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Belsize Society Newsletter: February 2021

Welcome to the February Newsletter of the Belsize Society. This is the first of 2021, a year that will be the fiftieth for the Society and its predecessor organisations.

In this Newsletter, we’re looking back at one special experience of the summer, the Belsize Village Streatery, with reflections from the organisers about the steps that paved the way for this. We have also been able to retrieve from our archives some past uses of the village area. In this fiftieth year, we’ll try to dip into the Society’s history but the festivals organised by the Belsize Residents Association are a good start for this nostalgic look.

You’ll see the annual request for recommendations for Tradesmen You Can Trust. Do remember that it is really helpful if you can also let us know about the tradesmen that you have used from TYCT, as that helps us keep the list up-to-date. Other Society business covered in the Newsletter include our new donations policy. We have an update from the Belsize Library and a poem by Robert llson for these difficult times. There is also some news from the 100 Avenue Road development.

You’ll see with this Newsletter the papers for the Annual General Meeting (or you have had the papers emailed). It is hard to believe that a year ago we were meeting at Belsize Square Synagogue, able to talk about the Society and enjoy cakes and tea together. Hopefully, the March AGM will be our first and last online-only AGM. But hope you can make this event. Joining details are available from info@belsize.org.uk and the meeting is open to members or those intending to join.

Between lockdowns, we were able to commemorate our long-serving committee member Consuelo Phelan with a tree, planted in St Peter’s church. Local news is also included in this Newsletter.

Hope you enjoy the Newsletter.

Local News

CAMDEN ARTS CENTRE LAUNCHES ONLINE ARCHIVE

Camden Art Centre was established in 1965 as a place for making, viewing and discussing art.  It has launched an online archive of selected exhibitions and projects from 1991 – 2020.   For audio, video and lots of fantastic pictures, go to https://archive.camdenartscentre.org/archive.

From the Camden Council Safe Travel team

The team have let us know that information about all current safe travel schemes (primarily making cycling and walking easier), and the rationale for them, is available at: https://www.camden.gov.uk/making-travel-safer-in-camden with opportunities to comment and provide feedback on “trial” schemes currently in place here: https://safetravelcamden.commonplace.is/. The latter site contains FAQs which may be of interest to members. Any new schemes that come forward, including in the Belsize area, will be subject to a consultation period prior to any “trial” or “experimental” initiative being introduced – and in this area the Belsize Society (and local residents) would receive consultation information.

100 Avenue Road

Essential Living, the developers behind the controversial 100 Avenue Road development at Swiss Cottage which was opposed by the Belsize Residents Association, have caused fury by attempting to remove all the affordable housing from the scheme. 

The first application 2021/0025/P seeks to scrap all 36 affordable and intermediate rent flats, which were to be run by the Peabody Housing Association, and the developer is also asking to replace the Portland stone specified for the exterior with concrete.

The application to cut costs follows months of delay as work on the site was halted last year due to the coronavirus, leaving demolished buildings including the old Ham and High offices. Essential Living argues that spiralling costs mean the changes are needed to make the scheme viable.

But Swiss Cottage councillor Leo Cassarani told the Camden New Journal: “I would say this is completely typical of the developer, and exactly what the community suspected they would try to do. They have turned around at the first sign of trouble and said we’re going to not deliver even the tiny bit of community commitment we originally said we’d do.”

Cllr Steve Adams (Con, Belsize) said that if the scheme was not viable as originally approved, “then that’s a problem for Essential Living, not Camden”. Lib Dem group leader Luisa Porritt called the application “an insult to residents who engaged with the developer in good faith”. 

BelSoc is keeping this under review and will comment on the applications. If any members have particular concerns or points they wish to raise they can do so on the Camden Planning website. Comments have to made by 14 February 2021.

BelSoc Matters

Tradesman You Can Trust 2021

This time last year, we were asking for your contributions to the 2020 booklet which would reach you in May. Little did we know that you wouldn’t receive it until August. Not that we’re sure about May delivery this year, but hope springs eternal so here we are again, hoping you will send us loads of new recommendations and re-recommendations of local tradesmen you have used in the past year – we need to fill some of those gaps which appeared last time!

Our February Newsletter is being emailed to those of you who have email. Similarly, the TYCT form will be emailed to you but separately. The form can be downloaded and printed from the website as well (www.belsize.org.uk/publications/tradesmen-you-can-trust) and of course you can send a straight forward email with the tradesmen’s and your own details to TYCT@belsize.org.uk.

All contributions to be received by 26th March 2021 please.
Stay safe and well Everyone.

Belsize Society donations policy

The Belsize Society is run entirely by volunteers, and its operating costs are met by the annual subscriptions of members, including gift aid. It also occasionally acts as a channel for monies donated, for example by film companies, for the benefit of the community. When its resources exceed its costs and appropriate reserves for contingencies, it sometimes, at the discretion of the Trustees, makes donations to purposes that accord with its charitable aims.

The Committee has recently updated its policy on donations, and the revised document can be found on the website.  Donations are not ever for more than £1,000 and often much less, and always for purposes with a direct impact on the local community. The Trustees aim to spread the donations out amongst purposes and organisations, both in any single year and across the years, and to respond flexibly to needs in the local area as they arise.  For example, we have recently given money a local foodbank. The Committee is always grateful for specific suggestions from members of purposes or organisations to which donations might be made.

