Join us in shaping Camden’s 2021 and beyond
14 January, 2021
• LIKE few years in our lifetimes, 2020 challenged us all. It challenged communities, high streets and businesses.
Covid-19 accelerated many of the changes we were already seeing, the rise of home working, challenges to the retail environment, and increased online shopping.
One of the big questions facing us is how to support businesses and high streets, not just to survive, but thrive after the pandemic.
These areas are at the heart of communities, providing goods, services, jobs, and, especially during the pandemic, sometimes the only friendly faces many who live alone will see.
On Monday, from 7pm, we will be discussing the future of our high streets at the full council, which you can watch on the council YouTube channel.
We will reflect on the efforts made last year to support businesses and protect jobs, especially in retail and hospitality.
These include turning parking over to space for people to eat outside, very successfully in places like Primrose Hill, South End Green, Charlotte Street and, of course, at the Belsize “streatery”, which led the way.
This was as well as distributing more than £75million in national support grants to keep shops, pubs, and cultural venues alive.
Camden implemented other measures quickly; such as extra space to help people pass and to queue outside major stores.
We have introduced new cycle parking, 20 new street trees as part of highways projects, and new walking and cycling measures, such as zebra crossings and safe cycle lanes, to enable us to travel round Camden more safely.
We need our town centres to be full and vibrant, and so we are working to match empty units to pop-up temporary uses.
And we have set up a digital high streets platform to help Camden residents support their shops online instead of tax-avoiding multinational platforms: www.camden.gov.uk/shoplocal
The recession that lies ahead is daunting, not least with the damage Brexit will also do. And other threats exist; such as the government’s plans to allow shops and restaurants to convert straight to residential without planning permission.
Our vision in Camden is different from this free-for-all nightmare. Ours is in line with the new 15-minute city vision set out by the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo.
Our commitment is to work together with businesses, residents, and community groups to reshape high streets and neighbourhood centres so everything is within close reach – local places to work, play, eat, drink, shop, create, and stay, and accessible and welcoming for all.
CLLR DANNY BEALES
Cabinet Member for Investing in Communities, Culture & an Inclusive Economy
CLLR ADAM HARRISON
Cabinet Member for a Sustainable Camden