Subject: Friends of Regent's Canal - last chance to comment on the revised Starbucks plan in Camden

Dear Friends,

I appreciate that this is a strange time of the year to notify you about planning applications, but we are approaching an important milestone at the end of this week regarding the future of the Canal Information Centre in Camden Town.

Most of you are already aware that Starbucks submitted a revised application a few weeks ago. This was undeniably an improvement on the previous application (March 2012) but the council planning and enforcement officers were concerned that some of the arrangements were unworkable. This led to a series of discussions between planners and designers, various options were considered, and we have now been presented with a completely different configuration.

The latest change to the plan includes a dedicated walk-in canal exhibition area, which is positioned at the main entrance to the building. This will allow visitors to reach the leaflet racks and other information without navigating their way through the coffee house. The allocated space is not huge, but since it is an area dedicated to canal information it will allow us to provide much more information for people to view at close range.

My personal view is that the dedicated area is necessary and sufficient for walk-in visitors and it is worth supporting. If we were able to negotiate a larger area then there is a risk that it could end up as a spillover area for coffee customers and we would be back to square one. Please note that the canal will still be promoted via wall displays throughout the building and we can still influence their design and content. There will also be a seating area that can be reserved for informal canal meetings, and although this is a useful supplement to the dedicated area, we are still working out how and when it could be used in practice.

If you would like more information on this recent development, then please visit our website or contact myself or the council directly. If you would like to submit any comments then please do so before Friday 4th January. (Please remember that this centre will serve the whole of the Regent's Canal, so the council will still accept comments from people who do not live in Camden).

Here is a link to the new page on our website. Please use the links and buttons to navigate to the various sub-pages, and you will see some informal illustrations.

and here are links to my previous two e-mails about this subject

Best wishes and a Happy New Year,

Ian Shacklock
Chair, Friends of Regent's Canal

31st December 2012

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