The independent London newspaper

A community vision? First we want answers from the council

23 January, 2020

• ON Sunday morning some of us found two unaddressed pieces of paper on our doorsteps.

These informed us of “drop-in events”, organised by Camden, with one taking place only three days later; 11 different subjects and policy areas are incorporated under the banner of “Working together to create a Gospel Oak and Haverstock Community Vision”.

First, this begs the question as to why we are being informed of such major and irreversible undertakings affecting thousands, and costing millions, at such short notice.

The information included no email address, no phone number, and no land address for the various bodies involved. On questioning five long-standing local businesses, none had received any kind of notification at all.

Secondly, regarding “to get things started” what’s happening ongoingly? What is the exact time frame in stages for each of these projects? Which officer is in charge of each? When exactly will decisions be made? Who has overall responsibility?

How does this consultation fit in with the one organised by the council almost four years ago with the responses in excess of 1,000 residents? This has seemingly been totally ignored.

When and what is the exact selection criteria as to who gets to take part in the “neighbourhood assembly” and “community vision”?

How do we know that the people on this forum are representative of the “wider community”? What external scrutiny will be taking place to ensure they are actually being listened to and their views incorporated as promised.

Over three weeks ago it was requested that paper copies the decorator’s report on Queen’s Crescent and the market were put in the library. This still hasn’t happened, it’s unreadable online and needs complete reconfiguring to a printable A4 format with copies made available. On the basis of this report, the Mayor of London’s one-off award of £1.1million will be spent.

It goes without saying it’s imperative that what was declared the number one objective in improving the wider area can actually be properly understood; that everyone can contribute to what is a crucially important part of the neighbourhood.

We urgently require answers – via these pages – to these questions.

Gospel Oak and Haverstock


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