My area needs a councillor with a proven record of commitment

Friday, 4th March

• WITH new ward boundaries in May and new applicants for the important role of representing us, we have to scrutinise with great care those wishing to become our councillors.

Grand soundbites, prestigious vote catching, virtue signalling, and CV-enhancing while laptop dancing up the greasy political pole, is not going to impress.

I moved into Winchester Road four decades ago. It was then in Adelaide ward, later allocated to Swiss Cottage ward, and now to be designated to Primrose Hill ward.

Way back in the 1980s I watched with horror when ambitious, prestige-seeking, councillors permitted a full size football pitch with floodlighting to be placed outside my bedroom window and that of other resident families whose right to peace and quiet and a good night’s sleep was henceforth denied. (Now demolished and rebuilt smaller at another inappropriate spot).

The fate of this once derelict space, presently and ambiguously called Swiss Cottage Open Space has been in the control of an ambitious, but clearly confused, Labour council for far too long.

This site has been the subject of many changes, some so outrageously bad you wondered from which lunatic asylum previous planning departments had escaped.

The most notorious of Camden’s ill-judged plans here, and still unresolved, is Essential Living’s monstrous 100 Avenue Road.

This has been a 10-year fight by stoic residents in co-ordination with residents from a number of wards that converged at this spot.

However Camden Council managed one successful configuration by the prestigious Gustafson Porter, at great expense, only to let it disintegrate.

Furthermore Camden repeatedly refuses to acknowledge the crucial fact that this site is historically highly compromised because of its muddled aims.

For example, a vibrant “town centre” alongside family homes and a senior citizen home is not a rational plan.

If the future of this beleaguered area is to be rescued, we need a councillor who is a long-standing, very local, resident with historical knowledge of the area. And, importantly, someone with a proven record of commitment.

Consequently, and much to my own amazement as a Labour voter, I’m recommending for this role the Conservative candidate Alex Andrews who has long been part of the Save Swiss Cottage campaign group, actively contributing to its stoic fight against Essential Living’s monstrous plans and with a keen eye on the open space.

Ward councillors need to be local, long-standing, with a clear commitment and familiarity with the needs of the people.


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