Archive for the ‘Kentish Town’ Category


Network Rail plans to close the footbridge from November. Councillor Sian Berry has written to them to ask for plans to be delayed while local people are properly consulted about improving access.

Residents in Kentish Town and Highgate wards have been in touch with us, very concerned about Network Rail’s plans to rebuild the footbridge that runs between York Rise and Ingestre Road over the two railway lines.

The bridge needs to be raised for the electrification of the Gospel Oak to Barking line – a great improvement to transport, which will also reduce the amount of diesel fumes in our area. However, the first anyone heard of this – local councillors included – was when a letter from Network Rail arrived on local doorsteps telling us the works would start in November and inviting us to an ‘information event’ to see the plans already in finished form.

The plans are for an even higher set of steps, with no new ramps to help with disabled, bike or pushchair access, and residents are rightly fed up that they have no opportunity to influence these or to ask for other improvements.

Councillor Sian Berry, who represents Highgate, asked Camden Council to intervene, but they replied that under planning rules they can only comment on the appearance of the bridge, and not enforce any other local policies. We believe this is not right, and that Network Rail has as much of a duty as any public service organisation to consider accessibility under Disability Discrimination (DDA) laws, and a moral duty to carry out meaningful consultation.

There are also serious questions about a sewer pipe that runs alongside the bridge, and whether it will be fully operational during and after the works, and if this will affect flood risks in vulnerable Dartmouth Park.

Councillor Berry wrote to Network Rail on 19 October asking for a pause in the works and a meaningful consultation with local residents, and to Thames Water about the flood risk.

Download the letter here



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by Natalie Bennett

In a letter in the Ham & High of May 2, 2013, Mr Uys (Drivers faced with trolley jam) expresses eloquently the frustration of  Highgate High Street residents, workers and visitors with the thoroughly anti-social behaviour of the Tesco store there, but the problem is much wider than this one store.
Camden Green Party members talk regularly to residents near Tesco and Sainsbury stores in Kentish Town High Street, Fortess Road and Swain’s Lane, among others, who are plagued by trolleys blocking pavements, HGVs blocking roads, and noisy unloading at all hours of the day and night.
These supermarket chains are simply anti-social and abusive of the power of their size, and are being allowed to get away with behaviour that advantages them against their independent competitors – stores that are of far greater benefit to their local communities and provide far more jobs and business opportunities for suppliers.
Independent stores typically get deliveries by small vans, from a range of independent wholesalers and food manufacturers, and they have storerooms in which stock is held (on which they pay business rates).
By contrast the chains stock the stores straight from HGVs three or four times a day, using the public space of the pavement, and road, without any respect for the rights and needs of others.
When Camden Green Party had a pop-up shop in Fortess Road, the Sainsbury’s Local opposite regularly littered the highway with traffic cones, blocking off an HGV-sized space outside their store. They have no right to do that – only the arrogance of size and sense of entitlement that has infected far too many of our large companies, as demonstrated also by the way they continue to squeeze down staff wages, enforce casualisation on unwilling workers and employ unconsciounable zero-hours contracts.
The Green Party seeks on a national level to ensure that supermarkets pay the true social cost of their way of conducting business, or make major changes. On a local level, our councillors seek to ensure that noise abatement cases are brought by local authorities to address the nuisance that occurs.

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by Natalie Bennett

There was much excitement in a packed Kentish Town Community Centre on Saturday when the completed building project was officially opened.

The line-up of buggies outside looked like it was competing for a Guiness World Record, and inside many of their usual occupants were hard at play in the walled garden as their parents listened to the speeches inside the spacious, airy main hall.

Tribute were paid particularly to the staff who had stayed through the temporary move to Greenwood Place and back, and Cathy Crawford, the Chair of Centre, pointed out particularly to the politicians present (including Camden’s mayor, Abdul Quadir, whose chain proved a great attraction with the younger set, and local MP Frank Dobson) how the centre had listened to its users in designing its new shape, and how successful that listening had been in its growth in recent years.
Upstairs was a fine selection of artwork, including Kim Cunningham’s Portrait of a (London) village, a telling series of portraits of local people, and Jason Shenai’s hyper-real photos of local shops.

