Waltz of my heart



Songhaven is a free concert series specifically designed for people living with dementia or
memory loss and their carers. They will be hosting their next event on Saturday 11 March at 3:00pm, at the Lumen Church on Tavistock Place.

It’s called ‘Waltz of my Heart’, and wil be a dance-inspired programme by mezzo soprano and Bloomsbury resident Vivien Conacher, who will be joined by guest soprano Eleanor Ross and pianist Nigel Foster. The 40 minute concert programme will include waltz songs, tunes from the operetta stage, beloved operatic arias, and more. Composers featured include Richard Rogers, George Gershwin, Ivor Novello, Leonard Bernstein, Irving Berlin, Franz Lehár, and Jacques Offenbach.


As Vivien has told Marchmont Voice, “The event will provide  a wonderful opportunity for audience and performers to mingle, and chat about their favourite songs. Everyone is free to be themselves at a Songhaven concert and we pride ourselves on our relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. The response to the previous concert in February was just amazing”.

You can look forward as well to “an uplifting audience singalong, followed by afternoon tea” by Black Olive Cooks.

To book visit Songhaven.co.uk or call Age UK Camden on 0207 239 0417




Councillors set to kick Tavi Place decision down the road


Camden councillors look likely to defer a final decision on the Tavistock/Torrington Place traffic scheme at Wednesday night’s long awaited Cabinet session. The papers for the meeting contain a recommendation that the consultation findings should first go to a formal Public Inquiry which would “further examine the merits of the scheme”. This is likely to delay the decision for up to another six months and could cost the Council as much as £100,000. Opponents of the plans will see this as a final chance to state their case, with those in favour hoping it is just a final hurdle to clear.

It’s understood that the recommendation for a public inquiry is the consequence of an administative oversight by planning officers when the trial was set up in autumn 2015. At that time the necessary copy of the experimental traffic order was not lodged at the Town Hall. This would have left the Council exposed to a possible legal challenge, subsequent to a decision being made. Whether an objection has already been made by a member of the public, or whether the council is taking a safety-first approach to ensure that it doesn’t face a later legal challenge isn’t clear from the paperwork.

In the meantime the trial  layout, with one direction of vehicle traffic and separate east and west bound cycle lanes, will be maintained.

The papers for Wednesday night’s meeting also include a detailed review of the consultation results, at a much more local level than we have seen before. These show  local residents did back the Council’s proposals. Overall 79% of the 15,000 responses  supported the trial layout. Amongst local residents living in WC1 addresses, the majority was also in favour – though by a slimmer 56%.

Local support extends across Bloomsbury. At the smaller-scale four digit postcode level, there was a majority in favour in all postcode areas with the exception of WC1B – which covers the area around the British Museum and Southampton Row – where 68% were opposed. But residents living closest to Tavistock Place and Torrington Place backed the one-way traffic proposal. In WC1H – which includes Judd St – 56% were in favour, whilst in WC1E (around UCL) it was 60% and in WC1N (Russell Square / Great Ormond St) a majority of 53% were supportive.

A lot of detail by types of respondent is also provided in the report, and shows very high support for the trial amongst students (95% in favour), local business employees (92%), University staff (95%) and hospital staff (87%). Even 57% of people providing services and deliveries to local businesses were supportive. The only groups opposed to the layout were patients travelling to nearby hospitals and – unsurprisingly – taxi drivers. 99% of the cabbies to respond to the consultation were opposed. But there were 13 in favour.

Coram’s Fields February Holiday Schedule & Term Time Programme

Coram's Fields User Group

Dear Supporters and Friends,

Here are the latest sport, youth and holiday scheme details provided by Coram’s Fields, which we are happy to pass on.

Half Term Holiday Play Schema: feb-2017-holiday-playscheme-programme

Youth Programme: yc-timetable

Sport Programme: sports-programme-feb-half-term

February Drop-Ins:  february-schedule-drop-in

As always we need your feedback and wishes on this, so please write to us anything that is relevant!

We have some important updates to with you soon, so wait for our next newsletter.

Thank you


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Bloomsbury Research Institute gets go ahead

A long awaited decision has been made on the proposed Bloomsbury Research Institute, to be constructed behind the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) building at 15-17 Tavistock Place. It has been granted full planning permission by Camden Council, subject to a Section 106 legal agreement.


No start date has yet been given for these works, which are anticipated to last for 2 years. The Marchmont Association has written to key stakeholders and partner organisations to make them aware of this development. We will also be seeking to assist with the smooth delivery of this major building project, for the benefit of the local community, through our participation in the Community Liaison Group, which the sponsors of the project, University College London and LSHTM, undertook to establish as a means of communicating with stakeholders for the duration of the construction.

