Having cleared the site (and, yes, the trees), construction of West Hampstead Square is now imminent. At the first working group meeting between developers Ballymore, building contractors O’Hare McGovern and community representatives, Ballymore announced that work would start on March 10th and is due to finish next summer.
Work will take place 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays.
Perhaps of more concern for locals will be the 45 lorry movements per day along Finchley Road and West End Lane, delivering materials and removing waste.
Local councillor Gillian Risso-Gill will be speaking to the council about a traffic management plan for the development. The contractor’s own report says it will have a “left turn in, left turn out” policy, so lorries won’t have to cross lanes. Sounds good in practice, though if it leads to more traffic heading up West End Lane beyond Iverson Road then it may be preferable to endure the right turns out of the site.
Having promised to look into ways to mitigate the loss of the trees by “greening” the north wall (the one that will face the Overground tracks), Ballymore came back with no suggestions, saying that there was no scope for additional planting on the north side due to Network Rail fencing. Don’t expect the campaigners to roll over easily on this one.