St Giles Area Community Safety – What would you do?

Backdated from previous BA website

We have received the following communication from Camden Council and would welcome your feedback via stgiles@bloomsburyassociation.org.uk In recent years the activities of drug related anti social behaviour has had a direct impact on Bloomsbury residents and this fund should be used wisely to help reduce or get rid of the problem.

Community safety
Culture and Environment
London Borough of Camden
Bidborough House
20 Mabledon Place
London WC1H 9BF

Phone    020 7974 2477
Fax        020 7974 4374

camdensafe.org
camden.gov.uk


Dear Resident /TRA                                                                                  18th August 2010

Re: Proposals for St Giles Section 106 Community Safety Funding

You will probably be aware that a brand new building now occupies the site that borders New Oxford St and St Giles High Street. The property known as St Giles Court is a mixed use development which engaged the internationally respected architect Renzo Piano.

Under obligations set out in the planning Section 106 Agreement Camden Council received a range of financial contributions from the developers. One of the contributions agreed was for the sum of £200,000 to be used by the council to implement community safety measures in the vicinity of the property.

Since then, Camden Council’s Community Safety Partnership has engaged residents and community groups in the area on the issues of greatest concern locally and the interventions or projects that might address these to promote an increased sense of safety.

The three projects summarised below have been proposed by local community organisations and we invite your feedback and comments on these so as to inform our decision making and allocation process.

Once the Community Safety Partnership is satisfied that a proposal meets the communities approval, respects the legal terms of the Section 106 and contributes to an increased sense of community safety in the St Giles locality we will work with the organization concerned to implement the project.

After reading the project proposal summaries below please take the time to respond to the following questions. You can send me an email, respond by post or call me on the telephone number indicated. Your feedback will be extremely helpful in informing how we allocate this funding. If you are a member of a Tenants and Residents Association please cascade this to your wider membership.

Please note that it may be possible to fund all of these proposals and so you are not being asked to support one of the proposals above any of the others.


Questions:

•    Do the proposed projects meet the community safety issues in the St Giles area as you experience them? (If not, please indicate why).

•    Are there any other interventions that you think would make a difference to community safety in St Giles/Covent Garden?



Please respond by either :

Telephone  –  020 7974 2477. Please note that calls may be re-directed to another number.

Email  – dave.francis@camden.gov.uk

Post to –  Dave Francis, 1st FloorDennis Geffen Annexe, c/o Bidborough House, 38-50

Bidborough Street London WC1H 9DB


Yours sincerely



Dave Francis
Community Engagement Officer
LB Camden Community Safety and Drug Team




Proposed Projects

1. Dragon Hall

Dragon Hall is a community centre, based in the heart of Covent Garden. It offers a range of services for local residents, including activities for children, parents, young people and over 50s. Dragon Hall aims to meet the needs of its clients through regular consultation and this  allows them to be responsive to clients changing needs. The community centre focuses on fostering community cohesion, providing openings for people to try new things, go to new places and giving them new skills, knowledge and understanding. They work with people from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds, including those from Black & Minority Ethnic and vulnerable groups.

Dragon Hall endeavours to combat both the causes and fear of crime & anti social behaviour and this is seen most vividly in their work with young people, which takes place in conjunction with partners (including the police and Camden street wardens). Dragon Hall’s proposal seeks to enhance this work, through the provision of additional activities for young people, as well as targeted work with women and over 50s.

These projects hope to both reduce the incidence and concerns about crime amongst people in Covent Garden. They will be delivered in a number of locations and involve both paid staff and volunteers, thereby increasing the level of value on offer. Finally they represent a chance to make significant and lasting change to both the area and its population.

In summary the proposal is seeking funding to implement the following strands of work:

1.    Train to work – young people aged 16 to 19 who are NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training). The project will offer participants both training and work opportunities.
2.    Intermediate Youth Group – for the 13 to 16 age group
3.    Youth Weekend Activities – we recently moved our senior youth group to a Friday night, there is a demand for weekend activities to be structured
4.    Community project worker – this is to work on specific areas focusing on inter-generational work and self defence.





