Website breathes new life in to South Hampstead residents’ associations

Committee Members of CRASH pictured in Canfield Gardens. Pictured left to right: Peter Symonds, Fran

Committee Members of CRASH pictured in Canfield Gardens. Pictured left to right: Peter Symonds, Frances Radford, Susan Hadida with 'Megan' and Jean Austin - Credit: Nigel Sutton

A South Hampstead residents organisation that has hundreds of members but has been dormant for more than a decade is injecting a new burst of life into the group with an eye-catching website.

The Combined Residents Associations of South Hampstead, known as CRASH, was set up by people living in South Hampstead in the 1980s to keep abreast of all building and developments in the area.

But after years of relative silence, the group has undergone a revival to keep apace with the modern age.

Peter Symonds, 70, of Canfield Gardens, South Hampstead, who is a long-time member of the group and is in charge of its online presence, explained: “We want to up our profile and get more people involved. The problem is getting news to everyone.

“Someone having to write a newsletter and sending it off to everyone can be very long and drawn out, but with this we can keep everyone on top of the news.”

Since launching the website a month ago, CRASH has already gained 20 new members who have been able to sign up online instantly.

Through the website Mr Symonds has also received a torrent of messages from people wanting to get involved with a consultation on flooding that Camden Council has opened.

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As Mr Symonds explained: “The area, and Canfield Gardens in particular, is at very high risk of flooding so a lot of our members have expressed interest in the consultation.”

The up-to-date newsfeed also provides information about battles that the group are readying themselves to fight.

“One of the main reasons we started this up is that in the last couple of years we have been having problems with basement excavations in the area,” said Mr Symonds, who works as an actor.

“Some of them are ludicrous and they are non-stop.

“Everyone who has a basement nearby has suffered damage, be it cracking or flooding, which is one of our main concerns.

“We really feel as an association that we need to be proactive rather than just reacting.”

He added: “We are very anxious to include our residents. The more people that are involved, the stronger our voice and the more clout we will have.”

The group will hold its first all-members annual general meeting to elect officers in early June.

To visit the website or get involved go to