Doorstep crime warning

Camden trading standards have told us they are becoming increasingly concerned with the number of reports coming through about older and vulnerable residents being targeted by rogue traders.  They say…

“In the last couple of months we have had some very serious incidents reported to trading standards and the police regarding home improvement companies targeting older vulnerable adults.  In each case the trader has insisted on cash payments which makes tracing them extremely difficult (eg £26,000 has been taken from one couple and their roof is leaking worse than ever).

Working in partnership with police we are doing all we can to find the offenders but these people travel long distances to commit fraud and are rather clever in covering their tracks.  They also trade victims to the extent that the details of vulnerable adults are sold to burglary teams who then repeatedly target them too.  The impact on health and wellbeing following frauds committed in the home and burglaries is such that older victims are more likely to end up in residential care not long after being targeted and in some instances, where the victim is humiliated enough by their own actions, they can actually give up on life completely.

Anyone concerned about incidents like this should call Citizen’s Advice Consumer Services helpline on 03454 04 05 06. Citizen’s Advice are the front line call takers for trading standards and they refer criminal matters through to the Council for investigation.

 

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Mew appeal launched

Having already received generous pledges from a number of individual supporters towards the £1,200 cost of manufacturing and installing a plaque to poet Charlotte Mew, the Marchmont Association is now launching our public fund-raising appeal.

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All donors will be credited on publicity (with their consent) and will be invited to the unveiling event and associated reception. If you would like to contribute, we would be delighted to hear from you via: ideas@marchmontassociation.org.uk.

Please feel free to pass on this information to others who you think might be interested in contributing.

Charlotte Mew was born at 30 Doughty St and lived there from 1869 to 1890. Virginia Woolf referred to her as ‘the greatest living poetess.’ Siegfried Sassoon wrote of Mew: ‘One who surely stands with Emily Brontë and Christina Rossetti . . . many will be on the rubbish heap when Charlotte’s star is at the zenith where it will remain.’ Her foremost champion Thomas Hardy wrote: ‘Miss Mew is far and away the best living woman poet – who will be read when others are forgotten.’

Following a long period of neglect, the feminist press Virago edition of her work, published in 1982, played a major role in her renaissance, as did the Penguin Classic Complete Poems edition published in 2000. Since that date her reputation has been steadily climbing.She will make a welcome addition to the local collection of literary blue plaques.

Richard Ekins – MA Committee

 

Bloomsbury Squares remain in ‘unlocking parks’ pilot

Russell Square, Bloomsbury Square, St George’s Square, Queen Square, Argyle Square and Marchmont St Garden have all been removed from Camden’s ‘unlocking parks’ pilot, which will run from 30 May to 26 June. But Brunswick Square, Tavistock Square and Regent Square are still included.

Judd St Open Space (still Bramber Green to lots of us) and St Andrew’s Gardens on Grays Inn Rd will also remain in the pilot, though both will receive extra monitoring patrols and will be re-locked immediately if there is any increase in anti-social incidents.

All had been included in the original plans for the pilot, which will see parks and gardens left unlocked all during the night, in a cost-saving trial.

Discussions with police Safer Neighbourhood Teams and parks’ friends groups led to the revised list.  Squares and gardens were excluded if all night opening was judged likely to lead to an increase in anti-social behaviour – with that judgement based mainly on police evidence of actual incidents within and around each park over the past year. However some parks were also taken out if they provided concealed access to neighbouring properties, if they contained children’s play areas that were  known to be frequented by intravenous drug users or – perhaps most tellingly in the case of local sites – if they had “significant historic issues that could be exacerbated by unlocking”.

Brunswick, Tavistock and Regent Square have been categorised as ‘green sites’ meaning  they will remain unlocked during the pilot, and will only receive morning inspections by grounds’ maintenance contractor OCS, who will also record any evidence of ASB.  Any serious hazards found during morning inspections will result in sites being locked again – though the note from Camden doesn’t specify what is meant by “serious”.

