General Meeting 4 September 2017

Minutes of a General Meeting 4 September 2017

Alma St: Charles C, Lesley A, Debby H, David J, Patricia D, Katrien H, Jane H
Willes Rd: Jeff B, Diana B, Adam L, Sarah H, David T, RosemaryW, Jacqueline D, Gary L
Raglan St: Paul S, John N, Mary H, George L, Robert L

Monmouth House: Paul B, Melanie R
Ryland Rd: Trisha M,

Brinsmead: Shivaun S, Jeff W
Inkerman Rd: Nick W, Sophie C, Rafe B, Elizabeth S, Stuart D, Sarah T

Grafton Rd: Graeme C, Xavier L

Visitors: Adam (Camden Town Unlimited), Daisy (Ladies of the Lock)

1. Apologies: Cllr. Meric Apek, Cllr.Jenny Headlam-Wells, Kentish Town SNT, John + Poppy, Julia + James, Don, Howard, Liz + Ian, Alison + John, Dee, Camilla

2. Camden Highline

Adam from Camden Town Unlimited introduced the Highline project and explained it was sponsored by Camden Town Unlimited – a business association with 300 members. The plan was to create a walkway/cycle path along the disused railway line from Camden Gardens to Camley Street (about 1 km).

They have worked on it for a year now and have crowdfunded £65,000 for the complicated feasibility survey that is needed. This may be completed by Christmas. There will be events this September, 16 through to 24 with a walking tour of the route.

If it proves possible a new organisation will be set up to run it, a CIC community investment company, who will be responsible for construction and maintenance. Maybe some money from the mayor and from Camden.

In answer to questions it was said there were a lot of issues to be resolved including cost of maintenance, whether it would be lit in the night, negotiations with Network Rail and with the properties that back onto it. The width varies from 80 m of Camden Road station where there may be room for a cafe and events, down to 3 m further east.

3. Ladies of the Lock

Daisy Drury spoke – from “ladies of the lock” our local women’s Institute branch. She explained that it is the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the UK with 6000 branches, bringing together women and learning new skills. This local branch has been functioning since April and includes Kentish Town, Tufnell Park, Camden and Gospel Oak. So far the membership is 40. They meet at Crossroads women’s centre (behind the co-op) on the first Tuesday of each month in the evening and have had talks from London zoo, trade, ethical fashion and local journalists. Age of membership is over 18 and in fact includes people from 20 through to age 80.

Membership is £40 per year. There is a walking group and craft group and other local events. They were involved in the Alma st street fair. New members are welcome and can have a free taster session and yes there is quite a lot of cake being baked and eaten.

4. Monmouth House and Alpha Court

Melanie who lives at Monmouth house spoke about problems in the block with young people causing trouble, using drugs in the stairways and children being too scared to play out.There have been break ins to the flats and urination in the lift. She herself has been mugged. Melanie has contacted Camden regularly without much success. She and another resident have put letters through all letterboxes in Monmouth house and Alpha Court, inviting residents to attend the IARA meeting with a view to getting together as an association to try to improve things. Mel has also set up an email address

Suggestions from the floor included involving our local councillor, Meric and the fact that a proper Tenants Association is needed. John offered to liaise with the local police. Graeme congratulated Mel on her courage and taking the initiative. David mentioned the fact that IARA has not been successful in getting involved with the public housing developments in the area (although many years ago we did campaign successfully for the gas central heating to be installed). Paul suggested that knowing the right people to contact may get results and offered to help.

5. Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum

Paul spoke about progress here following the approval and adoption of the plan.

He dealt with some noticeable local issues including:

Pizza express building still owned by the person who got the planning permission who has a reputation as a niche developer and did good work in Kilbourn redeveloping the library in partnership with the local authority. They have a lot of projects in the pipeline and they are in discussion with two cinema operators.

Paul is concerned about possible damage to the exterior arising from demolition work inside and will speak to Camden.

The Carpetright shop which is very prominent on the High Street has consent for redevelopment with the basement and ground floor for retail use, first floor offices and the remaining two or three floors residential. It is owned by a shell company which is traceable back to Sports Direct.

The section 106 agreement specified local employment, traffic and contract management plans and contribution to public housing.

The Castle Pub – development continues. A steel frame has been erected at the back but the facade is to be retained and we will have to see if they have complied with the full requirements.

Blustons – no news

Section house in Holmes Road – not entirely clear who owns it. Probably not the Metropolitan Police any more. Agreed that enquiries should be made through our Greater London Assembly member.

The hostel in Holmes Road. One member said that nothing seems to have happened for a long time now although it was going well initially.

Spring place development seems to have been sold on. Quite annoying after we have all put a lot of work into discussing the original planning application.

6. Kentish Town Christmas Lights

John talked about this saying that there was a local initiative through Kentish Town Rd Action (chaired by Caroline Hill) to try and raise the £10,000 required. Crowdfunding was not successful and three local businesses who promised support did not come through. It seems to be a closed book now.

7. Police matters

Police local neighbourhoods team. John also reported on this one, explaining that he is on the panel that meets every two months to gather information, but also to agree priorities. Antisocial behaviour, mopeds robberies, burglaries have all been mentioned. In fact Kentish Town is a low crime area compared with Camden town or Somers town.

On Peckwater the Tenants Association was moribund but it has been revived and in one year has made great improvements.

8. The conservation area and roof extensions

Rafe spoke about the fact that he loves the area and the community but his family need more space to accommodate growing children and frail grandparents and they want to extend but in the right way and with local agreement.

A discussion document has been prepared and has been forwarded some people in order to garner opinions. See following item under Latest News.

The central features are a mansard roof carefully angled and set back to have the least impact from the street and not to disrupt the run of terraces, and have a more Victorian style rather than Velux windows at the front – but perhaps with skylights at the back to avoid overlooking.

1 Inkerman Road has put in an application [which has actually now been refused by Camden]

Sarah H said that she had completed an extension on the roof after a lot of trouble and discussions with Camden and has managed to retain the shape of the valley roof.

We were told that deep in Camden’s design brief there are some guidance notes about roof extensions being set back at 70° front and back.

Westminster city council have an agreed Standard design for this.

Robert offered to analyse the reports from appeals to Camden but another person said that the results are highly inconsistent.

Other comments were that sensitive roof extensions might be better than filling the gardens up.

Questions were raised about the legal status of the Conservation Area statements, and Nick W said that inspectors in appeals look for guidance and welcome clarity on what is and isn’t allowed.

Debby said that we had circulated our 200 members on the email list and had very little feedback and perhaps we would be exploring with Camden what were grounds for turning down unacceptable applications, and whether there would be room for agreement on a standard design. She said there has been previous correspondence with a planning officer following approval to put a roof extension on the historic building at 8 Anglers Lane, and we could follow this up.

9. Any other business:

  • Toy Project
    John told us about a toy project collecting pre-loved toys which are sold to raise funds, or given to needy families, for example are given to prisoners to use as Christmas presents to their families. They are moving to new premises in Junction Road and would appreciate donations and support (new website coming soon

  • UPS delivery
    Leslie had a misdelivered parcel – no-one recognised the addressee’s name.

10. Next meeting
AGM will be on 4 December at the Grafton, with a party afterwards.