Author Archives: BelSoc

Flash Flooding on Monday, 12th July

Following Monday afternoon’s flash floods, Camden is requesting that
anyone who noticed or experienced flooding should report this to
GREENCAMDEN@CAMDEN.GOV.UK

Camden is particularly keen to learn about the following types of
flooding:

* internal: clean water or sewage (please say which) at a property, eg
in basement, or coming up through the floor into the ground floor, or
simply entering the property from outside
* external: at a building site (eg an open basement or demolition
site), where water is seen to flow out of or through holes in the
ground.

If you should have any photos of flooded properties or streets (where
the drains were not coping), these would also be extremely helpful.

Camden produces a map of roads affected by flooding so that developers
know where to be particularly careful not to add to water run-off. The
last two flood years for Hampstead were 1976 and 2002, but the maps of
flooding for these two years included only the roads for which flooding
was reported. It is important that Camden is aware where properties
flood. CAMDEN DOES NOT DIVULGE _WHICH_ PROPERTIES WERE FLOODED, ONLY
THE ROADS (see map below).

The other reason to inform Camden is so that it can clear blocked
drains, and so Thames Water knows where storm drains and sewers are not
adequate.

As a result of reports on the 2002 storm by West and South Hampstead
residents (who receive rainwater surface run-off from
Hampstead/RedFrog), Thames Water Utilities Ltd constructed a sewer at
Sumatra Road, designed to intercept and divert flow towards a storage
tank providing approximately 1,700 m3 of storage during extreme rainfall
events. The scheme was expected to help to reduce the local flood risk,
but a potential flood risk during an extreme rainfall event still
exists, and Thames Water needs to know about this.

If you experienced sewage coming in, then you need to inform Thames
Water as well on: 0800 316 9800.

Public Consultation on London Rental Electric Scooter Trial

Residents have been invited to have their say on Camden’s involvement in the London wide electric scooter trial which launched in parts of the Capital earlier this month.

Transport for London (TfL) has been working with London boroughs and other organisations such as the Metropolitan Police and London Councils to develop proposals for a rental e-scooter trial in London. The aim of the trial is to provide an alternative option to public transport including taxis and private cars.

Camden Council is now consulting on the borough’s involvement in the London-wide trial which would decide whether to make rental e-scooters legal for people to use in the Borough and to provide an alternative option to motorised transport. The consultation asks for views on how Camden should take part including potential no go zones for e-scooters and options on where they could be used and parked.

TfL launched the London trial scheme on 7 June 2021 with Dott, Lime and Tier being selected as service operators by TfL and London Councils for a trial of up to 12 months.

Camden are not currently part of the TfL trial but is proposing to join by September 2021 for the remainder of the trial period, subject to the outcome of this consultation and consideration of relevant policies and other data.

For more information on the trial and to have your say, please visit www.camden.gov.uk/e-scooter-trial.

If you would like to make any other comments, you can do so by emailing safetravel@camden.gov.uk. Please note the consultation will close on Monday 12 July 2021

Belsize Society Newsletter May 2021

Welcome to the May Newsletter of the Belsize Society.

We were able to hold an AGM in March on Zoom, and this issue describes some of the discussion. The AGM included a short presentation about the Belsize Streatery which, as it re-opens, is also the focus of a Camden consultation.

We are hoping to see you in the coming weeks, as we hold the first event for over a year as we emerge from lockdown. Subject to the government roadmap relaxing restrictions, we will welcome members to our summer party in early July.

The Newsletter covers Camden’s recent announcement about plans for 31 Daleham Gardens, where the preferred bidder to develop the property will be a non-profit Community Land Trust. The NW3 CLT is a first for North London, and a key driver for the Trust is to tackle housing affordability. BelSoc committee member Sanya Polescuk describes the Trust’s work.

Thanks to members for contributing to TYCT, and we are really pleased to include this with the Newsletter.

We are celebrating 50 years this year and this Newsletter takes a look at the archives. The Belsize Residents Association has a long tradition of historical walks, and some of the most popular were by Mary Shenai. 

We were very sad to hear that  Aileen Hammond – who also conducted many Association walks – has passed away. The Newsletter includes some memories of Aileen. We also heard of the passing of former Belsize ward councillor Leila Roy, someone whose positivity about our area was welcomed at many Society events.

Belsize Society Annual General Meeting 2021

This year’s AGM was held on Zoom on Sunday 7 March, with around 45 members attending.  

The Chair of Trustees, Prabhat Vaze, reported that, despite the difficult conditions of the pandemic, the Committee had continued to scrutinise planning and tree applications.  More use has been made of the website, especially for Newsletter posts, but regular events had been cancelled including carol singing.  BelsSoc had spearheaded a worthwhile pollution monitoring exercise conducted with Camden, with three of the monitored sites over the safety limit and two just below. The results have proved useful to Camden Council when assessing traffic and cycle proposals.  The Society maintains a membership of over 500 households and this year celebrates having been active (in various different forms) for 50 years – not a common occurrence amongst such associations/societies. 

