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Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 19 June 2008
Give us more housing

Letter to Boris Johnson

Dear Mr Johnson
Camden needs more council housing and community facilities
We are writing to ask you to intervene urgently as the newly elected Mayor of London to ensure that opportunities are not thrown away for developments that could provide desperately needed housing and community facilities for the people of Camden on both the land behind the British Library in Brill Place and on the site of the National Temperance hospital in Hampstead Road.
We have been campaigning for the recently vacated land behind the British Library to be developed to meet local people’s needs since it is in the centre of Somers Town, a relatively deprived residential area with little community provision.
The National Temperance hospital site is no longer required by the Medical Research Council and should also be developed for the people of Camden.
We believe both sites should be used for:
l more council housing to ease the desperate overcrowding and growing housing waiting list in Camden;
l community facilities especially for young people, so that they are not just left roaming our streets with no where to go.
We believe that the following policies should be followed. We would like to know whether, as the newly elected mayor you agree with the following and will intervene to ensure that these policies are carried out.
l Public land should be used for housing.
The new housing policy as promised by Gordon Brown when first taking up the office of Prime Minister is that public land should be used for home building to help ease the housing shortage. Both the British Library and National Temperance hospital are publicly owned.
We would ask that you use the planning powers of the mayor and the GLA to ensure that this happens.
l Planning briefs should not be ignored.
The outline planning brief for the land behind the British Library states that any development should include at least 50 per cent housing and community facilities. Yet the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation propose building absolutely no housing or community facilities.
A planning brief should not be ignored in this way, and Camden Council has stated that it should be met. We believe that the mayor’s planning role would allow you to intervene to make sure that this happens.
l Concerns over safety.
There is also a great deal of concern over the building of a facility in such a crowded location involving virus research and animal testing. We believe it would be safer and cheaper to develop the existing laboratories on their far larger site in Barnet.
l Money is available for council house building.
Both of these vacant sites provide opportunities for new council housing to be built – which is the only affordable housing for most of the Londoners living in our area of Camden.
The £12.2billion that the government has allocated to the mayor for housing can and should be used for council house building.
We would ask you to ensure an allocation of this money to Camden Council if these sites are secured for housing.

Yours sincerely
Dave Hoefling, Chair, Somers Town People’s Forum;
and Candy Udwin,
Secretary, Somers Town People’s Forum;
Michael Edwards, joint Chair, Kings Cross Railway Lands Group;
Cllr Roger Robinson; Mandy Berger, Unison Co-convener for Housing & Social Care; Camden Federation of Tenants and Residents;
Fran Heron, Chair, Camden Town District Management Committee;
Paul Tomlinson, Member, Camden Town District Management Committee; Larraine Revah, Chair, Gospel Oak District Management Committee; Peter Wright, Chair, Holborn District Management Committee; Helia Evans, Secretary, Ossulston TR; Deborah Berns, Goldington Tenants & Residents Association; Robert McMahon, Coopers Lane Tenants Association;
Alan Patterson, START; David Rodgers, etra Dando, Martin Carroll, Jessica Marsh, Richard Ford & Terence Ewing (all CASP);
Gabrielle Watson, Family Project; Carol Thomas; Mukul Hira; Yasmin Allen; Philip Church; Angela Inglis; Rob Inglis; Lorraine Baxter; Lucy Loughlin; Amy Ewing; Carol Baxter; N Lewis; Christine Dystant; Bruce Makenzie

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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