Conservation area furore

A MOVE to extend a conservation area boundary in West Hampstead could make life a misery for residents, several claim.

When the West End Green Conservation Area was marked out in 1993, a small ‘L-shaped’ section of houses was left out in Lyncroft Gardens, Fortune Green Road and Parsifal Road. But now Camden Council is bidding to join up the gaps and include these streets in the area.

But residents in this middle ground believe joining the conservation area will mean they have to jump through legislative hoops in the future to make simple repairs to their homes.

Lyncroft Gardens resident Sheila Bull is spearheading opposition to the scheme and urging her neighbours to write to the council before the council’s consultation ends on Monday (December 6).

She said: “The public is being invited to comment on a review document in which planners propose awarding themselves swathes of intrusive powers, with fines and penalties for residents who do not comply, in an expanded conservation area.

“For residents, being in a conservation area brings burdensome rules, regulations, penalties and fines, with costly applications – now �150 each, and permissions when we need to repair our front roofs, chimneys, windows, walls, steps or gardens.”

The area which could be added to the conservation area includes Walter Northcott House, a post-War block built in the 1960s and the Holly Mansions block, which has modern-style plastic windows.

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Ms Bull says that including these buildings would make a mockery of the conservation area, which was set out in order to protect Victorian and Edwardian houses of architectural merit.

She added: “The houses in Lyncroft Gardens didn’t want to be in WEGCA last time, and we don’t want to be in it now.”

But West Hampstead Amenity and Transport (WHAT) chairwoman, Virginia Berridge, said the extension was logical.

“The conservation area has been there since 1993,” she said. “They put in a bit in Parsifal Road and some houses further north which have very nice detailing. The bit in between wasn’t included and now they are trying to tidy it up by including it.”

She said WHAT is backing the plans, however, because the rationale for doing it is to make the area more coherent. However, she said that unless the council does more to police developments and alterations in the conservation area, it will make little difference whether or not the new area including Lyncroft Gardens is incorporated at all.

A spokeswoman for Camden Council said: “The point of consultation is to allow people to tell us what they think of proposals before we consider implementing them.

“This is part of the fundamental democratic process and we welcome the views of local residents and stakeholders. Residents are asked to give ‘planning-related’ objections; this means that objections have to be based upon the document we are consulting on.”

Anyone who wishes to make their views known about the proposed alteration to the WEGCA should write to Joanne Sanderson in the Conservation and Design Team at Camden Town Hall or email