Hampstead calls for independence from Camden Council

PUBLISHED: 10:35 01 February 2016 | UPDATED: 11:55 02 February 2016

Scamden spoof planning posters have gone up around Hampstead

Scamden spoof planning posters have gone up around Hampstead

© Nigel Sutton email

Fed up residents are calling for Hampstead to be given independence from Camden Council.

Residents want Hampstead  become an independent borough or parish councilResidents want Hampstead become an independent borough or parish council

Fed up residents are calling for Hampstead to be given independence from Camden Council.

They are furious at recent decisions by Camden councillors to approve basements which fly in the face of public feeling.

In the most recent decision to spark outrage, planners gave permission for a 13-room basement to be built under Grade II-listed Grove Lodge despite a flood of objections to the scheme. (see page 16.)

Members of Hampstead Shops Campaign Town Team have been looking at ways of setting up a separate borough to include Hampstead and surrounding NW3 areas including the Frognal and Fitzjohns wards.

Solicitor Jessica Learmond-Criqui, who chairs the group, said: “I have been researching with various local government bodies how we could set up an independent borough of Hampstead.

‘‘It looks like the only way might be to form a Hampstead Parish Council. There is a strong feeling that Camden Council does not represent the area.

“The borough of Camden is huge and has so many different areas and interests.

“In constantly allowing these basement schemes, we feel Camden is unable to give sufficient scrutiny to the peculiar geography of Hampstead, with two rivers running underneath the surface.

‘‘The council also seems not to care about or understand Hampstead’s specific conservation status and unique heritage.”

Mrs Learmond-Criqui is putting together proposals for fellow residents and has set up an online poll to gauge interest. If there is enough interest she will then launch a petition.

She said: “The Grove Lodge decision was the last straw. It is a travesty. It appears that conservation means nothing at all to Camden councillors.”

She said a parish council would give statutory powers to Hampstead relating to a list of areas, including parks and open spaces, community centres, neighbourhood planning and crime reduction.

Mrs Learmond-Criqui suggests drawing a line around the area in NW3 to be included. “I would propose around Hampstead Town and Frognal and Fitzjohns wards plus the Heath at this stage,” she said.

A petition to Camden would then trigger a community governance review by the council to consider the proposals within 12 months.

Meanwhile, 50 notices have gone up around Hampstead to mimic planning notices and list a host of complaints about Camden’s treatment of Hampstead and asks: “Might it be time for the Borough of Hampstead?”

The notices have been put up by Sebastian Wocker, editor of satirical magazine The Village Voice.

Mr Wocker said: “This is a silent and peaceful protest against the inordinate amount of indiscriminate planning permissions being granted by Camden Council that are, albeit un-systematically, destroying Hampstead.

“The notice asks: ‘is it time for the Borough of Hampstead’ reflecting the strong feeling in the local community

A Camden council spokeswoman declined to comment on the posters or the call for an independent Hampstead

She said: “This isn’t something we would comment on.”

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