Consultation on 187-199 ends on Feb 14th

These plans went into the council before Christmas. If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about then gen up on the background, maps, pictures etc.. In a nutshell: 203 flats to be built on the land between the tube and overground lines to the west of West End Lane, fronted today by the shops from Café Bon to Michael Leonard Estates: 187-199 West End Lane. The image below also misses out the 6-storey longer-block of affordable housing at the back (left) of the site.

The planning documents are lengthy and incredibly detailed, To access the whole lot, you need to enter ref 2011/6129/P into Camden’s planning search engine, click the application number when it comes up, and then click “View Related Documents”. I’ve linked to a few of the critical ones below, and the main planning document is here – I’ve drawn your attention to some paragraphs with red borders

If you want to comment on the plans you need to do by February 14th. You can do so via the Camden planning site (it’s easy enough to find). The sort of issues that have exercised people include:

  • Height – at 12 storeys high, the middle tower will dwarf anything else in West Hampstead;
  • Potential loss of daylight for houses close to the development (developer’s report here);
  • Whether the existing local businesses on the site will be allowed to continue operating until demolition is essential, whether they will be offered first option on the new commercial premises included in the proposals, and whether that would be at a reasonable rent (retail floor plans top left here, and see 6.30-6.33 in the main planning document);
  • The impact on traffic and transport in the area, despite being nominally a zero-parking development (developer’s report here).

There may be other issues you’re concerned about – although do check the documents to see if they’ve already been addressed. It’s probably fair to say that the plans are not going to be summarily dismissed by the planners. There is a need for housing, the land has aleady been identified as suitable for residential development, and it ties in with the London Plan that calls for 800 new homes around the stations in West Hampstead over the next few years. The details – especially the height – are up for debate though.

Local residents group WHGARA has been most vocal in its opposition to scale of the development, and is exhorting people to “Act now“. Meanwhile, WHAT has posted its letter to Camden, which I’ve added to the comments below.

Update via Cllr Andrew Marshall (Swiss Cottage): The council’s email address for comments on planning applications is changing. From the end of January, use ku.vo1508758463g.ned1508758463mac@g1508758463ninna1508758463lp1508758463.

  • Anonymous

    Is this going to be a huge council estate? If so, it's the end of West Hampstead as we know it. All the delights of Harlesden and Wembley come to West End Lane!!!!!

    • Er, no "anonymous", not at all. Of the 203 units, 28 will be "social rent" and 25 will be "intermediate". So, a quarter of the site will be (much needed) affordable housing.

  • Anonymous

    To anonymous. Lots of us live on council estates and make west hampstead the community that it is

  • Stephen Barabas

    I have been on the Camden site to put my disapproval for the project. Already West End Lane in the three years I have lived here has been congested and difficult to communate along – an additional 200+ cars witha new junction might as well make it a parking lot. The existing traffic lights between the overland and cross-train are ill-conceived and badly designed, causing congestion backing up the main road to the high street an existing premanent feature. This project if it goes ahead with leave long queues standing still during all hours.

    • Stephen, the development is designated as “zero parking”, so there won’t be 200 cars. However, it is hard to believe there won’t be substantial traffic with deliveries, tradesmen, etc. The developers are claiming that traffic will actually be less than it is today given the car-based businesses that operate behind West End Lane, although personally I find this hard to believe. Ocado vans alone will surely be operating in a convoy!

  • Lucy

    Thank you for all the articles you've been posting about this development. I hope that any affected local residents will comment on the plans before the deadline. The developer is proposing 7 blocks of flats, the last one – Block G at 6 stories high, is missing from the picture above.

    • That's a good point Lucy, thanks for reminding me. Will adjust the article.

  • Here’s the letter sent by WHAT (also available on http://www.whatnw6.org.uk/2.html)

    I am writing on behalf of West Hampstead Amenity & Transport to object to application number 2011/6129/P to redevelop the site at 187/199 West End Lane to create among other things seven new buildings between five and twelve storeys high. We consider that the proposed development should:

    have a maximum of six storeys;
    have a greater proportion of affordable housing mixed with the private housing;
    contribute section 106 funds towards rebuilding the adjacent London Overground Station.

