As you may remember, last year Camden Council secured a whopping £1.1m from the Greater London Authority to fund improvements to Queen’s Crescent, the NW5 street that’s most in need of a little (okay a lot of) TLC.
Over the last few years its twice-weekly market has become a shell of its former self, with just a handful of hardy traders including (thankfully) a couple of sizzling jerk chicken grills, the useful household goods stalls and the excellent sourdough bread (from Bread by Bike) and pastries stand.
And even the once-mighty Frank’s Superstore now occupies just one skinny unit, a far less exciting proposition than its cavernous former self.So where to start? “The next stage is for local discussion and consultation,” explained the Council’s Danny Beale last month. With this in mind they’ve commissioned Hackney design studio The Decorators to work with locals, businesses and traders to enhance Queen’s Crescent’s “physical environment” and to help reinforce it as the heart of the wider area.
The first fruits of the partnership? The rather hopefully-named ‘I am Queen’s Crescent’, an ongoing project in which a team of twelve community researchers are currently hitting the Crez to conduct a series of “walking interviews”, discovering what people “value about their high street and what their ambitions for it are”.
On March 14th these findings will be displayed in an ‘I am Queen’s Crescent’ audio-and-visual exhibition “to celebrate the diverse characters that make up the street and surrounding area”. Also on the day, The Decorators will be presenting research done to date and hosting discussions in collaboration with local community researchers.
Sure, it’s easy to be cynical if you’re a local resident (as we are), but let’s hope this process genuinely does actually herald an exciting new phase in one of London’s oldest market streets.
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