Friends of Talacre Gardens/Town Green 

Who is who at Talacre Gardens/Town Green and Latest Updates

 Hello and welcome to the Friends of Talacre Gardens website...


If this image is not working please press here 

On this site you can join discussions, learn about upcoming events and more.



Thanks to our Horticultural Adviser  Michael Cookson-Taylor's effort,  the Parks Department planted thousands of new daffodil bulbs.  

What a lovely sight!  

                                A dog's paradise

Les enfants

A study in solitude



Young park users enjoying the pleasures of snow 

The Talacre Bench in Winter 2011



The pleasures of the kiddies' playground July 2010

  Summer planting on the south side of the park 



View us on Google Maps.

View the Talacre Sports Centre site

View Save Talacre/campaign against the Dalby Street Development

The Friends AGM took place on Monday, 11th of September, 2017 AT THE TALACRE COMMUNITY SPORT CENTRE

See the Minutes of the Meeting on the Meeting page

The following is published in the Ham & High September 7 2017 page 26 under the title: 

Join us to preserve Talacre open space

In 2004, a shock wage ran through the Talacre community in Kentish Town.  They learned to their dismay that the Open Space they had struggled to preserve since the 1970’s had been, in part, rezoned. The Council had approved the construction of a 7-storey building on its eastern boundary. Residents saw this as the beginning of further encroachment of their precious park. They were right. Soon, the developers were applying for permission to drive a lorry road across the rest of the open space.


All hell broke loose at that point. On the 29th of May 2007, hundreds of local residents launched the Friends of Talacre Gardens. They were sending a strong message to the power–that-be that the proposed vehicular road, which would have ruined the amenity, was intolerable. Furthermore, they mounted a massive campaign to have the park registered as Town Green as a means of preventing Talacre from ever being sold off to anyone. So intense was this fight that the local residents eventually succeeded. In 2010, Talacre Gardens became Talacre Town Green.


The new threat these days is the government’s austerity cuts to our parks. With no money available to maintain our open spaces, they are likely to deteriorate. There is even talk of making deals with private firms who will maintain the grounds but charge local residents to use them.


In Haverstock, there are over 11,000 residents, 25% of them are under the age of 19. The majority of people live in social housing and have no gardens. Talacre is their only open space.

This is where each of you comes in. We urge you to attend the Friends’ Annual General Meeting at the Talacre Community Sports Centre on Monday, 11th of September at 7:00 pm. You can contribute as little or as much as you wish in terms of commitment, but register you must and have a voice is what is being done to Talacre in your name. Its future is in your hands.


        Monday 10th of April 2017

Stephen Ryan, Peter Cuming and Celine La Freniere redecorated the Talacre Bench in time for Easter. Park keeper Raphael Lucas helped with security and the like. Many thanks to all.

16 of March,2017

Big changes ahead

Member of the Committee Frances Rollason and Acting treasurer Céline La Frenière attended the Park Chairs Meeting at the Old Town Hall on behalf of the Talacre Town Green Committee.


In short this is what was discussed:


1. We were introduced to three top brass of idverde, the new park provider who are due to replace OCS as of the 1st of April. They were very impressive as they promised a much needed emphasis on horticulture and high expectations from their park keepers. This is a going back to old-fashioned park keepers, well trained in the art of horticultural maintenance, and all other tasks one could reasonably expect of such a position. Park attendants presently employed by OCS are invited to join them, if they so wish. However, this won't be an easy job, idverde want motivated, well trained and hardworking park keepers. Everyone in the room was very impressed. 


2. The new provider have a reputation for involving the community, especially school children. So the Primary Rhyl School, which is situated practically on our door step, should have a lot to look forward to (e.g.: horticultural training and special events, inter alia.) The team seems eager and willing to collaborate with local residents and the Committee, which is something we should be grateful for.


3. The provider have a Charity in place, which has already raised several £M for special projects. This could be helpful to Talacre Town Green should the Committee want to raise funds. Grant donors often require a Charity status. The borehole idea was mentioned. Again, the Parks people indicated they wanted us to do all the running (e.g.: spend our own time and money doing the research and raise the funds) but without giving us a guarantee up front that they would give us permission to go ahead. This would not be the ideal collaboration we were seeking. They don't seem to think that such borehole would be needed. 


4. Quite apart from the involvement of idverde, the Parks Department introduced a woman who is in charge of Green Gym. It would seem that quite a bit of the park's budget is going to be spent on this so call Green Gym organisation. It is apparently geared towards health and volunteering. It is not all metal gym equipment, however. Some of their volunteers worked at clearing up the wild flowers meadow at Talacre last year and the year before. This year, the wild flowers meadow at Talacre does not look promising, but we were assured that it will blossom in due course. 


5. The Park Patrol (Rangers) are to be abolished from 22nd of March or thereabout. It is thought that involving our local police would be best. We will receive instructions as to how to access such a service in due course.


6. We asked what was going to happen on the south eastern area of our park. We were told that no decision had been made yet as they had not had time to consider the feedback. They realise that the Committee is not keen on the metal green gym idea. we confirmed that was the case— unless there was an overwhelming demand from park users. We would expect an extensive paper consultation among local residents before they settle on a green gym or any other permanent feature. And of course, if a metal green gym is their choice, then the Parks Department would need to apply for planning permission from the Secretary of State. We also told them that most people had indicated they wanted the wood climbing frame to be replaced like for like and if they did not have the funds for such a project at the moment, it would be best to leave the area free (with or without benches and picnic tables) for people to enjoy until such a time as they were in a position to make a permanent decision.


On the whole, this was a positive meeting full of promises of a better organised park. 



Planning Permission for the relocation of the Park Fencing

Regeneration and Planning Development Management London Borough of Camden Town Hall Judd Street London WC1H 8ND Tel 020 7974 4444 Textlink 020 7974 6866

London borough of Camden Parks and Open Spaces C/O Mr Andrew Hinchley Camden Town Hall

Judd Street London WC1H 9JE

Dear Sir/Madam

Application Ref: 2014/7930/P Please ask for: Neil Collins Telephone: 020 7974 4215

12 March 2015


Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended)

Councils Own Permission Under Regulation 3 Granted


Talacre Town Green (Public open space) Talacre Road London


Erection of fence with gate along Talacre Road elevation Drawing Nos: Site Location Plan; PG052-01; and PRE-1

The Council has considered your application and decided to grant permission subject to the following condition(s):

Condition(s) and Reason(s):

  1. 1  The development hereby permitted must be begun not later than the end of three years from the date of this permission.

