Let's abandon this daft and chaotic planning folly

Your admirable leader entitled (Developers are taking liberties, H&H Comment May 22) identifies a scale of local planning problems unseen before. Proponents of outlandish schemes too often involve the Camden town planners and highway staff, paddling sepa

Your admirable leader entitled (Developers are taking liberties, H&H Comment May 22) identifies a scale of local planning problems unseen before.

Proponents of outlandish schemes too often involve the Camden town planners and highway staff, paddling separate canoes down planning rapids.

Serious obstacles to development are then frequently the subject of attempts by developers late in the day to by-pass difficulties.

This is after they have been misleadingly allowed to have unreasonable hope that apparently insurmountable problems can somehow be solved later. This may involve eccentric, untried and original arrangements such as groups of traffic marshals.


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Over Millfield Lane, last week, the Fitzroy Farm developer's agent uttered the word 'marshal' in respect of controlling thousands of construction vehicle movements during a period of 30 months.

In my view, this horrendous proposition was correctly rejected out of hand. Most of some 30,000 bathers rely on Millfield Lane for accessing the Kenwood Ladies Pond each year. In contrast, Dalby Street, situated next to Kentish Town West station, is the chosen access for most of the 250,000 visitors a year to the Talacre Community Sports Centre.

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Dalby Street is to be closed and the much narrower lane replacing it will permanently rely on marshals every day. Yes, incredibly, for ever! Can it ever have been so clear that New Dalby Street is a daft, chaotic and mishandled planning folly that simply awaits total abandonment?

How many more actors have to be found to lie down on the borough highways?

Peter Cuming

Talacre Road, NW5

Your thoughtful leader about the conflict between planning officers, developers and the public over access to major developments is particularly relevant to the Talacre Sports Centre access plans which are due for discussion by the council's Executive (Environment) Sub-Group in June.

Planning permission was agreed, subject to acceptable access arrangements, for a development that puts the extremely successful sports centre and Treetops at the mercy of a developer and later of the owners of 55 flats.

Not just for the period when the flats are being built, but for all time. The existing access road will be built on, and access will then only be from a new narrow privately-owned road without pavements and managed by marshals employed first by the developer and then by the owners of the flats.

The access agreement with the developer is intended to ensure that there is no disadvantage to "public amenity" and any costs resulting from the existence of the flats will be met by them as the sports centre adapts over time, or for any other consequences of the development.

The parties are trapped. If this really is the case, the developers (Findon Urban Lofts plc, owners of Cornwall Developments, a British Virgin Island company) should be asked how they think they can sell three-bedroom flats for £1million as they claimed at the recent public enquiry.

The owners would be saddled with unlimited future costs. If it isn't the case, the council will have failed in its duty to safeguard the public amenity: ie the precious asset of the sports centre and Treetops.

Nick Harding

Talacre under Threat

(tut@hpf.org.uk)

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