Hampstead residents face paying for CCTV
PUBLISHED: 11:55 30 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:53 07 September 2010
Katie Davies HAMPSTEAD residents face paying hundreds of pounds and entering a legal minefield after deciding to buy CCTV to film unruly customers of a milkshake bar. New End residents say they are plagued by people spilling out of Tinseltown in Heath Str
HAMPSTEAD residents face paying hundreds of pounds and entering a legal minefield after deciding to buy CCTV to film unruly customers of a milkshake bar.
New End residents say they are plagued by people spilling out of Tinseltown in Heath Street late at night.
They say customers throw milkshakes at their properties, urinate in gardens and even break into violent fights.
After Camden Council refused to supply fixed cameras because of privacy issues, residents are organising the surveillance themselves.
"There are some issues with data protection but we understand from discussions with solicitors that it will be legal," said one house owner on the normally quiet street.
"Things are getting worse. I try not to look out the window these days but on Sunday there was someone urinating against a house at 10.30pm.
"People are not coming here for sunshine or fresh air, they are coming to Tinseltown. There is litter and people have had milkshakes thrown on their doors.
"Cars park illegally on zig zags or on the zebra crossing because they know there is no enforcement.
"We have this continual low-level crime but now it is things like people being beaten up. It was a beautiful part of the world before Tinseltown moved in and destroyed it."
The 24-hour cameras could go up in a matter of weeks, according to the campaign group.
In previous months they have organised makeshift surveillance, with residents filming disturbing incidents themselves. Footage of one brawl was captured on camcorder and can be seen at www.hamhigh.co.uk
Resident Pascal Dubois-Pelerin said: "I think the situation is getting steadily worse but we are getting better at collecting our evidence.
"Residents are serious about this. We have quotes for CCTV, it is the kind of thing the council should pay for but if they don't we will fund it ourselves.
"It doesn't take too long for these things to degrade a whole neighbourhood. Nothing else in Hampstead is open until 3am, this establishment is completely out of place.
"One of these days someone is going to get hurt - by the violence as seen in the video or in an accident."
He added that the area's reputation was worth a lot more to residents than the cost of CCTV.
Tinseltown customers are mostly teenagers looking to stay out late. The diner closes at 3am on Friday and Saturday and 2am from Sunday to Thursday.
Dozens of residents are backing the proposals and a Hampstead councillor from the ruling Conservative-Liberal Democrat administration said it was disgusting the council was leaving residents to foot the bill.
Conservative councillor Kirsty Roberts said: "I am appalled that the council turned down my request on residents' behalf for CCTV and I feel that we've done a disservice to residents if they have to take these measures themselves.
"There is a clear case for introducing it up there. There are dozens of residents affected and it is very much a Hampstead-wide issue."
The row between residents and the diner have lasted for years. Tinseltown has three posters on display asking customers to be quiet when they leave and has a doorman on duty on Saturday nights, despite serving no alcohol.
Managing director Suhail Hasan said: "I disagree with most of the residents' comments. We have a few people in New End that hate us but the rest of Hampstead love us."
A council spokeswoman said: "The council has worked with the police and Tinseltown management to reduce noise and litter in the area. The police, council environment officers and parking attendants have agreed to do more patrols at weekends.
"A number of voluntary strategies have been agreed and implemented by the licensee to help resolve the situation. These include Tinseltown staff actively asking patrons to be quiet and staff have agreed to collect litter.
"The council and police will continue to monitor the premises and liaise with interested parties."
She added a police CCTV van had been used in the area. In a report, crime councillor James King said fixed CCTV funded by the council was ruled out because of "community concerns about privacy".