    Reason: In order to comply with the provisions of Section 91 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended).

  2. 2  The development hereby permitted shall be carried out in accordance with the

    Director of Culture & Environment Ed Watson

Page 1 of 3

following approved plans: Site Location Plan; PG052-01; and PRE-1

Reason: For the avoidance of doubt and in the interest of proper planning.

3 All new external work shall be carried out in materials that resemble, as closely as possible, in colour and appearance those of the existing fence, unless otherwise specified in the approved application.

Reason: To safeguard the appearance of the premises and the character of the immediate area in accordance with the requirements of policy CS14 of the London Borough of Camden Local Development Framework Core Strategy and policy DP24 and DP25 of the London Borough of Camden Local Development Framework Development Policies.


  1. 1  The proposed railings are considered to be appropriately designed and their relocation will not have an adverse impact on the character of the park and wider area. It is considered that the proposal would reduce anti-social behaviour and increase safety within the local area.

    Due to its location, the proposal will not harm the amenity of any adjoining residential occupiers in terms of outlook, enclosure or privacy.

    The site's planning history was taken into account when coming to this decision. No objections were received as a result of public consultation.

    Special attention has been paid to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of the conservation area, under s.72 of the Town and Country Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, as amended by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act (ERR) 2013.

    As such, the proposed development is in general accordance with policies CS5 and CS14 of the London Borough of Camden Local Development Framework Core Strategy, and policies DP24, DP25 and DP26 of the London Borough of Camden Local Development Framework Development Policies. The proposed development also accords with policies 7.4, 7.6 and 7.8 of the London Plan 2011; and paragraphs 14, 17, 56-66 and 126-141 of the National Planning Policy Framework.

  2. 2  Your proposals may be subject to control under the Building Regulations and/or the London Buildings Acts which cover aspects including fire and emergency escape, access and facilities for people with disabilities and sound insulation between dwellings. You are advised to consult the Council's Building Control Service, Camden Town Hall, Argyle Street WC1H 8EQ, (tel: 020-7974 6941).

Page 2 of 3 2014/7930/P

3 Noise from demolition and construction works is subject to control under the Control of Pollution Act 1974. You must carry out any building works that can be heard at the boundary of the site only between 08.00 and 18.00 hours Monday to Friday and 08.00 to 13.00 on Saturday and not at all on Sundays and Public Holidays. You are advised to consult the Council's Compliance and Enforcement team [Regulatory Services], Camden Town Hall, Argyle Street, WC1H 8EQ (Tel. No. 020 7974 4444 or on the website contacts/environment/contact-the-environmental-health-team.en or seek prior approval under Section 61 of the Act if you anticipate any difficulty in carrying out construction other than within the hours stated above.

In dealing with the application, the Council has sought to work with the applicant in a positive and proactive way in accordance with paragraphs 186 and 187 of the National Planning Policy Framework.

You can find advice about your rights of appeal at:

Yours faithfully

Ed Watson
Director of Culture & Environment



During this past year a new Friends Group was elected with the following membership (please see members page.)

A variety of issues have arisen in 2014. A widespread review of the planting strategy led by Michael Cookson-Taylor working closely with Parks has given rise to the following outcome: -

1.             The Talacre Town Green has been registered for the ‘Camden in Bloom’ scheme.

2.             Additionally, the restitution of the double holly hedge to the South East side of the Green was implemented in December as per an agreement between the Dalby Street developer and Camden. The size and character of the hedge is appropriate and pleasing. Michael Cookson-Taylor should be given credit for overseeing this part of the project.

3.             This 1.2M strip of land used by the developer to erect scaffoldings during construction is now going to be integrated into the Town Green. Chair Matt Sanders is liaising with David Tullis’ office to this end.

4.             The plan to enclose the South West corner of the Town Green, once regarded as a nocturnal dog walking area is also ‘in hand’ after a period of prolonged delay.

5.             An initiative to sink a borehole for irrigation on the Green, hopefully at no cost to the taxpayers, is ‘in hand’ thanks to negotiations carried out by Peter Cuming.

6.             A new wildflower meadow, replacing that destroyed by the maintenance contractor, is planned for the orchard-planting zone.

7.             Michael Cookson-Taylor designed and oversaw the orchard scheme as well as the planting of a tree avenue from the Talacre Road entrance to the warden hut.

8.             Wooden blocks with carved fruit names are to be returned to the Green. The adoption of Rhyl Primary School is proposed.

9.             An application for a Tree Preservation Order to cover all the trees in the Town Green is being negotiated.

10.         Again, Michael Cookson-Taylor designed and oversaw the planting of the half moon area on the North West end of the park and a new protective fence was erected around the area. Please see the item below for details (e.g.: 2014, What is in store for Talacre Town Green this autumn.).

11.         The large black painted plywood panels, which were erected for wall ball, but fell into disrepair and were used for graffiti were finally removed.

Matters, which remain outstanding and to be resolved in 2015:

Casual parking at the Talacre Garden Community Sports Centre Town Green gate remains a problem as it has safety implications for emergency services access in either direction and was promised to be controlled by retractable bollards. Contrary to all indications, Camden has failed to secure this provision by the Dalby Street Developer for no clear reason.

Lighting within the Green seems to be defunct.

2014 turned out to be a very productive year altogether. Special thanks are to be extended to Michael Cookson-Taylor and Judy Love for carrying the bulk of the work during that time. Michael for going above and beyond the line of duty to oversee the designs of the planting at the Green and work closely with the Parks Department, and Judy for doing more than her fair share of taking notes and keeping communication between the officers of the Friends.



