Christmas trees and lights set for Hampstead return

The Christmas lights in Flask Walk on Sunday, November 15 2020. Picture: André Langlois

Local businesses have raised around £25,000 for the festive season - Credit: André Langlois

Lights and two Christmas trees are set for Hampstead this winter, as the outgoing business improvement district (BID) considers a parting festive project with its remaining funds. 

On November 14 Christmas trees and lights are lined up for installation. One would be placed outside Barclays on the High Street, funded by local businesses. Another would be put outside KOJO, funded by the vegan restaurant.  

Cllr Stephen Stark (Tory, Hampstead Town) says around £25,000 has been raised by local businesses for the festive decorations.  

Lights will be put up around the area including the High Street, Heath Street, Perrins Court, Oriel Place and Flask Walk, but Cllr Stark warned some of the faulty lights already in the trees may not work when turned on due to the need for repair. 

Cllr Stark said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have led the campaign for Hampstead to have Christmas lights and two Christmas trees this year. The businesses which contributed have been fantastic.” 

In addition to these festive projects, the Hampstead BID is mulling over whether to fund something of its own – but it says no decision has been made.  

The BID, which charged a levy to local businesses whose premises had a rateable value of over £15,000, decided to wind up in the summer after pulling out of a ballot due to determine whether it would continue for a second five-year term.  

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There have been question marks over any remaining funds, including the total amount left, and whether any outstanding monies will be redistributed to businesses. 

Els Bauer, co-chair of the BID, estimated a figure of £8,000 to the Ham&High but said some of this had already been paid towards flower baskets, which cost £6,000.  

“No decisions have been made, it's obviously very sensitive,” Els said. “There's a bit of surplus money and we want to give that back to the community but how we do that so that everybody is happy is obviously very sensitive.

“The reason why money is not being returned back to the businesses is because most of the businesses who need it will only get about £10.  

“Anything under £20 administration-wise is not really useful because Camden charges fees for this.” 

Els added: “We’re looking at the best use of the remaining funds and hopefully something for Christmas.  

“But we haven’t decided that and we have to work out if people actually do want that. And the rest most likely will go to another round of flower baskets if we can afford it and then the rest goes to charity.”