Love Camden was ‘idiotic’

I KNOW some people at Camden Council think I have been a bit unfair on these pages about their Love Camden, Love Your Local High Street campaign.

They may be annoyed but there was definitely confusion about who it was aimed at – residents or tourists – and it was the politicians not journalists who raised questions in the council chamber about how much it cost to get Giles Coren to launch it.

But it’s not just me who’s been curmudgeonly about it all. Coren’s fellow columnist on The Times, Sathnam Sanghera has placed the campaign in his Top Ten list of Idiotic Business Moments of 2009. Here’s a bit of what he wrote a couple of days ago:

“The posters and online activity are all very nice, but I can’t help feeling that the £6 million Love Your Local High Street campaign was slightly undermined by the council’s subsequent decision to close its High Street shopfront in Hampstead. Nice one.”

No doubt, the council think Sanghera has been a bit unfair too.. just saying it’s not just me that has doubts.

1 Comment on Love Camden was ‘idiotic’

  1. Andrew Marshall // January 4, 2010 at 12:55 pm //

    I do understand your doubts Richard and accept you are not the only one.

    I’ve had some contact with Sathnam and offered him the opportunity to get into the detail of council recovery fund etc as well as our parking controls, which he didn’t take up. I realise columnists have to look at the big picture, but he’s confused if he thinks the Love Camden campaign is £6m – the great bulk of the recovery fund is – rightly – funding worklessness programmes like CamdenWorking.

    It’s understandable he conflates this with the closure of the Environment Local in Hampstead. But the Environment Local didn’t make any sense as a standalone facility – most of the users had migrated to using online for parking permits. We need to think about cost effectiveness of what we do. Ideally – and there’s more work to be done on this – we might need a small number of multifunction customer access points, in addition to web, call centre etc. But turning around council services like that is not something that can be done quickly.

    I would be very happy to sit down with Sathnam about local services. I suspect that – as with a number of local journalists – some universal council services like parking, street sweeping – are highly visible to him, whereas some of the more complex services for the disadvantaged are not so visible. This is not only true of journalists of course!

    Cllr Andrew Marshall

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