CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

A Bloomsbury battle won – but there’s more to come

14 October, 2021

Bloomsbury Square

• I’M relieved that November’s planned Game Fair (aimed at rich blood sports enthusiasts), which would have deprived the local community and visitors of our usual peaceful use of Bloomsbury Square, for 10 days or more, has been called off, (The unspeakable pursuit of a game fair in our square, October 7).

You might think it’s to Camden’s credit that, albeit belatedly, they decided to listen to what residents wanted and cancelled the booking. Not so!

Astoundingly Camden were gung-ho right to the end and it was the company organising it which last week pulled the plug on the plan citing the level of local opposition.

Perhaps they decided that an event which was expected to involve lively protests surrounding the marquee where people were eating £250 meals of venison didn’t have such a good business case after all.

It also turns out that Camden’s brushing off of complaints that letting out the square for commercial use in this way was in breach of their legal obligations (they claimed they were quite confident about the legal situation), was something of a bluff. They are now consulting lawyers to see how much they actually can try to get away with in the future.

And what of the future? Camden say they will consult over a longer period next time. But is that so they have a chance to listen to what residents want, so we can tell them we don’t accept the commercialisation of our precious green spaces? Sadly not.

It’s quite explicit that any “consultation” will continue to be a charade; they say they want longer so as to be better able to bully us into accepting what they will have already decided beforehand; namely, a rolling series of commercial events in all of Bloomsbury’s public squares. It seems the battles of Bloomsbury are not over yet.

ALBERT BEALE
Little Russell Street, WC1

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