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Hampstead plans for outdoor dining in South End Green could be ‘real gem’

PUBLISHED: 17:04 17 July 2020 | UPDATED: 17:04 17 July 2020

The slip road between Pond Street and South End Road would be closed to all cars, allowing customers to be served outside. Picture: Archant

The slip road between Pond Street and South End Road would be closed to all cars, allowing customers to be served outside. Picture: Archant

Archant

Hampstead could be set for piazza-style outdoor dining come the beginning of August.

The slip road is closed every year for the South End Green Festival. Picture: ArchantThe slip road is closed every year for the South End Green Festival. Picture: Archant

Plans are being drawn up to close the slip road between Pond Street and South End Road on the western side of South End Green, allowing cafes and restaurants to serve customers alfresco on tables and chairs.

Similar to the streatery in Belsize Village, the Hampstead proposals aim to support businesses in the hospitality sector hard-hit by lockdown, maximise the summer trade and aid social distancing.

Camden Council confirmed plans for South End Green are under way and this newspaper understands a licensing application will be submitted early next week.

Camden Conservatives’ leader Cllr Oliver Cooper (Con, Hampstead Town) said the proposals could be “transformative” for the area and turn “one of the most underutilised sites” in Hampstead into a “real gem”.

Discussions continue over which restaurants and cafes would take part in the scheme. Picture: ArchantDiscussions continue over which restaurants and cafes would take part in the scheme. Picture: Archant

Cllr Cooper told the Ham&High: “South End Green hasn’t had the hospitable dining environment that its restaurants deserve.

“Given the attractiveness of the heath, the greenness of the space and the number of independent restaurants, it’s an idea whose time has come.”

If the plans get the go-ahead, the 168 buses would continue to run via South End Green, but they would no longer stand in the slip road.

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Discussions with Transport for London continue over where they would move, potentially to the other side of the green.

The temporary summer scheme would likely be financed from section 106 funding or local councillors’ allocation of the community infrastructure levy (CIL).

The prospectively fast turnaround of the plans would be facilitated by an experimental traffic order and new government legislation for pavement licenses.

Cllr Cooper continued: “We’ve got a delicate ecosystem in South End Green of local independent restaurants and cafes and we know from past experience that once or two falter the rest of the street will tumble and fall.

“So it’s really important to make sure all of them survive this difficult period.”

The plans for outdoor dining have long been championed by the Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum.

In the group’s recent survey of 256 respondents, 78 per cent said they supported the temporary closure of the slip road.

The group’s chair Stephen Taylor said: “Improving South End Green has long been an aspiration of the forum and this looks like an opportunity to take action.

“We’re excited because it’s something we’ve wanted for a long time and it looks like a chance to try it out.”

Camden Council says it is working with local businesses to develop the plans.


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