    Maximum height of six storeys
    We strongly object to the proposed height of the taller buildings. This site is located at the interchange between the three West Hampstead stations and on West Hampstead’s main street. As such, it is part of the gateway for residents returning to and visitors coming to West Hampstead by rail and by road. The proposed development will therefore have a very high profile and will impact not only on those living close to the site but more generally on West Hampstead’s residents and visitors.

    We recognise that this site is in one of the areas designated for intensification in the 2011 London Plan with significant potential for development. We also recognise that within this context it is designated in Camden’s Local Development Framework as a growth area predominantly for housing and is listed in the Council’s draft Site Allocation document.

    We do not believe however that any of these planning designations support building anything approaching 12 storeys on this site. Such a height would have a detrimental effect on the village feel of West Hampstead which is described in the Council’s draft Place Shaping document as one of the key attributes of the area.

    The surrounding buildings reach a maximum of five storeys on West End Lane except for one small part of 156 West End Lane which is six storeys high. With this in mind and given that this is an area of intensification we would accept a height of an absolute maximum of six storeys. We note that a reference in the 2009 draft of the Site Allocations document to the site being suitable for180 units has been deleted in the latest draft of that document. We believe that this recognises that 180 units, let alone the 203 proposed by the developer, would amount to over-development.

    Greater proportion of affordable housing
    We believe there should be a greater proportion of affordable housing units, much closer to the Council’s target of 50%. The percentage referred to in the developer’s application relates moreover only to floor space and not to units. The affordable housing should be mixed with private housing and not located in what could be a ghetto at the western end of the site. The developer’s proposal is at variance with the provision in the latest draft of the Site Allocation document which suggested that at least some of the affordable housing should be at the eastern end.

    We urge the Council to check that there are no safety issues with access to social housing right at the back of the site e.g. that the emergency services could have reasonable access. We understand that there would be an emphasis on housing for the disabled and we believe it is bad practice to have such units in a relatively inaccessible location.

    Contribute section 106 funds towards rebuilding the adjacent London Overground station
    We welcome the proposed square bordering on West End Lane. The current proposal leaves space for the eventual redevelopment of the London Overground station. However, in the interim, the installation of lifts in this station has been agreed by TfL and funding for them is available. We believe that the opportunity should be taken to put additional section 106 money towards rebuilding the station is liaison with London Overground. The lifts are being funded with disability access funds and this would dovetail well with the disability focus of the redevelopment.

  • This is far too dense for one small area. I thought there were already laws governing that. As only a tiny proportion of the space is dedicated to “affordable” housing (and what a get-out that term is) this means we’re being jam-packed with luxury housing. It’s not as if these homes are going to see essential workers such as firefighters, nurses etc living in them.

    The WHAT letter above is great and I’m in full agreement.

    • Density actually isn't an issue – at least not a legal one. It comes in over the recommended density for the site, but under the legal limit. It's worth seeing the follow-up article, which also refers to some of the concerns about affordable housing http://www.westhampsteadlife.com/2012/01/187-199-west-end-lane-non-compliant.html

    • Thanks for the link. Wish there was a rare newt or plant long thought to be extinct we could find living on the site.

      With regard to the height and heritage aspect, I’ve just read Edward Petherbridge’s interesting tour of Crediton Hill and realise how much cultural history has gone on around here. (Plus theRailway and EMI studios down the road). That’s all being swamped by the developers’ plans and not in a way that improves what we already have.

      The clear view from the bridges are about the only ones we get around here as there’s not very much public open space. I regard that as a vital contribution to our individual and collective well-being. Plonking great big boxes in the way to provide luxury flats is not a friendly act.

      Neither do I believe for an instant that the initial zero-parking rule won’t be eroded.

      Thanks for doing such a great job in keeping us informed and making it easier to understand. Much appreciated.