Lend me your ears: Shaping West Hampstead’s future

Tonight I’m off to a Camden meeting about the future of West Hampstead no less. Heavens. Perhaps more alarming is that I’m supposed to be representing a different slice of the West Hampstead population from those people who normally get invited to meetings like this. Yep, I’m there on behalf of you lot – the clued-up, keyed-in, mobile-addicted, latte-sipping computer jockeys who make up a sizeable chunk (did someone say majority?) of the local area. Christ, if I was any more down wiv da kidz i’d still be in short trousers.*

We’re going to discuss what we’d like West Hampstead to be like – there’ll be a focus on the West End Lane strip and on the area around the stations (the “interchange” as it’s known) in particular. I’m after your ideas. I’m less interested in the old chestnuts of “I’d like a butcher” and “Why so many hairdressers?” and “If another estate agent moves in I’m going to go all Michael Douglas in Falling Down“.

Here’s the sort of stuff that’s in scope: “enhancing streets and open spaces, improving the shopping offer on our high streets, delivering better homes for people, investing in our community spaces or securing local jobs and training opportunities for local people.” So, yes, that includes the shopping, but remember the council can’t control directly who moves into individual units and, as I explained here, even the issue of change-of-use permission is a thorny one. Other topics are also welcome.

This is all in the context that West Hampstead is going to grow. The timescale for growth is far from clear, but aside from the students moving in when the Blackburn Road development is finished, we should expect 1,000 new homes over the next 10-15 years. So, managing sustainable growth is very important

Please have a think about the topics listed below. Then choose 1-3 of them and leave a comment below with one idea/thought/suggestion for each of your chosen three. Be creative by all means, but also vaguely realistic. Think about the sort of place you’d like West Hampstead to be.

  • Mix of employment spaces
  • New business
  • Variety of shops
  • Look and feel of town centre
  • The interchange
  • Wider links & integration with neighbouring areas
  • Transportation
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Architecture & design
  • Mixed-use development
  • Coordinated development
  • Council-owned sites
  • Open spaces
  • Education, play and young people
  • Cultural services and facilities
  • Voluntary and community sector
  • Comunity safety

Thank you very much. I will of course report back on the meeting.

*You will never catch me wearing short trousers

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  • Tom

    Variety of shops:

    New legislation should demand that chains and franchises tailor their look for individual towns’ branches, with design input from residents and other stakeholders.

    Look and feel of town centre:

    Modern, bland buildings should be assessed for exterior aesthetic amends, e.g. brickwork colour or murals, creative paintwork schemes, woodworking or other detail.

  • Orlando

    Regarding 'Cultural services and facilities' it would be nice to see West End Green used for live theatre in the Summer, complete with stalls selling drinks, and locally-produced food.

  • Anonymous

    Hi there,

    I live in West Hampstead for about 5 years and I believe it has to be developed to high standard, I love west hampstead, but it is missing a lot, it has amazing potencial , lands that can be developed in beautiful places but it has lack of of great village. Compare West hampstead to Fulham , Putney , Crouch End per example they are lively, West Hampstead has like a doll atmosphere feeling. We need to attract more people to here, make this area more desirable for families and not massive in its rental market, what makes beautiful Victorian houses looking like abandoned , not love at all. those other areas have the same houses prices and young and family people living there, why West Hampstead still have that old mentality and looks it wants to stay in past?


  • Wild_Sarah

    OMG, West Hampstead is worth 10 of Fulham or Putney! What is a ‘doll atmosphere’? In what way is W Hamps stuck in the past? (Ok, ‘Lately’ is a little 80s in theme but that’s part of its appeal?!) We have edgy Kilburn on the doorstep and posh Hamps up-the-road plus some nice bars and restaurants of our own. Leafy and pleasant as Putney may be, there’s nothing new or exciting about it… or if there is I must have missed it.

  • Wild_Sarah

    (not sure why I hyphenated 'up the road', btw)

  • Anonymous

    I lived in Putney for about a year. I found it had the most boring, generic high street. I also found that after 11pm, there was nothing to do but go home. Maybe that's all changed now, I'll still not take the risk of going back there to find out though.

  • DottyinLondon

    Not sure about “attracting people here” – if you try and get on our (admittedly creaky) multiple forms of public transport at rush hour you’ll see they’re already here. Plenty of families too, but still a nice mixture of young professionals too. It has more of a community atmosphere than anywhere else I’ve lived in London. Putney and Fulham have been noisy, unfriendly and full of annoying people on the few occasions I’ve there. I try not to venture to south London too often though – why on earth would you want to? 🙂