Power Up North London – latest news!

Welcome to Power Up North London’s first newsletter!

Back in April, Transition Kentish Town, Transition Tufnell Park and Transition Dartmouth Park joined forces to hold a meeting proposing a community renewable energy project. The aim was to consider how we can generate clean, renewable energy in our area and use any income created to benefit the local community. The meeting had a fantastic turn out and since then a core group of volunteers have come forward to work on making this proposal a reality.

The project
The core group has looked at the various energy sources and organisational structures this community project could incorporate. Overall, the group has decided that installing solar panels on a large community or commercial building would be the most suitable option for a first project, as there are established successful models of community owned  solar in London, and these projects can generate income to fund future energy efficiency or generation projects in our community.

We are currently looking for a suitable location and have begun to speak to local businesses and owners of other large buildings who have potential roof space. We want the project to be in the local area so that the local community see the benefits. If you have any ideas for potential locations for a rooftop solar array, please get in touch as we’d like to be speaking to as many people as possible in this early stage.

Next steps
Power Up North London is seeking an accountant or someone with a financial background to act as our treasurer. If you are interested in the project and willing to give an hour or two a week, please contact us at powerupnorthlondon@gmail.com for more information
.

Our next major challenge is finding a partner who shares our vision and has suitable roof space for a solar installation. We will also be continuing our research into grant applications and other funding options. When we have a potential project in place we will look to establish ourselves as a community benefit society (BenCom) or similar, for which we will need to appoint a few official board members including a treasurer.

We’d love to hear from you!
While there are a small group of us working on the logistics of this project we want it to remain a community- wide initiative open to everyone. Please share this newsletter widely with those you feel will be interested and don’t hesitate to get in touch with questions and recommendations.

All the best,
Power Up North London

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Belsize Beer/Kentish Town Keg/Primrose Pint: 1st taste this Saturday!

Come along to the Bull Pub this Saturday to the launch event of Belsize Beer, Kentish Town Keg and Primrose Pint where you can sample (at least) one of the 500 pints of locally brewed 4.5% beer!

 

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Hop harvest 2014

The Kentish Keg / Belsize Beer / Primrose Pint hop growing project had their first harvest yesterday.

8.7kg of hops from all over the area were brought to The Bull pub and are being brewed today.

We will be sampling the beer in three weeks time!

Meanwhile, we will be growing our hops again next year and there will be another opportunity for new hop growers to get involved.

2kg hop harvest from champion grower Mike of Mercers Road

Debbie weighing the harvest

Eli with a box of hops

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The power’s out in the heart of man – take it from your heart, put it in your hand!

On Saturday 10th May three of our North London Transition groups came together with local (and in some cases from further afield) empowered residents to discuss the feasibility of setting up a North London community energy company! On a day which typified the ever-baffling nature of the ‘British Summer’, we were delighted to welcome around seventy attendees brimming with enthusiasm and support.

nlpFirstly, we heard from Agamemnon Otero who gave an enthralling overview of the mightily impressive work he has done as a Director and Project Manager of Brixton Energy;  driving the creation of the first inner-city, co-operatively owned renewable energy project on social housing estates as well as two further projects of the same model. He highlighted the role that such projects can play in fostering community empowerment, citing the apprenticeships that are undertaken by the young residents who reside in the estates. This is an aspect that Hackney Energy are also hoping to adopt, according to our second speaker Millie Darling, who provided an inpiring insight into the work she has done in creating the energy co-operative from scratch. Her main tip – take the initiative and just do it! We then heard from Nigel Farren of Energise Barnet who provided the group with a wealth of advice on the key aspects that need to be considered for such an ambitious project, such as company structure, funding, council support, and the focus on energy production and/or efficiency. After a stimulating and exciting Q&A where the thirst for knowledge was extraordinary, Nigel’s food for thought led us nicely into the second part of the event – our open discussion.

Our enthusiastic energy producers split off into tables to brainstorm some of the key themes of the day; funding, location, company structure, communicating with local authorities, district heating, and marketing. Discussions were vibrant and productive, as well as being a great opportunity to meet some new friendly local faces! Each group then came back to present their interesting and inciteful findings, and as the clock ticked past ten past four we realised that we’d reached the unfortunate time where we needed to wrap up.

