Who’s Who: James Earl, chairman of newly-recognised West Hampstead Development Forum speaks about why he loves the area

James Earl

James Earl - Credit: Archant

James Earl, 46, of Fordwych Road, is chairman of the newly-recognised West Hamsptead Development Forum, He thinks its main focus will be the area in between West Hampstead’s three stations, that has been earmarked for major development.

What brought you to West Hampstead?

Accident! I had some friends living in South Hampstead and walked up West End Lane and found the estate agents.

What is your favourite thing about the area?

I like the village feel of the area – it’s green and not too built-up, but still very close to central London.

Which is your favourite shop in the area?

Thou Art In Hampstead, a great framing shop on Mill Lane.

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What is the area’s best kept secret?

Not everyone finds their way up West End Lane to Fortune Green. It’s a lovely open space and the Friends Of Fortune Green are doing a really good job making it even better.

What is missing from the area?

Improvements to the area around the three stations. The new entrance to the Thameslink station is a good start, but much more needs to be done. Hopefully the Neighbourhood Plan will set out a framework for this to happen.

What makes you smile on your way home?

Cycling through West Hampstead on a warm summer’s evening.

If you were mayor for a day, what would you change?

I’d get Transport for London to stop the endless weekend closures on the Jubilee line.

How would you spend your perfect Saturday?

A lie-in, gym at the O2 Centre, a visit to West Hampstead farmers’ market, some gardening, and an evening in one of the many great bars and restaurants around West End Lane.

What tips would you give to somebody moving to the area?

Make the most of all it has to offer – there’s a great range of independent shops, businesses, bars and restaurants – plus some excellent local facilities.

Where in the world would you twin with West Hampstead?

That’s tough. West Hampstead is pretty unique. My brother lives in Amsterdam and I love the Dutch way of life and how they plan their urban areas – so, if pushed, I’d go for the Oud-West part of Amsterdam.

If you had to write your own epitaph what would it say?

He helped make West Hampstead a better place.