Voters go to polls in Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust by-elections

Residents will go to the polls over the next two weeks to elect a new trustee of the Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust as Prof Judith Chaney, one of four elected members, will be standing down.

The Trust, which was first established in 1905, has a role to protect the character and architecture of Hampstead Garden Suburb.

Reporter Syma Mohammed speaks to the two candidates battling it out and asks why people should vote for them.

Claire Calman, 48, of Reynolds Close, Hampstead Garden Suburb, has written four novels, including the best-selling Love is a Four Letter Word, as well as numerous short stories for anthologies and magazines.

She has also performed her comic verse live and on radio, including BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and Loose Ends.

Prior to this, she worked for many years in women’s magazines and book publishing.

Mrs Calman, who has lived in Hampstead Garden Suburb for more than 10 years, said: “I grew up in a flat in the middle of London with no outdoor space. A key part of what I love about the suburb is its living landscape – its hedges, front gardens and fine trees.”

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Mrs Calman, who is married with an eight-year-old son, says she wants to be elected to preserve the Suburb. She said: “The Suburb is unique and irreplaceable. If we don’t defend it effectively, it will be spoiled and, once spoiled, it will be impossible to reinstate it to its original glory.

“The council does not have enough power to protect the Suburb from inappropriate overdevelopment.

“I believe the trust is our best and most robust line of defence; any resident who loves the Suburb will – I hope – want to support the trust’s vital work.”

When Mrs Calman is not writing, she is also chairwoman of Reynolds Close Residents’ Association and volunteers on the trusts’ tree survey - a project which aims to document significant trees in the area.

Dr Gloria Moss, of Midholm, Hampstead Garden Suburb, is a researcher in the Department of Business and Management at Buckinghamshire New University.

Prior to this, she worked as a training manager for Eurotunnel and chemical manufacturer Courtaulds.

She is also a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development – a body for human resources professionals.

The mother-of-one shares the fears of the Concerned Residents Group, which has been campaigning against the trust’s annual management charge.


She said: “One of the missions of the trust is to safeguard the local area and I want to ensure that the character is preserved.

“I don’t think it has been in recent years.

“Secondly, I used to be a training manager and I want to ensure the trust is run in a transparent manner.

“Last year there was concern that the trust had only consulted the school (Henrietta Barnett) over its extension rather than people over a wider area.

“I don’t think this is acting in a clear and transparent manner as I would hope.

“Hampstead Garden Suburb was created as a community by Henrietta Barnett. I am very interested in seeing what I can do to develop the sense of community in the area.”