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 firstname.lastname@example.org and the meeting is open to members or those intending to join.
Hope you enjoy the Newsletter.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.