The Parks Department will plant the semi-circle bed on the Northern end as designed by 
Michael Cookson-Taylor 

Plant Choices

 Convolvulus Cneorum

Helenium Riverton Beauty

Helenium Ragamuffin

Helenium Samtjuwel

 Russian Sage                                 Lavender Hidcote

Spirea Goldflame


Lilac Madame Lemoine

Geranium Blue
Geranium Pink 

Dear All,


As you are aware there was unfortunately a problem with the proposed Pendulous Silver Birch Trees for our tree avenue, in that, the fact we have a Walnut Tree in close proximity would eventually kill these trees.


I have been in regular communication with the Tree Dept. and our Chair Matt Sanders regarding finding a replacement species for the avenue.


The idea of a Weeping Mulberry Tree avenue has also met with the same fate, as the Tree Dept. felt these might not grow sufficiently to make the right visual impact.


So, we have eventually agreed on an avenue of 10 (5 a side) of  Variegated Tulip Trees (Liriodendron Tulipifera Aureomarginata)


I have attached photos of their leaf, tree shape and flower, I hope you will agree these trees will make a great addition to our park and will provide some much needed colour and variation.



Warm regards,



Mike Cookson-Taylor

Horticultural Advisor

Liriodendron Tulipifera Aure

Recent Meetings of the Friends 
(see the "Meetings" page to read the Minutes)

Hot new issue:

Who savaged the 100-year old Lime tree at Talacre Town Green near the Dalby Street development on Friday, 13th of June and why?

The Friends new Committee will have an extraordinary meeting on Thursday, July 17 to discuss this serious matter and apply for a Tree Preservation Order on all the trees near the Dalby Street Development.

Historical Material: 
May 1, 2012
The prospect of water supply at Talacre Gardens

In response to inquiries about the Dalby Street project,
here is an update addressed to our Chair 
Peter Cuming from Andrew Wright, Parks Services Manager: 

Dear Peter


I am writing to advise you that the Council are proposing to grant two licences to the developer at Dalby Street as follows:


1)    Crane oversail Licence


The Council has previously granted a crane oversail licence which allows the developer to locate a crane on their land which needs to over sail Talacre Park during its operations. This licence is a renewal of the previous arrangement. The licence is a comprehensive legal agreement which protects the Council and park users. The licence period will be for no longer than 52 weeks commencing between 1stMay 2012 and 1st January 2013


2)    Temporary accommodation licence


It is proposed to allow the developer to erect a site hut on the land shown hatched for a short term period during stage 3 of the temporary access works as set out in the S 106 planning agreement. Stage 3 is anticipated to last 60 days and there are significant financial penalties in the S 106 agreement if this period goes beyond 60 days. The developer will provide 3 temporary disabled parking bays next to the site hut in a position agreed by the Councils Highways section. The developer will also provide an additional marshall for the initial part of stage 3 when pedestrians will still be using old Dalby Street for access.   


The Council will benefit from the completion of the scheme from nomination rights to the affordable housing provision. The developer will also pay £5,200 for these licences which will be ring fenced towards installing a water supply into the park. The grant of the licences will assist the developer in reducing the period of disruption and bringing forward these and other S 106 benefits to the Council and ratepayers.


If you require any further details please contact me.


Kind Regards,




Andrew Wright 
Parks Services Manager
Culture and Customers
Culture and Environment
London Borough of Camden

Telephone:   020 7974 1760

Town Hall Extension (Culture and Environment)
Argyle Street

London WC1H 8EQ


Talacre town green  

Talacre Road, NW5 3AF 

Saturday 3 March 2012, 10am to 2pm 

This event will provide Camden dog 

owners with free professional guidance and 

support, helping them to be better, more 

knowledgeable dog owners. 

On the day there will be: 

FREE dog handling training sessions 

FREE rosettes and certificates for participants 

FREE microchipping for first ten Camden  

resident dog owners attending event 

Advice for anyone who has experienced problems with dogs 

Information on Camden’s dog control orders 

and FREE bicycle and phone marking too. 

Did you know? Camden has the power to issue fixed penalty 

notices (FPNs) to irresponsible dog owners. 

Come and get involved 

Help us keep Camden clean and safe. 

Love your dog, love 

your neighbourhood 

                IN 2011
In the autumn:
The Camden Green Gym, an initiative by BTCV, which is a charity intent on improving places, came to the park's rescue. Some 20  volunteers showed up to clear up the heavy bushes on the northern end of Talacre Gardens to help combat anti-social behaviour and they also prepared the ground for the wild flowers meadow to revive in 2012. The wild flowers meadows which was planted last year by members of the Friends has apparently been the most successful one ever. It has attracted a variety of wildlife, and is responsible for the return of the Sparrows in the area. Well done and many thanks from the Friends.

Regarding the Talacre Gardens wild meadow flowers:


Dear All,


The dominant plant may be rape or charlock. Difficult to tell without close examination for characters. It wasn't in the seed mix we applied. Arable weeds like this will emerge from the seedbank but the composition will change over time with the proposed management and overseeding. It is also a product of the very very dry conditions.


The fencing and scarecrow can come down.






Richard Harris
Nature Conservation Manager

Volunteers Volunteers Volunteers

            Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stephen Ryan spruces up the Talacre bench

Our new Committee Member lends a helpful hand and is cheered on by Ellen Keane from Leonard Day House

    1. Monday, March 21, 2011
     Michael Cookson-Taylor, one of our horticultural advisers, does his Spring inspection of the gardens and reports back to the Parks Department.
  1. Monday, March 21, 2011
Nick Harding (top centre) offers to help update the website whilst Magda studies for her exams.  
Many thanks.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The planting of a wild meadow on the South side of Talacre Gardens is an event which took place on Disabled Day at Talacre Gardens on Saturday, March 19.  The Friends of Talacre Gardens Town Green started out with two volunteers, but that grew into the participation of more than a dozen.  We only had one hour to do the work because it coincided with an archery event with all the attendant dangers of the volunteer gardeners being impaled with arrows. So the more people were involved, the better for getting the job done in 60 minutes.  At the end, the Friends created a modern scarecrow using old DVD's, which now sparkle in the sun and hopefully scare the birds from eating sand coated wild flower seeds. 


