Camden library campaigner: ‘West Hampstead is changing into concrete jungle’

Alan Templeton outside Swiss Cottage Library

Alan Templeton outside Swiss Cottage Library - Credit: Archant

Alan Templeton is chairman of Camden Public Libraries Users Group, and treasurer of Friends of West Hampstead Library. He has joined the campaign to save West Hampstead Library from threat of closure. He has lived just off West End Lane with his wife for 31 years.

What brought you to West Hampstead? We came here because of the easy transport system. With three railway lines and several buses going through West Hampstead, it’s very easy to get into town. It’s a nice, pleasant place anyway, but it’s an added bonus.

What is your favourite memory of the area? Probably a quiet Sunday afternoon walking down West End Lane. It’s very village-like when traffic is light.

How has West Hampstead changed since you moved into the area? All the little shops that give an area that extra village service, like the bakers’, have gone. But we are beginning to see them slipping back because people have been missing them. The supermarkets are good but they don’t give you that personal service.

What is the area’s best kept secret? Probably its library, because if you look at the library, it’s not exactly obvious it’s there. We made several attempts to make it more obvious but there’s something about the library that fights against it.

If you were editor of the Ham&High for a day, what local issue would you champion? It would be housing. West Hampstead is changing into a concrete jungle and the council just doesn’t seem to care. People have to live somewhere and I’m not complaining about that, but people are building and building without thinking.

What makes you smile on your way home? Thinking, thank God, I can now put my feet up.

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Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met? Possibly Cllr Flick Rea. She’s very local and when people see Flick Rea, people think of West Hampstead. She’s been around forever, and she’s an institution.

What tips would you give to somebody moving to the area? Just do it quickly because prices are going up very, very quickly.

Where in the world would you twin with West Hampstead? It would be Hampstead in The Hamptons in the US.

How would you spend your perfect Sunday in West Hampstead? Putting my feet up and reading a good library book.