The emphasis in Sara’s closing remarks and over the ensuing days has been that of momentum – let’s ensure that the positive energy and can-do spirit is capatilised upon over the coming weeks and the aim is for real and tangible action to be taken over this period to help develop the project.

Finally, thank you to everyone that attended on behalf of TKT, TTP, and TDP – all of your enthusiasm and support was infectious and has filled us all with much excitement and positive energy that we can make a real difference by turning this incredible idea into a wonderful reality.

PS. any ideas and feedback on the event and the discussion going forward are welcomed!

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Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it…

We set up Transition Kentish Town four years ago. We’ve done all kinds of things together – film showings, marmalade making, nettle and elderflower workshops, gardening adventures, apple pressing, draught busting, seed swaps, talks and films.

One of our bigger projects was setting up our community-led veg box scheme in 2012. The idea was to start something that went beyond volunteering, something that could generate income and jobs, build an alternative food supply chain outside the supermarket economy, and lock in social change.

We’re coming together today with our neighbouring Transition Initiatives in Dartmouth Park and Tufnell Park to see if we can create another ambitious social enterprise: a community-owned energy company.

Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!

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Kentish Town Keg – 80 local growers sign up!

Last night saw the distribution of the first batch of prima donna hop plants at The Grafton Pub. A great time was had by all sampling all the local brews and looking ahead to our very own craft beer. Whilst in Brixton, the first year launch of Brixton Beer saw 40 growers sign up – we have been completely amazed to have already 80 local growers on board. Wow!

The Grafton have offered to host a ‘sampling and beer growing’ night for us in May/June….more news soon!

 

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Calling all budding TV stars! Interested in featuring on the new BBC2 ‘Big Allotment Challenge’ programme? Read on!


Hi there,

 

I hope this email finds you well. I’m contacting you from Silver River Productions, a TV company based in London. We are currently in production for a BBC2 primetime gardening show ‘The Big Allotment Challenge’.

 

The series follows a handful of talented amateur kitchen gardeners as they transform a plot of earth into a patch of beauty and reveal all the wonderful possibilities that can be unlocked from allotment growing. Kitchen gardening and growing your own produce is an amazing way to live and this series celebrates that.

 

We are looking for contestants to feature in the series, those who have the skill and dedication and who could dig their way to victory and be crowned the winner of The Big Allotment Challenge. People who can cultivate the perfect carrot, make their green tomatoes into award winning chutney and turn their dahlias and sweet peas into floral arrangements fit for a Queen.

 

So whether you’re an allotmenteer, a city living window box grower, or a gardening enthusiast, we want to hear from you.

 

It couldn’t be easier to apply; all you need to do is email grow@silverriver.tv for an application form. Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance for your help, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Kind Regards,

Davinia

 

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Gospel Oak Regeneration Project

Since last autumn, some of us have been trying to make sense of the Gospel Oak Regeneration Project – known as “GO Regen” – from a Transition point of view.

Several Kentish Town Transitioners live in or near the borders of Gospel Oak, and it makes sense for TKT to check out what is happening there.

Our impression is that the “GO Regen” project is quite fractured. The Council is nervous about creating a Community Project Group, having been savaged by local residents in the past. So there are bits and pieces of projects going on without much coherence. Most recently, there have been working groups on health, transport and local economy. But meanwhile major demolitions are taking place – the Wellesley Road old people’s home, the former Social Services and Housing office next to Lismore Circus, and soon 8 workshop units on Vicars Road are to be demolished. Have local people had enough say in these major changes?

There is a community meeting planned for February, we think, and perhaps more will become clear then. But it would be good to know if TKT thinks it would like to get involved, or not. There are focussed issues that could be tackled, like recycled packaging for take-away food in Queen’s Crescent, planting nut trees, cycle paths, more planters etc – let’s make a list!

Tom Young has been campaigning on the loss of workspace in Gospel Oak, e.g. a block of workshops in Allcroft Road were demolished recently, and no plan made for replacement workspace. This is surely a Transition issue, since mixed use of buildings in an area make for a stronger and more resilient community, with fewer people travelling to work, and lower cost space available for new start ups – like our own Kentish Town Vegbox – to establish themselves. The same applies to Kentish Town, where a similar loss of workspace is happening.

