Major problems for Holmes Road – and more. July Update

Dear members
It’s hot, and a lot of people are away but there are a few issues that need attention.  It is particularly alarming that a number of commercial enterprises seem to be starting up without planning permission or the necessary licences, and we are very strongly raising this with our councillors.

1. The formal planning application for the Regis Road Beer Garden (optimistically called “The Food Garden”).  The applicant claims it will not cause nuisance and is not near residential properties, nor any Conservation Area!  On the basis of feedback from members, particularly those in Holmes Road (part of the Inkerman Conservation Area for the last 20 years), we have objected (see https://www.inkermanresidents.org.uk/uncategorized/regis-road-food-garden-objection-to-planning-application) and invite anyone concerned to do the same.  Here are the details:

The Food Garden Kentish Town 24 – 27 Regis Road London NW5 3EW
Erection of ancillary structures to facilitate the sale of food and beverages for consumption on the premises. Application number: 2021/3453/P
Application type: Full Planning Permission View Application

(comments until 17 August)

2. Regis Road dark kitchens and late night disturbanceHolmes Road residents are having a particularly tough time with other developments on the Regis Road industrial site that lies just behind them. 

There has just been a hearing of Camden’s Licensing Committee about licensing a large number of these dark kitchens (they service food and drink orders using mainly motorbike deliveries).  There is capacity within the buildings for at least 75 of these kitchens.  The bikes and cars go out frequently (sometimes every few seconds) and although the application was amended to operate within Camden’s framework hours (11 pm on weekdays, 10.30 on Sundays) in practice they have been operating much later – sometimes until 4 am. 

An IARA member was able to brief our local councillors about the current situation, which also includes sweatshop working conditions as well as nuisance to neighbours.  During the hearing, which she attended, it became clear that the applicant had given Camden repeatedly misleading information, and the committee decided this:

“The application was granted for a year with several conditions, obviously only with the core hours as plus alcohol needs to be sold along with food orders, security marshals need to supervise the sites, and there are only non-motored drivers allowed after 8pm”Local residents will need to keep an eye on the situation and report any breaches of the conditions to Camden – and the licence will be reviewed after a year.

Other matters –  Mirror, mirror on the wall… or off…You may have noticed the appearance and then the disappearanceof a convex mirror in Fig Tree Walk – between Inkerman Road and Raglan Street.  This is partly to help people not to collide with other people or bikes but also a security mirror, as there have been muggings down this alley.  Obviously, this has been too successful for some people and it has been vandalised twice now.  But those who are keen on it are persevering. 

Trees: In spite of the occasional spectacular downpour, the hot weather means that the newly planted trees need all the help they can get.  We have a WhatsApp subgroup for trees and try and organise a watering rota but with holidays etc it is hard – so feel free to water any new tree near you.  Or the little gardens round the bases. You may have noticed that plants many residents have planted are doing well in spite of some thefts and vandalism. In particular some of us have harvested and then planted hollyhock seeds which seem to be getting more and more widely established plus a few plants raised and offered around.  We will be repeating that this year if anyone is interested. 

The Local History Group has been a bit quiet during the summer but when evenings darken and lengthen and we can all maybe meet up again we will have another meeting to plan future work.

The main WhatsApp group continues to thrive – grows in numbers (106 now) and usefulness with offers of unwanted furniture, rugs, plants, and sundries and request and offers of help or recommendations.  Just email your phone number and address to be added.

Wild flower Meadow. One event that was publicised on the WhatsApp group was a maintenance day on the wild flower meadow strip on the land near Monmouth House which is flourishing with excellent flowers and bees.  Several local residents helped the people from Transition Kentish Town whose project it is.

The Inkerman community garden in Holmes Road, across the road from the George pub, has had a major rebuild with the rotten wooden front wall replaced with brick.  The planting will be refreshed soon under the direction of our local Horticulturist-in-Chief, Dilip of Alma St, who designed and the garden in the first place and supervised the building and the maintenance work by local residents over the years. .  

Beware phone snatching.  Anyone on Nextdoor will have seen warnings and reports of people having phones snatched out of their hands by people on bikes or motor bikes riding on the pavements even right up to in their front doors. If we need to use phones in the street, the strong advice is to duck into a shop entrance or garden.

MAP cafe. A reminder that our local cafe and culture centre MAP is open again 9.00 – 6.00 on the corner of Inkerman and Grafton Roads. http://mapstudiocafe.com/

Fare-well.  Another local resource is Fare-well. For those who are not familiar with it – this is a rather lovely scheme whereby two women have taken an old electric milk float and converted it into a mobile shop where the deal is that you bring your own container out and they fill it up from their supplies. A list of products is on their website and it includes all the predictable organic food stuff plus quite a lot of domestic supplies like washing up liquid    https:\\www.fair-well.co.uk  Anyone can invite them to come and when they do, details are often put out on the WhatsApp group.

London-wide Healthy Streets Scorecard information.
Members might be interested in this year’s publication of the London-wide Healthy Streets Scorecard information.  Although Kentish Town Road never seems to get any better, it is interesting to see that, as a borough, Camden compares pretty favourably on just about all the measures apart from percentage of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.  For those wanting a quick read we reproduce here the Camden section of the Borough Commentaries document, and for a rapid overview of the scorecard results I recommend the first 25 minutes of the video recording here:  https://www.udg.org.uk/events/2021/london-boroughs-healthy-streets-scorecard-2021  Camden HSS commentary: “The measures Camden has taken to improve the health of its streets are among the most impressive in London, though there’s still a way to go for all the Mayor’s Transport Strategy targets to be met.  The council has introduced new Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and one fifth of the borough’s schools (20%) now have School Streets, where traffic is restricted around schools at arrival and departure times.The borough scores well for many indicators when compared to other Inner London boroughs.  Only 30% of households have a car, and the proportion of journeys made by ‘sustainable mode’ – public transport, walking and cycling – is high.  Camden is in the top ten boroughs for the proportion of adults regularly walking and cycling.  Lower than London average casualty rates for pedestrians and cyclists is also positive news, though much more still needs to be done to meet the Mayor’s target for zero serious or fatal casualties.  Controlled parking and 20mph speed limits are nearly borough-wide.The borough unfortunately does fall short on some key indicators.  One major area for concern is the need for more Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs), with only 13% of suitable streets currently covered compared to 55% in leading borough Hackney.  And while Camden is in the top five boroughs for provision of protected cycle track, this is from a very low base and much more is needed in Camden, as it is indeed across London.”