Community Strategy Consultation by Camden Council – Bloomsbury Ward

Backdated from previous BA website

Our ward Councillors chaired this well attended and lively meeting at NLA in the Building Centre. A summary of the discusion follows.

PA’s notes re: Community Strategy Consultation Meeting
November 21 2006, 7 p.m. at NLA, Store Street

1.    We need an evidence base for what is needed in Bloomsbury, to reflect the pressure on services.

2.    A social audit of primary care, education, social and community facilities, and open space, is required.

3.    Need to press for the resources to achieve this.

4.    EK suggested approaching the Primary Care Trust to carry out an audit, since much of it sits in public health field.

5.    What are the choices for this part of London?  Need to consider impacts of Kings Cross Development, Cross-River Tram, movement generally including walking/cycling (including cycle parking needed)

6.    Doctors’ surgeries are urgently needing upgrading – a basic service not being offered.

7.    Area action plan is needed for this area.

8.    Under stronger economy heading, need to protect small shops – “special” areas need designating, e.g. Marchmont Street, Goodge Street, parts of Judd Street, Museum Street, Bury Place, Coptic Street, Great Russell Street.

9.    Â“Area character appraisals” could be done, under the Conservation Area statement.

10.    Â“Mini-Community Strategy” is needed for each ward, to reflect Camden’s diversity.

11.    Growing population is a significant factor for Bloomsbury.

12.    Housing issues urgently need addressing, including the cultural issue of non-owner occupiers being 2nd class citizens.

13.    Could raise residential parking charges to discourage car use in central area.  Need a cycle parking plan in the Community Strategy. Encourage Car Club membership – no congestion charge for car clubs. Camden to offer car clubs free parking bays.

14.    Under “feel more at home” heading, people should have priority over cars.  Need subsidy for Camden residents at local facilities, such as YMCA, local theatres etc.  Child-friendly environment will be a safe environment.

We have added notes from the Bloomsbury Neighbourhood Forum Meeting earlier in Dec, which have a bearing on the above.

BLOOMSBURY NEIGHBOURHOOD FORUM meeting held on Tuesday 5th December at the Tenants Association Hall, Brunswick Centre. WC1 at 7pm

London Borough of Camden Councillors Present:
Councillor Penny Abraham (Chair)
Councillor Fazlul Chowdhury
Councillor Rebecca Hossack

Forum Members Present:
Margaret Brett            Tavistock Court
Ralph Cutting             Russell Court Residents Association
Daphne Earl                Witley Court Residents Association
Ricci de Freitas            Marchmont Street Association
Clive Henderson             Gordon Mansions Residents Association
Jim Hunkin                University of London Union
Dick Kelly                Paramount Court Residents Association
David    Marchant            Russell Square Residents Association
Valerie Marchant            Russell Square Residents Association
Jim Murray                Bloomsbury Association
Max Neufeld                Charlotte Street Association
Nick Riacon                Friends of Russell Square
Charles Stephens            Cleveland Court Residents Association

London Borough of Camden Officers Present:
Richard Mason            Members’ Office

1.    Welcome and Introductions
The Chair thanked those present for attending, and introduced new members of the forum.

2.    Apologies
Apologies for absence were received from:
Martino Cartella
Paul Hawkins
Clive Henderson
Chris Howard

3.    Review and prioritisation of Community Strategy ideas from meeting on 21st November – how to make sure they are not forgotten
Penny Abraham started by explaining to the group that the minutes of the Community Strategy Meeting had been signed-off by Gerri Scott and not herself as Chair of that meeting. It was felt by the group that changes had to be made to the notes. Richard Mason then explained the process of how he understood the notes would be used.
It was felt that the noted suggestions were a combination of major and minor issues, and that many issues would be lost unless two separate lists were created to distinguish between the two sets of suggestions. It was agreed that a panel should be set-up, designed to make sure that these suggestions are implemented.
Rebecca Hossack expressed her concerns as to how much of our input would be used.
Penny Abraham stated that the group should be set-up as soon as possible.
It was agreed that Clllr Abraham, Cllr Chowdhury, Cllr Hossack and Jim Murray will make-up the members of the group.

4.     Russell Square
David Marchant presented his findings in regard to the noise levels in and around Russell Square. The group learned that Camden granted itself a greater decibel level than the limit they grant promoters. Some of the decibel levels have exceeded the legal limit. David informed the group that the leaseholders of Russell Square had served a notice on LB Camden as they are in breach of their lease.
After a discussion regarding a recent event at Russell Square, it was felt that Camden’s public squares should not be used for commercial events. Concerns were raised by the amount of damage to the grass on the south and west side of Russell Square.
Nick Riacon challenged the general opinion that Russell Square should not have been used in this way. He referred to surveys conducted by the LB Camden suggesting that generally people wanted entertainment in our parks.
It was suggested that conducting these surveys at the actual event is bias.

