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Revealed: How Hampstead could lose two Tory councillors as Camden Council gives wrong population data to decision makers

PUBLISHED: 08:00 30 May 2019 | UPDATED: 12:15 30 May 2019

Hampstead High Street. Picture: Ken Mears

Hampstead High Street. Picture: Ken Mears

Archant

Camden Council could lose two seats currently held by the borough's opposition Tories after it wrongly told the Boundary Commission that it was set to shed hundreds of voters.

Under proposals revealed on Tuesday, both Hampstead Town and Frognal and Fitzjohns wards would lose a councillor each. Both are currently held by three Tory councillors each. The shortfall would partly be made up by new wards in Chalk Farm, and splitting Kentish Town in two.

The council's figures show a decrease in the population in Hampstead and Frognal over the next six years, and include fewer people living in the New End Nurses Home development, and the former King's College London student housing in Kidderpore Avenue

But New End Nurses Home has been empty for decades and work in Kidderpore Avenue began in 2016, meaning the population won't be decreasing at all.

The error was pointed out by Cllr Oliver Cooper, who led Camden Conservatives' submission. But he was told the electorate projections couldn't be changed.

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The changes to the number of councillors in Hampstead Town and Frognal was proposed by Camden Conservatives. However, they backed the reinstatement of a South End Green ward, which is not included.

Hampstead Town will lose some area to Gospel Oak and Belsize, while part of Frognal will be absorbed by Belsize.

Cllr Cooper, a Hampstead councillor and leader of Camden Conservatives, said: "This proposal could only have been drawn by someone who has never visited the borough.

"The proposals are concerning. Having Hampstead Hill Gardens in Gospel Oak, which includes Queens Crescent, makes no sense."

He said he believed the figures in Frognal were 900 electors higher than the council's statistics, and Hampstead and Highgate was 1,500 more.

Camden Council said the variance was no more than 4 per cent - within the Commission's guidance of plus or minus 10pc: "Officers worked with a cross-party working group to develop the proposals for the council's submission, making the best use of the local knowledge of our members, responding to a number of specific questions, and amending the proposal as appropriate."

Comment on the plans at consultation.lgbce.org.uk

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