13 March 2007Many of the shopping areas covered by Camden Council – Camden Town among them – have special development plans to encourage balanced, userand business-friendly environments. Not, however, Kentish Town.
Such a plan would identify local needs and set out how the Council, the local community, businesses and other agencies could work together to improve Kentish Town and Fortess Roads.
It would allow a holistic approach to local problems, such as the all-too-evident threat of these centres being turned by high rents into boarded-up deserts dotted with occasional Tesco and Sainbury’s ministores, and bunches of mobile phone shops.
Siân Berry has been campaigning for years to support local shops and businesses, particularly in fighting the dramatic rent rises on Fortess Road that have seen several shops on the road close and many more struggle to survive.
Siân said: “What we all want is sets of diverse local shops that meet our needs, provide employment and opportunites for local people, and form a part of the community. Many people can’t travel far to buy the things they need, and many more would prefer not to have to. “That’s why Kentish Town wants a vibrant, varied high street, not a mulitnational ‘clone’ high street.”
Green Party Councillor Maya de Souza has confirmed with Council officers that there is no provision in the 2006/07 budget for a plan for Kentish Town, and that no bids have been made for it to be included in the 2007/08 budget. Siân Berry has agreed with the two Green councillors, Maya and party leader Adrian Oliver, that this must be a priority. The Camden Greens have decided that funding for a special development plan for Kentish Town will be part of their budget bid for 2007/8.