IT’S beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

IT will begin to look a lot like Christmas in West Hampstead early this December after Camden Council handed local traders an early present.

Just as plans were stalling for the West Hampstead Christmas fair the council’s business development team has taken up the challenge to help local traders with a touch of holiday cheer and is covering the cost of renting West End Green.

The Christmas fair, which was the brainchild of new councillor Gillian Risso-Gill, is now likely to be held on December 11.

Councillor Risso-Gill said she is delighted with Camden’s support for the festive occasion.

She said: “I really do think it’s very good and demonstrates Camden Council’s commitment to local business, especially in West Hampstead.

“It’s quite a decisive move and I think that’s just right – there’s money in the budget and we should use that money while it’s still there.

“There is a real enthusiasm for something to look forward to, and the idea of something local in the run up to Christmas time seems just right.”

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Traders from across West Hampstead have given their backing to the fair.

Kate Rader from Achillea florist said: “I have lived in this area for nearly 30 years and one of the reasons I opened the shop here is that I feel this area really could and should ‘happen.’

“We would definitely have a stall at a Christmas fair selling Christmas wreathes and bouquets. We’ll get to meet everyone in the local area and it would be a great advertisement for us.”

Zoe Berkeley owner of Mill Lane teashop Bake-a-boo is looking forward to being involved in any way she can. She said: “I think it would be a great thing for the community.

“Whether it is having a stall of special Christmas cakes or giving away a free samples or something we will certainly be involved.”

Colin Slade, who threw the gauntlet down to Camden Council in last week’s Ham&High by asking them to fund the fair, said it was a “brilliant” move.

He said: “Camden has shown they are really committed to putting West Hampstead on the map.

“This is absolutely brilliant news and we won’t let anyone down.”

Councillor Risso-Gill is also hoping to involve young people in the organisation of the event.

Councillor Sarah Hayward, Camden Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Development, Regeneration and Partnerships, said: “I am delighted that we are supporting these businesses.

“The Christmas fair will provide a great community event for Hampstead and help to give local trade a massive boost.

“The council is committed to supporting local businesses and, through our remaining Recovery Fund money, we have ensured these businesses will continue to thrive.”

To find out about getting a market stall email-