100 Avenue Road and Swiss Cottage Open Space,
The BRA has just learnt that the developers of the site at 100 Avenue Road (Essential Living) have applied to Camden Council “for the temporary use of an area of the Swiss Cottage Open Space during the construction of the neighbouring 100 Avenue Road development”. The BRA understands that this temporary use may last for three and a half years. The Council point out that “this temporary construction use would remove an area of the park from public use”.
Camden Council says they would like to hear our views and in particular to know:
“What would be the impact on your use and enjoyment of Swiss Cottage Open Space?” and
“Are there changes to the rest of the Swiss Cottage Open Space that could make the proposal more acceptable?”
Do please let the Council know your views by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to:
Green Space Place Management
London Borough of Camden
Town Hall, Judd Street London WC1H 9JE.
The BRA Committee has taken the view that it is not acceptable for walkways to be narrowed, trees to be removed and space to be (even temporarily) appropriated to facilitate the movement of construction vehicles across the Open Space, on the grounds that this would diminish the already inadequate provision of green and open space in the area, especially for children, as well as increasing noise, pollution and other nuisance. It is our view that the development should be wholly serviced directly from the A41, and we shall make these views known to Camden Council. However numbers matter, so we would urge as many members as possible to share their individual views with the Council too.
BRA and the Planning System
BRA Committee member and planning expert Sanya Polescuk writes:
One of the many good ways of looking after your neighbourhood is balancing the need for its modernisation and the desire to safeguard its special character. In a nutshell, that is the aim of Belsize Residents Association’s Committee when assessing Planning Applications received by the Council. Generally this means two things: ensuring that the Council takes into account the all-important aspect of the physical context, such as immediately-adjacent buildings and, looking at the wider neighbourhood, its existing infrastructure and ability to cope not only with the future needs of the development but also its needs during the process of construction. BRA assesses and participates in both. The second aspect is particularly important for large-scale, major developments such as, for instance, 100 Avenue Road or The Hall School.
It is of course notoriously difficult to stop major developments – their applicants invest heavily in the preparation of the applications and ultimately they should be able to address the particular needs and aspirations of the local area. The current planning system stipulates community consultation in the process of a major application’s preparation (Camden’s Statement of Community Involvement, adopted July 2016). The applicant is obliged to conduct a number of consultations and feed its results into the proposal. This should minimise local objections and avoid the refusal of planning permission. Instead, permissions are granted with a string of conditions which the applicant must discharge before construction can start on site, ranging from the Council’s approval of further studies such as a Construction Management Plan (CMP) to samples of materials proposed for the development. Some of these conditions are subject to further community involvement, such as preparation of a CMP, whilst other get logged in the Council’s system and are less transparent.
One of the overriding frustrations with the current system is the inability of a community to have a fundamental impact on major proposals, regardless of the time or financial investment. Until such time as the system changes, we are doing our utmost to help shape major developments so that their impact on our neighbourhood and our lives is as contained as practically possible.
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 https://environmentservices.camden.gov.uk/street. Alternatively, you can email: email@example.com; or phone: 020 7974 2202