CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Let’s look to a village green

08 April, 2021

• HAVING heard and read about the consistent claims by councillors that “numerous consultations” have been made regarding the reopening of the Belsize Village streatery, I beg to differ.

If Cllr Tom Simon’s idea of a consultation is to put letters through a few doors “advising” residents of the streatery’s relaunch on April 12, “What do we think”? I’d like to advise him that a foregone conclusion falls way short of a consultation.

It is also a shame that any resident who publicly opposes this scheme is verbally abused and addressed as “miserable” by Cllr Steve Adams on social media.

I would have thought that Camden had a legal obligation to provide and retain its public spaces and amenities for all residents.

Belsize Village Square is a public thoroughfare, pedestrianised in main part, thanks to past pressure from local campaigners.

No one in the history of our area would have ever opted to turn Belsize Terrace into yet another restaurant. There are currently 11 restaurants-cafés within the limited confines of this village.

Who, in their right mind, would give preference to an unnecessary private business venture over the needs of residents for a place in which to meet and relax and, most importantly, provide an essential space where children can play safely?

I did not elect my local council to be run by an unelected body of individuals, some of whom do not reside here!

I am not the only resident who objects to being policed, watched by CCTV, and see our local services slowly being taken over by outside interests.

A mass of cheap-looking tables and chairs plus barricades of ugly and inappropriate planters is hardly “revitalisation”.

The village has been a thriving, affluent area since the 1980s and has been the home to a remarkable number of artists, musicians, and philosophers.

Could we not combine forces and share this space?

We are about to come out of lockdown and many restrictions will be lifted. I am reaching out to everyone who wants use of our village open space.

We each have our special skills, whether it be social media, horticulture, or just sound common sense.

I propose the idea of a “village green” (with some tables and chairs) but first and foremost as a family green space.

Let us rebuild together and make our community a place to be proud of.

MAUREEN GRAYSON
Baynes Mews, NW3

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