LABOUR councillor Awale Olad has had his work cut out as chair of Camden’s culture and environment scrutiny committee in recent months with many of the more controversial council policies channeling through his panel. The cross-party committee, with a Labour majority, has helped quieten those tetchy revolts over the removal of posted planning notices to people living close to new developments and then, the big one, cutting some rubbish bin collections to once a fortnight. Tonight, he assembles the committee again to look at the eye-catching plan of putting a BMX track for youngsters in Harrington Square, the gardens just over the way from the Ampthill Square towers on one side and the Black Cat building, populated these days partly by trendy people from ASOS.
Not every Labour councillor is on side with this one with questions being raised over the chosen location and how close it is to the busy roads around Mornington Crescent, but cynical minds have also in recent months asked why Veolia, the rubbish collection firm Camden has handed its new waste contract to, offered to put some of the money up for it, at a time when negotiations over a multi-million pound deal with the Town Hall were ongoing.
But the council says there’s no conflict of interest here.
“Veolia Environmental Services (VES) and the Veolia Environment Trust (VET), who we have submitted an expression of interest to for the funding of the BMX track are separate legal entities with distinct governance arrangements,” a council spokeswoman says. “VET is a charity and company registered under the Landfill Tax Regulations It was established to protect, preserve and improve communities and the environment, through funding relevant community projects, such as a BMX track at Harrington Square Gardens.”