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Extraordinary story of how council gave away a road

PUBLISHED: 17:50 10 June 2008 | UPDATED: 15:08 07 September 2010

The extraordinarily poorly considered development at Dalby Street becomes more insidious on closer inspection. The revelation that the only vehicular access and, after dark the only pedestrian access, to the Talacre Sports Centre will forever more belong

The extraordinarily poorly considered development at Dalby Street becomes more insidious on closer inspection. The revelation that the only vehicular access and, after dark the only pedestrian access, to the Talacre Sports Centre will forever more belong to the developer or the owners of 55 flats is astonishing. The service management plan for the proposed building should give Camden Council the right to make amendments if required "to safeguard public amenity and the reasonable access requirements" of the sports centre. Does this mean that if people are put off attending the Talacre centre because of the poor access and parking facility then the cost of extra security guards, for example at both ends of the pedestrian alleyway after dark, can be forced on the developer and future freeholders?

If the sports centre wants to expand in size or its operations, what happens then?

At the public inquiry it was said that any extra costs resulting from the development would be met from service charges. The developer showed that service charges based on the present marshalling requirements would be up to £3,500pa for a three-bedroom "affordable" flat and £7,000pa for a private one - these figures are way above any other high-end local residential developments like One Prince of Wales Road or The Gates and are more Knightsbridge in scale than Kentish Town. One wonders who would buy or rent a flat with the risk of much higher charges, even than those. This development risks becoming a white elephant, a huge building full of empty, unsellable flats. Alternatively the words in the agreement don't mean what we were told they do and the "public amenity" will wither on the vine.

All locals support development of the site - it is an eyesore at the moment - but on the footprint that was originally acquired. Just why the authorities saw fit to give away a local road for nothing to increase a private development footprint is peculiar.

Talacre is a priceless asset for the local community and needs to be protected by the council not attacked.

Yours sincerely

Jenny Gee

Healey Street, Nw1


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