Annual Report 2006

Backdated from previous BA website

Our Annual Report 2006 is copied below or navigate to ‘Our Files’, then ‘Constitution and Annual Reports’ to find the document in PDF format.

BLOOMSBURY ASSOCIATION
http://www.bloomsburyassociation.org.uk/
Annual Report
2006-2007

Chairman’s Report
2006 was a good year for Bloomsbury.  There is a new mood of optimism about the place, a spirit of renewal even, since the investment of many millions of pounds refurbishing Bedford Square, Gordon Square, Woburn Square, and Torrington Square. These improvements were funded by Bedford Estates, University of London, Camden Council, English Heritage, Crown Estate and Heritage Lottery. Added to these, the area has welcomed the £20M investment by Allied London into the Brunswick Centre shopping precinct and their funding of the Bloomsbury Festival.

Safer Neighbourhoods, Drugs, Licensing, Planning and Networking were our predominant activities over the year and I am pleased with the majority of the outcomes achieved. Constant vigilance has been a key factor in addressing these issues successfully.

As the Bloomsbury Association (BA) is a voluntary organisation , receives no funding and membership is free, we are therefore not beholden to any external influence that is either political or governmental. This allows us greater freedom to communicate and promote the aims of the association: whilst also representing the greater community of Bloomsbury, on issues that they devolve to us.

However, our work relies on too few dedicated individuals!  We have to prioritise and as a result we are unable to address some issues. The only way can change this position, and still keep our independence, is for YOU to become more involved in the activities of the association. This can be achieved in the following ways:

•    Simply register your name and contact details as a supporter of our work by emailing us at membership@bloomsburyassociation.org.uk
We will NOT divulge your details to anyone nor send you spam email.
•    Contributions for our web site which is our most important means of communication: Can you help by writing editorials, features, or local news comments?
•    Block coordinators: Can you be the liaison person for your block?
•    Expertise required: Are you interested in Planning – we need help?
•    Licensing sub-committee.  Can you spare an hour or two per month?
•    Legal knowledge: Can offer us free opinion without obligation?
•    Executive Committee:  We welcome new talent to join our lively committee – you will not find it boring, but interesting and rewarding.
•    Contact us at :  autotrak@blueyonder.co.uk

Congratulations to Irene Wagner who recently celebrated her 90th birthday.
I wish to send a special ‘thank you’ to everyone that has helped the BA during 2006 plus Jury’s Hotel and our printer, SS Graphics in Museum Street.

Jim Murray
Chair, Bloomsbury Association
28 January 2007

P.S.  Visit the ‘Vision for Bloomsbury Exhibition’ in the café area at The Building Centre in Store Street – ends May 5th 2007.

BA Annual Report Jan 2007

Key Issues During 2006:

•    Local Election Hustings May 2006
We hosted our first hustings at Jury’s Hotel on 28 April 2006. All eight candidates were invited and seven attended with apologies from Faslul Chowdhury. The candidates faced a politically informed audience who pressed them hard on their mandates for election. The quality of all the candidates was impressive.

Feedback from all the attendees congratulated us on the organisation, fairness and success of this event. One candidate told us that this was the best event of its kind that he had ever attended in Bloomsbury!  We wish the new Camden executive every success in their endeavours and ask them not to forget south of the Euston Road!

•    Drugs / Policing
2006 was our most important year to date in our fight against street based Class A drugs activity and crime for four reasons:

1)    Together with our community colleagues on the West End Drugs Partnership (WEDP) we strongly opposed and helped stop Camden Council and the Primary Care Trust (PCT) from opening a dedicated needle exchange in the disused toilet under Tottenham Court Road Underground Station.

Special thanks to our community colleagues on the WEDP for their relentless opposition to this preposterous proposal over such a long period, namely, Covent Garden Community Association, Soho Society, Covent Garden Business Forum,  Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association and Bloomsbury Joint Security Group.

2)    We strongly supported the philosophy and introduction of Safer Neighbourhood policing into our ward, and a number of our members now sit on the Bloomsbury Safer Neighbourhood Panel (BSNP), which is promoted by Camden Police as a model for good practice. We thank our SNT for their dedicated and proactive approach and congratulate Camden Police on their significant drug related achievements during the past year. We are also fortunate to have a strong community panel to oversee the SNT in Bloomsbury.

3)    CommunityAlert , our unique incident reporting system, has been a resounding success and evidence from the system has helped build a number of successful cases resulting in convictions and ASBO’s for drug offences. This system works like an early warning system on new trends and locations of street based crime, rather than waiting for analysts to provide data on past events to the SNT. We are pleased to report that the system will be extended into Holborn & Covent Garden in Feb 2007.