Volunteers included Frances Rollason, Peter Cuming, Dr. Ann Walker, Céline La Frenière, Clare Shanks, Dr. James Brander, Stephen Ryan, various other park users and the weekend park keeper


MARCH 8, 2011

Present:  Peter Cuming, Chair; James Brander, Secretary; Céline La Frenière, Deputy Secretary; Ann Walker; Ciaran Farrell; Jerry Williams; Brenda Gillegao; Stephen Ryan; Nick Harding; Charles Okigbo; Edward McGinnis; Yasmin Allen; Maria Portch; Ellen Keane; Frances Rollason; Gabi Howard, London Borough of Camden.

Apologies:  Mrs. Kathy Seery; Cllr Matt Sanders; Peter Neathey; Beverly Gardner; Ian Cottam; Liz Gosnold; William Nawrocki and Michael Cookson-Taylor.

A revised Agenda was agreed.  The Chair opened the meeting by apologising for not holding an AGM in 2010 due to ongoing negotiations about the boundaries of the Town Green and numerous Committee meetings which took place in 2009-2010 to secure a successful outcome.  He also reported the sad decease of three members, Cllr Syed Hoque (a Committee Member), John Adams and Joan Stally. Three other members, David Landman, Carol Hoyte & Michael Cookson-Taylor have moved out of the area (Carol is still on the Committee; Mike is still our Horticultural Adviser.)  The Chair welcomed the new park keeper, Dean Panayi.  It was agreed that the elections would be held at the end of the meeting.  James Brander took notes.

Volunteering:  Volunteers are needed for the following:-

1)          Planting the wildflower garden from 1pm to 2pm this coming Saturday, March 19 on the South side of Talacre Gardens.  So far, Ann Walker and Frances Rollason have volunteered, Céline La Frenière and Peter Cuming will be in attendance. Everyone else welcome! 

(Please note that there will be an archery demonstration/ competition in the Gardens on that day as part of a Disabled Day event from 10am onwards, to which you are also invited.)

2)         Repainting the ceramic bench.  Anyone with an artistic talent would be appreciated.  Peter Cuming would work with any volunteer(s).  Paint provided.  Please contact him at (020) 7485 5476 or

Jerry Williams raised the question of insurance to cover volunteers working in the Gardens, to which James Brander outlined the protocol described in the Friends’ Handbook issued by LB Camden, of which he has a copy.  Following this protocol ensures that volunteer activities are covered by LB Camden’s Public Liability insurance.  The first step in the protocol is that LB Camden Parks Department should be notified of any planned volunteering event.  Gabi Howard duly took note of the planned planting on March 19.  The next requirement is for a Risk Assessment, which James Brander will undertake

Budget Cuts:  Gabi Howard confirmed that they Park Keeper’s post would continue and that the maintenance contract would remain with Fountains.  She warned of possible staff changes at the Parks Dept., and confirmed that Camden would no longer participate in the Green Flag scheme (because of costs.)

New Park Keeper:  Nick Harding proposed a vote of confidence in the new park keeper Dean Panayi, in appreciation of the work he does.  This was agreed unanimously.

Money raising by holding events:  Chair reported that in the opinion of the lawyers of the Open Space Society, any money raised by holding event in the Talacre Town Green should be spent only on the Gardens.  LB Camden’s inability to ring-fence income for particular parks was considered unsatisfactory.  Gabi Howard reported that LB Camden are consulting their own lawyers about this.  Meanwhile, there are no money-raising events planned.

Yasmin Allen Put forward three suggestions for future consideration:  (1) a demonstration of very small-scale (e.g. in window boxes) food growing; (2)  an afternoon of short sketches and other acts by groups of local children; and (3) open air watercolour classes.  Chair noted that there is a Community Garden off Bassett Street nearby already exists successfully, and that a previous session demonstrating very small-scale food growing at Athlone Estate hadn’t been a great success.  Stephen Ryan noted that the Athlone Estate has identified a space for a food-growing garden.  Edward McGinnis, however, reminded those present that the real value and strength of Talacre is as an Open Space.  We shouldn’t be considering anything that compromise that. Yasmin further suggested that a source of income could be developed by dedicating an area of the Gardens to a pet cemetery.  No resolution was made on this idea.

Ideas for a permanent commemoration of the Town Green status settled on a sun-dial.  Gabi Howard offered to forward experience from another borough on finding a suitable indestructible one.

Borehole:  Chair described the project to sink a borehole in the gardens primarily to provide water for the plants and trees, but also, perhaps, to sell to the local brewery.  Gabi Howard emphasised that no support for such a project could be expected from LB Camden, and that permission form the Parks Dept. must be sought before any approach to possible sources of funding be made.  She recommended that the letter seeking such permission should make it very clear that no council funding would be sought, and should also indicate an outline business plan if only in the form of a letter.

PICNIC:  Cllr Matt Sander’s idea for a communal picnic was taken up enthusiastically as a means of celebratin the granting of the Town Green status to Talacre last year.  Accordingly, on SUNDAY, JUNE 12 (between Noon and 5pm) there will be a communal picnic.  Everyone bring their own picnic, blankets, etc.  Sorry, but no BBQ is permitted.  The Parks Dept. has been notified and are agreeable. 

Anyone willing to help with clearing up or organising would be welcome.

Other business:  Chair gave an update on the Dalby St. development, where a number of Portakabins have recently been delivered.  It was thought that this will be claimed to indicate the start of a serious construction work.  (Please note that 2 of the containers have since been removed.)  Chair also reported that a 1.2m wide strip of land along the eastern boundary of the Gardens was temporarily excluded from the Town Green (until the end of 2013) to act as an over-run area for construction purpose.  It was expected that Findon Developments would try to get some of the conditions imposed on their planning permission relaxed, as they have successfully done elsewhere.  High on their list of desirable changes would be dropping the social housing, which formed the basis of the original permission.  Everyone is encouraged to keep alert for any such changes.