In answer to questions from members, the Chair explained that the Committee is waiting to see results from similar trials including pollution results before finalising its view on traffic changes in Haverstock Hill.  Members expressed opposition to a bus stop on one side of a cycle lane on Haverstock Hill as this positioning has caused accidents elsewhere.

The Treasurer reported on the Society’s financial position, saying that subscription income was similar to previous years.  The first Gift Aid payment had been received.  There had been unprecedented donation receipts thanks to a legacy and payments from Film Fixer (which has an exclusive contract as Camden’s film service) when streets in Belsize are used for film shoots. Expenses had been lower than usual owing to fewer events. 

The accounts were unanimously approved.  Jill Tyrell was reappointed as the independent examiner for 2021.  Ten members, including four trustees, stood for election to the Committee and were elected unanimously.  

After the formal business of the meeting was completed, the Chair introduced guest speaker Bob Stephenson-Padron from Penrose Care who talked about “Revitalising Belsize Village and the Belsize Streatery”.  Bob is the Co-coordinator of the Belsize Village Business Association.  In closing the meeting, the Chair looked forward to seeing everyone in person at the 2022 AGM. 

31 Daleham Gardens: A new lease of life

In September 2020, Camden’s Cabinet approved a regeneration strategy for property in Daleham Gardens, identifying the preferred option as being redevelopment through disposal to a local Community Land Trust (CLT). The approved strategy recognised that a locally-based, community-led developer, such as a CLT, with a strong local knowledge and community roots, non-profit status and focus on high quality affordable homes could be well-placed to deliver affordable housing on this site.

Following an Expression of Interest Process in early 2021, which sought submissions from community groups interested in the site, NW3 CLT were identified as Camden’s preferred submission, and Camden have now begun negotiations with NW3 CLT for the sale and regeneration of the site.

Sanya Polescuk, a director of NW3 CLT and a BelSoc Committee members writes: 

CLTs are community-led local organisations set up and run by ordinary people to develop and manage homes as well as other assets important to that community, such as community enterprises, food growing areas, or workspaces.

NW3 CLT is the first registered Community Land Trust in North London and was set up in April 2016. It is a not-for-profit, Registered Community Benefit Society with its base in Belsize Park, membership of close to 150 and a Board of five Directors. We work together to leverage our skills as a community and as individuals from diverse backgrounds, be they key workers and civil servants or building and finance professionals. 

As members of the National CLT Network (NCLT Network), we at NW3 CLT seek to influence developments in national housing policies. We work with local organisations such as Voluntary Action Camden and  Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum, helped by local media and social media. We are supported both financially and through mentorship by the NCLT Network and by the GLA’s Community-led Housing Hub. 

Over the last five years we have worked to raise awareness about the erosion of affordable housing stock in our area and the growing need to provide such housing in order to sustain an integrated yet diverse community – something NW3 has historically had but which is now endangered.

We campaigned for affordable and key worker housing in NW3 and adjoining postcodes. Our work included identifying and appraising unused and underused properties in NW3 with the aim of developing them in a way that maximises the provision of affordable housing. Architecturally, our approach has been to either retain, repurpose or reuse as much of a specific building and its materials as possible. Wells Court in Oriel Place, Old Hampstead Police Station on Haverstock Hill and Branch Hill Care Home are some of the properties where we have sought to secure the provision of affordable housing.

As a CLT that is focused on housing, our main task is to make sure that homes we develop are genuinely affordable, based on what people actually earn in our area, not just for now but for all future occupiers. We hope to use our upcoming project to showcase how this vision can become a reality. 

A detailed business plan illustrates our first affordable housing development in NW3 which aims to provide over a dozen homes for people who work or live locally.

The project will be funded through a combination of private and public investment and grants and developed in partnership with developers and registered housing providers. We are currently working on our financing matrix which will include a Community Share Offering. Our CLT members will be closely involved in both the development of the project and the management of the properties.

For further information about NW3 CLT, visit nw3clt.org.uk. 

Mary Shenai’s Belsize Walks

As we celebrate 50 years since the first few residents came together to form an association for people living and working in Belsize Park, we look back on community walks by and for our residents.

In September 1998, BRA luminary Mary Shenai led a walk in Belsize Lane with the theme of “Standing in History”.  At that time, there had been changes in the Village.  Mary’s view was that those changes should make residents realise that they were part of a continuing process, standing in history, and that it was appropriate to look back during the walk at how Belsize had become what it is today.  All future walks looked both at the past and at the present – reflecting Belsize as a place that has evolved and not atrophied. 

In October 1999, Mary led a walk about the Eton Estate with notes written by Robin Woolven and in 2000 her walk focused on the architecture of Eton Avenue.  She described Eton Avenue as a “street of startling variety” when compared with the uniform stucco classical houses of Belsize built before the 1880s.  Eton Avenue is recorded as completely built up and numbered by 1903.  Mary observed that its houses were not designed by leading architects.  They are houses built in the prevailing style of their age by a far-sighted and imaginative developer, William Willett, using his own architects, Harry Measures and Amos Faulkner.  

