Gospel Oak and Haverstock Community Vision

As part of the Community Investment Programme, much needed new homes have already been built in Gospel Oak and Haverstock. There are more to come that either have planning approval or are currently under construction. If this programme is extended to the West Kentish Town and Wendling and St Stephen’s Close estates, more investment can be given to the wider area. This depends on the results of residents’ ballots.

Essential infrastructure and wider benefits for the community must be planned in a coordinated way. So this can happen, a vision document for the area giving the views, needs and wishes of local people is needed. To do this, the Council will prepare a long-term plan that sets out a ‘Community Vision’.

What is a Community Vision?

The Community Vision will be a planning document that has a direct influence on changes made in the area. It will ensure that development provides improvements that local people have told us they want. It will address the main local priorities identified.

The priorities identified following extensive public consultation include:

•    Improving public spaces
•    Community Safety
•    Community provision
•    Getting around
•    Jobs and enterprise
•    Queen’s Crescent
•    Investing in housing
•    Sustainability and the environment

The document will focus on physical improvements in Gospel Oak and Haverstock when development happens. It will also give a unified, long term and ambitious vision for the neighbourhood. This will bring together all strands of work done by the Council into a single vision.

How can I get involved?

The Community Vision will ensure you have a say on which proposals you’d most like to see in your area. You can also say how you’d like to see them fit alongside the major developments planned for your area. In order to be successful, we need residents to influence the document. we want you to feed in your experience, passion and understanding of the local area. That is why we will be asking for you to get involved throughout the process.

To begin the process, some public engagement activities and Neighbourhood Assembly meetings were due to run in spring and summer. However, because of the Coronavirus advice, these have had to be postponed until further notice.

Despite this setback, we are committed to ensuring that the whole community can contribute to the Community Vision. These events are postponed until restrictions have been lifted, rather than cancelled. In the meantime, we are working to find new ways to discuss the Vision project. We will be using online platforms and will keep this page updated with the latest news. This is as we gain a clearer picture of the timescales involved.

We hope to build on what we learned from you in our previous consultations in 2016. These have been really useful. You can download a copy of the summary report from the 2016 consultations here.

What is a Neighbourhood Assembly?

A Neighbourhood Assembly brings together a cross section of people who broadly represent their community. These people learn about local issues, discuss them and recommend what should happen next and how things could change.

A Neighbourhood Assembly is similar to a Citizen’s Assembly. These are used by governments world-wide to allow people to shape policy. Camden Council has used assemblies to think of solutions to climate change and priorities for the borough. The Neighbourhood Assembly will work in the same way. We are using the word Neighbourhood because we are focusing on the Gospel Oak and Haverstock neighbourhood.

Who decides who gets to become a member of the Assembly?

A key principle of an Assembly is that members include a sample of people representative of their area randomly selected. To do this a selection process called ‘sortition’ is used. This is similar to the way juries are selected. It is considered one of the fairest and inclusive methods of choosing a representative random sample.

The recruitment process for the Gospel Oak and Haverstock Neighbourhood Assembly will be arranged by an independent, not-for-profit organisation. This is the Sortition Foundation who specialise in this process and Citizen Assemblies. You can read more about their selection process on their website.

Given the latest Coronavirus advice, the Neighbourhood Assembly meetings planned for April, May and July are postponed. This is until after the current restrictions are lifted. However, we still encourage anyone interested to sign up to become a member. We will then be in touch with further information about the rescheduled meeting dates later in the year.

Anyone in a household that has received an invite can apply to become a member of the assembly. This is unless they are any of the following:

  • elected representatives from any level of Government
  • paid employees of any political party
  • or Camden Council staff working on regeneration or planning. 
  • Only one person from a single household will be selected to join.

The Neighbourhood Assembly will be just one of the ways you can get involved during 2020.

What about residents of West Kentish Town or Wendling and St Stephens Close?

Over the past few years, the Council has worked closely with residents of these two estates. This has been to discuss the future of their area and options for redevelopment. On each estate the decision whether to take forward redevelopment plans will be put to residents in an estate ballot. Only eligible residents living on West Kentish Town and Wendling will be able to vote. The Neighbourhood Assembly will have no part in deciding the extent of redevelopment for either estate.

If residents of the estates vote in favour of full regeneration, the Council will work closely with residents whilst developing plans. Residents who do not live on these estates will have less influence on this process. However, we will talk to all local residents and wider stakeholders, including businesses and community organisations. We will discuss how any development could provide benefits to the wider area.