Pleasingly, the centre is committed to using china plates and proper cutlery, not disposables, and to that end has acquired two dishwashers, one from that excellent recycling source eBay, so that they can manage the flow. They were doing an admirable job keeping up with demand on Saturday – as a fine selection of finger food was whoofed down at great speed.

Anyone looking to get involved might want to look to the gardening club, meeting on the 1st Saturday of the month from 10-12. A fine board display discussed possibilities – from a haybale permaculture version to raised beds for wheelchair gardeners.

Part of the crowd at the opening.

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by Sarah Cope

Camden Green Party members attended the opening of the Crossroads Women’s Centre’s new premises on Friday night. After launching a fundraising campaign in October 2010, the centre has raised enough money to relocate to a former doll factory in Wolsey Mews, Kentish Town

Since the organisation was founded in 1975, they have faced two evictions and an attack by far right
group Combat 18. Originally located in a squat, they have been in Kentish Town since 1996,
where the centre has become a much-loved part of the local community.

Providing room and support for diverse groups of women, from asylum-seekers to sex workers, from
women with disabilities to environmental campaign groups, the launch was attended by a wide
range of people. It was noted that it was in fact a very international gathering, with attendees from,
amongst other countries, Haiti, Ireland, India, Ghana and the US.

The hope is that with a premises twice the size of the last one, Crossroads Women’s Centre will be
able to assist twice as many women as before, and thus be twice as effective. These are also fully accessible, and boast a peaceful courtyard garden.

Camden Green Party Chair Natalie Bennett, who was in attendance at the re-launch, said “Crossroads do great work – I’ve seen first-hand in particular the assistance they provide to foreign-born women in the UK experiencing visa problems, and to women struggling with financial problems, particularly those with children.

“With the increasingly harsh immigration laws and slashing of benefits that we’re sadly seeing now, I know that these mostly voluntary workers will be working harding than ever, and desperately need this space.”

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The decision by Islington council to refuse a planning application that would remove the kitchen of the much-valued Bumblebee health food store in Kentish Town, threatening its viability, has been appealed, and there will now be a public inquiry.

The Islington Gazette explained earlier this year.

You can find out how to make your views known here.

The deadline for submissions is November 24.

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There’s lots coming up…!

Parks’ Day, Saturday March 19
: These are joint efforts between Camden parks officers and groups of volunteers in each of the parks. You’re welcome to attend to help, or just to admire the parks and see what is happening… (information from Camden council) Map of the parks.

St Georges Gardens WC1
11am – 1pm Improvements to this naturalistic park will include adding some colourful native flowers to one of the borders in the centre of the park. Four hundred new plants need to be planted so all help most welcome.

Cantelowes Gardens
1pm – 3pm
Join the friends for a fun day in the park involving some spring cleaning, graffiti removal and planting whilst meeting new people.

Maygrove Peace Park NW6
10.30am – 1pm
Wildflower planting in the children’s playground and planting in the raised planters outside Sidings Community Centre

Montpelier Gardens NW5

2 – 4pm
Enjoy some free salads courtesy of Greater London Farms, bring some seeds along to swap (an activity being run by Transition Kentish Town), check out the new community food growing areas in the park being run by Kentish Town Community Centre. Families are welcome and there will be face-painting together with drumming and singing workshops.

Russell Square WC1
11am – 1pm
Help our friends plant up 21 planters outside the café with new permanent plants for a splash of colour in the spring

St Martins Gardens
11am – 1pm
Give Camden’s wildlife a helping hand adding 600 new wildflower plugs to the meadow in the nature conservation area and find out what else the friends get up to in this hidden space in central Camden Town.

(And if you’ve got some garden space that you’re interested in sharing, please email gardenshare@transitionkentishtown.org.uk.)

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The centre, which does wonderful work on so many women’s issues, has been able to buy premises at 25 Wolsey Mews, across from where it has been since 1996.

They’re celebrating the building, and the 80th Birthday of the organisation’s founder, Selma James, at 25 Wolsey Mews, Kentish Town
London NW5 2DX (Level access to ground floor – wheelchair accessible loo nearby), on SATURDAY, OCTOBER 30.

They’re also launching a building fund A huge £200,000+ is needed for major repairs and to make the new Centre green and accessible for all. The celebration is at the new building so everyone can see what work is being planned.

I’ll certainly be there (once I’ve escaped a King’s Cross council consultation in the morning!)

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