West Hampstead area forum report

Transport, Tesco, important recycling news, the library and schools. It can only have been a West Hampstead area forum. #Whamper @Marciamac31 went along to the meeting last Tuesday and reports back

“Unfortunately, nothing new on the tube closures: Keith Moffitt, council leader, said they will ‘keep plugging away’ at TfL, particularly to try to prevent several lines being closed at once. Meanwhile, Camden is trying to ‘manage the traffic’ in a way that will make it easier for replacement buses to move around, and Moffitt also said he would contact TfL to try to fulfil requests from the floor for a senior executive from TfL to speak at an area forum; last time they sent a junior who was just a little out of his depth.

Tesco‘s new store on Fortune Green Road – the second opened in West Hampstaed within a year and just a few minutes’ walk from the first – raised hackles throughout the audience. Councillor Flick Rea made it clear that there was nothing Camden could do to stop Tesco going into the new development because planning for A1 retail use had already been given; councils do not have the power to decide what type of retailer goes into the space. Camden could have some impact on unloading times, but the planning permission  includes permission to load on the street from 8.00-18.00 weekdays and 8.00-16.00 Sundays. Permitted unloading hours on West End Lane will be changed from a 9.30 start to 10.00 in an attempt to ease rush hour congestion.

Camden – and local residents – could also hit back by trying to stop the sale of alcohol from 6.00-23.00. An application is being considered: if you object, write to the local licensing authority now. Better still, vote with your feet and your pocket: if you object to Tesco, don’t shop there.

Recycling in Camden is turning over a new leaf in June when food waste will be collected separately from ordinary rubbish. Senior recycling Officer Claire Howard explained that households – but not blocks of flats – will be given a medium sizes brown bin for food waste and a small one to keep in the kitchen, the idea being you transfer whatever is in the small bin into the one outside. Camden seems to have ignored the needs of flats in converted houses, though: in my building of four flats, we have four green recycling boxes, four rubbish bins – and no room whatsoever for anything else.

In addition to the food waste boxes, households will be given separate blue bags for paper and card, which makes up the majority of recycled material. In other words, we are going to have to separate all our recycling. As some compensation, white sacks for garden waste will be delivered and collected every week. The council insists the different types of collected material will not be put in the same lorry.

West Hampstead library will be closed 10-23 May for refurbishment, which, said Mike Clark, head of Library Customer Service, will include a new layout, making it easier to find what we want; new stock and a new stock security system; new enquiry counter; and self-service kiosks. Wifi is also going to be installed – despite the fact that users of the existing computers complain the network is down more times than it is up.

I do feel sorry for librarians and their bosses when I listen to some of the complaints voiced at the forum. One resident moaned about students taking over the library to study, surely one of the reasons why libraries were invented in the first place!

Louise Trewevas, communications manager, discussed the highlights of the new UCL Academy being built at Swiss Cottage, which will also lead to a new school for the deaf, to replace the existing building on the site earmarked for the Academy. Hampstead School will get some of the £200m Camden has to invest in schools, money that will be used to upgrade the arts and sports facilities. The community could benefit as Hampstead School plans to make its swimming pool available to the public. Parents interested in hearing more about the UCL Academy should attend the meetings on 17 and 18 March at the existing Swiss Cottage school; each day will feature a presentation by a different developer.

Finally, the first AGM of the new WH Community Association is being held at 8.00 on 9 March at the West Hampstead library.”

  • Anonymous

    Camden Council is one of the worst Councils at organizing recycling. Councils in Spain and Portugal shame the efforts made by British councils.

    4 stupidly designed small green boxes for a building housing 20 people ridiculous.

    In Spain and Portugal there are common large bins twenty or thirty metres from you home for all citizens in the street to use.

    Waste in separated into General, Glass, Metal and Plastic.

    Wake up West Hampstead!

  • Anonymous

    We have lost a load of pubs and off-licences in West Hampstead. What business is it of the Council to stop replacement services. I hate Councils who busy-bodily moralise. It's frankly none of their business whether we drink or not.

    Glad I don't live in Golders Green. I would describe that as a wholly "Dry State".

  • West Hampstead

    I haven't been involved in these discussions, but I think the issue with the Tesco licence is about licensing hoursn(e.g., starting to sell alcohol at 6am) rather than stopping it altogether. And this has been supported by many residents, rather than being council-driven, so not sure it's Camden that is "moralising" here.

