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'We are Hampstead' urge residents whose homes will come under Gospel Oak in boundary proposals

PUBLISHED: 09:34 11 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:56 11 July 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. 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. Polly Hancock

Archant

Battle lines have been drawn between the Boundary Commission and a group of Hampstead neighbours as they fight to keep their streets in the Hampstead Town ward.

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 HancockResidents 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

As it stands, Hampstead Hill Gardens and parts of Pond Street, Maryon Mews and South End Road will become part of Gospel Oak under Boundary Commission proposals revealed in May.

Now a campaign group has been set up by Todd Berman, who is chair of the Hampstead Hill Gardens Residents' Association: "We are Hampstead."

They have drawn up alternative boundaries that keeps their streets inside the Hampstead Town ward, but within the tolerance suggested by the Boundary Commission.

Among the issues they are concerned about is the impact on house prices, the change in councillors, and losing their historic ties to Hampstead.

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. Polly HancockResidents 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. Polly Hancock

They also believe the decision would shape future parking rights and policing.

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Todd told the Ham&High: "It's the craziest decision I've ever heard. These roads are literally part of the fabric of Hampstead - in its history, its culture, socially.

"It's going to disenfranchise about 350 families in total if this goes ahead. When it comes to issues like Abacus Free School moving into the old police station, that's a Hampstead issue that will affect us. It'll affect us hugely. I'm currently in touch with Hampstead councillors about it, but if we were Gospel Oak residents that wouldn't be the case."

Hampstead Hill Gardens NW3. Picture: Polly HancockHampstead Hill Gardens NW3. Picture: Polly Hancock

The proposals are part of a nationwide review to ensure that the number of people per councillor is largely the same in each council area.

Hampstead Town is set to lose one councillor and part of its area, with Gospel Oak taking part of it. New South Hampstead and Chalk Farm wards will also be created.

The 55-year-old also said he believed over time the council and police would seek to realign services along ward boundary lines, meaning that he might not be able to park in Hampstead High Street, as he could be part of another CPZ.

He said: "If they look at moving us into Gospel Oak for neighbourhood policing then they have very different issues there compared with here. If we ask for extra police presence, we'll get laughed at.

"We're firmly Hampstead-ers. I've lived here for 18 years and neighbours of mine have been here longer."

A consultation is now open and runs until August 5. The final proposals will be published at the start of October. To respond to it, visit: consultation.lgbce.org.uk/node/15477

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