Government announces changes to planning laws

On 30 June the Prime Minister announced proposed changes to the planning laws designed to make it easier to build new homes.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pm-build-build-build

There are some controversial aspects to it:

  • Changes to planning regulations to “reduce red tape” should make it easier for housebuilders, but could potentially lead to lower quality housing being built.
  • Many felt there should have been a requirement for “net zero carbon” new developments, especially given the Government’s international carbon emissions commitments (and their own legislation) – this might be addressed by future regulations.
  • There is a new “Permitted Development right” for owners of detached blocks of flats to add up to two extra floors, without needing full planning permission. This can impact leaseholders by increasing the building value and making it harder to buy out the freehold (let alone the disruption caused by an owner actually adding two extra floors).

An explanation of permitted development rights will need to wait for a different post.

For those interested, here is a link to the draft legislation:

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/632/pdfs/uksi_20200632_en.pdf

Camden Climate Action Plan

A message from Camden Council:

July 2020

Climate Crisis

Dear resident

Whilst we have been working hard to support everyone who lives, works or studies in the borough during these difficult times, we have not stopped our efforts to make our borough more sustainable. Therefore, we are contacting you with an update on two sustainability initiatives – the launch of our new Climate Action Plan and an invitation to respond to our fuel-burning survey.

Continue reading “Camden Climate Action Plan”

Coronavirus – Further easing of restrictions

With a gradual reduction in the number of new Covid-19 cases, the Government has announced a further easing of restrictions in England to take effect from Saturday 04 July.

  • Two-metre social distancing reduced to “one metre plus” if other precautions are in place.
  • Restaurants, pubs & hairdressers can re-open if they meet COVID Secure guidelines.
  • Cinemas, galleries, museums, libraries, and community centres can all re-open if they can do so safely.
  • Hotels, B&Bs, caravan parks, etc. can re-open, so people can go for holidays within England.
  • Two separate households can meet up in any social setting with social distancing, so, for example, grandparents can meet their grandchildren (though maybe not all at once).
  • Different rules apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, so check the rules there before planning any longer journeys.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pm-announces-easing-of-lockdown-restrictions-23-june-2020

There are still some things closed:

  • Indoor gyms are still closed.
  • Swimming pools are still closed.
  • Nightclubs, etc are still closed.
  • Theatres cannot have live performances, but it seems that they could show televised performances to a live audience.

Remember to wash your hands frequently, don’t cough or sneeze on anyone, and wear a face covering on public transport.

Local History – the St Pancras Rent Strike of 1960

Those with a bit of spare time on their hands might be interested in this documentary covering the St Pancras Rent Strike of 1960.

A new council elected in 1959 for the borough of St Pancras (Camden Council didn’t exist yet) planned to drastically increase council tenant rents. Naturally, many council tenants objected. They formed tenants associations, and started withholding rent when the rent increases came into effect.

The dispute went on for most of 1960. Although ultimately unsuccessful, the rent strike did lead to the formation of many tenants associations, and arguably laid the groundwork for the system of tenant participation that we have today.

Stagetext – Making culture accessible for the hard of hearing

Stagetext is a registered charity which provides captioning and live subtitling services to theatres and other arts venues to make their activities accessible to people who are d/Deaf, deafened or hard of hearing.

It was established in May 2000 by Peter Pullan, Merfyn Williams and Geoff Brown, each of whom had varying types of deafness and a determination to improve access to the performing arts for all deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people.

Stagetext is a National Portfolio Organisation of the Arts Council England.

To see what’s on in London, click on the link below. However, with events being done remotely at the moment, why not also explore what else is on around the country?

http://www.stagetext.org/

Many Shops re-open

As of yesterday, 15 June 2020, many non-essential shops have started to re-open in England. We welcome the gradual relaxation of lockdown restrictions. However, we remind all of our members to remember:

  • Wear a face covering at all times on public transport.
  • Try to maintain social distancing of 2 metres (6 feet) at all times wherever possible.
  • Consider wearing a face covering at other times when out and when you can’t social distance (e.g. in a crowd).
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • If you are over 70 or have other health conditions, still be very careful about protecting yourself – you really don’t want to get sick.
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Places of worship are also starting to re-open for private prayer only. Many churches and gurdwaras will start to re-open, but mosques, synagogues and temples will remain closed for now. Check with your local place of worship for more details.

Unfortunately, hairdressers and beauty salons are still closed.

Government Guidance for non-essential retail

Camden Recycling Rewards

Did you know that you can get discounts for recycling?

All you need to do is record your recycling every week and earn Green Points.

You get extra points by learning about recycling and other green issues. You can also get the chance to win money for a local charity. You might even win vouchers for yourself.

Every month there are other different ways to earn extra points. Maybe by organising a community event such as tidying up a local green space, or making new items from waste material. You could:

  • make a bug hotel from bundles of sticks
  • make a quilt from fabric scraps
  • make a seat from an old tyre
  • make a plant pot from an old bottle
  • make a pencil holder from an old can

https://camden.localgreenpoints.com/about