General Policies of the Association

Political Status: The Belsize Residents Association is a non-political body. Our policy statement on our non-political status can be seen here.

Planning: The Belsize Residents Association’s detailed responses to Camden Council’s Local Development Framework proposals in 2010 had a good deal of influence on the final shape of the document. In commenting on planning applications we generally attempt to ensure that Camden Council abides by the policies set out in that Framework, which can be found here  and in the Belsize Conservation area statement, available here.

Neighbourhood Forum and Local Development Plan: The BRA will strongly support moves in Belsize to set up a local development forum and create a local development plan as provided for under the Localism Act 2011.

Basements: The Belsize Residents Association has consistently opposed basements that extend beyond the footprint of the existing building or are deeper than one storey. The BRA is a member of CRAAC, a federation of Residents’ Associations campaigning to strengthen Camden Council’s policy formulation and implementation in this area.

Locally listed buildings: The BRA supports Camden Council’s local list of buildings, street features and landscapes that make a valuable contribution to the local area and are entitled to special protection within the planning process. Following its successful campaign to prevent the demolition of architecturally important buildings at 2c and 2d Belsize Park Gardens the BRA, alongside other local associations, lobbied Camden Council to create the list and nominated a number of local buildings for inclusion. More information is available here.

Estate Agent Boards: The BRA supports Camden Council’s ban on Estate Agents boards in the Belsize and Hampstead conservation areas. If you wish to report a board in these areas, contact or Gary Bakall (020 7974 5618) at Camden Council, giving the exact address of the property affected and the name and telephone number of the agent as it appears on the board. Boards should normally be removed within two weeks of notifying the council. A fuller explanation of these rules and details of the roads covered by the ban, is available here.

Trees: The BRA works to maintain the benefits Belsize gains from many mature trees in our streets and private gardens. In Conservation Areas, any severe pruning or felling of a tree requires permission from Camden Council. This also applies to trees with preservation orders (TPOs). We encourage members to be aware of the condition of trees in their neighbourhood and anyone who is concerned about a particular tree or trees can contact Camden Council’s Tree teams. Contact details can be found here.The BRA reviews all tree applications and our response is reported to the monthly BRA Committee meetings and noted in the Committee Minutes.

High Speed 2: The BRA is very concerned about the likely impact of construction work for the High Speed 2 railway line which will run across the southern part of Belsize. The BRA has submitted a Petition to Parliament, see here , seeking mitigation of the effects of HS2 construction works on Belsize and expressing ecological and heritage concerns. A Petition is a formal document drafted in a special form. It is a request to be heard by a Parliamentary Select Committee on issues set out in the Petition. For more recent information,
see Current Issues here.

Streets and Transport: The BRA aims aim to strike an appropriate balance between the needs of walkers, cyclists, drivers and public transport users and to seek the best solutions for Belsize residents. We raise issues of concern with Camden Council and aim to respond to all consultations undertaken by the council on issues likely to be of concern to members. These may include issues such as licensing policy, gambling policy etc. Responses are formulated by the committee having regard to any comments they may receive from members. Current council consultations are listed here.

Constitution: Our constitution can be found here

BRA Hustings: Policy for Local Election 2018

Aims and Objectives

  1. The Belsize Residents Association aims to hold a hustings for local elections to Camden Council.
  2. The objectives are:
    1. To hold a meeting where election candidates or parties debate policies and answer questions.
    2. To provide voters from across the Belsize area with an opportunity to hear the views of candidates or parties.
    3. The Belsize area includes the electoral wards of Belsize, Frognal and Fitzjohns, Hampstead Town, Gospel Oak, Haverstock and Swiss Cottage. There are therefore up to 21 potential council seats.
    4. The hustings will be open to the public.
  3. This policy sets out the practical considerations, then describes the policy for organising the hustings.

The Practical Considerations

  1. There are so many candidates – up to 21 candidates per party – that a hustings would be hard to manage were all candidates invited.
  2. We can easily identify political party leaders in the sitting Council and ask that they co-ordinate from the candidates they are fielding in the Belsize area.
  3. For other candidates (independents and the political parties that have no seats in the Council prior to the elections), making contact in an impartial manner will cause disproportionate cost.
  4. As the BRA is a membership organisation, we can use the membership to provide questions ahead of the hustings, so that the questions can be selected impartially ahead of the hustings.

The Policy

  1. All party leaders or appropriate alternate in the sitting Council will be contacted six weeks before the election, notifying them of the intention to hold a hustings. They will be asked to:
    1. Nominate three candidates who are standing in the Belsize area to represent their party at the hustings.
    2. Agree with and then inform candidates of the way the hustings will be managed.
  2. A chair will be identified for the hustings, who will oversee the event in an impartial manner:
    1. Select the questions to be asked from those submitted to the Association.
    2. Inform the audience at the meeting of candidates or parties standing who haven’t been invited.
    3. Allow candidates/parties to introduce themselves.
    4. Decide on the length of time during which candidates must respond to questions and keep time.
    5. Read out the questions and allow each candidate or party representative attending, a fair chance to answer questions.
    6. Where appropriate, provide a reasonable opportunity for candidates to respond to points made against them by other candidates or party representative.
  3. No more than three places will be given to any party and – at the decision of the Chair – the number may be reduced for practical reasons.
  4. Any candidates in the Belsize area not standing for the invited political parties can request participation. The chair of the hustings will decide at the hustings whether the candidate can take part and the extent of participation. For example, the chair may decide to allow the candidate a short slot at the end of the hustings.