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Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 11 June 2009
Talacre raises questions on consultation and planning

• DAVID Landman’s letter (Listen to the local people, June 4) struck a chord with me.
I too, along with many others, was present in the Town Hall on the fateful evening of the May 27.

We heard Conservative leader Andrew Marshall arguing forcefully in favour of rejecting the Talacre Town Green proposal. Instead, he advocated dependence, for park protection, upon the development plan said to be in preparation by the Camden planners.
This is called the Local Framework Plan.
Councillor Marshall also said unequivocally that local people and businesses had been consulted and responded in droves.
By businesses he explained that developers were taking a particular interest in this important exercise and he assured everyone that developers were keen to protect open spaces.
Being something of a planning nerd or “anorak” myself, I felt chastened by his words even though an earlier attempt to engage with the process of making a new development plan had met with failure.
I was then rebuffed being told my interest was premature. However, some 43 hours later I was in the public library asking for the framework plan.
Not only was this not available, but no one had ever heard of it.
A library user, overhearing the conversation, accessed the web and confirmed that information was not easily accessible and said it was difficult to detect what was current and relevant information.
Next I went to the 5th floor of the Town Hall annexe to visit the environment department.
The reception staff had never heard of the Local Framework Plan either.
After going all around the houses, finally the “duty planner” confirmed there were no hard copy documents to give out or to be read.
Cllr Marshall, I am absolved of negligence.
I feel fully vindicated in pressing now for the extra protection of Town Green status for Talacre Gardens.
The shocking saga of nearby Dalby Street is enough to make even the stoutest defender of town and country planning lose faith.
Meanwhile, it seems to me that the executive member with planning responsibility might care to clarify what exactly he means by public involvement in plan making.
The Friends of Talacre Gardens and all local people who care desperately for Talacre Gardens are most grateful to the Liberal Democrat executive who voted for the protection of their cherished park.
While they act, their coalition partners seem content to shuffle about unconvincingly declaiming their enduring trust in “planning”.
Peter Cuming
Talacre Road

A precious open space

• PROTECTIVE status for Talacre Gardens is wonderful news (Talacre Gardens set to be the capital’s first self-registered Town Green, May 28).
I have for many years volunteered on various projects in and around Talacre Gardens.
There are not many other community amenities in Camden which attract the concern of residents apart from their own immediate area.
But Talacre Gardens enjoys the patronage of Hampstead residents, here in the village and in South End Green as well as Highgate, Primrose Hill and even further afield.
So worried have I been about the future of this little park, which has been under constant threats of encroachment by developers, that I even wrote to my local Conservative councillors urging them to support the Town Green.
I was saddened, therefore, to read in your paper that the Conservatives voted against it (Lib Dems see red over Town Green, June 4).
Are they so out of touch with ordinary folk that they should fail to recognise the importance of this tiny, but precious, piece of open space in the middle of a deprived area? By voting for the Town Green, the Lib Dems only did what was right and we should all be grateful for that.
I am very pleased that Talacre Gardens will survive and be protected for ourselves and those who follow us.
Kathy Seery
Fitzjohn Avenue, NW3

Site saved

• TALACRE Town Green’s the best news I’ve heard in a long time.
I was one of the kids who played on the Talacre bombsite in the 1960s. My parents marched through the streets with placards, asking the council to leave it an open space, because they wanted to build on it then, just like they wanted to recently. Well, next time they think about building on “the site” (as we called it), they just won’t be able to. I live on the other side of Kentish Town now, but I want to say thank you to everybody who campaigned and to the politicians who listened to the community. I’m an old cynic, but the way this story has ended has warmed my heart.
John Hill
Lawford Road, NW5


• TO the friends of Talacre Gardens, congratulations on your great achievement; it just shows what a powerful force the local community can be.
Elizabeth Horder
Regent’s Park Road, NW1

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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