5.    Thames Water work in the area
The group discussed whether everyone was receiving notification of works from Murphy’s. Generally Murphy had been good about notifying residents of future works.

6.    Report back and discussion on standing items

(i) Secondary Schools
The question was raised whether a secondary school south of the Euston Road would be a serious possibility in the future. The group discussed whether the fact that UCL being based in Bloomsbury helps the chances of a secondary school being built. It was stated that UCL wants an academy.

(ii) Bloomsbury Urban Realm Study
It was felt that there had been no consultation into this study, and it had been suggested that the BURS was little more than a prestige project with little benefit to the community.
Penny Abraham stated that 8000 people in Camden would be affected by this scheme.
Questions were raised over who was in control of the BURS, and who was ultimately accountable.
Penny Abraham agreed to write to Sam Monck, and suggested that the BNF should instate themselves as the body that will hold the study accountable.

(iii) Euston Road Study
After a formal consultation exercise earlier this year, the study was relying on TFL to respond. It was stated that the study would mean that a corner is demolished.

(iv) Westminster-Led proposals for Oxford Street
Jim Murray explained to the group that he has been talking to major organisations in the west end, and that these major organisations had agreed to collaborate on these schemes. There are plans for a public meeting in late January.
During the following discussion, the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street was debated. It was stated that Ken Livingston intends to install a tramline on Oxford Street. Westminster City Council is officially committed to not allowing an overspill of traffic.

(v) Garden Squares
Margaret Brett informed the group that she had been approached to set-up a “Friends of Tavistock Square”, and she will let the forum know of any developments.
Jim Murray raised concerns that there is still a lot of snagging work to be completed after the installation of new traffic lights on the corner of Gower Street and Bedford Square. Jim’s suggestion of organising a site meeting with the contractor was met with whole agreement.
Penny Abraham agreed to organise the site meeting.
Questions were raised whether the removed gates in Russell Square are going to be replaced.
The use of a hawk to deter pigeons was discussed again, and Penny Abraham agreed to look into it.

(vi) Bloomsbury Business Improvement Bid.
The forum was told that there has been no word from the steering group. By late January the steering group will decide to put the bid out to tendor.

(vii) Fitzrovia Nursery
The group were informed that this matter is going to the Executive on the 15.1.07, but before then the case is assessed by Property Assets. There has been a petition circulating.

(viii) 1 – 9  Huntley Street
Frank Dobson has advised that a deputation should be submitted to Yvette Cooper.
The group are waiting until Frank Dobson is discharged from hospital.
Max to advise.

(ix) Licensing
After a brief discussion on “problem pubs”, the group were informed that the S.N.P had initiated the idea of meeting with the licensees of these pubs.
Rebecca Hossack informed the Forum that after attending a licensing meeting where Westminster officers were present, that Camden should adopt some good working practices from Westminster.
Concerns were raised regarding the lack of information from the S.N.P.
Penny Abraham stated that at present the arrangement is to approach members of the S.N.P panel for information.

(x) Police Matters
After a discussion on the S.N.P, it was felt by the forum that the S.N.P is really starting to have a positive effect. It was agreed that Police Matters be removed from the agenda.

6. Any Other Business

Street Traders. It was felt that the Police aren’t doing enough to stop street traders.
There is a regular “sweep” to remove them but there doesn’t seem to be a deterrent to keep them away. Ricci de Freitas informed the group that he had been dealing with Larry Wilkes at Camden.

Sheds. There was a discussion about the sheds on Tottenham Court Road. It was strongly felt that these sheds are very unsightly and a health and safety problem.
The question of responsibility was raised.

Hot Dog Stalls.  Rebecca Hossack agreed to contact Westminster to seek advice on how they handled the problem of hot dog stalls.

106 Agreements. It was suggested that ward councillors be consulted on how money raised from 106 Agreements be spent. This suggestion was met with general agreement.

Recycling. The group were informed that the day for recycling collection has changed from Friday to Monday. This is causing problems with the recycling being left out in the street all weekend, as many people go away for the weekend.
Rebecca Hossack assured the forum that she would address this matter.

Parking. There have been reports of problems with residents parking on Sundays.
The question of whether resident parking can be enforced on a Sunday.

7. Dates of next meetings
It was agreed that the future meetings would take place on the first Tuesday of the month quarterly. March 5th. June 5th. September 4th. December 4th.

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