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Hampstead campaigners celebrate as boundary commission revises plans, but Highgate could lose two councillors

PUBLISHED: 16:50 02 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:22 02 October 2019

Residents protest the idea of redrawing the ward boundaries, meaning roads such as Hampstead Hill Gardens would no longer be Hampstead Town but become part of the Gospel Oak ward. Picture: Polly Hancock

Residents protest the idea of redrawing the ward boundaries, meaning roads such as Hampstead Hill Gardens would no longer be Hampstead Town but become part of the Gospel Oak ward. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

Campaigners are celebrating a victory as the boundary commission has gone back on plans to move a series of roads in Hampstead into Gospel Oak ward.

However Highgate will be split in two under the latest proposals by the boundary commission.

Hampstead Town now includes Hampstead Hill Gardens, Maryon Mews, and Pond Street which was set to be included in an expanded Gospel Oak ward. It would still only have two councillors representing it, fewer than the three incumbents.

Todd Berman, chair of Hampstead Hill Gardens Residents Association, who objected to the changes said it showed the "prevailing of common sense."

He said: "It is exactly what should have happened. Oliver Cooper was outstanding in terms of telling us how to address the issues we raised. Neighbours and residents who have never known each other before are now all working together."

Yet to the east, Highgate could only be left with one councillor losing two to a new Dartmouth Park ward, which wasn't in the last set of plans.

It would be the only one councillor ward in north London. A boundary commission spokesperson said the arrangement was "unusual but not unique."

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The move was tacitly backed earlier this year in a joint letter by the Highgate Society, Highgate Neighbourhood Forum and Bisham Gardens Residents' Association.

Speaking to this newspaper, the Highgate Society's vice-president Michael Hammerson said: "We have always dealt with one councillor as they tend to split the ward up between us, so it may not make a significant amount of difference."

In the report, the boundary commission said it received more than 100 responses on the decision to exclude the roads near the Royal Free Hospital from Hampstead Town.

It says: "We found that a number of the alternative proposals submitted to us were well-evidenced and we have been persuaded to make significant changes to our original draft recommendations."

Elsewhere the proposed Chalk Farm ward will be merged with parts of Primrose Hill to create a Adelaide and Primrose Hill ward. Belsize also will get Netherhall Gardens, Maresfield Gardens and Nutley Terrace from Frognal.

Cllr Oliver Cooper said the proposals were "sensible." He added: "It's great to see the commission agree with the unprecedented hundreds of Hampstead and Highgate residents that wrote in demanding these changes. Separate wards for Highgate and Dartmouth Park, as proposed by the Highgate Society and Highgate Forum, will mean better representation in Camden while the boundaries for Hampstead, Frognal and Belsize will properly reflect community ties."

The plans are now undergoing a six-week consultation

Anyone looking to view the full proposal should visit: https://www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/greater-london/greater-london/camden. Comments can be emailed to: reviews@lgbce.org.uk

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