Camden plan for digital advertising and 40p public toilet charge to tackle £70m cuts

09:00 04 September 2014

Cllr Theo Blackwell, cabinet member for finance, atop Camden Town Hall. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Cllr Theo Blackwell, cabinet member for finance, atop Camden Town Hall. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

© Nigel Sutton email

Camden Council is preparing to introduce charges for the use of public toilets and sell digital advertising on the side of its buildings in an effort to plug a £70million funding gap.

New revenue and savings

£2.4million savings through move to online parking system

£412,000 saved by streamlining alcohol treatment providers

£2.5million could be generated through digital advertising

£80,000 savings through removal of two library service positions

The plans are part of a raft of new money-making schemes devised by the council to deal with government cuts, which also 
include a levy on late-night bars and corporate sponsorship of public parks.

Since 2010, the council has been forced to make £93m worth of savings and is required to cut a further £70m over the next three years.

Back-office “efficiencies”, as well as the revenue generated through new advertising, have been earmarked by the council to offset £30m of these savings.

Large-scale job losses and cuts to frontline services are expected to be announced in December to deal with the remaining £40m deficit.

Cllr Theo Blackwell, cabinet member for finance and technology policy, said: “What we have got to do in order to protect frontline services is find ways to raise extra revenue.

“I don’t want Camden to be spoiled by public and private advertising but it’s a necessary measure. It’s not something we want to do but it’s something we have got to do to protect frontline services.”

Camden Conservative leader Cllr Claire-Louise Leyland told the Ham&High the council was expected to announce 500 job losses in December, in addition to the loss of 200 managerial posts which was set to be announced at a cabinet meeting last night.

Cllr Leyland criticised the council for a lack of consultation with residents on the job losses.

She said: “If we are wanting to make fundamental changes to how we work and involve residents in decision-making, surely that would have to be thought about before we get rid of all those staff?”

Cllr Leyland conceded that the council’s revenue-raising measures were “worth considering” but insisted the idea of digital 
advertising was a concept promoted originally by Tory Swiss Cottage councillor Don Williams.

The council will begin a public consultation on its plans in the new year and will be required to change its planning rules in order to enable digital advertising on public buildings.

Cllr Blackwell said the council owns “half the properties on Heath Street” in Hampstead but admitted that the area would not be “appropriate” for the new plans, pointing to “town centre” buildings such as Swiss Cottage Library as preferable contenders.

The council projects advertising revenue could bring in £2.5m by 2018.

Camden’s nine free-to-use public toilets, including sites in South End Green and Pond Square, Highgate, cost the council £200,000-a-year to maintain and will be subject to charges under the new plans - a charge of 40p per entry has been rumoured - like the charges levied on toilets at mainline train stations.

There are also plans for an annual levy on late-night venues across Camden to fund community policing during these hours, as well as commercial partnerships with companies wishing to use council-run parks in the borough.

The council is also planning to launch a campaign calling on the government to allow £1-per-bed-per-night levies on hotels in Camden to help fund street cleaning in popular tourist spots.

As part of the planned “efficiencies”, a vacant “strategy post” in the library service will be lost and one customer service officer will be removed from the schools library service.

Swiss Cottage School Development and Research Centre is one of a number of primary and special schools that subscribes to the council’s schools library service, paying an annual subscription of £4,069 for access to library resources.

Headteacher Kay Bedford did not believe the changes would affect the school’s service from nearby Swiss Cottage Library, in Avenue Road.

She said: “We are across the road from the library so it’s easy enough for us to use it. I think the council is trying to do its best not to cut frontline services.”

The council also plans to save £412,000 through changes to its alcohol treatment services by streamlining three care providers into one.

A council spokesman said: “We currently provide two alcohol support services – a community alcohol service and a family alcohol service. These services are delivered across three contracts at a cost of £1.3 million annually.

“We’re proposing to change the way these services are delivered. There will be no reduction in support and we will continue to focus on recovery, increasing social inclusion and promoting independence.”

Another £2.4m will be saved through a reduction in pay and display parking machines as part of a move towards a new online system.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

Squatters at West End Lane

Squatters are currently believed to have barricaded themselves into a former council building in West Hampstead after an eviction order was served.

London Ambulance Service has been recommended for special measures following a CQC report

The London Ambulance Service has been placed into special measures after being slammed by a health watchdog investigation as “inadequate”.

Tulip Siddiq challenged the Prime Minister in the House of Commons

Mothers’ maiden names should be listed on marriage certificates alongside fathers’ names, Hampstead and Kilburn’s MP has told Parliament.

Piers Corbyn, right, with the squatters in West Hampstead and Cllr Lorna Russell

Squatters who have occupied empty former council offices in West Hampstead will appear in court today.

Cllr Sarah Hayward

The leader at Camden Council has warned that the Chancellor’s comprehensive spending review may leave the authority struggling to carry out essential duties and place vulnerable residents at risk.

Crouch End Festival Chorus at St John's Smith Square. Photo: Emily Soppet

The Crouch End Festival Chorus is taking a deep breath and running a 12-hour sponsored singing marathon this Saturday to raise funds for a major recording project.

Flowers on Parkland Walk

Police are investigating after live ammunition was discovered in Parkland Walk.

The youth attacked the women in Parliament Hill

The parents of a woman who was robbed and sexually assaulted on Hampstead Heath stormed out of a courtroom in anger after her 16-year-old attacker was jailed for just one year.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


MAC Makeup

MAC are renowned for their flawless, fabulous make up that is used worldwide by the stars. You too can have the chance to have the perfect makeup to suit your needs with £1,000 to spend on all the glam goodies you like!


You are never far from an Argos, wherever in the country you may be. They are like a magical cavern where whatever you need they seem to have it out the back behind the counter. So why not put them to the test with this great MyOffers competition to win £1000 to spend in-store.

Digital Edition

Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder