Camden Council must consult residents on replacement of Chalcots windows

This week a big issue has come to light for residents of the Chalcots Estate, who are still experiencing disruption following evacuation and cladding works. The Belsize Liberal Democrat candidates have written to the local papers calling on Labour-run Camden Council to reverse their decision and consult residents properly. You can see what we’ve written below. If you’d like to know more about the plans, please email us on: belsize@camdenlibdems.org.uk

Camden Council must consult residents on replacement of Chalcots windows

'Labour-run Camden Council’s plan to replace all the windows on the Chalcots Estate without consulting residents is breathtaking for its arrogance and muddled thinking. The plan isn’t about just replacing the glass, but removing the window systems, stripping back to the bare concrete and starting again. This would be a further huge intrusion into the lives of Chalcots residents, greater than anything since the evacuation. And the current windows still have 20 years left of their expected life span.

Last year’s decision to replace the cladding was made because the towers were clad in the same flammable material as Grenfell; this was a very good reason to undertake a major project. The residents were consulted and given different options to consider. Replacing the windows would be a significantly more intrusive project and yet there has been zero consultation, with the final decision to be made by the Camden Cabinet on 21 March. The cost of this work alone is likely to be £30 million.

The reasons given by the Council – safety concerns, better insulation, tidying the warranty arrangements – have some merit, but do not mean that the wishes of the many hundreds of people living in the towers can be ignored. It would be entirely wrong to proceed with this project without a proper consultation process. We call on the Labour Council to back off. We demand that they show some respect to the people who live on the Chalcots and find out what they think first instead of rushing ahead with this project.'

We will continue to listen to residents and work for them on this issue to challenge the Labour-run council.

Tom Simon, Luisa Porritt, Ben Newman,

Your Lib Dem Team for Belsize. 


Your chance to have your say

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London’s local elections in May give you the chance to have your say on Brexit, and on what matters to you locally.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party with a clear, united policy to fight a hard Brexit.flick_garden_waste.jpg

Camden is a great place to live, but it could be better.

On housing, crime, and rubbish and recycling, the Labour Council just isn’t delivering.

stephen_jill_qcm.JPGLiberal Democrat councillors and campaigners work hard all year round. Cllr Flick Rea got the garden waste charge reduced for elderly residents. Stephen Crosher and Jill Fraser have been campaigning for fresh ideas for Queen’s Crescent Market. Tom Simon has been keeping his neighbours in touch on the Chalcots estate in Belsize Park.

We want Camden to be a council that listens to its residents, and we are starting now by asking you for your priorities.

Please fill in this survey and post it back, or fill it in online at www.camdenlibdems.org.uk/priorities.


Pressure from local community and Liberal Democrats gains Queen’s Crescent Market funding from the Mayor of London

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The regeneration of Queen’s Crescent Market has been a priority for Camden Liberal Democrats for many years. A call for fresh ideas and fresh investment was at the heart of their commitments to the community for the two council by-elections in Gospel Oak ward in 2017.

This pressure and that from many local activists over decades, such as Mick Farrant, Jill Fraser, Sian Berry and many others has now achieved £1.1m of funding support from the Mayor of London’s Growth Fund.

Local campaigner and Gospel Oak ward candidate Matthew Kirk said,

"We welcome this much needed investment. There are local organisations who know how to make a success of this market, as they did before the management of the market was taken out of their hands by the Council. We now urge the Council to empower these local organisations and pass the funding to them to move quickly to reclaim the market as a centre for Gospel Oak."

"The Liberal Democrats, as the resurgent opposition party in Camden, are showing what can be achieved when Council rhetoric is challenged by a strong opposition that both holds them to account and applies pressure on behalf of local communities."

"In the elections in May the Liberal Democrats will be making the case that any council that is dominated by a single party becomes stale and takes local people for granted. Only a strong opposition can force the Labour council to do more for local communities."


Flick Stands Again

Long term local residents Adrian Bridge and Tracey Shackle have joined Cllr Flick Rea in fighting for the interests of everyone in the area.

Adrian has lived in Fortune Green since 1999 and has brought up his two children here. A journalist by profession, he is campaigning for better funded schools, community policing, and affordable housing.

Tracey is a teacher and local mum who has lived in NW6 for 25 years. She volunteers for Friends of Maygrove Peace Park and is passionate about improving facilities & services in our area.

Flick said, “I am happy to be putting myself forward to serve our community once again, if you’re happy with me.”

“I am also delighted to be joined by two very hard working local residents who, like me, want to see Fortune Green be the best it can be.”


How to Stop Brexit: Nick Clegg in Camden

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We were pleased to welcome Sir Nick Clegg to Camden earlier this week after hearing him speak to a packed audience as part of the Open Britain campaign.

'Visceral rage'

The former Deputy Prime Minister spoke passionately about the shared ideas and values that are the foundation of the European Union. A union that began in the wake of two destructive world wars, with European countries closely working together so that future conflict would be unthinkable.

He talked about the 'visceral rage' he feels at the betrayal of the young people of this country who will have to live with the damaging consequences of the decision to leave - a decision that was based upon lies about everything that Brexit would bring.

