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Dalby Street apologists are a small and unique band

PUBLISHED: 10:22 22 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:50 07 September 2010

IN defending the development at Dalby Street, Talacre and its access arrangements (Access to Talacre is legally secured, H&H letters January 15), Cllr Chris Knight joins a very small group of apologists. Perhaps defending it goes with his job description

IN defending the development at Dalby Street, Talacre and its access arrangements (Access to Talacre is legally secured, H&H letters January 15), Cllr Chris Knight joins a very small group of apologists. Perhaps defending it goes with his job description as Executive Member for Environment.

Apart from council officers and those who stand to materially gain from it such as the developer (Findon Urban Lofts), One Housing Group and the Prince of Wales Medical Practice, I have found only ex-Cllr Mike Greene - Cllr Knight's predecessor - to have been in support.

Cllr Greene even distinguished himself by persuading the council to remove the road humps on the new 55m long, 4.8m wide pavement-less road that takes vehicles from Prince of Wales Road to the entrance of the sports centre.

Apparent support, including from the inspector for the public inquiry, has existed because ever since the council's elected planning committee approved the plans subject to access arrangements, the combination of the planning decision and the access decision has never been considered.

The inspector said he couldn't revisit the planning decision. When the newly appointed Head of Sports at the council was required to write to the inspector about the situation for the Talacre Sports Centre, he said he thought the access could be "managed". No one considered whether the combined effect was detrimental to the sports centre. It quite obviously is.

We who have tirelessly pointed this out were rewarded by finding that the agreement signed by the developer on September 30 last year requires the developer and later the owners of the 36 private flats to pay whatever is needed "to safeguard the public amenity" which means mainly the sports centre.

This means potentially unlimited service charges payable by the owners of the 36 private flats. For a three bedroom flat, they are already nearly £200 per week - rather a lot for the pleasure of in some cases living nine metres from platform one of Kentish Town West overground station, as was pointed out (Peter Cuming's letter, H&H letters January 15).

The question now is whether Camden will enforce this agreement. To make sure no one including council officers is in any doubt as to the issues, we are launching a website very shortly giving details of the agreements, the developers and the background. Watch this space.

Nick Harding

Talacre under Threat

St Ann's Gardens, NW5


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