I recently received a letter - not quite anonymous as I recognised the writer's tone - having a go at me for always complaining about something.

Mr X shouted: "But what are you going to do about it? Get a grip, woman!"

Or words to that effect.

I sympathised. It does seem that when I push for action for something that is clearly necessary, whether by Camden Council, Transport for London, Thames Water or any public service company, nothing happens.

Moaning, however, does not mean inactivity behind the scenes and I can report on a project that is going in a positive direction, driven by the sheer commitment and willingness of volunteers to make it happen.

You may remember I wrote here in November about the neglect of South End Green, once a shining centre for Hampstead dwellers and visitors sharing the joys of Hampstead Heath.

In recet years, it’s got grimy and traffic congested. I appealed for like-minded people who demanded better and who wanted sustainable restoration, to come forward, The response was brilliant. 

Ham & High: Cllr Linda Chung called out for like-minded residents in South End Green who want to improve South End GreenCllr Linda Chung called out for like-minded residents in South End Green who want to improve South End Green (Image: Nathalie Raffray)

As a result, we formed the South End Greening Group, made up of interested residents and representatives from the Heath and Hampstead Society, the Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum and local businesses.

To tackle the severe flooding in the area, all of us are in a coalition with the South End Green Association, to work with Camden long-term.

The first job was to oversee the build-out of the pavement by the upper part of South End Road, widened for mixed-use by pedestrians and businesses and a streatery - an area where people can eat outside cafes and restaurants.

Ideally, we wanted well-placed biodiverse planting in the design, but Camden started work without notice, so we had to cope with what was already contracted. We managed to replace the planned use of concrete with reclaimed York stone and accepted that the space could be adapted later for more planting.

Further exciting work is to design the fountain area properly. Working with the council can be unpredictable. We are left in the dark, then suddenly there's the sound of machinery.

Camden should not take us for granted, and in this project, it now understands that proper consultation and the willingness to work in harmony with residents who know their patch means we can achieve that perfect pitch. 

  • Linda Chung is the Liberal Democrat councillor for Hampstead Town ward, Camden Council.