Ann Walker drew attention to an organisation called Parents for Playgrounds, which provides grants for refurbishing dilapidated playgrounds.  Happily, Talacre’s play area is not in such a state as to need this, but it’s good to know there is such an organisation.  Céline reported on several requests to construct a children’s sandpit.  It was agreed that this would have to be in a dog-excluded area, and even so, enthusiasm was not very high.  Ed McGinnis again emphasised the “Open Space” nature of Talacre.

Elections:  Despite protestations of reluctance, all officers were re-elected unopposed. Peter Cuming’s continuation as Chair was proposed by Nick Harding, and seconded by Jerry Williams, whilst Beverly Gardner was confirmed in absentia as Deputy.  James Brander was proposed for Secretary by Céline and seconded by Nick Harding.  Ann Walker and Stephen Ryan both offered to join the Committee.  Nick Harding raised the need to recruit one or other of the Labour Councillors from Kentish Town, which the Chair agreed to follow up.

 The meeting closed at 9pm.

What has happened in 2010.


Several park users joined Chair Peter Cuming, Secretary James Brander, Deputy Sec. Celine La Freniere and Horticultural Adviser Michael Cookson Taylor to discuss park improvements and the nomination of a regular park warden. Dog walkers were particularly important to the discussion about the latter, as they use Talacre Gardens extensively.  It was agreed that Dean was the park attendant they valued most because of his hard work, dedication and ability to relate to the public.  Michael Cookson Taylor discussed winter plantings and it was agreed that improvements would be carried out, including safeguarding trees, planting new trees to replace those which have died, other new plantings and necessary works.  The crumbling wall in the middle of the park has been repaired.  We have received a promise that things will improve as far as litter picking on the perimeter of the park is concerned and surveillance from the warden.  Bikers will be reminded politely not to ride their bikes in the park. Your concerns about the hut being kept shut and attendants being out of sight should be things of the past.  On the whole, the meeting was positive and helpful.   Meanwhile, the Friends have offered help.  Anyone wishing to help with planting and other works should contact Chair Peter Cuming at (020) 7485 5476 or by email:

Talacre Gardens wins the Green Flag Award for 2010-11

Flying the green flag – Camden’s open spaces scoop record number of prestigious park awards

Published: 05 August, 2010

EIGHT parks in Camden have been named among the best kept in the country.

From the gardens of Bloomsbury Square to Waterlow Park in Highgate, it means there’s an award-winning green space near to everyone’s front doorstep.

The Maygrove Peace Park this year joined the seven parks who received the Green Flag Award in 2009. 

Tracey Shackle, chairwoman of Maygrove Peace Park friends group, said: “We are really proud of the whole community, who should see this as a reward for the hard work they’ve put in. 

“We couldn’t have transformed this park into a community-friendly space without the dedication of the parks department, so I’d like to say a big thank you to them especially.”

Camden Council’s culture chief Councillor Tulip Siddiq added: “This is fantastic news for Camden’s parks. 

“I would like to thank all our friends groups who work tirelessly with us to make our parks and open spaces such beautiful places for residents and visitors to enjoy.”

Camden is green and beautiful - official!
04 August 2010
CAMDEN is home to eight of the country's best parks and green spaces, say three leading environmental charities.

The borough is the proud owner of eight beauty spots that have been given Green Flag Awards under a national scheme run by voluntary groups Keep Britain Tidy, BTCV and GreenSpace.

Councillor Tulip Siddiq, Camden Council's cabinet member for culture, said: "This is fantastic news for Camden's parks. I would like to thank all our friends groups who work tirelessly with us to make our parks and open spaces such beautiful places for residents and visitors to enjoy."

Camden's green-flag parks include Waterlow Park in Highgate, Russell Square in Bloomsbury and Talacre Gardens in Kentish Town.

Parks that are eligible for the award must have free entry and are judged on criteria such as maintenance, sustainability and community involvement. The announcement came last week during what was national Love Parks Week.
July 28, 2010  - 6:30PM

Parks Meeting with Head of Parks and Open Spaces Shaun Kiddel.  

Chair Peter Cuming will attend on behalf of Talacre Gardens.

July 27, 2010  - 10:30am

A photo call at Russell Square (by the fountain) to celebrate the Green Flag Award for 2010-11

Chair Peter Cuming, Horticultural adviser Sean Canavan, Committee Member Yasmin Allen and Deputy Sec. Celine La Freniere from Talacre Gardens  join Councillor Tulip Siddiq, Cabinet Member for Culture, Camden Council, for a photo opportunity. 

(picture here)

July 17, 2010

A Green summit carried out by Camden at the Parliament Hill School.  

Residents and organisations in Camden had the chance to share their ideas and help define the Borough's vision for a sustainable Camden at the green summit.  

Secretary James Brander, Committee Member Ian Cottam and/or Claire Shanks represented Talacre Gardens

July 7, 2010

The St. Pancras Boxing Club re-development:

Please come to a meeting at the gym at 25-27 talacre Road on Wednesday, 7th of July at 8:00pm to talk through the plans, the programme and any other queries that you may have.  (see the item below)

June 11, 2010

The St Pancras Boxing Club, Talacre Road, NW5 -

Planning Application no. 2010/2413/P 

This is an application to undertake a mixed use development scheme of residential and recreational uses on the site of the St Pancras Boxing Club.  The Friends take a particular interest in these proposals as the boxing club is closeby the Town Green and the recreational activities, which take place in that location complement the amenities in the area.  From time to time, outdoor boxing training takes place in the park.  We welcome, therefore, the retention of a sports facility on that site. 

Peter Cuming, on behalf of the Friends, inspected the hard copy of the plans in the Town Hall and read the correspondence 'on file'.  He has now made a submission, which whilst it is supportive of the scheme, outlines some of the design flaws in the proposals.  Those who wish to view this submission are welcome to get in touch with Mr Cuming at: or at (020) 7485 5476.

June 10, 2010

Richard Harris, Nature Conservation Manager met with Sean Canavan and Peter Cuming to discuss planting at Talacre Gardens  at 10:00am.   Michael Cookson-Taylor sent his apology and discussed the matter with Peter Cuming.  His views were relayed at the meeting.

Latest news: June 3, 2010

Sean Canavan who won a prestigious Camden in Bloom Award last year has just joined the Friends of Talacre Gardens and volunteered to become one of our Horticultural Advisers.

Here is an article, which appeared in the Ham & High about him on June 3, 2010: 

(picture of article here)


Matt Sanders, a Committee Member who worked really hard to get Talacre Gardens the Town Green protection is re-elected as Councillor in the Haverstock Ward by-election!

Lib Dems celebrate Haverstock win
26 May 2010
THREE Liberal Democrats won the Haverstock ward by-election last night, beating Labour into a close second.

Councillors Jill Fraser and Matt Sanders held onto their seats and new councillor Rahel Bokth took the third seat for the Lib Dems.

It brings their numbers on the council to 13, making the party the official opposition to the majority Labour party.

The election was delayed after the death of Cllr Syed Hoque last month during his campaign for re-election.

Cllr Fraser said: "I love my voters. They are wonderful. It just shows that when you have two good councillors who work really hard the voters appreciate that.

"I want to thank everyone that made the effort to vote so close after the general election and came out and supported us."

Lib Dems hail polls victory as a loyal show of support

Camden Lib Dems celebrate their success in the Haverstock local  election

Published: 27 May 2010

THE Liberal Democrats held three seats in council elections on Tuesday and in the glow of victory insisted: “We haven’t let anybody down by dealing with the Tories.”

The party saw off a challenge from Labour in Haverstock, where elections were delayed for three weeks  because of the death of Lib Dem councillor Syed Hoque during the campaign.

Lib Dem national President Baroness Ros Scott said: “This is a fantastic result. Labour was crowing that it would  mop up votes from Lib Dem supporters who are supposedly upset about the coalition government. This results shows that was just arrogant nonsense.”

Labour regained control of the Town Hall on May 6 with the election of a majority, 30-member group in the rest of the borough’s wards, squeezing out the Lib Dems and Conservatives who ran the council in coalition for the past four years.

But their hopes of extending that lead were dashed by a Lib Dem trio headed by former mayor Jill Fraser.

The results were confirmed at a count in the Camden Centre, King’s Cross, which finished in the early hours of yesterday (Wednesday).

Haverstock was once strong Labour territory and the group was hoping to capitalise on what it saw as unease at the national coalition between the Lib Dems and Conservatives.

Best-placed candidate Sabrina Francis was just 35 votes off winning a seat. She has been urged to stand again in the future.

Labour council leader Councillor Nash Ali said: “The Lib Dems have held all three seats – so it’s well done to them. Now we have to move on. There is no time for bickering about why we won or lost. There are tough decisions to make and we want to work with all of the people who have been elected to the council for the good of Camden as a whole.”

He added: “It’s true there was a low turnout. If it had been higher, I am sure we would have won seats back in Haverstock. But, fair enough, they were elected and now we have to get down to work.”

Both sides – the only realistic contenders in the see-saw ward – had teams of more than 100 campaigners on the streets for the showdown.

Cllr Fraser, who gave Labour MP Frank Dobson  a fright in the 2005 general election when she slashed his majority, was elected alongside Matt Sanders, another incumbent, and Rahel Bokth.

She said: “People know the Lib Dems will not let them down. If you looked at the council housing in Haverstock four years ago, it was close to being a slum. You say it’s controversial but we actually put in new kitchens and bathrooms. We’ve made a difference here.”

Cllr Sanders said the contest had been a “local election” and had not been swayed by cabinet deals struck in Downing Street. 

He said: “There is nobody who would have been more pleased with this result than Syed Hoque and we wish he could be here with us to share this victory. 

“He worked hard as a councillor for Haverstock and part of our victory is because of that. People may talk about the coalition that has formed nationally but when people look around in Haverstock, the Lab­our government did not do anything magical for the area in 13 years in power at all.”

Cllr Sanders added: “People voted here on local issues and for councillors who have worked hard for them. We won’t let them down and I can’t wait to get straight back to work for the ward.”

MARCH 2010:



Above is an article from the Ham and High, 18th March 2010, Town Green News 'How people power stopped the threat of development'. If you wish to read it fully click on the picture.

This article from the Camden New Journal, 18th March 2010, 'Talacre Saved, People's garden given protected status'. If you wish to read the full article click on the picture.

This article is from the Camden Gazette, 17th March 2010, 'Town Green Victory'. If you wish to see the full article click on the picture.



Here is what the Press said about him:

Haverstock election delayed after councillor's death
22 April 2010
THE political make-up of Camden Council may not be known until May 25 after the Haverstock ward election was postponed this week due to the sudden death of Cllr Syed Hoque.

Because the Liberal Democrat councillor was intending to stand again in the Haverstock ward, the election there has had to be postponed.

It has been rescheduled for May 25 - one day before the official council meeting on May 26 when the leader, mayor and executive must be appointed from among the winning candidates.

If no party has an overall majority after the Haverstock count on May 25 it will leave only a day to discuss possible coalition arrangements before the official signing in. Current leader of the council and leader of the Lib Dems, Keith Moffitt, said: "It will be unchartered territory, not knowing the final result until very late on.

"I am hoping people will see how important it is to keep the Camden ship on a steady course if it comes down to last minute negotiations."

At the last election Haverstock ward returned two Labour councillors and one Liberal Democrat.

But a by-election in 2007 returned a Liberal Democrat and Cllr Syed Hoque defected from Labour to the Lib Dems.

This meant that going into the election, the ward had three Lib Dem councillors.

From R Oseleys blog-

by Richard Osley (Camden New Journal)

SUDDEN, sad news from the Lib Dem camp in Camden: Syed Hoque, a councillor in Haverstock ward died from a heart attack last night. I didn’t know Syed well: he didn’t do corridor briefings or phone through with story ideas. People speak warmly of his conviction but I never had the fortune to see it first hand. In terms of his time on the council, he will of course be remembered for his defection last year from the Labour benches. His transfer meant Labour were driven out of the council ward, a revolution in the area which began with Jill Fraser’s then-surprise by-election win in 2004. There was an angry reaction from Syed’s former colleagues, but now is not the time to revive those fiery exchanges. In the coming days, I’m sure Lib Dem and probably Labour councillors who knew him far better than me will tell his story.

