It's easy to sit back and complain. It's easy to avoid going to meetings or taking part in consultations. It requires time and effort - but it's worth it when things change for the better. Our H&CG Ward councillors work tirelessly on our behalf. We need to tell them what we think and what we want. They may not always agree with us, or us with them, but at least they're listening. Here at HV we believe in working with Camden to make the borough better for everyone. That's why we encourage you to take part in the consultations and to come to the Area Action Group meetings. If we all work together it's easier and we can get the results more of us want.
HV asked Cllr Julian Fulbrook to provide a new year message for our subscribers. Here it is:
2017 was certainly an unpredictable year in politics, from the puerility of Trump and his tweets - unlikely to be conducive to peace and goodwill - and to our own national cliff edge of Brexit.
At the local level we are still labouring hard to mitigate the long-term effects of government austerity, which have so slashed the amount payable to Camden and also increased the burden on local taxpayers. However, now that the finances have stabilised to some extent, we are looking ahead to ‘Camden 2025’, working with a Citizens’ Assembly, to itemise with residents what the important issues are in our Borough looking ahead.
Some of this discussion takes place at our own termly Area Action Groups in Holborn and Covent Garden, where we bring Town Hall issues to our own ward, and also seek views on local issues to feed back into Borough-wide decision-making. Look out for the dates.
While there are inevitably disparate individual views on some Council policies, there also seems to be an understandable pride in what Camden has achieved in the past and a consensus on the challenges we face locally.
Leafing through a book just published - Cook's Camden: The Making of Modern Housing by Professor Mark Swenarton - it is perhaps no surprise that the social housing built in Camden when Sydney Cook was the Borough Architect is now widely regarded as the most important urban architecture built in the UK in the past 100 years. Recent additions in Holborn of Equiano and Dobson Courts in the Bourne Estate continue that tradition of quality, and of course a priority locally is to enhance the Sydney Cook local Library in Theobald’s Road and bring it into the modern era.
Looking back over the year on a cascade of ward meetings it is notable that issues such as resident safety, anti-social behaviour, drug dealing, aggressive begging, and rough sleeping dominate. We will continue to work with the Police and residents to deal with these threats. A very helpful innovation is the free App ‘Camden StreetSafe’ to pinpoint the locations of ‘hot spots’, and I would certainly urge you to sign up to this on your mobile, if you have not already done so. This local intelligence gathering has been instrumental in providing the Police and Council with the information needed to deal with many urgent problems of community safety.
Another free Camden App, ‘Clean Camden’, gives locational and photographic information on a whole range of concerns, such as drug paraphernalia, dog fouling and flytipping. This provides a serious focus on street cleaning and green issues, and a fast track approach to getting them dealt with. After the Brexit vote we had some appalling racist graffiti to deal with in the ward, and it is essential if we are to live in a pleasant environment that we tackle such excrescences immediately, and not just shrug shoulders and walk by, perhaps grumbling but not making a formal complaint, which will then trigger action. I urge every citizen to make full use of these initiatives.
Finally, it is easy to forget the positives. Our four primary schools in the ward are in the Ofsted category of ‘outstanding’, there are some superb community programmes – many relying on volunteers – and the Community Investment Programme continues to deliver much-needed revenue and capital funding to a range of local projects. Truly Holborn continues to be a vibrant community and we are very proud to represent you.
All the best to you, your friends and families in the New Year, on behalf of your three ward councillors.