I’m campaigning with my ward colleagues to re-opened Oriel Place Gardens: an overlooked and overgrown micro-park in the heart of Hampstead village.
The Gardens are located between Gail’s on Hampstead High Street and the Horseshoe pub on Heath Street. Although they’re owned by Camden Council, they’re closed to the public: denying them the opportunity to benefit from this great community asset.
The Gardens are controlled by Camden’s Housing department, thanks to the nearby presence of Wells Court, the sheltered elderly accommodation opposite the Gardens. But with the Council now selling Wells Court – a decision taken last year – the connection to the premises no longer exists, and it should be transferred to the Parks and Open Spaces team to restore and re-open.
My colleague Stephen Stark is helping remaining residents to be rehoused. But with the expected income from the sale to a commercial enterprise vastly exceeding the cost of providing replacement housing, it’s only right that a small fraction of the revenue goes to restoring Oriel Place Gardens.
I’ve met officers from the Council, along with local resident and community groups and Stephen Stark, to see what practical objections they had to the scheme. Despite no realistic objection being given on these occasions, the Council still refuses to reopen the Gardens.
I asked the Council at my first council meeting, earlier this week, to re-open the Gardens, but the answer has so far been negative. Sadly, this shows that providing green spaces in the north-west of the borough is not a priority for Camden Council.
I will continue to fight, alongside Tom Currie and Stephen Stark, for Oriel Place Gardens to be re-opened.
For more about my campaign for a greener Hampstead, click here.