Minutes of IARA meeting 5 March 2012
Present: Charles Collett , Norma Wynter, Peter Haden, Anne Fitzgerald, David and Debby Hyams (Alma Street), Diana Harewood, Don Hibbs, Adam Leys, Jeff Baynes, Jean Hart, Nicholas Hadaway, Laura Andreae, Dee Searle, Mike Sumner (Willes Road), Jon Bowman, Anne Hearn, Elizabeth Kwantreng, Glory Kwantreng (Ryland Road), Mary Hill, Paul Seviour, John Nicholson, Liz Hill, Robert Livock (Raglan Street), Richard Organ, (Grafton Road), Sylvia Lynch, Frank Lynch
In attendance: Sgt. Peter Ryan
Apologies: Cllrs Jenny Headlam-Wells, Meric Apak, Georgia Gould
1. Issues for local councillors
Councillors unable to attend because of clash with council meeting, but had prepared a report (please see attached) covering key issues: Camden’s Budget, Community Investment Programme, Greenwood Place, redevelopment of Holmes Road Hostel (drop in exhibition at the hostel Monday 19 March 3 – 8 pm), Early years, Good Neighbours, planning. Details of councillor surgeries included in the report. They are also offering a coffee morning if residents would like to have time to raise issues directly with them – this idea was welcomed.
Issues discussed to raise with councillors included The Magnet Site where another student hostel is to be built, following the developer’s successful planning appeal. Holmes Road residents have asked for support in getting community involvement in the construction management plan, including asking the council to ensure they retain direct building control and do not allow this to be outsourced. Residents also want input to a site traffic management plan to protect small streets. This was agreed and we will ask councillors to pursue it.
Adam had raised problems with rubbish and recycling collections. Recycling collectors have been seen to chuck all sorted recycling into the same container and Camden’s Environmental Manager for the area, Mark Hunt, wants to hear from residents if this is happening. He also wants to hear about rubbish being dragged to central points more than 30 minutes in advance of collection, and any problems this causes. Please contact him with details – time, place and what happened. Street.firstname.lastname@example.org, 020 7974 8865, 07775 500 457
2. Recap on year
- Pizza Express David reported on the very successful campaign involving residents from all around the area and culminating in the Planning Inspector’s refusal of planning permission. Also pointed out that demolition in itself doesn’t require permission and the site remains at risk of new plans being submitted. However, it had been very effective in getting local groups working together, contributing time and money to save the building.
- Lakeland Paul reported on the problems residents in Raglan Street and Alpha Court had experienced with the Lakeland Works Depot. They ran a very active joint campaign, establishing that the depot did not have permission to use the land, and succeeded in getting it moved.
- Street Party 2011 Debby reported on another excellent Street Fair, the fifth orchestrated by Diana. It had generated a small profit, and over £2,000 was donated to IARA from stalls, including the IARA bar, the raffle and tombola. It was agreed that up to the amount donated could be used for the 2012 Fair. Full accounts are now available, and will be included with IARA’s accounts for the next meeting.
- Planning and licensing (KTRA) David and Adam explained that several IARA members also attend meetings of Kentish Town Road Action, a group set up and chaired by Caroline Hill to protect and improve Kentish Town Road (which otherwise has no single group concerned with the road as a whole). They have been highly vigilant and effective in stopping the grant of late licences and changes of planning use where these would have been to the detriment of the high street. The meeting confirmed that IARA supports opposition to the grant of late licences, and supports the protection of a high percentage of retail in the high street.
IARA’s policy (previously agreed) on residential planning applications within the area is to alert neighbours to applications whenever possible, but not to take a direct view as this would involve getting involved in potential disputes between IARA members. This policy was endorsed by the meeting.
3. Other planning issues
- James Wigg Pharmacy: this is a confused story in which an application had been put in to open a 100 hour a week pharmacy. It seemed initially to be actually within the James Wigg practice. People thought is threatened the sustainability of the three existing chemists in the High Street. Paul informed the meeting that it was not in fact by or in the practice and it was a speculative application by persons unknown. It was agreed that longer opening hours would be welcomed by many people and the existing chemists should be asked to consider this – possibly on a rota basis.
- Town Houses in Willes Rd by the baths. This site has been empty since the baths’ renovation. Sadly Sarah Harvey’s initiative in seeking to form a group to buy and build has not progressed and they have been sold on – presumably with the planning permission for the bizarre copper canopies over the front doors. Nicholas and Laura who live beside it agreed to make further enquiries.