We should remember this is a pilot, and it will be essential to have good evidence to review at its end. That depends as much on local residents reporting incidents as relying on the contractors. To report an accident, fault, hazard or anti-social behaviour in any squares during the pilot you can phone Contact Camden on 020 7974 4444.  Serious Incidents of ASB should be reported to the police on 101, or 999 in an emergency or if a crime is taking place.

Cuts and crime review

Having agreed to reduce the money it spends on community safety and crime reduction services by 25%, after its funding from central Government was cut by almost 50%, the Council has announced public consultation on community safety, to get views on how those savings can be made.

The Council says: –

“In order to focus resources on the most vulnerable and at highest risk in the community, our Community Safety Team will have to change the way it provides services. The consultation outlines proposed changes to the service in the context of Camden’s overall financial challenge.

There will also be information in the consultation regarding the areas where the Community Safety Service is proposing to reduce funding with the reasons for doing so. These include the response to antisocial behaviour and some of our patrol services.  The housing patrol and CCTV services on our estates will continue.

 Given the focus on providing support to those who are most vulnerable and at the highest risk of harm in our communities, we are considering increasing investment  in services to tackle domestic violence and abuse and are looking to maintain our investment in addressing rough sleeping.

The Council welcome your comments and looks forward to receiving your feedback. The public consultation will run for eight weeks and the deadline to submit feedback is 5pm Tuesday 12 July. The feedback from the consultation will help influence how the reduced funding is prioritised. Please distribute this information to any other interested Camden partner, group or individual.

You can complete the consultation online at www.camden.gov.uk/communitysafetyreview or complete a paper copy and submit via free post.

If you need further information please contact the Community Safety team on: communitysafety@camden.gov.uk

 

Local traffic schemes – public meeting date announced

A public meeting for local residents on all the proposed  traffic schemes in our area will be held at the Lumen Church on Tavistock Place at 7pm on Monday 19th September.

As discussed at the Marchmont Association AGM this week, we had been hoping to arrange a public meeting to discuss the Tavistock Place trial, with the Council, in late June. However it’s now crystal clear that LB Camden and TfL have bitten off more than they can easily chew with all these inter-locking schemes and want more time to analyse traffic data and look at consultation responses.

The announcement comes as new Mayor Sadiq Khan yesterday issued a statement  re-affirming his commitment to extending cycling in London, with the intention “to triple the current superhighway provision, with a focus on segregated lanes”   – and as Tavistock Place won ‘Best Borough Infrastructure Scheme’ at the London Cycling Awards last night.

Rather than being just about the Tavistock Place trial, the public meeting will now be about all of the Council’s current proposals – the North-South Cycle Super Highway on Judd St, the Midland Road plans, the Brunswick Square scheme that involves the closure of Lansdowne Terrace to cars and the final Tavistock/Torrington scheme which will be put out to public consultation in September. Traffic data for Torrington / Tavistock is currently being collected – you’ll have seen the cables in the streets no doubt – but the Council says it needs until September to analyse the results.

Meanwhile, as we reported at the AGM this week, the Marchmont Association wrote to Camden at the end of last month, asking for an update on the Cartwright Gardens traffic plans. At one time these were considered integral to the overall Garden Halls development, and were expected to be in place by the time the Halls are  up and running, in September. But the reply we received clearly indicates these plans have also joined the lengthening queue of local traffic schemes awaiting decision. According to LB Camden some highway works are still planned for the next few months. These, though, will only involve repaving the footways around the perimeter of the Halls and the construction of a raised table on Cartwright Gardens to provide step free access between the Halls and the gardens’ entrance.

So no progress towards a decision, for or against, on the possibility that Cartwright Gardens could be made  one-way northbound, with a southbound cycle lane.  That will now wait “until the Torrington/Tavistock trial cycling scheme has been concluded” and  “we … understand how the North/South Cycle Superhighway proposals for Judd Street and Midland Road will proceed”