Safer Streets

In January, Urban Movement hosted two Community Conversations online. These sessions were aimed at gathering local opinion on traffic and streetscape issues in Dartmouth Park, and identifying key parameters that any potential interventions for the area will need to meet to address them. The sessions were well-attended and garnered interesting and passionate discussions, and Urban Movement and Dartmouth Park Neighbourhood Forum would like to thank all who attended for their contributions. For anyone who was not able to attend the sessions, recordings will be posted shortly.

More details including recordings of the events can be found here:

Next steps:

All attendees of both sessions as well as those who were not able to come along are invited to attend a final Ideas Workshop on the 23rd of February 6-8pm, where Urban Movement will be presenting the draft design charter. Attendees will have the chance to feedback on it and raise any points that may not have been covered already. The workshop will be hosted online via Zoom, anyone who wishes to attend can sign up here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMscuuqqjIuE9XFrCJxuZctxZNyX9b_o6zv

Some key pieces of research were mentioned in the sessions, links to which are provided below:

Information / studies on the economic impacts of providing for walking and cycling:

Information / studies on the impacts of reducing / removing through-traffic:

DPNF comments on Chester Road Planning Application

Dartmouth Park Neighbourhood Forum would like to ensure that residents are aware of the forum’s response to the proposed development in Chester Road. Details below:

Comments on Planning Application 2020/3461/P – 2 Chester Road

The proposed development would provide a hostel for the temporary accommodation of homeless families, in some cases women and their children at risk of violence.  The new development would provide 50 new dwellings in three blocks (3 and 4 storeys) arranged around a central communal garden.  The application proposes the demolition of the existing building on the site, until recently used as a hostel for single person temporary accommodation.

The Dartmouth Park Neighbourhood Forum supports the development in principle.  The provision of this facility is consistent with the objective of the Dartmouth Park Neighbourhood Plan to support a variety of housing and community facilities in the area.  However, we do have concerns about the detail of the proposed development.

1          We object to the demolition of the existing building, without proof that this is essential.

(a)        Camden’s Local Plan Policy CC1(e) requires all proposals that involve substantial demolition to demonstrate that it is not possible to retain and improve the existing building. The case has not been made to show that demolition is necessary and that the building cannot be maintained and refurbished for continued use as a hostel (or for some other beneficial purpose).  We also question the assertion that the existing building has reached the end of its life. These issues need to be explored in order to meet the Policy as to demolition.

(b)        In addition, with Covid -19 the likelihood of enduring changed working patterns and reduced need for office space suggests that there may be opportunities to repurpose an existing building in the borough as a hostel instead.  A number of vacant office buildings could, with minimal refurbishment, provide suitable space to house the homeless. This would avoid the need to demolish a building that could still provide years of service.

(c)        The building was designed by Bill Forrest, one of the excellent young architects in Camden’s architecture department in the 1960s and 70s who designed some of the finest social housing in the country, including the Highgate New Town development of which the hostel formed part.  The demolition of such a thoughtful and high quality building in a conservation area is deplorable.

(d)        The demolition of the existing building, with its large embodied carbon, is not consistent with sustainability objectives. 

2          The proposed buildings are too large and domineering for the site in the heart of a residential neighbourhood. 

(a)        Even the three storey block on Chester Road will be significantly (up to a storey) higher than the neighbouring houses.  The four storey block on Dartmouth Park Hill will present a sheer cliff-like appearance to the road.

(b)        We welcome the landscaping of Colva Walk and the provision of ramps in place of steps.  However, we are concerned that the Colva Walk passage would be overwhelmed by the sheer wall of the building, and that the passage would become a wind and noise tunnel.

3          The accommodation provided for residents is poor. The proposed number of residents (up to 200 in 50 units) is too high, resulting in cramped accommodation.  In addition, although there is a central communal garden, there is no provision of private outdoor space such as balconies.  These constraints are a concern, especially in the light of greater known risks in relation to viruses now and in the future, compared with when the design was developed.  We would prefer to see more generous allocations of space for a smaller number of vulnerable families, which would ameliorate over-crowding and avoid any undue impact on local infrastructure such as medical facilities.

4          The design of the façade is poor.

(a)        The development is entirely inward facing, with little engagement with the community. 

(b)        The proposed continuous façade is bleak and monolithic, with no setbacks, balconies or other features to break up the bulk and create a more domestic scale to blend with the neighbourhood.

(c)        It is proposed to clad the buildings in shiny green tiles with a curving and asymmetric profile.  The choice of these tiles is arbitrary and capricious, and has no connection or reference to the materials used in the area; the green of the tiles, in particular, is completely at odds with the warm red, brown and yellow bricks of the surrounding streets.

5          We welcome the use of prefabricated offsite construction methods and the inclusion of underfloor electric heating, air source heat pumps and green roofs. 

Newsletters


CAMDEN BEELINE

Want to get buzzin’ with our new Camden Beeline?
The Camden Beeline is a new joint Think & Do and Camden Clean Air project which aims to increase biodiversity across Camden schools by creating a connected pollinator pathway of trees, plants and rewilded space. Their Camden Beeline map will link up green spaces all over the borough, creating a better environment for both the people and the wildlife of Camden. As they connect our green spaces, they connect our community.
Rewilded green spaces are also incredibly important for air quality, and post-Covid, we have all become increasingly aware of the impact of enhanced green space on student wellbeing.
Whatever space you have at your school – no matter how big or small, the Camden Beeline volunteers are there to help.

Don’t know where to start rewilding at your school? Camden Beeline volunteers are happy to pay a site visit and can even supply free seeds. Please email camdenbeeline@gmail.com

Join the Camden Beeline today and they will add you to the BeeLine map. Together, let’s get rewilding and buzzing.

CAMDEN FOREST – Bare-root Tree Whip Giveaways

Camden Forest is a project to tackle the climate and ecological emergency by planting 2025 trees around the borough by the year 2025. To date Camden Forest volunteers have given away over 1,000 two-year-old bare-root ‘whips’. The trees were provided free of charge by the Trust for Conservation Volunteers. To see how their forest has taken root across the borough click here

For the winter 21/22 season the Camden Forest project plans to give out another 500 tree whips thanks to sponsorship from the KOKO Foundation. There will be ten giveaways across the borough. For a list of where we will be handing out trees, get in touch with Camden Forest. thinkanddocamden@gmail.com

They will also be giving out free fruit trees to schools. If you work with a school and would like a free fruit tree, please contact them. 

Communi-trees

The Camden Forest team are also launching a new project for the winter 22/22 season, in which larger trees will be planted in two estates around the borough, supported by the KOKO Foundation. Teenagers living on the estates will be paid to water the trees and look after them. Rewilding our estates, and our young tree guardians.

How To Get Involved

  • Could you host a tree giveaway in your area?
  • Would you like to join our Camden Forest group who meet every 3 weeks?
  • Do you work at a school and would like free trees?
  • Do you know a space on your estate to have some trees planted?
    Please contact them via
    thinkanddocamden@gmail.com

HEATH HANDS

Christmas calendar and more presents