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Archive for December, 2009

It’s pleasing to see that the walking and link between Agar Grove and Camley Street won the Best Cycling Facility award in the 2009 London Cycling Awards. The London Cyclist (magazine of the London Cycling Campaign) reports that one judge described it as being like “arriving on a country lane with no motor traffic”.

But I’m sure many cyclists, and particularly pedestrians, don’t know about it – it really is handy for many east-west, and north-south, journeys in the area.

More on the route from the London Cycling Campaign.

More on the award from the Evening Standard.

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For the Sunday before Christmas, and such a cold day, we’ve had a huge turnout of volunteer leafletters today. If you see us around Camden, do give us a wave.

One said to me: “I feel very upset about the talks in Copenhagen, so I feel the need to do something.” Another said: “It really makes me feel better to be doing something.”

If you’d like to join us after Christmas, with as much time as you have available, whether it is just just one hour, or more regularly, please email southcamdengreenparty AT googlemail DOT com.

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Information supplied by the developing consortium in response to enquiries. My comments in italics.

Building heights etc to Ossulston Street (all measurements are approximate):

Back edge of pavement to building line (the distance from the outer edge of the pavement to the elevation of the buildings fronting the road itself):

To west of Ossulston Street (existing buildings) – 8 metres

To east of Ossulston Street  (UKCMRI) – 8 metres

(i.e. The buildings will be only as far set back from the street as the facing flats, which is not very far at all.)

The majority of the proposed 8 metre depth will be landscaped.  It is also proposed that there will be an entrance to the building along this boundary as you will have seen on the model. (Which is even closer to the street.) This has been provided at the request of the Council.

Height of buildings (from pavement level):

To west of Ossulston Street (existing buildings) – 20 metres

To east of Ossulston Street  (UKCMRI) – 25 metre

As you will have seen from the model, the building increases in height across the site to a high point in the south east corner (Midland Road/British Library boundary).

(So the buildings are 5 meters – about 15 feet, like three people standing on each others’ shoulders  – taller than those they face at the street, then they step up, quickly, behind that, as the model shows).

Further inquiries can be directed to info@ukcmri.ac.uk and a telephone number is promised “shortly”.

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The developers of the proposed UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation on Brill Place (behind the British Library) on limited hours on Thursday, Friday and Saturday put on a display to “consult” local residents.

It was a pity that most people who had previously expressed interest in the project only received the letter informing them of this ON Thursday, and that the developers have failed (at the time of writing) to put any of the images they were displaying at the exhibition on their website.

I did, however, manage to take some pictures of the model on display, which illustrate the massive size of the proposed building.

This is looking at it from the west, which shows how the proposed structure will tower over the flats in Ossulston Street, surely cutting out all of their morning sun:
Proposed UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation

It also looms over the Purchese Street and Coopers Lane flats, as you can see from this image from the north:
UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation

The only open space on the site is on the St Pancras Station side (little that there is), and this is also the “public” part of the site. The “high security” part is in the middle and the “service” parts again facing the flats of Ossulston Street, as the following image shows:

UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation

As expected, there is absolutely no provision for housing on the site, despite the planning guidelines for the site calling for that, and none of the community facilities that the area so desperately needs. (Well there will be public lectures on the site, and we were told “a juice bar”, but neither of these have anything to do with community needs.)

As the BBC has reported, there is strong local resistance to the scheme.

The size perhaps is not surprising given that a rep at the exhibition told me that it was moving from a 70 acre site at Mill Hill (previously I’d heard 33 acre). The developers also own the site of the former Temperance Hospital on Hampstead Road, but strongly indicated that they want to sell that to the highest bidder and would not consider using it to provide community facilities and housing.

There is scheduled to be a Development Control Forum on the development on January 12. (No further details yet available.)

The developers say they plan to put in a planning application next spring.

You can see a map of the site here (it occupies the space bounded by Ossulston St, Brill Place and Midland Road).

(Any media organisations or other blogs that wish to use these images are welcome to do so – but for blogs please provide a link back. Thanks.)

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The following letter appeared this week in the Ham and High (click on the image for a larger version) from Beatrix Campbell, Green Party Hampstead and Kilburn campaigner:

The letter was sent in response to this article in the Ham and High the previous week.

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The weather was glorious, the crowd was huge and determined, but cheerful, and Camden Green Party members were out in force today, for an event that the BBC is reporting attracted 40,000 to the streets of Central London.

We had plenty of Green Party placards to choose from, among them “Green jobs won’t cost the earth”, “carbon cuts not welfare cuts” and “work today to save tomorrow”.

Some groups at the march chose to march together, but Green Party people are often involved in many organisations, so Camden members were to be found scattered around the march, with Friends of the Earth, with The Co-op group (whose placards were very much in evidence), and many others, which meant we had the chance to see many of the sights, from the bicycling octopus to the very effective “pirate ship on stilts”. And to try out the music of the different bands…

But although much fun was had, there was always a sense of purpose, and an urgent sense that the UK is not doing enough, and needs to do much, much more to contribute its share at the Copenhagen talks and beyond.

natalie bennett

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