I’m a proud son of Camden, having lived in six wards across our borough, from Holborn to my current home of Hampstead. I once lived in West Hampstead, and go there almost every week: not just to help the great West Hampstead Conservatives, but also because of the area’s beauty and vibrancy.
West Hampstead truly is a great neighbourhood. But residents in West Hampstead and Fortune Green – in the far north-west of the borough – often feel very detached and overlooked by Camden Council.
Whether it’s the campaign against the 156 West End Lane blocks or the fight to retain local services, there’s a feeling that West Hampstead doesn’t get its rub of the green. But just doesn’t Just because it’s far from Town Hall doesn’t mean it should be far from its mind.
As a result, I’m proposing the below motion at next week’s full meeting of Camden Council. It doesn’t try to score party-political points, but is a list of concerns that ordinary West Hampstead residents have raised with me over recent weeks and months. Hopefully, it can be supported by councillors across the party divide (although I don’t hold my breath!).
– Praises the hard work of the West Hampstead & Fortune Green Neighbourhood Forum – the first in Camden to agree a Neighbourhood Plan to protect what’s great about our community.
– Notes with sadness the lack of any Assets of Community Value west of Finchley Road listed by Camden, despite the phenomenal breadth of the neighbourhood: from West End Lane’s Czech & Slovak House to the Maygrove Peace Park to the People’s Centre for Change on Shoot-Up Hill.
– Backs local residents campaigning to make the Alliance pub an Asset of Community Value, subject to the statutory criteria, along with all other pubs in Camden – as proposed by the Conservative Group to this Council in June 2015.
– Regrets the distraction caused by the phony campaign to “save” West Hampstead Library and supports keeping West Hampstead Library open despite the threats.
– Supports local residents critical of overdevelopment of West End Lane’s Travis Perkins Building that would overshadow hundreds of nearby homes.
– Deplores the fact that, despite the Liddell Road skyscraper towering over the local community, just 4% of housing on the site will be affordable: far short of the 50% promised borough-wide.
– Opposes closing the public toilets on West End Lane, which are used by 61,000 people a year and allows visitors to spend a penny when they’re spending their pounds in West Hampstead.
– Values West Hampstead and Fortune Green as one of the jewels in Camden’s crown and pledges to ensure the long-overlooked north-west of Camden is overlooked by this Council’s administration no longer.