4000 to put on the Street Fair and if it had to be cancelled for any reason (including weather) IARA would lose that amount. The reserves are also available to take legal advice on planning matters etc.
There are changes underway with the bank account to make it easier to run the association. We are also seeking to change the status of the Association in order to protect the officers from personal liability.
6. Street fair: Diana reported that she organised the first Fair nine years ago and the aim was to get the community together – residents, businesses and services. Michael Ptootch from the high street has been very supportive. The Grafton has also been wonderful as have Camden Brewery. The Council have been extremely helpful in clearing the streets in advance and cleaning up afterwards.
There will be a meeting in the new year to decide whether there will be a Fair in 2016 and to recruit support.
Police liaison. John reported that he represents IARA at liaison meetings with the Safer Neighbourhoods Team, Paul represents KTNF and former IARA resident Jeremy represents the business community. The panel meets every two months to agree priorities. Currently these are antisocial behaviour, drug dealing, dog mess and cycling on pavement.
We are seen as the eyes and ears and provide specific information to the police to allow them to target resources. Compared with neighbouring areas we have a low crime rate.
7. Councillors: Jenny reported that there will be an Area Action Group meeting on Thursday 6.30–8.30 in the VAC building. We will be discussing the review of Camden’s licensing policy and the late night levy. There will also be a discussion about how to spend Kentish Town ward’s share of the Community Infrastructure Levy, estimated at £180,000.
There is a government legislation expected in early 2016 and a consultation is underway which will include extending Special Policy Areas up to the Forum which has the presumption that new applications will be refused.
8. Any other business:
Danny raised the question of traffic on Prince of Wales Road/Willes Road and wondered why there was a CCTV car with two staff often parked at the junction when it would be cheaper to have a fixed camera. Meric agreed to make enquiries.
Jean reported that there is a Phantom dog fouling in Willes Road. This occurs very early in the morning. Information would be gratefully received.