Have your say on the future of West Hampstead

You can’t have failed to notice that a large amount of development is going on in the area of West Hampstead around the three stations.

Since it was set up in early 2012, the Fortune Green & West Hampstead Neighbourhood Development Forum (NDF) has been lobbying for a ‘masterplan’ to be drawn up for the area – to set out how the area could be developed in future and how the needs of the area (particularly the increasing pressure on local infrastructure) are taken into account.

Camden Council has now agreed to work with the NDF to begin this work.

Good masterplanning creates better places and requires expertise in urban design, strategic planning, architecture, landscape architecture and community engagement.

The first step is a workshop (organised jointly by the NDF & Camden Council) on Saturday 12th November from 10am-4pm at Emmanuel School Hall on Mill Lane (includes a free lunch and tea/coffee). Everyone is welcome, so come and have your say.

What is your opinion? Have your say.

What is your opinion? Have your say.

We will be joined by Camden Council officers, local councillors, and planning professionals to assist in our work. Local residents with knowledge of planning/architectural issues are particularly welcome to advise and give their input on these issues.

The area has been classified as a ‘Growth Area’ by the Mayor of London – and while lots of development has already happened, more will come. The London Plan sets a target of a minimum of 800 new homes and 100 jobs between 2010 and 2031.

The area contains three main sites for development. The first (West Hampstead Square aka Ballymore) is due to be completed by the end of this year with 198 new homes. The second (156 West End Lane aka Travis Perkins site) is being sold by Camden Council to a developer and a re-consultation on the planning application is currently underway for a scheme with 164 new homes. The third remaining site is the 02 Centre car park, which is owned by the large property and development company, Land Securities.

While there are no plans for the third site at the moment, it’s clear something will happen here in the future and it won’t be a small development. There’s also the suggestion that the car park site could encompass Homebase and the neighbouring car showrooms. Such a development would also have an impact on Blackburn Road, which has a number of smaller development sites.

The Neighbourhood Plan (which was approved in a local referendum last year) sets out policy for the West Hampstead Growth Area (Policy 4) and also includes Recommendation C, which calls on Camden Council to draw up a masterplan for this area.

If you would like to know more (and/or be added to the NDF mailing list), please contact: moc.l1508469369iamg@1508469369daets1508469369pmaht1508469369sewpd1508469369n1508469369

You can find out more about the NDF on our website and follow our work on Twitter

  • MrFrisbee

    The whole Camden planning process (and most planning process in the UK probably) is an utter farce/disgrace. Community engagement is all well and good IF and only IF this engagement is taken notice of AND ACTED UPON which it just is not. The best we can hope for is that perhaps an extra tree is planted and a bench or two included in the plan (and another uselessly small community room that nobody wants, needs or uses). Consultations, NDFs, NDPs, Masterplans – call them whatever you want – they end up being a total waste of time as they have little or no influence on decision making.

    Camden, and more importantly the Councillors, should work for the community but they do not. It simply comes down to finances and, as budgets get cut further, this issue is just amplified as the “need” for money to the Council increases and the solution is to stop collecting rubbish and disguise it as trying to increase recycling.

    Another year or two and all the crown jewels will be sold off and that will be it. So long as a developer pays enough money in fines, CIL money or whatever other acronym you want to give it and you can just about build whatever you want.

    It is because of all this that the public are totally apathetic and disillusioned and it is why things like Brexit and Trump are happening.

    This masterplanning nonsense is just going to be another 300 pages of waffle which 3 people will read and none will take notice of and on top of that its about 5 years too late anyway, but hey, it will distract the locals and make them think it is going to make a difference and all that before a single element of the NDP has been taken notice of.

    Why bother?

    • JB

      All excellent points.

      I wonder if the event will be “master-planning” the relocation of West Hampstead Underground Station entrance to across the road from where it has stood since the 19th century.

      This particular “master-planning” idea originates with local land and property owner Richard Loftus, an individual linked to the Westminster Homes for Votes Scandal — orchestrated by Dame Shirley Porter who later fled the country after being found guilty of “outrageous and improper gerrymandering” — via the Westminster Housing Trust and the Westminster Property Owners Association.

      Mr Loftus, one of the developers behind the student block on Blackburn Road, maintains land and property interests close to the existing station entrance and has taken an active interest in West Hampstead Underground Station for a number of years.

      Further detail about how the NDF came to champion and lobby for Mr Loftus’ proposals can be found in an article on the blog of investigative journalist, George Turner:

      Neighbourhood Planning — A new tool in the developers’ armoury

      Individuals attending the “master-planning” event should be aware that the author of this WHL article, having worked on producing the Neighbourhood Development Plan and colluded with a landowner and property developer to try and relocate the underground station entrance, announced on 7th November 2016 that he will be leaving West Hampstead early in 2017.

      Readers are invited to draw their own conclusions from this information.

      • As transparency is clearly all-important, the author of the comment above is also the author of the blogpost he links to. Strange not to just come out and say “Further details can be found in an article I wrote…”. Readers are invited etc. etc. etc.

