Minutes of excellent meeting held on 31 March 2008

Minutes of meeting held on 31 March 2008 at St Patricks School

Attending:

Doreen Bartlett – Prince of Wales Road;
Ann Finer, Dawn Mottram, Sylvia and Ed McGinnis, Graham Caul, Chris Phillips, Lizzie Bloom, Matthew Clark, Agis Tagalakis and (guest) Angela Woods – Grafton Road
Beryl Bailey, Helen Hodgson – Inkerman Road
Elizabeth Kwantreng, Anne Hearn – Ryland Road
Margaret Walters, Jim McGrane, Geraldine Shelton, Vivienne McNaughton, Nicholas Hadaway, Jeff Baynes, Judy Legge, Richard Ferraro, Dee Searle, Diana Harewood, Don Hibbs, Sacha Kobayashi, Jean Hart, Adam Leys, Natalie and David Turner, Sarah Harvey, Harold Garner – Willes Road
Robert Livock, Mary Hill, John Nicholson, Harriet Craven – Raglan Street
Liz Woodeson, Charles Collett, Debby and David Hyams, Hilary Barnes, Connie Tolchard, Liz Woodeson, Isabel Berwick, Norma Wynter, Lesley Angel – Alma Street
Lucro Mason, Kate Vizard – Cathcart Street
Bobby Armstrong (guest) – Gillies Street
Ruth Needham – Holmes Road
Chris and Maria Nicola

Sgt Peter Ryan – Kentish Town Safer Neighbourhood Team

Mark Hunt, Don White, Terry Gallagher, Nigel Robinson – London Borough of Camden

Matt Heshmal (?) – Wates construction

Cllrs. Philip Thompson, Ralph Scott – Camden Councillors

1. Spring Place/Holmes Road Depot
Angela Woods, from Stop Dustcarts Campaign, briefly summarised: From 5.30 am trucks from Brent come to the local depot to pick up crews very early in the morning. Recycling trucks also in and out of the area, plus vehicles based at the depot.

Mark responded for the council: some of this activity has now been relocated. Drivers have been instructed not to pick up their crews here, and the recycling drivers have now been given similar instructions. Drivers instructed to use Holmes/Kentish Town Road, not Grafton and Willes.

General agreement and appreciation that things are somewhat better, but there are still problems. These are mainly:
 Excessive speed, causing noise and heavy vibration
 Traffic calming measures not effective
 High sided (wire) vehicles extremely noisy (and shouldn’t just be relocated – their design is a fundamental problem)
 High concentration of vehicles in an inappropriate area.
 Unnecessary journeys (empty trucks sent out to collect complaints!)
 Veola cleaning trucks and building depot vans extremely fast
 Nuisance late (to 12) as well as early, 7 days pw

Responses, from council officers and police:

 Speed: take registration numbers and report speeding vehicles. Drivers will be reminded about speed restrictions and warned of local concerns. Sgt Ryan will let us have contact details for traffic control centre, who could come into the area.
 There is a borough wide review of depots and there are no plans to move this one in the next 3 years. Ralph Scott felt the Head of Property Services, David Tullis, might however be responsive, especially as this would clearly be a prime site for residential use and could provide 100 – 150 homes. Ralph will contact him.

Mixed views from the meeting – acknowledgement that there is light industrial use, not just residential, and depots need to be somewhere. More general view though is that the balance is wrong and there should be more done to accommodate increased residential use. Richard referred to the GLA’s London Plan which supports expansion of residential use, and pointed out that other local sites which would not have done so previously have got change of use for housing. He asserted that the depot would not now be granted planning use as a new development because of the shift locally to residential.

Some tentative discussion about removing speed bumps to reduce noise and vibration – meeting agreed that this could be looked at but only if there are viable traffic calming alternatives (chicanes etc.). Overwhelmingly, the feeling of the meeting was that more consultation is needed before any such changes are made, and that consultation needs to happen early in the planning process.

Strategically, there might be more major solutions to reduce traffic, such as changing the no left turn from Prince of Wales Road to Kentish Town Road and right from Castlehaven to Prince of Wales. However, the first has been floated many times over the years with no success and has been rejected by TFL, who control major routes.

2. Kentish Town Baths development
Don White outlined the timetable and plans, starting in May with a major strip out of the building and demolition work, and ending in autumn 2010. The lengthy timescale is because of the difficult nature of the project. Camden has given a lot of thought to traffic control during the works and contractors have been/will be instructed. Traffic will come from Prince of Wales Road and up Grafton through the north end of the site; back down Willes. One of the earliest tasks is to open up access at this end of the site for vehicle access. Works traffic will not be allowed to go further up Grafton or Willes. There will be vehicle control on site, and minimal use of large vehicles. These will mainly be used at the outset, for scaffolding and steel girder deliveries. This will be followed by readymix lorries, and a crane, constructed on site, which will be sited for minimal nuisance to neighbouring houses.

Hours of work will be 8 – 5.30 Mon – Fri, 8 – 1 Saturday. Work close to adjacent houses will not start before 9.30 am, and will finish early. They will avoid Saturday deliveries.

Noise, dust and recycling will all be regulated.

Wates apparently have a good record of working with neighbours, and will issue frequent bulletins updating on plans for the next couple of weeks. They will also post 24h contact details conspicuously around the site.

