Search

Outgoing chairman Kirsten de Keyser warns Highgate Society members: ‘Don’t get bogged down in family feuds’

08:00 06 June 2014

Pictured left to right: outgoing chair Kirsten de Keyser, Ham&High editor Geoff Martin, who was guest speaker at the society's AGM, sustainable homes group chair Catherine Budgett-Meakin and society president Stephen Panke. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Pictured left to right: outgoing chair Kirsten de Keyser, Ham&High editor Geoff Martin, who was guest speaker at the society's AGM, sustainable homes group chair Catherine Budgett-Meakin and society president Stephen Panke. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

The outgoing chairman of the Highgate Society has warned members they should stop getting “bogged down in family feuds” to allow the civic group to modernise after stepping down from the role last week.

Kirsten de Keyser, of Highgate Village, decided to resign after two years in the post to free up more time for political campaigning.

Speaking after the society’s AGM last Thursday, she said heading up the group had “certainly been a ride”.

“I think the Highgate Society is probably a bit too quiet for me,” the political blogger said. “It’s not my natural territory. I like the cut and thrust of politics where the big societal decisions are 
being forged.”

She added: “That’s where I’m focused. I had to look at the Highgate Society and say, can I save that lovely little oak tree up the road at the same time? Probably not.

“I really hope the society will go from strength to strength.

“They’ve got some new fresh minds who can hopefully help keep the modernisation going and not get bogged down in members’ family feuds.”

Ms de Keyser, an active campaigner for electoral reform, said her biggest triumphs as chair have been the launch of computer clubs for elderly residents and the Ham&High’s Young Readers’ Edition – a collaboration with the Highgate Society.

“It’s appalling the amount of flack our young people get from all sides,” she said. “We’ve gone and messed their future up for them and we give them a bad press at the same time.

“But they have shown a huge amount of talent, energy and awareness. What they produced for the Ham&High’s Young Readers’ Edition was amazing.”

Her darkest moment came after the society failed to stop planning permission being granted for a modern family home on the corner of Hampstead Lane and Highgate High Street at the entrance to the village – currently the site of a much-loved flower stall.

“That, and the 3,000 emails that I’ve sent from the official Highgate Society account over the last two years,” Ms de Keyser added.

In one of her last acts as chair at Thursday’s AGM, she called for action over 
legal threats some members have received from developers following their involvement in the society’s campaigns to fight controversial planning schemes.

She wants a debate to discuss whether the society should remain as an unofficial civic group or should become a recognised body – which would grant members legal protection.

But the suggestion was met with hostility from several members.

“Society used to be so much less litigious but it’s a whole new game now,” said Ms de Keyser. “That’s why the whole issue of having someform of incorporation has to be discussed and a 
debate has to be had.”

On stepping down as chair, she added: “It’s been a ride. I don’t particularly want to say it’s been a good ride, but it’s certainly been a ride.

“I really enjoyed getting to know people in the community and I can now understand the difference between Highgate’s nimbies and the people who are genuinely caring.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

A brave and adventurous 14-year-old boy is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in memory of his sister who died recently

Friday, September 23, 2016

A Crouch End woman and three others have been sentenced for their roles in attempting to defraud a Camden housing association of nearly £430,000.

Friday, September 23, 2016

A Gospel Oak care home made no notes of a patient’s penicillin allergy on the medical charts, a care watchdog report found

Friday, September 23, 2016

A 30-year-old male cyclist is in a serious condition in hospital after reportedly careering into the rear window of a parked car in Regent’s Park.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Management consultant begged to be spared prison after kicking the driver outside an exclusive club

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The power of the community in working for change has been demonstrated with steps taken to deal with two major traffic issues

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Revellers of all ages descended on Waterlow Park on Saturday to celebrate its glorious 125-year history

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Hampstead family claim their beloved Pomeranian dog Chewy died after being bitten by a neighbour’s Alsatian dog.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Interested in purchasing a flat and want to know the rules, rights and regulations as a leaseholder? Or maybe you are already a leaseholder and want to find out more about extending your lease?

Scores of people visited the opening of Composite Door Master’s first public showroom in Hayes at the weekend, where they were treated to a spectacular show by award winning magician, Marc Oberon.

You’ve got cash, you’ve got style and you’ve got a bursting social calendar, but no time. These Crouch End studio suites to rent could be your dream come true.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

As we grow older it becomes more and more important to have means to travel about safely and quickly. Our friendship groups and families grow and the need to have a car that is not only safe but also fast and big enough for all our needs is ever more important. There are many cars on the market for such needs but none deals with them as efficiently or as neatly as a VW Golf Estate. These cars are build strong, long lasting and spacious for a reason. They cater to the needs of many and are some of the most popular cars currently on the market.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now