CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Talacre Gardens land loss was horrendous

14 August, 2020

The apartment building next to Talacre Park

• YOUR brilliant report about the suspicious behaviour of the developer of the 36-flat Talacre development and Nick Harding’s persistent attempt at exposing the failure of Camden Council to collect overage monies owed to them was long overdue, (Lawyers tell Town Hall: Forget £3million debt – it can’t be collected, August 6).

Little known about this particular developer is how he caused such alarm, locally, that he managed to bring a community of diverse residents together.

One thing did that: the serious threat posed to their cherished park Talacre Gardens. The land on which the developer finally built was designated park land prior to his involvement.

In Haverstock ward where Talacre Gardens was the only open space for its 11,000 residents, 25 per cent of them under the age of 19, the loss of this precious piece of land was horrendous. That it should have gone for a mere £300,000 was unforgivable.

It didn’t stop there, however. Not content with his ill-gotten gains, the developer tried to grab another piece of land on the south side, which is currently used as a picnic area, in order to make room for the sitting area for a restaurant.

Worse than that, Camden was in the process of granting permission for the developer to build a road across the park, slicing it into two parts.

That was the last straw. Residents got together and formed a 250-strong team of campaigners in the name of Friends of Talacre Gardens. A three-year battle ensued during which hundreds of letters landed in the CNJ post bag.

And there were endless meetings with Camden and involvement with the Open Space Society. Mercifully our councillor Matt Sanders joined the battle and single-handedly won the case for the Talacre residents.

In 2010 he persuaded the council to designate Talacre as a Town Green, hence making an end to the threat posed by the developer or others in the future.

That £3million which he still owes Camden would be enough to maintain Talacre Town Green till Kingdom come.

CÉLINE LA FRENIÈRE
Talacre Road, NW5

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