4. Localism – Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum
David told the meeting about the creation of the neighbourhood Forum and paid tribute to Caroline Hill who has run Kentish Town Road Action for many years with support from various members of IARA and who saw the opportunity and need for a Kentish Town Forum under the new Localism Bill. The purpose of this has been reported on the website. There is a pro-developer and anti-Local Authority agenda in the Bill but also the opportunity to create a real sense of identity in Kentish Town.
After two public meetings, the Neighbourhood Forum has been launched and a steering committee formed. Caroline is the chair, David is vice chair, John is Secretary and Paul is treasurer. Full detail are on the IARA website, pending creation of a Neighbourhood Forum website.
The hot news is that Caroline has applied for a grant and we have been promised £20,000.
David explained that the normal or official first and main task is the creation of a Neighbourhood Plan. We will work with Camden on this as they have done a lot of work in similar terms and we can build on that.
But there are other, broader purposes that we can pursue as a Neighbourhood Forum. Creation of a really strong sense of Kentish Town, including such things as a weekend festival with events, concerts, exhibitions etc. Involvement of all the local tenants and residents groups and the schools, galleries, shops, restaurants and other businesses, churches, charities, police, health service and others.
Kentish Town has a very strong artistic and creative life with theatres, venues, galleries, photography studios, film makers etc who provide local business energy and can contribute to the community.
There is a strong music tradition with music in pubs and cafes, in the Forum which also has problems – though it is up for sale. Thanks to the Neighbourhood Forum meetings we are becoming more aware of other Kentish Town groups such as BARA, the Bartholomew Area Residents Association on the other side of the High Street who have lively meetings, and have a music scene with a string quartet. We have had discussions about a possible Kentish Town Choir, Orchestra… brass band?!.
Debby mentioned that the battle for the Pizza Express had brought together some of these groups and at the recent Sunday lunch party there, people had suggested a regular Kentish Town lunch the first Sunday of the month.
David asked the meeting what people thought about notices – both for IARA and Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum. Either on trees / lampposts or specially made notice boards. The meeting was against using trees lampposts, but would welcome a community notice board – possibly on the Raglan Day Centre railings?
5. Police report
Peter Ryan reported on local issues. There have been big cuts in police staffing – 100 fewer officers than last year. The Crime Prevention Officer post has been cut, but Safer Neighbourhood Team officers visit all victims of burglary and advise. Generally, burglars have gained access where it is easy to do so, so window and door locks, glued down windowboxes and general vigilance are all effective deterrents.
A lot of crime committed by people living in or near the Inkerman Area is aimed at affluent areas outside London, as well as some local burglaries. Some offenders well known to the police have been arrested and detained and there have been no further reports of burglaries (this area generally has a very low crime rate, although across the whole patch burglaries are up 13%).
6. Street Fair 2012
Paul is taking the lead organising this year’s fair, on Sunday 27 May, which will have a more local, mellow feel. Sadly, there has been a very low response to the mailing circulated asking for involvement. We may have to review the idea of a shared lunch if there is not more interest. The planning group is meeting regularly (next meeting Monday 19 March 7 pm at the Abbey for anyone wanting to attend).
7. French School (CFBL)
Don, Jean and Adam have formed an IARA sub-group and are meeting with three CFBL Parent Trustees to establish a “Community Group” to promote relations between
the CFBL and the Inkerman Area Residents. They would welcome input from a Cathcart Street resident. They suggest that any problems with the school should in the first instance be raised through them, and have circulated all households in the immediate vicinity with contact details. Meeting agreed that the students are generally well behaved – rather more so than some of the parents.
www.http://ramjet.3v0.net/~inkerman has been updated and is being used much more, with over 100 visitors some days.
9. Meetings and officers
Agreed that the next meeting (date tba) would include a formal election of officers (currently Debby chair, David secretary, Richard treasurer). Nominations with seconders will be invited in advance of the meeting and a vote taken. Accounts will be available.
Meanwhile, the meeting agreed to continue the current suspension of the formal constitution, which requires monthly meetings, on the basis that these are largely now covered by subgroups and increased email consultation and action.
10. Visit to school’s prizewinning new building
After the meeting several of us were shown round the new building on the corner of Prince of Wales and Cathcart St. This is a library and music room with doors that can open onto the playground and form a performance space. This building won the RIBA award last year:
Many thanks to Jo who showed us round and who locked up after us and sorted out the heating staying on late. Jo mentioned that the Head is keen to work with the community and agreed to put him in touch with us.