December 13 2013 Latest news:
Monday, September 23, 2013
Members of the Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust are heading to the ballot box this week to elect two new trustees to replace outgoing chairman Angus Walker and fellow trustee Geoffrey Marriott, who are stepping down after two three-year terms. The four candidates in the election, which closes on Wednesday, are divided equally into two camps, with one calling for change at the trust and the others looking to continue business as usual.
Brian Ingram, 64, of Brookland Rise, the Suburb, is a retired businessman who has lived in the area for 40 years. The father-of-two is a member of the Suburb residents’ association and hopes to be a “force for change” if elected to the trust council.
He said: “I’ve lived here for 40 years and up until about seven or eight years ago I was happy with what was going on in the Suburb. But there are problems at the trust – are we a community or a conservation area? The trust seems to be trying to cut down its brief. Its definition of amenities is narrowing and I don’t like that.
“Why is it we are able to save all these trees but we can’t save a playground?”
Mr Ingram says he would be happy to increase the annual management charge paid by residents to the trust if it would help to improve the service, arguing that the body is not accountable to residents.
Dr Raphael Papadopoulos, 80, of Asmuns Place, is a retired academic, originally from Greece, who splits his time between his home in the Suburb and another in Sweden.
The father-of-two says he serves the “feelings and concerns of a good number of residents” who are unhappy with the way the trust operates in the Suburb. Dr Papadopoulos wishes to join incumbent trustee Dr Saul Zadka on the council, who shares his concerns.
Dr Papadopoulos said: “This year I’ve decided to put myself up as a candidate because we feel things need to be changed. The trust ignores its scheme of management whenever it doesn’t suit and most importantly don’t recognise the rights of the residents who pay the management charge. They don’t recognise their right to be consulted on how their money is spent.”
He added: “This is the essence of the dispute. We don’t believe the trust has the legal authority to charge as much as they do or the authority to apportion the spending the way they do.”
Michael Franklin, 69, of Oakwood Road, is a former clothes store owner who was brought up in the Suburb and moved away before returning 13 years ago. He has two children and has been chairman of the Suburb horticultural society for six years, but plans to step down in November.
As a trustee, Mr Franklin would draw on the expertise he has gained at the society.
He said: “Coming from my background, I would take a special interest in open spaces and wish to have dialogue with Barnet Council about improving our parks. I don’t think there’s anyone on that trust who has that specialism.
“Members should vote for me because my interests bring something new to the trust.”
Mr Franklin describes himself as a “traditionalist” and similarly-minded to fellow candidate Richard Wiseman.
He added: “I want to preserve the architectural integrity of the Suburb and help residents with their queries to the trust.”
Richard Wiseman, 62, of Hill Close, is a retired lawyer who worked as global head of ethics and compliance for oil and gas giant Shell. The father-of-three has lived in the Suburb for 17 years and is a member of the residents’ association.
He believes the Suburb is “well-run” by the trust and insists the ill-feeling towards the organisation by some sections of the community, who were unhappy about the extensions to Henrietta Barnett School, in Central Square, must be forgotten.
Mr Wiseman insists change in the Suburb can be “achieved through evolution, not revolution” and points to a group of residents who, he says, “want to tear up the rules and start again”.
As a trustee, Mr Wiseman would look to improve a number of areas, explaining: “We need to reinstate a greater community spirit which I think was around at some time but has fallen. The Suburb is a tremendous architectural resource, which should be used more in the Suburb and outside.”