Late May update: Traffic, crime prevention, local history and greening the area

Dear Members

It feels very quiet around here at the moment (even on the Heath!), so we hope that is because the current beautiful weather means that many people have at last managed to get away for a break. 

That also means we haven’t got a lot of news for you.  It’s all gone very quiet on the planning front, following the bad news that the application for the big telecoms installation on Monmouth House has been approved by the Government Planning Inspector. However, his inspector colleague did at least turn down yet another application to extend the Stay Club building in Holmes Road.  No news at all yet on the Segro application to open a delivery depot in Spring Place. 

There has been a flurry of concern on the IARA WhatsApp group about the decision (which follows an earlier consultation – see our email of 13 February) to close part of Queens Crescent and Grafton Road to traffic

You can see the details here Queen’s Crescent Motor Traffic Free Environment Trial – We Are Camden – Citizen Space  We didn’t get any feedback from members at the time, so IARA didn’t comment.

There are concerns about how this will work and whether it may in fact create more tailbacks and pollution (and longer journeys for some of us) but we will have to see when the scheme is reviewed at the end of the trial period.

Prince of Wales and the High Street. For anyone new – a reminder that work should start in/by late June to reintroduce a left turn from Prince of Wales Road to Kentish Town Road, followed by a closure of Anglers Lane to through traffic.  This is something for the last 30 plus years that local residents have been asking for and IARA has campaigned for.  It is welcome but we have also been careful to ensure Camden carefully monitors any impact on our other streets.  There are also plans to review traffic in Holmes Road, in particular to protect the two schools there, and we are supporting their campaign for a Healthy Street beside the primary school. .

Crime and crime prevention

There has been a very distressing local burglary, also involving a car theft.  The Safer Neighbourhood Team has sent us a link to some crime prevention advice, which you may find helpful.

Local History 

On Saturday we had the first meeting since 2004 of the IARA history group.  Six of us met in person (thank you Vivienne for the hospitality), with two more on Zoom and one apology.  We’ll post some notes on the website soon. 

It was fascinating to hear the extent of the work people have already done, including the history of their own houses and/or streets, the history of local buildings of interest, stories from long-term residents. 

We shared information about research resources and methods, including offers of help from people with subscriptions to Ancestry, Find my Past and the British Newspaper Archive.  We’ve set up a separate Local History WhatsApp group which already has 23 members – let us know if you are interested in joining.

If you are interested please start by clicking on the link to Local History in the list on the right of the screen.

Trees and Wildlife 

In early May, our avian and wildlife team (Dilip, Jeremy and Jeff W) ran a really interesting zoom meeting about local bird and wildlife.  The idea is to try to create green corridors at the backs of houses, and to encourage everyone to install bird and bat boxes, insect friendly planting etc.  They hope soon to map the area for what is already here by sending out an interactive map where you can post sightings. 

Meanwhile, many of you have undertaken to keep the young trees in the streets watered, and some have made lovely gardens in the tree pits – all to be encouraged. There is of course a separate WhatsApp tree group which has recently been mobilised in view of the hot weather and Camden not watering – Bank Holiday etc.

Car club anyone?

There has been quite a lot of discussion on the WhatsApp group about car hire, car sharing etc.  Not a lot of progress – and we’ve noticed that a few street car places are no longer in use.  To add to the discussion, Gill has written: 

“I am a member of the Enterprise Car Club as we don’t own a car. Over the past few years the number of cars available to Kentish Town residents has dwindled (prior to Covid-19).  When I first joined there were cars available at Kelly Street, Islip Street and Ospringe Road.   There are now no cars in Kentish Town.  The closest car available is now at Lyme Street in Camden Town (and its often unavailable as over-booked.)

Please see the email below from Enterprise.  I will apply for a “Car Near Me” see link below.  But if there are other IARA people who are similarly finding it difficult to use the Enterprise Car Club, they might want to apply as well.  And IARA residents who might consider joining a car club if there were more cars available near by then it would be great if they would add their voice.    

As it’s an amenity that would reduce traffic on our streets, while allowing people the opportunity to use a car when necessary or for pleasure, you might want to support this too.” 

This is what Enterprise sent her: 

“We’ve always been deeply committed to ensuring that Enterprise Car Club vehicles, whether on-street, at train stations, in car parks or at Enterprise Rent-A-Car branches, best serve your mobility. To ensure this, we work collaboratively with local councils, community with local councils, community leaders/groups and neighbourhood businesses. We are however, that at this time, the needs of the local communities we serve are changing as work, travel and social habits change to become the ‘new normal’.

We’d therefore like to invite you to let us know if there’s a location where you’d like to see an Enterprise Car Club or van placed. Simply 
click here and complete a Car Near Me Request form. 

We will carefully assess every request using a range factor. Where feasible we’ll liaise with the relevant local authorities, evaluating how it fits within local transport plans. The more requests a location receives the greater the likelihood a vehicle will be put in place. We’re therefore more than happy to receive requests from current,
past and potential members. So please do share this opportunity with local friends/family, neighbours, community groups etc. asking them to visit complete this form.”

Newsletter feedback anyone?

It would be good to hear from you if you have any questions or comments on any of these newsletters – and also, let us know if you would like to join the various WhatsApp groups. the main IARA one is very busy – with offers of unwanted items, some of them very good, requests for help, local information and ideas.

D & D