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Published: 13 March 2008
Auction sell-off bungle still makes uncomfortable reading

IT must have been uncomfortable, admittedly, for the power-holders at the Town Hall to read our exposure last week of how a deaf woman had discovered through our columns that her home had been auctioned off.
It couldn’t have been a pretty story for them to digest.
What did they do?
They went, in effect, for a fierce denial.
This was set out at length in a letter (see page 18) by the housing chief, Chris Naylor.
So, we re-checked our story this week with the tenant, Lucy Eagar, who confirmed that we had ­accurately reported the facts.
She showed our reporter a letter sent by housing director Neil Litherland on February 25 fully confirming she was seen as the ­tenant of the very house that had been sold at the auction – sold, as we reported, without her knowledge. Ironically, the letter was sent on the very day of the auction!
Our view remains unimpaired – the large-scale sale of council-owned street properties is shortsighted and morally wrong. Property portfolios owned by the council are gilt-edged and should be hoarded.
As for the housing department’s error, this reflects the sort of bureaucratic bungling that occurs – perhaps inevitably – in all large institutions. Council officials should simply admit they were wrong and do their best to find out how they got it all mixed up.
Let’s not lose edge
IN terms of architecture, design, facilities and social mix – not to speak of its rich history in ­radicalism and the arts – ­Camden is a unique borough.
But constant vigilance is needed to protect it. Left undefended, it can easily fall prey to various ­predators out for a quick buck.
Recent signs show that the big boys have got their eyes on our high streets.
Chain stores have a rightful place in any high street – but too many, at the expense of small local shops kill individuality, and when that goes all that is left is a dead zone.
We agree with Dr Caroline Wiertz of City University (see page 6) that Camden Town has, for many shoppers, an edgy attraction, and it should remain so. The appearance of the fashion store H&M in Camden High Street may not bode well for the area. Too much regulated planning stultifies an area. Too little can tip the balance in favour of damaging market forces.

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Camden New Journal, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to The deadline for letters is midday Tuesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld. Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.

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