Search

What does the future hold for Hampstead? Play streets for kids could be on the cards

11:00 14 February 2014

Janine Griffis Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum brain storming session at Burgh House

Janine Griffis Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum brain storming session at Burgh House

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Why would anyone leave Hampstead? The question was posed at a public meeting about plans for a new community pressure group, and for one attendee the answer was simple: only death could wrench him away.

Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum brain storming session at Burgh HouseHampstead Neighbourhood Forum brain storming session at Burgh House

Hampstead Town councillor Chris Knight may have been joking when he scrawled this response, but there are many who would echo the sentiment about loyalty to NW3.

The people of Hampstead love their area – and that is why some 50 residents and workers, including Cllr Knight, ­attended a meeting at Burgh House last month to set up a new neighbourhood forum.

They spent an afternoon discussing what is important about the area and this week their thoughts and suggestions were published in a report titled A Living Village: Themes for Hampstead’s Future.

The report will serve as a starting point for the Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum, which is in the process of applying to Camden Council to be officially designated under the Localism Act.

So what could the future hold for Hampstead if the forum’s supporters have their way?

The top priority for those who contributed to the report was to maintain Hampstead’s “village atmosphere”, although it was highlighted that this does not mean “just keeping it the same”.

“All communities depend for their vitality on embracing change,” the report says. “For example, many residents think it is very important to encourage greater diversity among Hampstead’s shops and businesses.”

The familiar bugbears of mega-basements and oversized developments are also mentioned.

Residents want to keep buildings on an “appropriate scale” and they called for more affordable housing to be built, citing the former Hampstead Police Station in Rosslyn Hill and the old nurses’ hostel in New End as possible sites.

The forum was also unanimous in its opposition to any attempts to encroach upon Hampstead Heath.

“The Burgh House meeting saw the forum as a means for residents and those who work locally to unite constructively to deal with threats to the neighbourhood,” the report says.

“If they were able to decide collectively what was most important, they could be more effective than was possible otherwise.”

Other ideas included greater protection for trees to help keep Hampstead leafy.

It was suggested that two or three trees should be planted for every one felled, and that “magistrates should issue heavier fines for breaching tree regulations”.

Some residents called for streets to be de-cluttered with the removal of unnecessary road signs and estate agents’ placards.

A suggestion was made that “street wardens” could be appointed to keep an eye on litter, water leaks and lighting.

Another idea was to create “play streets” for children, with adults standing at either end of roads to ­inform cars that youngsters are about.

There was also an emphasis on the elderly, with the report saying: “The view was expressed that there needs to be better care for those with Alzheimer’s/dementia, and that NHS services could be better monitored and reviewed by residents.”

Speaking about the report, campaign leader Janine Griffis said: “What’s really exciting is the fact that people were so excited by the prospect of coming up with their own ideas.

“There’s an incredible level of ­attachment to Hampstead and I’m not sure all neighbourhoods have this. The more we talk to people, the more these ideas come forward.”

Jessica Learmond-Criqui, of the Hampstead Shops Campaign, said: “It’s a first step and it’s really important that Hampstead has this kind of forum where people come together to think about what kind of community they want to live in.”

Cllr Knight said: “I think the idea of a forum is absolutely splendid for Hampstead, it can give use greater controls over what goes on in the place, particularly on the planning side. I think it can achieve quite a lot.”

The Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum will hold its first annual general meeting on Thursday, March 6 at 7pm at Hampstead Community Centre in Hampstead High Street. For more details visit www.hampsteadforum.org.

0 comments

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 20:35
Geoffrey Lederman leaving Blackfriers Crown Court after an earlier court hearing. Picture: Dieter Perry

A pensioner who killed a young mother in front of her husband and toddler after careering onto a pavement in his vintage Mercedes has had his jail term cut by a third - after top judges decided to show him “mercy”.

Yesterday, 23:37
Nurses and midwives form a picket line outside the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead during industrial action last October. Picture: Polly Hancock

Planned strike action by health workers in a row over NHS pay has been suspended after a breakthrough in talks.

Yesterday, 18:16
Marina Litvinenko outside the Royal Courts of Justice. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

The murder of Alexander Litvinenko was an “act of nuclear terrorism on streets of a major city”, the barrister for his widow said at the opening of a public inquiry into his death eight years ago.

Yesterday, 18:15
Poisoned former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in hospital before his death in 2006

As a secret agent, political dissident, author, husband and father, Alexander Litvinenko’s life was a complex and frequently dangerous one.

Most read news

Fans of cool pictures of fire – this one’s for you.

Have you noticed lots of ladies with smudged lippie on social media lately? Find out why they’re deliberately committing a make-up faux pas.

Emergency declared as blizzard is expected to dump up to 24 inches of snow.

With 100 days to go until the General Election we decided to give it a try.

Digital Edition

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