      • West Hampstead NDF

        No excellent points here, Joseph!

        The NDF remains committed, as it always has been, to working positively and constructively to tackle the issues West Hampstead is facing.

        It’s both sad and disappointing that, once again, all you seem to have to offer is personal attacks, slurs and unfounded allegations.

      • Joseph Black

        As transparency is clearly all-important, the author of the comment above is also the Chair and Secretary of the NDF. Strange not to just come out and say “I am the Chair and Secretary of the Neighbourhood Development Forum and I wrote the article above…”. Readers are invited etc. etc. etc.

        James,

        The article documenting Loftus’ proposal to move West Hampstead Underground Station entrance contains references to source material which includes minutes you take, relating to meetings you organise, at meetings you chair.

        You alleged that the article contained “inaccuracies and untrue statements” and “unfounded criticisms”. You were offered the opportunity to have any “genuine errors” corrected, yet no corrections of the referenced facts has been forthcoming.

        In response to the comment above you allege “personal attacks, slurs and unfounded allegations”. Yet there were no personal attacks, nor slurs, nor unfounded allegations but instead a statement of facts for which you have provided much of the evidence base.

      • The article refers to “our [NDF] website”, so it’s pretty clearly written by the NDF, and the comment clearly states it’s from the NDF, so I don’t think anyone’s going to be too confused by this. After all, most people who are interested in this will know who James is – what with all the community engagement the NDF has carried out over the years. But of course taking this line of attack lets you deflect from your own lack of transparency – at least you had the good grace to change your username from just your initials.

        Perhaps alongside inviting readers to draw their own conclusions about James leaving WH next year, you could tell us what your conclusions are? You obviously have some, otherwise why mention it at all unless it was intended as a personal attack, or a slur?

        Out of interest, will you or any of your STB colleagues be standing for chair of the NDF when James steps down so that you can help constructively shape the next phase of West Hampstead’s evolution?

      • Ko

        Pretty much everyone not living under a rock knows that James heads up the NDF. Those same people also know that the core driving force behind ‘Save West Hampstead’ are some hard-core Lymington Road residents who are concerned with one thing and one thing only – the protection of their backyard views in the wake of the impending development at 156 West End Lane. This ‘Stop the Blocks’ pressure group (and i wholeheartedly mean to say the word ‘pressure’) does not care about ‘saving’ the rest of West Hampstead. Did they submit an objection as a group to West Hampstead Square, 317 Finchley Road or Liddell Road (the most controversial developments within the area in recent times)? The answer is no.

        James and the rest of the NDF should be commended for the hard work they have done for West Hampstead residents as a whole.

    • West Hampstead NDF

      Hi Mr Frisbee,

      Sorry to hear that you take such a cynical view of this. The NDF is giving local people the opportunity to have a say in these discussions and all views are welcome. If some people want to ignore what’s happening around them, that’s their choice.

      In terms of your last point, the master-planning exercise is one of the recommendations of the Neighbourhood Plan – so it’s wrong to claim the Plan is being ignored.

      • MrFrisbee

        I have not ignored anything. I am probably one of only a handful of people who have read each published draft of the NDF and read most planning applications in the area. I am also in regular contact with the useless planning department.

        The NDF does not give people the chance to have a say as Camden will ignore it. When it was drafted anything that was remotely “prescriptive” was carefully removed or adjusted so there was plenty of wiggle room for Camden and the developers. It contains what we would like but that is all it contains.

        After everything that has gone on in the local area I do not understand why you still sit and defend Camden for their total disregard of the communities that live here. They are indefensible.

        Any plan WILL be ignored or just drafted around what they already know needs to happen (shoot then draw the target). Just because there is a document with stuff written in it does not mean it will be applied as Camden demonstrate continually. As you well know, the hierarchy of these “guidelines” means that an NDP is way down the pecking order and therefore ignored.

        The only single change that A2 have made of any “note” in their last submission is that the view of the top of the development from the top part of Crediton Hill (about 300+ metres from the site) has improved very slightly. SO WHAT! What about those people plunged into darkness in Lymington Road and on the MUGA for large parts of the year? What about the lorry traffic crossing pavements in West End Lane? What about the lack of infrastructure? What about the damage to the conservation area? What about the people that cannot afford anywhere to live and service the capital? The list is almost endless.

        Of course, you cannot keep all the people happy all of the time, but the priority should be for the local people in the direct vicinity of the site. If what comes out of that is not “commercially viable” then tough, you cant sell the site for £20+m.

        It was always clear that 156 was going to be the first real “test” of the NDP and what is it going to achieve? A nicer coloured brick to the WEL facade? A curved corner transition? Three small retail outlets in place of one big one? Does any of this REALLY matter? Does it make one less person homeless, does it improve our enjoyment of the open spaces of the area, does it reduce the dangerous pavement congestion in and around the stations?

        Those aims should be made utterly crystal clear and it should fight for those constantly until they are achieved and it should support those other locals who are fighting it too. That is what it was voted in for.