West Hampstead path mystery makes 'shambles' of 180-home plan
Ed Sheridan, LDRS
- Credit: Google
The mystery over who owns Potteries Path risked derailing a major West Hampstead development of 180 new homes last week.
A meeting of Camden Council’s planning committee on Thursday (March 25) revealed that the ownership of part of the narrow strip running between West End Lane and Crown Close is unknown.
Developers A2Dominion previously committed to making improvements to the path ahead of work at 156 West End Lane on the former Travis Perkins site.
The project was opposed by the Save West Hampstead campaign back in 2017, and described as a “blot on the landscape” by residents.
It has now emerged that when ownership of the path’s land was transferred to A2Dominion by Camden Council, a narrow strip alongside the railway wall was left behind.
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Fortune Green councillor Flick Rea (Lib Dem) said: “I think it’s a bit of a dog’s dinner all of this. I can’t understand how anybody didn’t realise who that land belonged to.
“I’m still concerned that it won’t get finished, knowing how long Network Rail take to do anything.
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“We’re finishing this by 2026. God knows whether they’ll even come to a conclusion by then. The whole thing is a bloody shambles.”
Discussions have been ongoing between the developer, the council and Network Rail, but councillors heard that no one is able to identify the legal owner of the section.
The town hall had assumed it owned the land, but according to planning officers, is “no longer sure”, with no documentation found.
A2Dominion was committed to landscaping and widening works on land it did not own before being able to proceed with their development, finding that no lender would fund the project as a result.
Councillors have now granted permission for the developer to work from two Potteries Path Plans to help solve the problem: one the original redevelopment to the entire path, and an alternative applying only to the area which A2Dominion definitely owns.
The developer will now spend at least a year seeking the rights for the whole path, but is no longer required to deliver works on land it does not own before building its homes.
It is understood the developer is “committed” to designing and delivering the whole path, and will do so regardless of whether it is able to contact the landowner.