There is, however, the practical matter of the upcoming council elections. Syed was seeking re-election in Haverstock with the Lib Dems. The early indications are that the poll in that ward will now be delayed. At such an early stagaes, it’s a bit foggy how this will work and whether voters in that neighbourhood will vote after everybody else. In the event of a tight poll therefore the people of Haverstock could finally decide who runs the borough weeks after the rest of Camden has voted. And there’s a debate to be had there as to whether knowing the results of all the other wards before a consituent votes could influence where they mark their crosses.

As the organisers work out how to proceed, everyone’s thoughts are with Syed’s family.

Councillor's death delays election
19 April 2010

A COUNCILLOR has died from a suspected heart attack - meaning that the battle to control Camden Town Hall could be delayed by up to a month.

Married father-of-four Syed Hoque, 59, was watching television at his Maitland Park home when he collapsed on Friday.

The Liberal Democrat councillor for Haverstock ward was rushed to hospital but could not be saved and died in the early hours of Saturday.

Jill Fraser, a fellow Lib-Dem councillor for Haverstock, said: "It was incredibly sudden. I was on the phone to him on Friday arranging to do a street stall and everything seemed fine.

"Apparently, he was sitting in his chair watching TV when he started having difficulty. He was short of breath. He got up and walked around for a minute or two but couldn't breathe and collapsed.

"The medics got there and revived him but couldn't sustain it. They had him on life support for a short while but couldn't save him."

Mr Hoque was standing for re-election in Haverstock ward - and his sudden death means that the vote for the three council seats in Haverstock cannot now go ahead on May 6.

Camden Council's 51 other seats will still be contested on May 6, while the Haverstock election will take place later that month.

That could mean that the outcome of the Camden Council election is not decided until the end of May.

A Camden council spokeswoman said: "Councillor Hoque was a candidate in the borough elections due to be held on May 6. His death means that the Haverstock ward election cannot go ahead on May 6. A separate notice concerning the election will be published shortly."

Mr Hoque, who was also a social worker in Lambeth, had been a councillor for Haverstock ward since 2006.

Mr Hoque, a Bangladeshi Muslim, had actually been elected as a Labour councillor -but had defected to the Lib-Dems in February 2009 in protest at the "illegal invasion and occupation" of Iraq and the Government's refusal to act over Israel's invasion of Gaza.

Speaking at the time, Mr Hoque said: "When I joined the Labour party, I never expected to be propping up a government that openly advocates war and aggression. I have been impressed by the principled stance of the Liberal Democrats on these important issues. Like the Liberal Democrats, I believe that diplomacy and negotiation are stronger weapons than guns and fighting."

Paying tribute to her late colleague, Ms Fraser said: "Syed was a really nice person. He worked hard as a social worker during the day and at night, he would work hard for Camden. He took his councillor casework very seriously - he would visit people late at night if they had problems.

"His key priorities were improving housing and caring for the elderly - he was a very family-orientated man.

"His family is completely shellshocked. His eldest son is trying to travel back from Norway."

Keith Moffitt, the Lib-Dem leader of the council, added: "He was a very quiet and dignified man who showed great intelligence and sensitivity and we will miss him very much."

Andrew Marsall, the Conservative deputy leader, added: "Syed was an unassuming and friendly man who used his considerable professional expertise in social work to work hard for his constituents."

A post mortem needs to be carried out before Mr Hoque can be laid to rest.

Gazette News
» 1,000 fines cancelled after town hall parking bungle
» Frank Bruno lookalike hunted over four robberies
» High speed rail line could destroy our area, say residents
» Landmark lights plan dropped
» Punk music fans to line Malcolm McLaren funeral route
» Councillor's death delays election
» Greener power plan for estates
» £4.7m payout for man brain damaged in prison fall
» Police in car park death appeal
» Pub theatre's future saved

Click HERE for more stories

What happened at Talacre

Gardens in 2009, in brief: 

 7TH OF MARCH, 2009

A new Pathfinder play area funded by Central Government has been recently assembled on the South East corner of Talacre Gardens and is now opened.   The scheme includes a large climbing feature for older kids and steps for toddlers (as seen below).  A soft and pleasant landscaping of fruit and nut trees has been planted nearby to divide the black football pitch and the new project..  



Following the announcement in the Ham & High on Wednesday, the 24th of December 2008,  the Friends of Talacre Gardens have now received an award of £250.00 from Barclays Bank.   (The use for this money to be discussed and voted on at the forthcoming AGM.)

Many thanks for their generous contribution.


Judges for the Green Flag Award, Leslie Beardwood of the Bury Metropolitan Borough Council and Alan Cathasides of English Heritage visited Talacre Gardens at 11:00AM. 
(See the Green Flag page for more information about this Award and photo of today's visit.)


A member of the Friends of Talacre Gardens 

Faruque Ansari becomes Camden Mayor!

Camden's new Mayor Lib Dem Councilor for Kentish Town Faruque Ansari is pro the Town Green for Talacre Gardens, as indeed is his deputy Lulu Mitchell, Conservative Councilor for Gospel Oak.  

All local Councilors attended the Mayor's inaugural ceremony.  The Friends of Talacre Gardens were represented by Deputy Secretary Celine La Freniere.


Camden Council voted 'yes' for the Town Green status for Talacre Gardens, making the above date historical.  It will be the first Town Green in London under the new Commons Act, 2006.  Some 8 % of the Friends' membership turned up to lend their support.   Peter Cuming (chair of the Friends), Beverly Gardner (chair of Athlone Tenants Association), Yasmin Allen (chair of the Safer Neighbourhood Youth Panel) and Cllr Matt Sanders made moving speeches for the Town Green. 

 Please click here for the Ham & High letter of the 21st of May, 2009:   "An important day in the history of community in need of support"

Names of supporters who attended the Town Hall meeting, portrayed from left to right:  Carol Hoyte, Jerry Williams, Rosie Allen, Yasmin Allen, Liz Gosnold, Holly Wilkins, Cllr Matt Sanders, Beverly Gardner, Ali Jaza Jeri, Celine La Freniere, Anna Nawrocka-Weekes, David Landman, Peter Cuming, Cllr Syed Hoque, Nick Harding and William Nawrocki. 