In October 2001, Mary’s walk centred on Lyndhurst Road.  She said: “We need to get our imaginations to sweep away everything you see here today…none of these houses, no roads, no Fitzjohns Avenue, no Akenside Road, no Lyndhurst Road, only fields and one large house in its grounds”.  This was Rosslyn House (previously known as Shelford Lodge and before that as Grove House).  The most famous resident of Rosslyn House was Alexander Wedderburn, 1st Earl of Rosslyn (1733 – 1805).  He became Lord Loughborough in 1780 and Lord High Chancellor in later years.  Members will know Wedderburn Road.  Other roads in NW3 named after Lord Chancellors are Eldon Road and Thurlow Road – as well as Lyndhurst Road itself which is named after John Copley, 1st Baron Lyndhurst, who is buried in Highgate Cemetery.  

In September 2002, Mary’s walk was “Hayfields to Horizontal Windows: A Walk through England’s Lane”.  The name England’s Lane derives from an eighteenth century tenant farmer James England but Mary was keen to point out more modern buildings, such as Stanbury Court at the end of the Lane with its “horizontal paned windows wider than they are long, smooth white surfaces, rounded corners and flat roofs” making a “handsome building in a style uniquely of the twentieth century”.

The walk in 2003 concentrated on the left side of Belsize Lane going west towards Fitzjohns Avenue, and Daleham Gardens.  In 2004, the walk took in Belsize Park Gardens, Glenilla Road, Belsize Avenue and Belsize Square, ending with tea in St Peter’s Church.  The Church’s vicarage in the middle of the Square was sold to the New Liberal Jewish Community in 1947 who renovated it and commissioned a new synagogue by the Bauhaus trained architect H.W. Reisenberg.  A new hall was added in 1973.  Mary noted that the synagogue’s “symbolic gates proudly reveal its identity”.

In Autumn 2005, Mary led the walk with Gordon Maclean, talking about “Eton Avenue, Ancient and Modern”.  They noted the new Hampstead Theatre – opened two years previously and replacing an older prefabricated building near the Basil Spence library.   The theatre building was “one of the best new theatre buildings in England” with a glass and timber louvred skin surrounding a free-form 250 seat theatre.

Mary’s final walk took place in 2006, with “Belsize and Eton” as its subject.  She conducted the walk with Aileen Hammond who had an abundance of knowledge about Haverstock Hill.  Aileen spoke with affection about how “Haverstock Hill itself retains a slightly scruffier image – or at least we like to think so!  But Karl Marx who, we learn from Streets of Belsize, actually lived just round the corner in Maitland Park Road from 1864-75, always gave his address as Haverstock Hill.  When writing to his friend Engels he justified his rather lavish lifestyle by saying it would improve his daughters’ prospects in life.  Be that as it may, rumours are afoot that even ‘The Etons’ [Eton Road, Eton Villas, Provost Road and Eton College Road] have lost their most raffish residents – the cockroaches that gave such a warm, scurrying welcome to 1960s residents when they came home after dark and put on the lights.” How times have changed – and all the more reason to recall Mary’s words that we are standing in history. 

More recent historical walls were led by Averil Nottage and Aileen Hammond.  BelSoc plans to revive the annual walk – subject to any ongoing concerns about Covid. 

BelSoc Matters

Gift Aid: Update

As members will know from BelSoc’s end-year financial statement for 2020, in that year we made our first claim to HMRC in respect of our Gift Aid entitlement as a registered charity. This has resulted in a payment to BelSoc of over £350, additional income which will be of considerable help in pursuing our charitable activities and objectives. 

You may also like to know that under HMRC rules, where charities have multiple subscriptions/donations to claim for, as BelSoc does, and these are for £30 or less, donations can be aggregated (i.e. lumped together) when a claim is made, which in turn means that there is no requirement for us to supply HMRC with personal information such as names, addresses etc. 

We are most grateful to those members who have so far agreed to Gift Aid their membership subscriptions.  If any member has not yet submitted a Gift Aid declaration form, and wishes to do so, do get in touch at www.membership@belsize.org.uk or give Anne Stevens a ring on 020 7794 0874.

Tradesmen You Can Trust 2021

The good news is that this May you, our members, are receiving paper copies of TYCT at the usual time, rather than three months late!

The number of tradesmen listed is pretty well the same as last year, due to your responses to the email we circulated in March – for which a big “Thank you”.

Hopefully, now that we seem to be exiting some lockdown restrictions, you will be indulging in more home and garden renovations; a little bird told us that many £s are being spent on gardens so we’re hoping for a bumper crop of new gardeners, paving, decking, fencing  and garden pot specialists, etc. to boost our 2022 booklet. Remember you can send your recommendations throughout the year to tyct@belsize.org.uk. or fill in the form in the booklet or on our website.

Let’s hope for a lovely, blue-skied Summer and Autumn with a little less wind than of late and plenty of occasional rain, so you can keep all those tradesmen busy.