TINSELTOWN: Residents have had enough - we won't sit back

Katie Davies s article on Tinseltown, (Ham & High 12th February), again describes the enduring problems going back almost four years that residents living in the vicinity of New End are faced with in the early hours of virtually every morning but this now

Katie Davies's article on Tinseltown, (Ham & High 12th February), again describes the enduring problems going back almost four years that residents living in the vicinity of New End are faced with in the early hours of virtually every morning but this now takes on a different twist.

The owners of this establishment have now, in an attempt to come up with their own-concocted self-claiming redeeming factors to try and exonerate themselves, are referring to local residents as "old farts" who want "to have their Horlicks and be in bed before 9.00pm"

It is true, of course, that since Tinseltown replaced the former Calamity Jane establishment no alcohol consumption takes place on the premises, and this is to be applauded, but one does not, of course, have to consume alcohol to be rowdy and commit unsociable behaviour.

Why, I ask, should Mr. Hassan consider that the people who use his establishment should be excused from being under the surveillance of CCTV. What is so special about his customers and staff? Just how many cameras have been installed throughout the London Borough of Camden and that obviously includes Hampstead as well. In this article Mr. Hassan refers to the creperie at the high-street end of Perrins Lane and, if he looks upwards and opposite, he will see there is, in a very prominent position, a CCTV camera that has purposely been placed there to monitor both the traffic emerging onto the High Street and the behaviour of people who tend to congregate in this area, a fact that the local police have confirmed to me. This camera has been there for all the years that I have worked and socialised in the area and I have never heard of any complaints from either the creperie owner or any of his customers; nor has there been any concern shown by the owners and customers of the adjacent public house. It is not rocket science to see that this camera clearly takes into account this road junction, the creperie and also the external elevations of the pub!

Mr. Hassan also queries why Tinseltown is being treated differently. It is not. Although he may employ litter patrols around his establishment, so do McDonalds and the creperie stall. The difference is that the latter two close at 11.00pm, before the youngsters start gathering on the streets and becoming rowdy whereas his business continues trading up to four hours later. Surely 11.00pm is late enough for such a business to stop serving. It's true to say that parents take their young offspring there during the afternoons, especially at weekends, but not at night and quite often, around 2.00am there are youths, as young as sixteen in the queue as well. Surely this is far too late for people of such tender age to be out; do their parents not know or do they not care? I am not saying that all of Mr. Hassan's customers are that young but there is almost always a few of the younger element present whose behaviour leaves much to be desired.

Regarding Hampstead's public houses, these all, just apart from two or three which are allowed to stay open an extra hour at weekends, close at 11.00pm. This being the case, so should Mr. Hassan's takeaway business, just as McDonalds and the creperie have to do so. After all, the numerous coffee shops throughout the village close well before 11.00pm.

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I often have to pass this establishment on my way home and am far from satisfied with the quality of the door supervisors' presence and attitude to work. The rowdiness of customers on the pavement, often spilling out onto the road waiting to be served also presents an obvious health and safety risk to all who are in the vicinity, either as pedestrians or motorists. Are Tinseltown also unaware that door supervisors have to be licensed by the Security Industry Association and the wearing of clearly-visible ID is mandatory? In Tinseltown's case sometimes this ID is nowhere to be seen; on other occasions the ID badge is back-to-front. What type of ID is that, I ask?

In addition, many local residents, myself included, feel that the relocation of this establishment to an area such as Camden Town, Kentish Town or somewhere similar where nightlife is very much a de rigour aspect of late-night life of would benefit all concerted. Not only would this end the distress that we local residents have to incur, for the owner it would also open up a brand new market supported by a much-increased foot flow that would surely lead to greater profits.

Mr. Hassan also says that may stand for the Council in the future. At this stage, and taking into account the strong feeling of local residents as to how his establishment is conducted, I cannot think of any quicker and sure-fire way for a candidate's deposit to be forfeited; however, if he makes a concerted effort to reduce his trading hours, control his customers or consider relocating then this may well earn him a considerable amount of extra votes, come election time.

Enough is enough; Hampstead residents will not let this issue rest until there is a marked improvement of the environment around this area of the village; the finger of suspicion can only point in one direction, towards Tinseltown.

Yours faithfully,

John Graham

Holford Road