Current Issues

Crime and Security

The Police write:
Modern phones are more than just for calls or texting and some people can spend hours on their devices.  Unfortunately this includes when walking around central London and potentially into the path of criminals.  Simply look around prior to and whilst using your phone and try not to become totally engrossed in whatever it is you happen to be using it for.  If you are going to use if for more than a few seconds, perhaps stop walking and lean against a wall or bus shelter and keep your phone tucked in away from the open road or pavement.  Using street furniture and other obstacles can make it much harder for moped thieves to swoop and snatch your phone as they go.   Anything that makes it harder for moped thieves to surprise you will make it harder for them to be effective.

Clean Camden

Clean Camden is a campaign by Camden Council to crack down on littering, dog fouling and fly-tipping.  Please let Camden know if you spot a place that needs attention.  You do not need to give your name.   Anyone can report fly-tipping or other street mess on the Clean Camden app which can be downloaded free of charge from the usual app stores.   You can also make a report online at  Alternatively, you can email:; or phone: 020 7974 2202

Belsize Neighbourhood Forum – wants a chair(person)

Are you interested in contributing to Belsize Park and its development?  Do you have expertise in planning, architecture, fundraising or leading a community organisation?  If so, why not consider a new role as chair of a new neighbourhood forum?  The BRA supports the establishment of a Neighbourhood Forum in Belsize which would develop a Neighbourhood Plan.  Through getting involved in the Forum and contributing to the Plan, local residents and business could choose where they want new homes, shops and offices to be built, have their say on what those new buildings should look like and what infrastructure should be provided. The Neighbourhood Plan would sit alongside Camden’s Local Plan.  Decisions on planning applications would be made using both the Local Plan and the Neighbourhood Plan, which would therefore have a legal status along with all other material considerations.  Some funding is available for independent expert input and fundraising tasks can be shared out.  The BRA would assist a Forum to get started and provide some ongoing support.  In order for the Forum to get started, we need a chair.   If you think you may be interested, please contact; alternatively, you can speak to any BRA Committee member or to Councillor Claire-Louise Leyland.

Focus on Belsize Community Library

“The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.” — Albert Einstein

Pat Holden writes:
Belsize Community Library, situated in Antrim Road, was built in 1937, replacing the original library founded in 1897.  The design by architects Gold and Aldridge won widespread acclaim for its use of open–plan spaces.  The library continues to be owned by Camden Council; but following threatened closure, its management was taken over by the Winchester Project (the Winch) in 2012. In 2016 the library building was granted ‘listed’ status.

Over the years, many Belsize residents, including some of the most vulnerable, have enjoyed the facilities offered in the library, from older people reading the newspapers and looking for human interaction, to mothers with young children who feel isolated and young people looking for a place to do their homework. The library is now a thriving community centre offering a wide variety of activities with many focusing on children. It is also available for hire. However, due to financial constraints, the library is only open from Monday to Wednesday. The initial grant awarded by Camden to the Winch has now expired and the library continues mainly with the support of generous benefactors.  Its future as a library and community space is, therefore, precarious.

The forerunner organisation of the Friends of Belsize Library was established in 1988 in order fight the closure of the library planned at the time (see below). The library was saved and the Friends have continued to provide voluntary community support to the library to raise its profile as a community resource, and to ensure the retention and development of library facilities in the building. For many years the Friends have organised monthly events with speakers giving talks on literary, historical and cultural topics. Currently the events take place on the third Thursday of every month. These events serve to bring together people from the local community and act as a reminder that the library continues to perform an important local function. Events are listed in the BRA newsletter and displayed on the Village and Haverstock Hill noticeboards.

The continued functioning of the library is likely to depend on financial contributions to the library and on the continuing interest and support of the local community.

The Friends would love to hear your views on the library and invite you to answer the following brief questionnaire:
1) In the last 3 years have you visited the library?
2) If yes, why did you visit? a) to borrow or browse books; b) to take part in community activities, including Friends’ events?
3) How highly do you rate the library as an important facility in Belsize on a scale of 1-5?
4) Any other comments?

Please send your replies to or leave them at the library in an envelope marked Friends/Questionnaire. If you would like to be added to the Friends mailing list and/or if you would like to join the Friends Committee and help with organising events, contact the same email above.

Catherine Lambert writes:
I lived for 39 years in Belsize Grove.  I have just had my 99th birthday and my daughter has given me the beautifully presented book ‘Belsize Remembered’.  I was fascinated to read an article by Susanna Duncan on Belsize Library which I am thrilled to see is still open.  I chaired the historic meeting in 1988 when we were shocked to learn that Camden Council wished to shut our library to save the costs of the salaries of two librarians.  We went on to take legal action with Sydney Kentridge QC, famous for his work against apartheid in South Africa, who agreed to take our action against Camden Council as one of the good causes he did pro bono.  Can you imagine our heartfelt joy when the judge granted us an injunction?  This splendid little library has been the help and inspiration of so many over the years.  Bravo to all those who strive to keep it going.