Lib Dem by-election candidate calls for council homes sales push to finance Gospel Oak’s regeneration

Liberal Democrat candidate Laura Noel.

Liberal Democrat candidate Laura Noel. - Credit: Archant

The Liberal Democrat candidate for the Gospel Oak by-election has called on Camden Council to sell-off more of its valuable properties to improve council housing.

As part of her election campaign, Laura Noel has pledged to put pressure on Camden Town Hall to accelerate the sale of valuable council-owned homes to pay for the regeneration of Gospel Oak.

The mother-of-three, who has lived in Courthope Road, Gospel Oak, for more than 30 years, plans on building a groundswell of community support to re-energise the scheme which she claims has faltered under Labour.

Ms Noel, 61, said although work had been done, the facilities at Queen’s Crescent Community Centre and housing along Mansfield Road needed upgrading.

She said: “When the Lib Dems ran Camden Council we started selling off property to pay for the housing improvement.

“I would like to see more of that to improve the basic housing stock in the area some of which is in very poor condition.”

She added: “The regeneration project needs to make more progress. It has not done everything it needs to. It draws together all the problems, giving an umbrella approach but still needs a push and it’s all bottom-up stuff, getting more residents involved.”

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Ms Noel, who switched allegiances from Labour after the outbreak of the Iraq war, moved to the area when she took up a job with the Whittington Hospital.

Becoming a senior manager after five years at the hospital near Highgate, she moved to Waltham Forest where she became chief executive of the health authority – responsible for a £400million budget.

She retired a few years ago and became a volunteer counsellor at the Camden, City, Islington and Westminster Bereavement Service. She quickly became chairwoman and still sees up to three clients a week at the offices in Kentish Town.

Cambridge-born Ms Noel put all three of her children through Gospel Oak Primary School at a turbulent time for the school.

It had been put in special measures by Ofsted before she became chairwoman of the school governors, with Fiona Millar as vice chairwoman, in the early 1990s.

The formidable pair saw off two headteachers to help turn the school around.