IT’S A DREADFUL SUMMER – SO LET’S THINK POSITIVE. LET’S MAKE OUR NEIGHBOURHOOD GREENER, MORE BEAUTIFUL, MORE USEFUL
The air is polluted, there’s too much traffic, building sites and noise – nowhere peaceful and safe to walk. Time for us local residents to make improvements.
Those of you who have read our draft Neighbourhood Plan know we’ve been setting aspirations for a better, healthier out-door life, and one way to do that is to set up a “green corridor” where we can walk through our area in relative peace and quiet. In our Plan we have a chapter on the “River Fleet Walk”, where we can start to make these nice things happen!
The Fleet River used to run through our neighbourhood, until it was enclosed in brick/stone culverts. You can find maps of the tunnels in the Camden Archive. We know the enclosed river runs down what is now Cubitt Street and Pakenham Street, past the road junction where the Pakenham Arms used to stand, down Phoenix Place, across Mount Pleasant, under the viaduct that carries Rosebery Avenue, and through to Warner Street and Ray Street. That long back-street walk is, at the moment, messed up with traffic alterations and building-site hoardings.
Now is the time for us to start planning for a better vision – applying to the GLA for trees and street-planting, applying to the developers to give us planting containers, trees and shrubs. (Developers have funds to donate to the community). We can also ask the developers to provide us with benches and other street furniture. We can discuss maintenance and costs with Camden Council, where the Forum will recommend this extra greening costs come out of the local Community Infrastructure Levy (CiL) (which is the money developers must pay to the Council for their building works).
We can make this walk from north to south through our area a pleasant and calming experience, and experiment in some locations with options such as play-streets and meeting areas.
We need our collective imagination to go to work.
• We need to discuss what sort of trees and plants we want,
• What street-furniture is acceptable,
• Do we want water-features?
• How this area can meet our needs for walking, cycling and child-safety.
• Cohesive traffic direction signage
• We might want to consider whether we want signs telling the story of this river course, whether we want symbols in the pavement or signage information boards along the walk.
We’re writing our chapter on the Fleet River Walk in your Neighbourhood Plan at the moment. Tell us what you think, and if you would, help us with suggestions. Amongst other requests, do any of you know how to draw maps on computers, or have access/experience with the software to do this? Let us know if you can help.
(Other articles to follow: proposed playground open-space near Christopher Hatton Primary School: proposals for a Secondary School in Wren Street. You can also read further examples of how we can make our neighbourhood a healthier place in the Neighbourhood Plan’s chapter on Green Issues/Air Pollution/Traffic)