"A democracy without accountability is not a democracy"

Sir Nick rejected the suggestion that to keep fighting to remain in the EU is in any way undemocratic. Democracy did not end on 23rd June 2016.

He emphasised the importance of the role of MPs. Only they can begin the reversal of Brexit. He told us that MPs will be duty bound to hold the Government to account when it fails to deliver on anything that was promised. He urged us all to contact our MPs and let them know why they should withhold their consent to proceed with Brexit when Parliament votes later this year.

Fixing the NHS

He also reminded us that, if Brexit goes ahead, the damage done to the economy will mean that we cannot fix the NHS. He described Labour’s endorsement of a Conservative hard Brexit as "the greatest act of betrayal of progressive politics for 100 years."

There’s no escaping the reality that Brexit will mean our country will become poorer, austerity will have to continue and vital workers will leave. The Brexiteers' tactic has been to accuse the economic experts of bias, rather than to point to any credible evidence that supports their view that we would have a stronger economy outside the EU.

Over the past few days, we’ve heard Jeremy Corbyn speak out in favour of better funding for the NHS. Undoubtedly a good cause and the reason why the Lib Dems have argued for a penny on income tax to fund our health service. But Labour’s support for leaving the Single Market and Customs Union is incompatible with a properly funded NHS.


Cantelowes Lib Dems to fight Labour's Brexit-backing candidate

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Three Liberal Democrat candidates have been selected to stand for Cantelowes ward in the May 2018 local elections, to give the ward’s residents a real chance to oppose Brexit.

Since uncovering that one of Labour’s candidates for Cantelowes and Chair of the party’s Holborn and Covent Garden branch, Ranjit Singh, voted for Brexit, Camden Lib Dems are more determined than ever to ensure that the borough’s overwhelmingly pro-Remain residents can express their opposition to Brexit in the ballot box.

Catherine Hays, Liberal Democrat candidate for Cantelowes, said:

“I am appalled that Camden’s Labour Party are putting up a candidate who favours Brexit in our strong Remain-supporting area. As a local resident who is married to an EU citizen, I find this decision wholly inappropriate. I am determined to ensure that other residents are given the opportunity to elect candidates who will stand up for their beliefs, which is why I am standing.

“Despite their rhetoric, Labour clearly cannot be trusted to represent residents’ views on the most important matter facing the country, which is negatively affecting our local economy, the NHS, and many people’s personal lives.”

Catherine lives in Camden Square and has been Chair of her local neighbourhood association for 16 years, in addition to her professional role at social enterprise Parent Zone. She is standing alongside Chris Hattam and Max Karasinki for Cantelowes ward.


Action needed on Queen’s Crescent Market

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Labour has been making promises about the market for years, not least in the last two by-elections.

Meanwhile, their record is clear: in two and a half years of the Labour council running the market directly, the average number of stalls has reduced from fifty to five.

Matthew Kirk, Liberal Democrat candidate for Gospel Oak, said, “A thriving market should be the hub of our community, bringing people to the area, boosting local businesses and reducing crime and anti-social behaviour.”

“To revive the market will require resolve, imagination and investment: real incentives for stall-holders, theme days to build customers, sustained promotion and development. Labour has done nothing.”

“It is time for Queen’s Crescent Market to have new champions.”

If you agree with us, you can sign our petition.


Camden Council Letting Down Private Renters

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Over the last 12 months, Camden’s Labour-run Council have only secured Rogue Landlord convictions against 11 properties in Camden, according to the Mayor’s office.

Liberal Democrat candidate for Gospel Oak Judy Dixey said, “There is a huge rented sector in Camden and there are perhaps 140,000 homes. It seems completely astonishing that there seem to be so few landlords that are not up to the high standards renters should expect in our capital.”

“We need Camden Council to step up to the local challenges residents face; we need the council to stop taking their voters for granted.”


Spotlight on Crime

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Over the last few months we have seen an increase in crime in Fortune Green - not just the horrifying and well-reported moped muggers, but also drug-related offences and a rush of motor vehicle crime (Sarre Road has suffered in particular).

Our local police teams do the best they can and figures did come down recently, but they still need support. Lib Dems are fighting to reverse Tory cuts to community policing.

Tracey and Flick recently met with a multidisciplinary group of police officers, Camden Council officers to resolve local issues. It’s clear that everyone has a role to play and that a policy of “zero tolerance” towards offences such as littering and flytipping is needed in our neighbourhood.


Parking and Traffic Chaos

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The Council’s transport and parking policies are not working. Huge congestion and screaming rows in Maygrove Road outside the new school every day, rat-running and unsuitable heavy traffic bombing up and down Westbere Road and Fordwych Road morning and evening, lack of parking controls in Iverson and Maygrove Roads.

Camden have been slow to seek solutions and dismissive of residents’ concerns. It seems they are now considering spending £50,000 on “modelling and consultation” to look at our issues. But will they just come up with proposals which will please nobody or will the consultation be genuine and really involve local residents?

One suggestion was to include the Maygrove Road area alongside a new “neighbourhood Kilburn scheme” but Labour are not providing any funding.


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