  • Anonymous

    Witch hunts in the 17th centrury were begun by groups of well-meaning residents, and then supported and encouraged by those who sought wealth and power. Sometimes I think so-called local democracy is run by feeble-minded, weak individuals.

    In most countries one can buy booze 24 hours a day. Why does this country have to be run by a bunch of puritanical members of the Church of England Temperance Society?

    I think the issue is that these “residents” are more worried about their house price values because Tesco’s has entered the neihbourhood. If Harrods or Fortnums had decied to open a branch here i do not think there would have been a single bleat from any of these lambs.

  • West Hampstead

    I look forward to seeing your name on the ballot paper at the next local election 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I will be running under the Alcoholics Anonymous ticket.


  • Garbage Control

    There should be large recycling bins every 150 metres, in the street if necessary.

  • West Hampstead

    To Anonymous: Touché!

  • I’m not entirely sure the ‘weak and feeble-minded’ comment should have been given oxygen (especially as it’s another ‘anonymous’), but anyway.

    Arguably there should be the flexibility for arrangements to change (by residents taking initiative) based on the make-up of a given building, as there are so many different combinations of living situation. However, the prevalent attitude – that the local authority needs to propose a ‘solution’ (rather than us taking responsibility) which is then perfect for every property – is ridiculous.

    Of course, the widely diverging suggestions displayed here show the difficulty of actioning any single policy. On the one hand there’s the complaint that ‘in other words, we are going to have to separate all our recycling’ (shock, horror, rah!) whereas elsewhere that’s the actual suggestion.

    All in all, complaints about local authorities and councillors need to come with a ‘be careful what you wish for’ warning (note to anonymous potshot-taker). Local democracy is based on councillors finding the solutions which best suit a majority (whether personally or for wider society, depending on what motivates their vote). Don’t like it? Stick your name on the ballot.

  • Observer of the Decline and Fall of Camden

    Cash is democratic. Cash is anonymous. The views of the general masses are anonymous. Elections are by and large anonymous. Opinon polls are anonymous.

    Unkind views about our local democracy need to be anonymous!

    Our local Council is greedy and inefficient. Why are British townscapes so ugly? Why are they so expensive and badly managed? Why are the things that really matter ignored?

    Why do we allow the Council to rob us through so-called Traffic Management schemes and Residential Parking Controls?

    Why are the streets of Camden so efficiently patrolled for parking misdemeanours, but totally ignored for broken paving stones, dog waste, litter, mismanaged rubbish collection, ugly street design and so forth? Parking = Profit.

  • Garbage Control
  • dasilvajums

    Thanks for the update. I can’t say I share any concerns about Tesco selling booze, I don’t imagine it will result in the streets of West Hampsetad being littered with bumbling drunkards at 6.30am. Instead I am saddened at the arrival of another chain supermarket on our high street.

    I’m fascinated at the above mentions of Portuguese recycling, being portuguese myself it does fill me with a touch of pride. BUT lets not forget we’re living in a city with almost as large a population as Portugal, this is always going to be harder to manage. Nevertheless for a city as wealthy as London, it is a crying shame we have 1 recycling collection per week, tiny recycling bins, messy collections (where they leave more behind, strewn on front gardens than they collect) and a lack of advertising. To get the nation recycling you have to re-educate. You don’t get there with Daily Mail pleasing behaviour of fining households who fail to recycle, and turning the process into one surrounded by negativity. Get the kids interested, get adverts on telly, get segregated public bins and get us recycling with gusto!

  • Consumed with Anger

    West Hampstead as a shopping area effectively died 20 years ago. Look at the shops and stores in West End lane, Mill Lane and Fortune Green. We have lost banks, butchers, pubs, off-licences and more. And what have they been replaced with: charity shops, coffee bars, pizza parlours, yuppy services and so forth. If that is town-planning, it’s a disaster. Parisian local authorities and New York municipalities don’t manage their local shopping so poorly as we do here in Britain.

    Going a little bit further afield look at the disasters of Kilburn, Swiss Cottage and Golders Green.

  • Marciamac

    Local residents object to Tesco’s long licensing hours because they think it will bring drunken yobs to the area, on the basis that most local people are not going to be buying alcohol at 6.00am (or at 23.00). Admittedly, a lot of them don’t want Tesco in WH at all – because of its effect on whatever small shops we have left.

    As for the suggestion that residents would approve if Harrods or Fortnums and Masons made the application rather than Tesco, it seems as if the anonymous poster has a real class fixation that has no place in modern society. Anonymous isn’t Des Britten, by any chance?