Friday, 5 February 2016

Ritz Parade: What is a 'community hub'?

Who wouldn't want a community hub? That was the question at last Wednesday's Ward Forum at Bowes School. And that's what the Council said it wants as the future of the Ritz Parade on the North Circular Road. Sounds good doesn't it?

But there's a problem, well actually two problems.

Firstly no-one knows what a 'community hub' is. Is it a GP surgery, meeting rooms, a school, a row of shops or a cinema?  All these suggestions were made at the Ward Forum but the six councillors present were notably silent. And they were careful NOT to ask the local residents present what they specifically wanted. Asking them – rather than the waltz around the houses that we got – would have provided clarity to the Council's negotiations with the developer. 
Which brings us to the second problem. Whatever the local people want, the Council probably can't provide it. The Council doesn't own the land and it couldn't afford to develop it if it did. And it can't instruct the developer, the Notting Hill Housing Trust (NHHT), which despite its charitable status seems determined to maximise its profits.
Councillors should have used the meeting to get clarity about local needs. They could then call on NHHT to deliver what's needed both on and adjacent to the site. For instance, a new road crossing would be very useful. With the money it’s made from its other sites on the North Circular it can well afford to!

No comments:

Post a Comment