Long-term future of Dalby Street is in council's hands
On Thursday evening, June 19, the Camden Executive Environment Sub-Group meeting will determine whether Camden will stamp and approve the stopping up of Dalby Street and major alterations to the Prince of Wales Road. If they do, a much used public highwa
On Thursday evening, June 19, the Camden Executive Environment Sub-Group meeting will determine whether Camden will stamp and approve the stopping up of Dalby Street and major alterations to the Prince of Wales Road.
If they do, a much used public highway will be lost forever. A seven-storey tall building will take its place. It will overwhelm the popular two-storey Talacre Sports Centre next to it.
The road closure of Dalby Street is and will remain a deep concern to local residents, and to the Sports Centre and Talacre Gardens users.
I attended and gave evidence at the recent Public Inquiry into these matters - it is noteworthy not a single planner or leisure service official attended at the four-day event!
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Mr Dave Jenkins, engineer for Camden and its solitary witness, astonishingly admitted in his evidence that no independent traffic survey had been conducted at Prince of Wales Road prior to the council submitting their so-called 'highway improvement measures' which would allow the Dalby Street scheme to go ahead. This is at decapitated buses corner.
Similarly, Mr Jenkins told the inquiry that there was no independent traffic survey conducted at Dalby Street. Although the developer did provide a one day survey which, in our view, was not extensive enough to give a realistic idea of what goes on, day in and day out, not only during normal school days, but at other times. On weekends, school half terms, Bank Holidays, and during Christmas, Easter and summer breaks.
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No independent survey on anticipated traffic at the New Dalby Street (the proposed alternative road access to the sports centre) was provided by Camden.
Mr Jenkins also indicated that Camden had not had a Road Safety Audit on the prospective New Dalby Street conducted. He said that it was the intention of Camden to have such a safety audit conducted "sometime in the future" - if and when the stopping up order went ahead.
But he also admitted that recommendations made by such a safety audit could only be implemented if practical. He added that site restrictions would possibly be an impediment to carrying out some necessary or recommended measures.
This, to us, is a clear indication that the site is too small for the ambitious scheme of the developer to be adjusted or modified later. Practically, defects that might be found are irreversible.
At that inquiry, Mr Jenkins of Camden recommended the use of traffic Marshals to circumvent problems anticipated with the narrow, sub-standard new access to the sport centre, not only during construction time, but forever after. However, Mr Jenkins told us that he had had no direct experience of using such a measure and admitted that he did not know how this would work or know where marshals come from. Indeed, he did not think that this way of dealing with a problematic road had ever been tried before.
This would be a first.
Local residents who rely heavily on the Talacre amenities provided by Talacre Gardens and the Sports Centre take no comfort in relinquishing a public highway without the benefit of hard facts and proven measures.
No right thinking person could ever go ahead with a scheme on the basis that things will work out somehow. Simply to infer "we have pressed the start button, the journey must proceed over the cliff" is sheer lunacy.
This project is ill-thought out. It already causes a great deal of anxieties locally and will prevent the Sports Centre from flourishing. It will clearly harm the Sports Centre's long-term prospects.
In our view, Camden Planners and Engineers have let down local residents in promoting this scheme. They have neglected their duty to protect the public.
Consequently, we urge those who are elected to 'undo' the damage caused by these unelected officials. Reject the Stopping Up of Dalby Street and let everyone breathe a sigh of relief.
Céline La Frenière
Co-ordinator of the Talacre Gardens Neighbourhood Watch