West Hampstead Life Review of the Year

West Hampstead is changing fast (too fast perhaps for some). Lets take a look back at the stories that made the news in 2014 (click the images to go to the full story)

January
“The driver didn’t get out, but reversed half a metre and tried again, hitting the building again, and then did the same. It took three or four attempts to get through, doing more damage each time.”

12 months later, the building still hasn’t been repaired. The year began with a violent storm that ripped down the tube station sign and a brewing pharmacy war in Mill Lane.

February
Estate agents have to remove boards no more than 14 days after the advertised property has been let or sold. In reality they are often left for months or even years. In fact, some have been there so long they are rotting away with just the frame left attached to the buildings.

West Hampstead made the news over some pebbledash and some street “art”. We also featured on Location, Location, Location, though an important detail was omitted from the programme.

March
The trees were controversially felled in February, construction began in March, and the cranes went up in September. West Hampstead Square is due for completion mid-2015

Thankfully everyone got out of a Broadhurst Gardens house fire, though one woman jumped and broke her leg. Smokehouse One Sixty opened its doors, and we contrasted the sale of Stephen Fry’s former house with the cheapest flat for sale in the area.

April
Where possible, produce at West Hampstead Fruit & Veg is sourced from the UK, so expect to find apples from Kent and UK-grown mushrooms, as well as other local fruit and vegetable varieties in season.

There was a false security alarm at JW3 that closed the Finchley Road, West End Lane Books celebrated its 20th anniversary, and an eviction on Lymington Road drew protestors and police.

May
Labour managed the clean sweep in West Hampstead (something residents will hope they can do to the streets as well), with the shock being the removal of Keith Moffitt.

The elections dominated May’s news, as Labour won five of the six seats across West Hampstead and Fortune Green from the Lib Dems. At the pre-election hustings, it was UKIP who predictably stole the headlines after its candidate questioned whether women should have the vote.

June
As well as doing pieces to camera, Sachin Tendulkar also spent time with Hampstead Cricket Club’s colts batting and bowling with them. Although some of the younger players may not have been aware of Tendulkar’s prowess, their parents were suitably bowled over.

Local vicar Father Andrew Cain married his partner Steve Foreshew. The Church of England grumbled, but for many the surprise was less that the local vicar was gay and more that his new husband was an atheist.

July
Most of the early arrivals to the post office / café/ shop/ playarea / church seemed impressed. For many, it was their first sight of the transformed space. It is believed to be the first full-time post office located in a functioning church and certainly the first in London.

The first of two tetchy Liddell Road development meetings conveyed locals’ displeasure with the plans as they stood. Vintage jewellery shop Passionate About Vintage opened on Mill Lane.

August
The Tricycle, Kilburn’s highly regarded theatre and cinema, found itself embroiled in controversy after announcing that it would no longer be part of the UK Jewish Film Festival.

Three men were found guilty of murdering Sabrina Moss last year.

September Having been a West Hampstead commuter, Alexandra Gee noticed that “I’m always tired and hungry after a long day at work, and end up going to Tesco for the same old pasta. I thought it would be great to be able to pick up something different and tasty on the way home.”

It was a quiet month!

October
Local resident and early-riser Mandira Bhimjiyani was excited by the new store. “I love a good Waitrose,” she said. “Any supermarket that thinks tiramisu is essential is ok with me.”

The Railway closed until March 2015 as the upper floors are converted into self-contained flats. A spate of burglaries started with a break-in at Toomai. Foxtons got permission to open in the former post office building in West End Lane. Kilburn made it into the Financial Times and The Economist. Capital City motorbike shop failed to comply with an enforcement order (and has since been evicted from its Fortune Green premises). Oh, and the Hoff turned up to the Kilburn Nando’s.

November
Love & Liquor is so keen not to be in Kilburn - depsite the fact that Kilburn is surely edgier and more "street" than posh residential Maida Vale - that it gives its address as "34 High Road, Maida Vale". That would be 34 Kilburn High Road to the postman

After years of clamouring, a butcher finally opened in West Hampstead. A rail replacement bus caused some major damage to parked cars in Broadhurst Gardens, and a snake was spotted (and captured) in Parsifal Road. The portacabin classrooms were finally rmoved from Lymington Road ater two years.

December
Locals have objected to the height of the Liddell Road tower block and the lack of affordable housing (which was initially zero), when the council is expecting to make a £3m surplus from the development

Liddell Road wasn’t the only major planning application to go in over Christmas; the Overground station plans were also submitted. Posh frozen food shop Cook opened, and the air ambulance came twice to NW6 within an hour. The 85-year-old driver convicted of killing Desreen Brooks on West End Lane in November 2012 was given an 18 month jail sentence and was banned for driving for life.

Photos via West Hampstead Life, Mark Amies (Ballymore cranes), Richard Clegg (Waitrose), Dan Hiral (Travis Perkins lorry), John Mennis (Sachin Tendulkar), John Oris (Tricycle)

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