Local Election 2014: The Big Issues

Everyone has different issues that concern or directly affect them. Here’s a short list of  some of the major topics that seem relevant in this area at the moment (in no particular order).

HS2 – the impact of building HS2 is likely to be huge on Camden overall. While the effect on Fortune Green might be limited, Swiss Cottage and Kilburn wards would be heavily effected by construction and West Hampstead would likely see knock-on effects in traffic.

Schools – The debate about school places has been running for some time now. There’s an active campaign group pushing for a free school (primary and secondary) in West Hampstead, while the council is planning to open an extension of Kingsgate primary school in Liddell Road. Getting to grips with the statistics – especially on the demand for secondary school plcaes – is not for the faint hearted.

Planning & Development – The area around West Hampstead stations is already marked as an area for intensification and that’s not going to change. However, the council has significant influence over the type of development and in how the money that developers give back to the community is spent. There are also other implications on development such as the demand for social services, health care, schooling etc.

Streets & Environment – We’re all aware of the rubbish problem that peaked towards the end of last year. Although the situation has improved following a clampdown by Camden, it doesn’t feel as if it’s been cracked.

There are myriad other issues of course, and you’ll have the chance to air them at our hustings on May 12th. Or speak to the candidates at their street stalls or when they knock on your door (if they knock on your door).

Who are your candidates? Check out which ward you’re in, or go straight to the candidate list for West Hampstead, Fortune Green, Kilburn or Swiss Cottage.

No step closer to step-free access for West Hampstead tube station

Many local organisations have been pushing for step-free access to West Hampstead tube station over the past few years – even if opinion diverges on what the solution should be. It was therefore disappointing, as local residents association WHGARA pointed out recently, that West Hampstead was not included in the recent batch of stations to […]

It was 56 years ago today, Decca said the Beatles couldn’t play

On a very cold New Year’s Day in 1962 the Beatles arrived in West Hampstead for their audition at Decca Studios. The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein had several record shops in Liverpool and had a meeting with the marketing people at Decca. They told Dick Rowe – Decca’s A&R (Artists and Repertoire) manager – about […]

Mt Rushmore

From Kilburn to Mount Rushmore: The story of Gutzon Borglum

It’s Thanksgiving in America, so what better time to dig into the link between Kilburn and the man behind one of the most iconic landmarks in the US. American artist and sculptor Gutzon Borglum lived and worked at Harlestone Villa in Mortimer Road, Kilburn from about 1897 to 1902. The property was later renumbered as […]

Luxury retirement development ‘can’t afford’ to pay for affordable housing

West Hampstead is facing yet another large-scale property development. It’s the third proposal to redevelop the site at the former Gondar Gardens reservoir. The history of the previous proposals have been well documented on these pages, but what really caught our eye about this one was that it offers no affordable housing either on-site or as […]

How rich must you be to afford “affordable” housing?

After many people – including West Hampstead Life – made a fuss about the lack of affordable housing provision in the Liddell Road scheme, Camden promised that the 156 West End Lane scheme would meet the 50% affordable housing quota by floorspace. The development, which was given the go-ahead by the planning committee on Thursday, […]

Council listens to Maygrove parking problems

If you’re following the Maygrove Road parking story, then you’ll be interested in this update from MILAM (the local residents association) chair Monica Regli. Monica presented the MILAM deputation on parking and traffic issues to Camden’s environment and cultural scrutiny meeting at the town hall. She says that councillors were largely sympathetic to the problems […]

Developments pile pressure on street parking

Some residents of Maygrove and Iverson Roads are fed up with the increasingly difficult parking situation they face in light of all the new developments on these roads. The local residents association, MILAM, wants to see a review of parking hours and is suggesting a sub-zone that has different rules to the CA-Q zone in […]

Liddell Road school to open with spare capacity

Liddell Road has a new name. After much careful thought and consideration it has been renamed, wait for it…, “Liddell Place”. Someone suggested an alternative, but for some reason Camden didn’t like it. Where’s Liddell Road? It’s the former council-owned light industrial estate just off Maygrove Road that’s being redeveloped to house an infants school […]

Residents concerned over Beckford School road closure plan

Camden Council has announced plans to implement a temporary road closure near a primary school in West Hampstead, angering many local residents. There are public meetings to discuss the proposals this Thursday. The affected area is around Beckford School on Dornfell Street. Camden’s proposal is to close Broomsleigh Street at the Mill Lane end at […]