Please go to the Town Green Status page for more information.

including, Press coverage and Letters to the Editor




To enlarge the image click here

 One of our esteemed members Jerry Williams moves away:

Journal - One Week with JOHN GULLIVER
Published: 4 June 2009
Jerry Williams, Camden’s first Black mayor
Jerry Williams, Camden’s first Black mayor
‘I’ll be back!’: first black mayor Jerry moving to country

HE first came to Kentish Town from Barbados more than 50 years ago.
Now Jerry Williams, Camden’s first Black mayor and a people’s champion, is moving from his Kentish Town home to live with his daughter in Kent.
A rousing send-off is planned for 83-year-old Jerry on Friday at the Kentish Town Community Centre – and Jerry tells me he feels this week is a particularly fitting time for him to bow out, as it was his work 40 years ago that saw Talacre Gardens in Prince of Wales Road created.
It was a bomb site and Jerry stopped new homes being built there and a park put in its place. It was given Town Green status last week – meaning it can never be built on.
“I was so pleased to hear it has been protected forever,” says Jerry.
“I am looking forward to moving to the Garden of England but of course I will miss Camden and Kentish Town in particular. But I have so many friends here
– I will be back.”

Talacre bids fond farewell to a much-loved former mayor 

- FORMER Camden mayor Jerry Williams received a dewy-eyed standing ovation at his leaving do... > more





16 JAN 1937-28 JUNE 2009

John Adams, who was a great local character and active member of the Friends of Talacre Gardens died of pneumonia on the 28th of June, 2009.  John was born at Athlone House and lived in the small family flat on the edge of Talacre Gardens throughout his childhood and then, during his married life to Rene.  Together they raised two children at Talacre, Tony and Carol.   John devoted most of his working life to the London Borough of Camden as a driver on a dustcart.   His daughter Carol remembers how her dad was so much liked by everyone  that he used to be offered free theatre tickets during his rounds in the West End.  This gave her an opportunity to see many plays during her childhood, something which she has found invaluable to her education.  He also drove a 31 and 24 bus.  John was very much a family man and he would take his grandchildren Victoria, 10, and Cameron, 8, to the park on a regular basis before he became ill with cancer in recent time.  Talacre won't be the same without him.  The service and funeral took place at the Finchley Chapel and Cemetery on Tuesday, 7 July. 
See his obituary in the Camden New Journal, 23 July, 2009




(13 July, 2009)



Ham & High article "Estate of the art" 27 July, 2009: Click here

Camden Gazette, 29 July, 2009:      » The blooming best in Camden! 

On 22 July, 2009 


At a meeting in the Town Hall, the Executives  determined the boundaries of the ' Town Green' for Talacre Gardens, which is to be self-registered by the Borough of Camden. 

Names of supporters who attended the Town Hall meeting, portrayed from left to right:  Ian Cottam, Cathy Crawford, Michael Cookson-Taylor, Ann Walker,  Cllr Matt Sanders, Nick Harding, Peter Cuming, David Landman and Robert Sutherland-Smith. 

 For more details please go to the "Town Green Status" page

 Ham & High, letters, 27 July 2009

Long battle for Talacre Gardens has been well worthwhile

Many local residents have worked hard to campaign to save Talacre Gardens, their local park. Our councillors have been very supportive too. But always there seemed to be enormous resistance on the part of Camden Council officers and the executive to gra... » MORE

Kentish Town residents delighted by Talacre decision

It s fantastic that Talacre Gardens will be registered as a Town Green. Residents are over the moon. Those with long memories will know that this is just the latest chapter in Talacre s messy history. The gardens were born with the clearance of slum housi... » MORE


Stop Press

Green Flag Award 2009

23 July 2009,  it has been officially announced that Talacre Gardens which has been entered into the Green Flag Award this year has been successful 

Camden Gazette, 29 July, 2009 » Seven parks scoop awards

To view our Green Flag Award Page please, click here. 

Green Flag Award home page



We now have a new Head of Parks and Open Spaces.  


Mr Kiddell met the Chairs of the Friends Groups on the 29th of July.  Peter Cuming went along.

 To find out more about Mr Kiddell, please go to the Parks Department page.


31 July, 2009

Stag Beetle Loggery @ Talacre

To find out more, please go to the Stage Beetle Loggery page.

Tuesday, 6 October, 2009


Chair Peter Cuming is due to meet with the Head of Properties in Camden David Tullis today to finalize the details of the 'Town Green' boundaries.  

For more information please go to the 'Town Green' status page



Thursday, 8 October, 2009

 The Mayor of Camden Faruque Ansari 

has invited the Chairs of all Camden Open Spaces to a reception in the Town Hall on the evening of the 8th of October.  Peter Cuming and one other officer of the Friends will be attending on behalf of Talacre Gardens.

Tuesday, 13 October, 2009 

Please anyone available come for a walkabout with Steve Brewer, Camden's surveyor, to determine the final boundaries of the Town Green and discuss a proposal by the Dalby Street developer.  

For more information please go to the 'Town Green' status page

Friday, 16 October, 2009 


The new Head of Parks Shaun Kiddel, Nature Conservation Manager Richard Harris,  Parks Liaison Officer Gabi Howard (back from her pregnancy leave, Penny Brenan and Mark Waters did a walkabout of Talacre Gardens with our Horticultural Adviser Michael Cookson Taylor and Chair Peter Cuming to discuss planting and other matters concerning the maintenance of the park.


(November 2009)


Magda Nawrocka-Weekes (bottom right) has just been awarded the prestigious Jack Petchey Award for her good work within the community.  Such good work includes the website she created for the Friends of Talacre Gardens and Save Talacre:

click on their website: 

Go to the "Website Creator" page for more info about Magda. 




 Forthcoming meeting:

Thursday, 3rd of December 2009:

Chairman Peter Cuming will represent the Friends of Talacre Gardens at a meeting with the new Head of Parks and Open Spaces Shaun Kiddel to discuss parks policy.