West Hampstead place shaping workshop report

You may recall that at the end of June I was invited to join a “place shaping” workshop organised by Camden council. I wrote it up, but explained that the full report would be available later. That later is now. I received the document this morning. It’s quite long so, although I feel it’s a very fair reflection of at least my workshop (there were two in total), I’m not sure you need to read the whole thing unless you’re really interested.

Therefore, I’ve circled paragraphs that I think capture the main points, and made a few annotations. It’s important to clarify that the purpose of this was not to find solutions, but to try and establish some common purpose that can inform decisions taken by the council. Of course, much of what came up is not really in the council’s purview, and to some extent the least tangible concepts of community are up to residents to demonstrate themselves. Do leave comments and (if they’re appropriate) I can pass them back into the whole process.

West Hampstead Shaping the Future Workshop Final Report

  • Thanks for this.

    I was interested by the whole exercise and love the vision of a village in the middle of London.

    The shops debate seems a non-starter:
    – less than 10%* of shops in WEL belonging to a large chain, it is not exactly frightening or anonymous
    – the lack of variation with lots of cafes, estate agents and beauty/hairdressing shops is what residents want enough to spend money in. We can’t be forced to visit the numerous deli’s that have come and gone or have kept open the hardware store, gift store, etc.

    Finally, is youth crime on the rise? Crime across the country is down by c. 30% since the mid-90s and it seems unlikely that gentrified West Hampstead has bucked this trend.

  • The biggest challenge with the shops is simply that it’s an open market – we can’t decide who moves in unless there’s a licence required. I do think that when new developments occur, encouraging more smaller units rather than fewer larger ones is more likely to get independent businesses to the area (the Travis Perkins site will be a good test for this).

    On crime, I don’t have the numbers to hand, but I’m fairly sure that actually (youth) crime IS up in West Hampstead, albeit from a relatively low level. It’s a hot topic for some people, that’s for sure.