Tell us what you think!

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Let’s grow some beer!

Our new hop growing project in collaboration with Transition Belsize is now up and running!

You can now buy your own hop plant for £10 and we’ll be planting them all in late February / early March.

Buy your hop plant here.

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Our response to the HS2 proposals

Transition Kentish Town has written a letter in response to the HS2 plans and their impact on Camden Town. You can send your own letter by email to the official consultation at HS2PhaseOneBillES@dialoguebydesign.com or see the consultation website here. The consultation closes on 10th February.

Dear Sir/Madam

We are residents in Kentish Town, London NW5, who form the group Transition Kentish Town – a small part of the worldwide Transition movement which started in Totnes, Devon. We want to make Kentish Town less dependent on fossil fuels, and a happier, greener, more neighbourly place to live. We believe there must be a transition to a world that uses less energy and resources, and that this must be done fairly.

We wish to comment on the HS2 Environmental Statement, which affects our area under CFA2 Camden & HS1 Link, as well as CFA1 Euston. Our urgent overall suggestion is that the HS2 project should terminate at Old Oak Common, with its link with Crossrail. This would obviate the huge disruption and damage to the borough of Camden altogether.

Here is the detail of some of our concerns about the disruption to local communities here in Camden. The Environmental Statement reads like a catalogue of disasters for our area, with little attempt at mitigation. Some of these disasters are:

The proposed loss of 188 socially rented dwellings on the Regent’s Park Estate and surrounds. This is a shocking scandal, affecting some of the most vulnerable people in our borough. What’s more, the Statement does not even seem to get the figures right – saying, in one place, 214 dwellings to be lost, and elsewhere 188 to be lost. This feels like a measure of how little the project cares about this catastrophic loss.

A remaining 50/60 dwellings on the Regent’s Park Estate will be permanently affected by noise and vibration, as will many other properties in our borough.

2 schools will be badly affected – Hawley School’s future is very uncertain; Haverstock School will be adversely affected.

4 community facilities will be lost in the area around Euston Station. Cheerful statements are made about replacement space for St James’s Gardens, for example, but what happens during the 10 or so years waiting for such replacement space? A generation of young people will be grown up in that time.

6 roads around Euston Station will be closed for up to 10 years. Do you have any idea of the consequences to an area already frequently in gridlock, and with some of the highest levels of air pollution in Europe? You can be sure that Kentish Town Road will feel a major knock-on effect with these closures, being already full to capacity.

Re: Grade II listed buildings, you state in the introduction that none will be demolished, but then mention demolition of Grade II listed 14-15 Melton Street, and partial demolition of Camden Road station’s listed facade. These anomalies within the text do nothing to inspire confidence.

Our area of Kentish Town is one of the places affected by the Overground track changes. Did you realize that the Overground line has recently settled into being one of the best used, and highly valued new means of transport in this part of London? The idea that it is to be pulled up and re-arranged so soon is really absurd. If this proposal goes ahead – which we hope it won’t – the disruption to our community in Kentish Town will be significant. Disruption, noise, and gridlock on our main artery road Kentish Town Road, not to mention the knock-on effect of other works. This is not an area waiting to be a construction site. It is a finely balanced community which will suffer seriously from the consequences listed in this Environmental Statement.

We strongly support the idea of putting the Overground link for HS2 underground. This would be an appropriate mitigation, in line with your stated policy of changes in alignment which can be made to avoid excessive problems. We have heard that the costs of such a tunnel will be only £180m. more than currently budgeted – a minor detail compared with £812m. for tunnelling in the Chilterns and £2.7bn. on other tunnels on the rest of the line.

You know it makes sense not to rip up an entire community for the sake of £180m. Please revise your plans to include such a tunnel. Best of all, please take this train to Old Oak Common only, rather than inflicting such damage on our borough.

Yours faithfully,

Transition Kentish Town

Our concerns are similar to those raised by Frank Dobson MP recently in the Camden New Journal.

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