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Key High Road role axed

PUBLISHED: 16:27 20 May 2009 | UPDATED: 13:34 24 August 2010

EXCLUSIVE by Will Davies RECESSION-hit traders and residents have been dealt a heavy blow after the council killed off a key regeneration project. Despite assurances by councillors that the Kilburn Town Centre Management programme was n

EXCLUSIVE

by Will Davies

RECESSION-hit traders and residents have been dealt a heavy blow after the council killed off a key regeneration project.

Despite assurances by councillors that the Kilburn Town Centre Management programme was not under threat, an email leaked to this newspaper written by Rachel Stopard, director culture and environment at Camden Council, exposes plans to 'withdraw the specific post.'

Camden Council has funded the programme single-handedly since Brent stopped its funding in 2007, but its leaders have finally had enough and decided to pull the plug.

Mike Katz, a Labour party campaigner in Kilburn, said: "Camden's Lib Dems have let down Kilburn in the same way Brent's Lib Dems did. Cutting funding for this vital scheme is a real blow for Kilburn's firms and traders at the worst possible time. Don't they care about the future of the High Road at all?"

As Kilburn straddles the two boroughs, the £70,000 a year post was set up in 2000 to forge a bond between the two councils in an effort to rejuvenate the area.

Brent Council said it pulled out and allowed Camden taxpayers to foot the bill because it was not value for money and instead obtained £1.2 million from the Streets for People, a scheme designed to make the area cleaner, greener and safer.

An extra three police community support officers were also signed up.

In her email Ms Stopard said the post had been cut to ensure 'better and more equitable use of our limited resources.'

But without a designated manager, some fear there will be nobody tackling Kilburn's most pressing challenges.

Cllr Mary Arnold (Lab), Kilburn ward, said: "There is no spokesperson to address the issues of planning and licensing, or constant digging up of the High Road by utilities companies. There are many others - congestion, parking, shop front and environmental improvements, for example. What is worse is that opportunities to help traders to survive the recession, get their rate relief entitlements and to network to keep down crime and improve the High Road are being lost."

A spokesman from Camden Council said a portion of the council's £6 million recession recovery fund will be used to extend existing advice and training for businesses.

He added: "Camden Council will also be extending its work with local business partnerships including Kilburn Local Businesses partnership to develop local business plans aimed at improving the local business environment."

w.davies@archant.co.uk


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