Hampstead tube weekend reopening weeks away as businesses warn of lost revenue
PUBLISHED: 06:00 28 August 2020
A date for the reopening of Hampstead underground station at weekends has been announced, but businesses have warned of revenue lost due to the extended closure.
The station has been running on reduced hours for weeks, since the total closure due to the coronavirus pandemic was lifted.
The Ham&High can reveal that it will be open again on weekends from Sunday September 13 from 7am to 7pm, but the news will be of little comfort to businesses that have already seen the impact of its two-day weekly closure.
It will also be open on the August Bank Holiday Monday.
Keith Fawkes, who has run an antique and book shop in Flask Walk for 55 years said he has seen business drop by a fifth at the weekend.
“It’s hard to say, because it depends what we have in, but we are 20% down compared to the week because of the tube. Sunday’s always my best day, because people aren’t at work and we have a lot of visitors. It’s a significant part of my income, and the tube clearly makes a difference.
“The closure’s ridiculous. I can’t understand why it is. If people want to visit they have to go to Belsize and walk up the hill, or to go Golders Green and get the bus. It’s absurd.”
Pubs in the area told this newspaper that they will suffer because of the lack of the tube station over the bank holiday weekend. One said that while they had food reservations, the tube gives them a footfall of drinkers to-and-from the Heath which usually adds much needed revenue.
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Statistics provided by TfL shows that journeys are significantly down on two years ago. On a normal day in 2018, there were 6,921 entries into Hampstead tube station, with 7,514 exits. This was down to 1,241 entries and 1,461 on average between August 3 and 7.
Hampstead Heath overground fared better, with about 3,050 entries and exits - however this was still about half those in 2018, 6,242 entries and 6,096 exits respectively.
A TfL spokesperson said the delay had been due to staffing issues.
Camden Council said it has not been actively lobbying City Hall, but has been in touch over the current opening hours.
Cllr Oliver Cooper has been among those calling for the transport authority to extend the opening hours and allow passengers over the weekend. He branded TfL’s decision “cruel and baffling”.
He said: “Small businesses are less able to weather Covid, and if they go under, Hampstead village would be gutted. The High Street is the beating heart of our village, and we must all rally around our local businesses and help them keep going.
“Belsize Park and Hampstead Heath stations have helped attract visitors […] but being cut off from public transport makes it so much harder for Hampstead village. Visitor numbers appear to be half the level they ordinarily are, thanks to TfL’s decision.
“Camden’s silence is even more inexplicable because it is the commercial landlord for many of the businesses that the station’s closure is putting at risk. We begged Camden to give their own commercial tenants a meaningful rent deferral or discount, as most landlords have. Hampstead needs to stop being overlooked by Camden, the mayor, and TfL.”
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