CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

I hope that Labour councillors can show that those of us who voted for them did not do so in vain

10 May, 2018

• ALTHOUGH most of the national press downplayed things, Labour did very well in the council elections.

They had their best results in London for almost half a century, since 1971; they also took over councils in several cities and towns across England, won several mayorships, and they even gained a couple of extra seats in Camden.

Admittedly they had trouble in parts of north London where the over-inflated row about supposed anti-Semitism in the party had traction. So Barnet stayed under Tory control, but that is the problem for those living there.

Tory austerity policies are causing most of the difficulties in the country, while massive cuts in government support of for local councils, Tory and Labour alike, are making it hard for them to maintain good services, hence some of the local issues such as the badly handled bins fiasco here in Camden.

But, back in February, the Tory controlled Northamptonshire county council, virtually declared bankruptcy, so confirming how high the pressures are on all councils.

These cuts are also factors in the sell-offs by many councils and the lousy deals done with property developers such as the looming Swiss Cottage disaster, where a 24-storey tower and seven to nine-storey side blocks full of private, high-rent, flats will soon loom over the whole area.

But while this cannot now be stopped, there is one point where a newly-invigorated Labour council could act. They could stop the ridiculous Construction Management Plan proposed by the developers, Essential Living (Swiss Cottage) Ltd, based in the Channel Islands.

This nasty and aggressive group shows its total lack of concern for the community by planning to run massive demolition trucks through the tiny park, into the pedestrianised and heavily-used Market Square and out down Winchester Road, the narrowest and most highly congested local street.

This area is used by thousands of pedestrians, cars and vans an hour, and will soon be clogged when the Charlots estate refurbishment starts; not forgetting the occasional articulated lorry when the Hampstead Theatre has a change of play!

But there is sensible and perfectly feasible, alternative. Instead of bringing all the noise, pollution, and downright danger into the heavily-used areas, the council must make the developers do all the lorry access directly from the Avenue Road which, by the time they start demolition in the autumn, will have been converted to a bus and bicycle route, with no cars, vans and lorries, making access massively easier.

I hope new councillors can see the logic of this, and show that those of us who voted for them did not do so in vain.

DAVID REED
Eton Avenue, NW3

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