Search

Council threatens West Hampstead residents who transformed fly-tipping hotspot with £4,600 bill

08:30 16 December 2013

The

The 'community garden' today

Archant

Camden Council has been branded “aggressive” and “heavy handed” after it accused a community group of trespassing when it transformed a fly-tipping hotspot into a community garden.

The state of the plot in 2001 before it was transformed into a gardenThe state of the plot in 2001 before it was transformed into a garden

Members of the group – who cleared the small plot off Belsize Road after it had become a dumping ground for “rotting, rat infested” rubbish for over a decade – have spent the past eight years creating a botanically diverse green space, complete with more than 40 different species of flowers and vegetation.

But last year the council accused the group of “trespassing” on council-owned land and demanded the lawn and flowerbeds be ripped up to be replaced by gravel.

It threatened the group with a bill of more than £4,600 if they did not return it to its stated use as a “service road”.

John Goodman, one of the half a dozen or so amateur gardeners who transformed the plot into a green space, said he “couldn’t understand” the council’s actions.

“This is a space that the community has turned from rubble and trash into a lovely looking garden,” he said.

“All across West Hampstead and Kilburn we see eyesores created by fly-tipping.

“It’s a common problem and the council should see this as the embodiment of their supposed eagerness to see more greenery in the borough.

“But instead the council seem intent on kicking us.”

The group – which is running the Save Our Priory Urban Green Space (PUGS) campaign – was initially given until December 3 to destroy the garden.

But with a petition to save the space amassing almost 1,000 signatures, the group says the council has, for the time being, “suspended” its deadline.

In a letter sent to the group, Camden Council justified its actions, saying: “The area is a service road that should serve the shops.

“[It] should not be made up into a garden and should be a gravel surface.

“Following [the garden’s] removal we shall ensure it is kept clear of dumped items.”

0 comments

Latest News Stories

12:38
Nick Clegg and Maajid Nawaz outside the Tavistock Centre. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg met service users at a specialist mental health centre in Swiss Cottage this morning.

52 minutes ago
A Haverstock School pupil celebrates her GCSE results last summer. Picture: Camden Council

Camden, Barnet and Haringey schools have smashed national benchmark rates for “good” GCSE results, according to official government figures released yesterday.

14:00
Maryellen Salter.

Barnet Council was forced to pay more than £16,000 for an independent lawyer to investigate legal failings which led to one of its most senior directors stepping down.

Controversial: Plan would open up colonnades in Palace's East Wing

Managers at Alexandra Palace have defended plans to refurbish the former BBC studios and Victorian theatre in the building’s crumbling east wing after conservationists said the scheme would cause “irrevocable” to damage its historic character.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

The latest North London property news and features straight into your inbox.

Other Emails:
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

This isn’t just another Boris-ism, he’s talking about an official MI5 report in “colourful language”.

The world of Disney is getting a little crowded with all these independent females.

Some tourists got very lucky in the south-west United States.

Hundreds have jumped to the defence of best-selling writer Colleen McCullough’s “sexist” eulogy.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24
Our trusted business finder