Join the Committee

Would you like to help steer the organisation? We’d be delighted to welcome members to shape what we do through joining the new 2021/22 Committee. 

We’re always on the lookout for people with an interest in representing residents’ views to Camden, organising events and contributing to the Newsletter. 

If you would like to find out more about what the Committee does, then please contact us at info@belsize.org.uk.

Contributing to the Newsletter

Would you like to contribute to a future Newsletter? If you have lived in Belsize Park for 30 years or more and would like to be the subject of an interview on what life was like in previous decades, we would like to hear from you. Please contact info@belsize.org.uk.  

 

HS2: An online information event and more Adelaide Road works

HS2 and Adelaide Road: HS2 will hold a Microsoft Teams online information event on Thursday, 25th February between 18.30 and 20.00 to talk about current and upcoming works on the site in Adelaide Road. There will be a presentation and then a Q and A session. Please see here to register and for contact details.

February Update: HS2 is carrying out further drainage surveys and vegetation clearance from 10th -12th February 2021. This will mainly mean overnight lane closures and parking suspensions on Steeles and Adelaide Roads. Please see here for details.

Haverstock Hill Cycle Lanes

Camden Council has decided to go ahead with the ‘pop up’ cycle lanes on both sides of Haverstock Hill. Work is due to start in early December but most of it will be done in January 2021. Once the scheme is in operation, any feedback the Council receives will help frame the final decision it makes after 18 months trial as well as informing possible changes. Residents in the vicinity of the scheme are receiving letters from the Council about the works. To give feedback please email the Council at (safetravel@camden.gov.uk).

Proposed changes to Camden Parking Permit Charges

Camden Council is committed to tackling the air quality and climate change crises. As such and in line with their Camden Transport Strategy, they are proposing to make changes to some parking permits and charges. Essentially they are raising the diesel surcharge substantially, making new arrangements for motor cycles and generally raising parking fees.
Detailed information on the proposals and how to comment can be found here.

Please submit any comments by 18th December 2020. These will be considered and included in a report accompanying the recommendations which will be examined by Cabinet during February 2021. Comments may be submitted by
Option 1 Email: Permitsreview@camden.gov.uk
Option 2 Post (no stamp required): Parking Policy, Freepost LBC TRANSPORT STRATEGY

Belsize Society Newsletter: November 2020

Welcome to the November BelSoc Newsletter.

As we enter a second lockdown, the Newsletter has a focus on strolls around the Belsize areawith a walk that takes you to Hampstead and back. There is also a piece looking at the trees listed in Camden’s open data.

We are hosting the Camden Air Quality team via zoom November 25, a first event for quite a while for the Society. The Newsletter introduces this session and gives joining details.

The lockdown means that a few of the activities we were hoping would continue after the summer – such as the popular streatery in Belsize village and the re-opening of Hampstead Theatre – have had to be paused. But each are ready if the lockdown ends in December as planned.

This issue comes to you with a letter about renewing your membership. We hope you continue to support us as we continue to develop our charitable activities – consider using gift aid when making payments to us.

Hope you enjoy this Newsletter.

 

 

Local News: November 2020

Hampstead Theatre will lift our spirits with Pinter

If you are by now yearning for the theatre, then you will be interested in the Hampstead Theatre’s production of Harold Pinter’s “Dumb Waitor”.  Directed by Alice Hamilton, it is now due to run from 3 December to 16 January. The play received its premier as part of Hampstead Theatre’s first ever season in 1960. It returns for its 60th Anniversary Production.  Reviewing the 1960 production, the Sunday Times wrote:  ‘If the Hampstead Theatre Club keeps to this standard, it not only deserves success it will command it’.  That has certainly come true.

Belsize Community Library

Due to the new lockdown rules, Belsize Community Library is closed to the public this November but as part of their BCL Recommends Series, they will be offering a community book-lending scheme.

To participate you will need your library card, (to get a card, use this form) then either email belsizelibrary@thewinch.org or phone 020 7586 6746 on Mondays between 11.00 and 17.00, saying what types and how many books you would like.  Allow one hour for the library team to pick your books then collect them from the library entrance during the hours above, making sure you wear a mask and observe all social distancing guidelines.

The Belsize Village Streatery 

Many members will have taken advantage of the outdoor eating facilities in Belsize Village over the summer months. The Streatery has had its licence renewed until 1 January 2021. Let’s hope that they will be able to use it. The licence includes permission for environmentally-friendly electric heaters to be installed, which may encourage people to continue dining outdoors over the winter period.

Access to Council Libraries during Lockdown

Camden Council writes:

  • Swiss Cottage Library: this library will close on Thursday 5 November and reopen on Monday 9 November for “request and read”. Collections will be from the foyer.
  • Camden Local Studies and Archive Centre: the centre will be closed to customers but resources can be accessed online: www.camden.gov.uk/about-the-local-studies-archives-centre.
  • Home Library Service: we will continue to deliver to housebound customers. If you, or someone you know, can’t get out and about, you may be eligible for the free home library service. Every four weeks, we will bring reading, music and films to your home. Email homelibraryservice@camden.gov.uk