Ralph Scott added that as far as possible local contractors will be used, to minimise journeys and the environmental impact. Plans are yet to be finalised and the Users Group will be consulted (and extended to local residents who may not be users – to be notified of meetings contact nigel.robinson@camden.gov.uk

Questions:

Q Concerns about delivery vehicles queuing for site access?
A 3 vehicles can park on site, and they will use the designated coach parking. They will use radio control. No plans to suspend Residents Parking bays (possibly will ask to suspend 1 or 2 at a later stage, but no mass suspension). Rigorous on-site management will be the key to traffic control.
Q Road surface in Willes already terrible; lorries will make it worse
A Don – will report back to Highways on current problems; could be some temporary fixes?
Ralph – chance for major improvement on completion if it has got worse

Ralph also gave assurances that there will be liaison between the Holmes Road depot and the KT Baths works; they will have each other’s schedules and avoid traffic conflict.

3. Somerfield Parking
Liz Hill has written to Somerfield to raise serious concerns about the escalating problem in Anglers Lane and Raglan street caused by Somerfield deliveries. Other locals confirmed the problem is bad – it starts from 6 am and goes on all day, causing hold ups, road rage, diverted angry traffic, noise, blocked pavements etc. Other supermarkets unload (illegally) on the high street (but don’t have pedestrian crossings just outside).

This is a longstanding problem and not obvious how to resolve it. Smaller delivery vehicles would help. Agreed to copy Liz’s letter to Ralph, and ask her to copy him in to the response, and then consider what action should be taken.

4. Bins, litter, dog mess,
Harriet asked, do we want more bins? Generally, and for dog mess? Generally, yes with reservations. Mark agreed we can have more, and as they’re not fixed in place we can try them out at different locations and they can be moved again if not a success or – as some fear – they make littering worse. We should contact Tim Gray, our Street Environment Officer, with suggested locations.

Camden and Peter Ryan’s SNT are working together to educate dog owners – have had dog owners’ awareness days, and hand out cards to all dog owners telling them about cleaning up and £50 penalties if they don’t. Street wardens and Police Community Support Officers have all been trained in dealing with the problems. Peter invited residents to tell him where and when the troublespots are (Raglan Street and Anglers Lane are bad, and the Anglers Lane end of Alma). He’s willing to hold a day of action once he has this information.

Street cleaning – Ann asked if streets/pavements could be washed more – OK when it rains, but can look filthy – bus stops particularly.

After work has been done, pavements often left in poor state – tell Tim Gray and/or councillors if concerns.

Recycling boxes – lids are almost never put back on. Annoying as boxes get wet and also flags up empty houses. Ralph confirmed contractors are not working to time targets and people agreed they generally do a good job – but could they be asked to put boxes back with lids on.

5. Summer event
Diana is keen to organise another event – looking at 15 June. We had great support from local businesses – Flaxon Ptooch have said they might be able to find some funding for another; MAP happy to support, host meetings etc. Peter Ryan had put us in touch with another possible grant and Diana has applied. As much support as possible is needed from residents to make it a success – next planning meeting Tuesday 22 April at MAP – time to be notified.

6. Talacre/Dalby Street development
Ed told us what a great success the sports centre has been but its future will be blighted by the proposed development on Dalby Street. A 7 storey building with 55 flats was given planning permission some 5 years ago, but with no consideration given to access. Plans now are for a road beside the railwaylines, but with no pavement; pedestrian alley the other side of the flats. Permanent marshalls will be needed to keep the road safe and the centre is heavily used by children. The developers, then the home owners, will own the road. Will they pay for marshalls? How can it possibly be a safe and sensible solution? A final meeting on 22 May could still throw out the access arrangements, but the Highways Inspector has said the plans are workable.

Ralph has raised the issue with Tim Cronin, head of planning, who has said there are 5 issues to be considered:

The access road Materials Town green status of Talacre
Tree protection Ventilation flues

There’s a strong campaigning group: contact Talacre under Threat – PeterCuming@Blueyonder.co.uk and Nick.Harding@hpf.org.uk 07801 802344

7. Police report
Peter Ryan commented that recent press reports on high burglary rates in KT misrepresent the situation. Inkerman area rates are very low, and most burglars gain access via front doors or sash windows. In high burglary areas the most vulnerable properties are old houses converted for multiple occupation – eg student houses with electrical equipment including laptops

Police are offering to subsidise window boxes for ground floor and basement windows – as a trial in 2 streets. One is Montpelier Grove, the other could be Inkerman Road or Willes Road (vouchers will be given for Boma Garden Centre; people then glue box to windowsill to make access difficult). No decision taken on which street –views to be canvassed and get back to Peter.

‘Older people’ (60+) and those considered vulnerable can have a full crime prevention survey and funding up to £500 to install security measures.

Licensing: police will take action against premises operating without a late licence

Police also taking action against street drinkers and beggars – aware that some are very vulnerable and preyed on by others.

Police station closure: Met police want to replace local stations with (a) huge warehouse type centres with proper cell facilities plus (b) local counters for SNTs. Not clear yet what the plans for KT are but there will be further consultation if changes are planned.

8. Gardening group
Lots of applause and praise for the gardeners transforming Raglan street beds and tree bases in the area. Please pass on any spare bedding plants etc. to gardeners for public use. Regular maintenance and watering also needed – adopt a tree base near you! Another session will be held soon, on a weekend – notification to follow.

9. Planning
Plans submitted for an 11 storey residential building on Regis Road (fronting on to Holmes Road) have been withdrawn, possibly following protests. Instead of piecemeal development of the area, we need a proper strategic plan. This was raised previously with Tim Cronin but got nowhere. Ralph told us that there is new money within Camden for planning briefs – issues such as the protection of green space, of retail, our artisan heritage, local employment, so there may be a chance to pursue a more strategic approach to planning.

Other issues not raised in the meeting because of lack of time – we will forward more info shortly.

 The Church/Forum
 State of street properties, especially in Ryland Road – to ask Ralph for feedback (raised at previous meeting)
 Increase in cost of parking permits for people working on houses