2. The Seven Dials Renaissance Project

The ‘Seven Dials Renaissance Project’ is a lighting project being proposed for funding by the Seven Dials Trust.  This project began in late 2004 and is one of the largest lighting schemes in the West End for many years and the largest ever involving heritage sensitive façade lanterns. Multiple partners include English Heritage, The city of Westminster, the Corporation of London and the Borough of Camden.

The project involves removing all the lamp columns in a number of targeted streets and replacing them with bespoke façade lanterns and also lighting the Sundial Pillar as the centre-piece in the Seven Dials area.

The targeted streets are:-
1.    Monmouth Street north & south (LBC);
2.    Shorts Gardens east & west (LBC);
3.    Earlham Street east & west (LBC);
4.    Mercer Street north & south (LBC + WCC);
5.    Shelton Street (LBC + WCC);
6.    Langley Street (WCC).

The project objectives include the following:
1.    To improve community safety within the area by providing consistent lighting (façade lights provide a far more even spread in narrow streets than lamp columns);
2.    To improve community safety in narrow streets by freeing up narrow public footways from the obstructions caused by lamp columns to the benefit in particular of the elderly, those with disabilities, those using prams etc;
3.    To improve the areas lighting by staggering the lanterns and having them at the optimum height (5m);
4.    To remove the possibility of graffiti;
5.    To create a historically accurate and elegant ‘Windsor’ style lantern based upon proper historical research and which can be available on the UK market in order to raise the standard of such products;

The project is seeking matched funding as there have been significant changes in its projections from four years ago. Additional funds are largely needed because Sterling has reduced vs. the Euro (the lanterns are produced in France) and the tender figures are from four years ago. Additionally the trust has had to use a large part of its funds on research & development.

All sections of the community stand to benefit from the scheme whether residents, businesses or visitors and whatever their ages.




3. The Phoenix Garden

The Phoenix Garden is a local community organisation that aims to provide and maintain public gardens and open spaces for the use and benefit of the inhabitants of Covent Garden. It aims to improve the quality of life for residents by improving local habitats and by encouraging wildlife. Phoenix garden itself is a unique open space in this part of the West End and is currently used by an estimated 30,000 people per annum.

However, Holborn & Covent Garden Safer Neighbourhood police team have confirmed that there are particular problems with street drinking, drug taking and dealing and anti-social behaviour in the area of the garden and also within it. Having a more consistent presence in the area of the garden would help to reduce such incidents and increased legitimate use of the garden will discourage drug use and dealing.

The Phoenix Garden proposal involves the development of a two storey building with enhanced facilities giving the potential for increased natural surveillance in the locality. There will be enhanced security features built into the new building and efforts to design out crime in the immediate vicinity of the garden.

Proposed enhancements include
•    Security lighting / CCTV
•    Windows over looking Stacey St & New Compton St
•    Line of sight to access to the Phoenix Garden
•    Secure green roof to reduce night-time garden access
•    Greater surveillance of the Garden from new balcony

Further to the benefits from physical improvements, a new Phoenix Garden building will allow the Garden to deliver and host a wide range of inter-generational projects that will help build social cohesion and ‘neighbourliness’.  Bringing communities together has always been a key objective of the Garden alongside its work in environmental improvement. Phoenix Garden believe that this work will have a positive impact on reducing anti-social behaviour in the area.

These community projects would aim to build on existing intergenerational work by the organisation. Currently the capacity to increase this work is limited by the onsite facilities but by developing these facilities the Garden intends to become accessible to a wider range of users including senior citizens and children. It currently has good links with local schools, particularly St Joseph’s School on Macklin Street.

Matched funds for the building project are currently drawn from a variety of sources including other St Giles Section 106 contributions. This proposal would require a significant capital investment from the Community Safety contribution.

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