4)    The University of London facilitates the Bloomsbury Joint Security Group, which is made up of all the large institutions and a good representation from the business community. This organisation meets to discuss and exchange information relating to the safety of students, staff and visitors to the area. If you would like further information on this group please email to: BJSG@bloomsburyassociation.org.uk


•    Licensing
The introduction of the new licensing laws added a considerable amount of work to our already busy schedule in the first half of the year.  Generally, we objected to any license application that sought to operate outside the ‘core hours’ of up to 12 midnight, and all but one of our objections were upheld. The one failed objection was that of The Bloomsbury Ballroom, facing on to Bloomsbury Square, which was granted a drinking license to 3am by the licensing panel. Considering that operational hours were to 2am under planning consent we were somewhat surprised by the decision.

•    Planning
We commented on 20 planning applications and these ranged from objections on signage to large scale redevelopments like St Giles Court, where we supported the objections by our colleagues in Covent Garden, Soho and Fitzrovia. Again, we have to prioritise our work here due to lack of resources and are only able to comment of applications relating to the southern part of the ward. We commented on 4 cases where development has taken place without planning consent. A special thanks to Stephen Heath for his expertise on this subject.

•    Vision for Bloomsbury
There have been two visionary studies for the area:

1)    Urban Realm Study
Sir Terry Farrell has produced a ‘Vision for Bloomsbury’ in the form of six “mini master-plans”, which together will create an urban environment that respects both Bloomsbury’s rich history and its position as an oasis within the West End whilst enhancing its reputation as a leading cultural and educational quarter.
The two overriding goals of this vision are to reclaim Bloomsbury’s squares and streets for pedestrians and to redesign parks and thoroughfares to provide easy access to neighbouring areas – Oxford Street, Fitzrovia, Covent Garden and Holborn.
A public exhibition is running at New London Architecture in The Building Centre, Store Street until March 5th 2007. A report on the study can be viewed on the web at:  “A Vision for Bloomsbury”
2)    Business Improvement District (BID)
The steering committee of Bloomsbury Improvement Group commissioned a feasibility study during 2006 to ascertain whether or not the concept of a BID could provide the mechanism for providing funding to carry out improvements to the academic, cultural and business environment whilst simultaneously improving the quality of life for everyone who lives or works in Bloomsbury.

This study proved positive and the BIG committee are enacting the next steps in the process, namely, to secure the services of a suitable team to project manage the process to a ballot which, if successful, will enact a levy on business rates to fund agreed projects – a Business Plan will outline the detail of the proposed BID activities. This process will take at least 12 months and will involve detailed consultation with all businesses and the resident community.



•    West End Community Network
The way London is governed is radically changing and we have carefully considered where Bloomsbury fits into that scenario for the future.

The London Mayor is being granted greater powers and these are likely to increase in the future. Allied to this there will be greater demands within London on its housing stock, transport infrastructure and amenities. These needs will be intensified during the run up to the 2012 Olympics. Therefore it is important that the community organisations of London’s West End are able to project a strong unified voice to communicate their concerns to the Mayor’s office and other governmental institutions.

Mindful of these developments, and have had discussions with our community colleagues in London’s West End – Covent Garden, Soho, Fitzrovia, Mayfair & St James and Marylebone – to discuss and promote the formation of an umbrella group to represent all our interests at regional and government level. This has resulted in the formation of London West End Community Network The inaugural meeting took place in Jury’s Hotel on 9 January 2007 where a consensus was reached to formalise this arrangement and prepare a vision and strategy to take the network forward. It is gratifying to note that each of our neighbouring community amenity groups realise the importance of this venture in furthering community empowerment.

Please contact us on any concerns you have relating to the Bloomsbury environment in the broadest sense. We are particularly interested to maintain and improve our quality of life as part of the West End community.
If you wish to remain anonymous but wish to contact us please do so via our web site at http://www.communityalert.org.uk/

If you can spare a few hours per month we would welcome your input.
Make a contribution to your community by joining our association and committee.

Annual General Meeting        7pm Wednesday 21st February 2007
                    Jury’s Hotel, Gt. Russell Street
                    Check BA web site for updates
Web Site Links:

Bloomsbury Association:        http://www.bloomsburyassociation.org.uk/
CommunityAlert Bloomsbury:    http://www.communityalert.org/uk/
Bloomsbury Safer
Neighbourhood Team (BSNT):    http://www.casweb.org/bsnt
Bloomsbury Improvement Group:    http://www.casweb,org/big/
West End Community Network:    http://www.casweb.org/westend/
A Vision for Bloomsbury        http://www.casweb.org/big/news/item?item_id=105470



Email the Bloomsbury Association    autotrak@blueyonder.co.uk




BA Annual Report Jan 2007

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