High-rise flats is ‘middle finger’ to West Hampstead

Residents are mustering support to fight plans for an 11-storey block of flats which will ruin West Hampstead’s landscape and pile pressure on school places, it is claimed.

Camden Council and London-wide development plans have earmarked land next to West Hampstead’s Thameslink station for 200 dwellings.

Developers have drawn up plans for a “high-rise” block in West End Lane which residents claim will change the area’s established character and test its infrastructure.

Although plans are yet to be submitted to Camden Council, West Hampstead Gardens and Residents Association (WHGARA) is gathering opposition to the plan in preparation.

Brigid Shaughnessy, secretary for WHGARA, said: “It’s going to look like a great big finger movement telling you to bugger off. We want to get the message across before planning permission is even applied for – so it’s on people’s radar.”

The group want the plans, which are not set in stone, to be moderated and for developers to consider building a larger community space than those detailed in the plans to hold events such as farmers’ markets.

Plans will be on display at St James’ Church hall in Sherriff Road on Saturday from 10am to 2pm and on Monday between 3pm and 8pm.

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Ms Shaughnessy said: “It’s not that we’re against development. But some people like me have been living in West Hampstead for 30 years and we’re saying it has to be in keeping with the look of West End Lane and these plans are certainly not.”

While there are ambitious plans afoot for about 10 residents’ groups to join together in a neighbourhood forum and use powers set out in the Localism Bill, Ms Shaughnessy says that action needs to be taken in the short-term to hold back the urban jungle which is threatening West Hampstead.