April Update: Some good news on traffic, ideas for development control, local nature and wildlife and more …

Major good news about Inkerman Area Street traffic from Camden.

We recently wrote to Karl Brierly, Camden’s Principal Transport Planner (LEN & Healthy Streets) to highlight the problems of traffic in Holmes Road, and supporting the proposals for a Healthy Street.          (See below *)

He has replied at length, giving updates and timetables for our area, including the left turn from Prince of Wales Road to Kentish Town Road and traffic restrictions for Anglers Lane (all previously consulted on and now agreed).  He writes in his reply: 

“We have made a commitment in the Officers Decision Report for the above scheme to develop additional proposals to reduce through traffic in the cell of streets west of Kentish Town Road and north of Prince of Wales Road, including Holmes Road”. 
 
You can read the correspondence and his full response on the IARA website, here: https://www.inkermanresidents.org.uk/uncategorized/safer-street-for-holmes-road-correspondence-with-camden 

 *  https://tfl.gov.uk/corporate/about-tfl/how-we-work/planning-for-the-future/healthy-streets#on-this-page-0  making streets safer, cleaner, quieter. 

Tighter controls and more rigorous enforcement proposed for developers – who currently get away with not following agreed conditions

We have been asked by Oliver Froment, from CRAAC, the Camden’s Residents’ Association Action Committee, to support a letter he has drafted to the Head of Camden’s enforcement team, urging them to adopt a code of conduct for developers that has been put in place by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.  He writes: 

“We have watched how the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) systems have bedded in and continue to believe that the RBKC Code of Conduct more than ever provides a tested and proven solution to the current enforcement shortfalls of Councils. We offer some highlights. 

First and foremost, the following key features of the RBKC should be implemented without delays: 

1- Systematic requirements for site visits by the Council for all significant works (with the frequency stated in page 15 for categories site 1 or 2, reference pages 10 and 11 of the RBKC Code of Construction Practice ): Page 15, Table 3: Monitoring time and charge estimates: 

Category 1 ● Fortnightly/monthly visits ● Predicted officer time: 50-150 hours 

Category 2 ● Quarterly site visits ● Predicted officer time: 15-3 

Currently Camden does not have systematic visits on construction site and the enclosures demonstrate that many unscrupulous developers fully take advantage of the current situation. 

2- Setting of a bond (reference page 14 and 15 of the RBKC Code of Construction Practice would solve many of the financial shortcomings that that the enforcement budget of the Council is currently constrained with. It would enable the Council to hire more enforcement officers. 

The RBKC bond is unlike the Camden fees an annual recurring amount payable during the whole life of the construction phase. 

For example: say a developer embarks on a 1100 square meter development that will take 3 years to complete, under the RBKC scheme he would be liable to a £ 17,550 x 3 = £ 52,650 bond 

whereas under the Camden scheme, he would be liable to only £ 22,816. 

As another example say a developer puts an application for a basement with the use of a full-size rig: 

Under the RBKC scheme he would pay £ 17,500 per annum whereas under the Camden scheme he would pay only a one off £ 7,564.5 

This RBKC bond is also an incentive for developers to behave well as in such instances or in the case they finish the construction site ahead of schedule they can be entitled to a refund. 

Also, if the Code of Construction Practice / Construction Bond is applied as a Planning Condition to the Planning Consent, then it becomes a breach of the Planning Consent if the contractor digresses from 

its terms.” 

IARA:  The adoption of this seems to us like a win:win for residents and the Council, and we are happy to support the letter unless anyone objects.  Please get back to us within the next couple of days if you have views on this. 

Opportunity for young people to train as Play Workers 

“PACE is recruiting 10 trainees to join our 6-week traineeship programme at our Playcentres in Camden. Trainees will work in either our Pre-school or Play Services placements and get real-life experience in their area of choice, with a guaranteed interview for a Level 2 Early Childhood Practitioner Apprenticeship.  

These traineeships are open to young people aged 16 to 24 who are not in employment, education or training.  They are also open to 25-year-olds who have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan. 

 If you know of any young people who fit the criteria and are interested in a career in Early Childhood Education or Play Work, please ask them to visit: https://www.paceforall.com/traineeships” 

Talacre flats – the uncollected £3 million debt that could benefit Camden

Some of you may have been following the dogged attempts of residents local to Talacre to pursue money owed to Camden Council by the developer of Princes’ Park (the big apartment block next to Kentish Town West station).  This is a link to the last update in the Camden New Journal: 

http://camdennewjournal.com/article/answers-are-needed-on-the-failure-to-collect-the-talacre-debt

Since then, Brian Lake and Nick Harding have had meetings with councillors where promises were made, but months later nothing has happened.  They have now written to all Camden councillors, and you can see the latest update and links here: https://www.inkermanresidents.org.uk/uncategorized/scandal-of-3m-due-to-camden-on-talacre-property-development-princes-park

Nature  

Starting with trees…  we have been using the IARA WhatsApp group to gather volunteers for watering new trees that Camden have planted in our area.  Now summer has come, they do need regular watering. Camden will do some of that but this has not been very reliable in previous years. Most of the new trees have “hydration bags” round them. These have a big hole at the top which people unpleasantly use as waste bins until we staple them closed. The non-obvious point is: Do not pour water in that big hole at the top of the bags, use the slot in the side so it goes into the side of the bag which has a porous bottom which releases water slowly onto the roots. The tree stuff got so intense that it swamped the main WhatsApp traffic – so we set up a separate IARA Trees WhatsApp group.

We are working on a survey of all the trees in the area and will open a new section of the website when we have enough.  If you’d like to help, please let us know.  

The main WhatsApp is very busy with offers of really good unwanted stuff – furniture, clothes, sheets, toys etc. Requests and offers of help or recommendations and warnings about crime including by foxes…see below. 

It also gives notifications of visits by Fair Well – a converted milk float that delivers package free eco-friendly food to neighbourhoods. For an explanation see this anachronistically titled article in the CNJ:  http://www.camdennewjournal.co.uk/article/dairy-girls/

To join either or both WhatsApp groups, just email us with your name address and phone number. 

Birds – an illustrated talk especially for the area from Dilip and Jeremy

 
Next Sunday at 7 pm, our very own Avian enthusiasts are presenting an illustrated talk on birds and wildings.  You can sign up (free) at https://eventbrite.com/e/iara-avians-tickets-152248678897 And an alert from Next Door about 7 foxes causing real problems in Tufnell Park which is only 10 minutes quick trot away….  You may want to keep your cats (and rabbits?) safe at night. 

Walks in nature. And on the subject of nature and access to nature, the IARA website has a slowly growing section on Walks…(some people living here had never been to the Heath or Regents Park..)   see: https://www.inkermanresidents.org.uk/category/walks
D & D