The Construction Management Plan (CMP) was agreed as part of the planning consent and can be viewed on the Council’s planning pages relating to this project. Alternatively, we will provide interested parties with copies of the CMP on request, by using the ‘Get Involved’ link on the MA web site.

Residents and businesses will have all kinds of concerns, including noise, vibrations, dust, working hours – not to mention the impact on Tavistock Place and other streets which are on the intended route to be used by heavy goods vehicles servicing the construction works.

Bob Gilbert to be guest speaker at this year’s Friends of St George’s meeting

This year’s Friends of St George’s Gardens AGM will be on Thursday March 23, 7-9pm at the usual venue, Lumen Church, 88 Tavistock Place.


This year’s speaker will be Bob Gilbert, urban ecologist and author of The Green London Way. You may have met him at last year’s Bloomsbury Festival leading a fascinating walk through the Gardens.

The Green London Way is a different way of looking at London: a walking route of over 110 miles encircling the city -and divided into 18 separate and easily manageable sections. More than just a walking route, however, it’s a journey through the city’s social and natural history and especially the lost stories of the people who live, or once lived, here. More than anything else, it provides a testament to the open spaces of London and to those who have struggled, over many generations, to preserve them.

Iain Sinclair on ‘The Green London Way’:

‘More than ever now, as edgeland becomes a value to be fought over, we need the sanity and the calm informative voice of walkers like Bob Gilbert. This is more than an elegy, it’s an inspiration: open your eyes, see what is there and not what you are told is there.’

Routes off the streets

The recent icy weather brings the problem of rough sleeping into particularly sharp focus. The number of people rough sleeping in the borough has more than doubled over the last six years,  to more than 600 in 2016. This is a blog for Marchmont Voice by Councillor Jonathan Simpson, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and the Voluntary Sector, on what the Council is able to do to help rough sleepers and how we can all help.

Image result for councillor jonathan simpson


No-one should be sleeping outside any time of the year, let alone in these freezing temperatures.

This month Camden Council has been providing additional ‘severe weather beds’ for our specialist service the Safer Streets Team (SST) to refer rough sleepers to, providing immediate respite from the cold as well as access to other support services so people don’t return to the street where possible.

The Council’s commitment to supporting people sleeping rough is not just something we do in the winter. Our specialist SST service operates all year round and is made up of highly skilled, tenacious and experienced professionals. We’re committed to funding this service despite the funding pressures this government is putting on local authorities.

Ironically, it’s the same government’s policy of austerity that is causing more people to sleep rough in Camden, across London and nationally. In 2010, we had about 250 people rough sleeping in the borough. Last year, the figure was over 600.

We’ve got to respond to this challenge. In February, the Council’s Cabinet will be scrutinising a proposed new policy that we’re calling ‘Routes off the streets’. The policy is designed to improve access to specialist services for rough sleepers who experience multiple disadvantages, such as supporting women and girls who have experienced violence and LBGT issues. As with any good public service, we need to consider all aspects of the individual’s needs, assessing the issues causing them to sleep rough in the first place.

The new strategy also recognises the need to work together. Ensuring health services, including primary care and treatment for addiction and mental health are available for those who need them.  We will work closely with all groups based in the community providing help and assistance to people sleeping rough, sharing expertise and energy so that together we’re able to respond to the challenges of emerging issues such as labour exploitation and human trafficking.

We know that one of the most important things is to try and ensure a consistency of approach across London.  This is a city wide, national and international issue and one we can’t solve alone in Camden.

We’re already working with the London Mayor’s No Nights Sleeping Rough Taskforce and local agencies to enhance the support available including the provision of temporary accommodation and assessment space away from the street.

There is also a pressing requirement for all London boroughs to work together and with the Greater London Authority and central government on developing approaches and allocating further funding that can assist rough sleepers as quickly as possible.

We want you to play a part too. We’ve all been in the situation when we’ve come across someone on the streets, but we’re not sure how to respond. ‘Routes off the streets’ will focus on making more residents, visitors and businesses in Camden aware of the services available to rough sleepers and how they can to assist in tackling the problem.

These approaches will help meet our commitment to offer a route off the street for every person who ends up rough sleeping in our borough. I would urge anyone who has concerns about rough sleeping in the borough to contact our  Safer Streets hotline at any time on 020 7833 7970 or Freephone 0808 800 0005 and to encourage others to do so.