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West Hampstead station plans prompt anger

PUBLISHED: 11:08 19 November 2009 | UPDATED: 16:33 07 September 2010

Susanna Wilkey RESIDENTS have criticised the proposed new West Hampstead Thameslink station entrance for being a monstrosity that will ruin the area. Network Rail is proposing to build a station entrance on Iverson Road to join to the new footbridge and

Susanna Wilkey

RESIDENTS have criticised the proposed new West Hampstead Thameslink station entrance for being a "monstrosity" that will ruin the area.

Network Rail is proposing to build a station entrance on Iverson Road to join to the new footbridge and replace the entrance on West End Lane.

To provide more room for pedestrians it also plans to widen the pavement along Iverson Road, getting rid of the current embankment, as well as building a tree-lined walkway, new cycle racks and a green wall.

But residents are furious that the plans are set to destroy the embankment as well as take away some of the residents parking bays.

Rowntree Close resident Marion Scott said: "I am absolutely appalled at these plans. I live just behind the cottages on Iverson Road and there is no need for such a huge monstrosity as this station that they are trying to put up. It is a ridiculous size. It is an absolute abomination. A few months ago I was told by a person surveying the area on Iverson Road that the new station will take away 10 residents' parking bays.

"They are going to introduce two disabled bays, which I can totally appreciate because I have got disabilities myself, but they should not be removing this many spaces from the residents.

"I am appalled especially because they are still calling it an interchange when it is not. The consultation has been appalling - I have never received a letter from Network Rail. I am disgusted at this plan - it will ruin this area and damage the trees that are already there."

And Iverson Road resident Stephen Jones added: "In case anybody is under any illusions, the parking situation is already dire for people who live near the stations.

"I pay £90 a year for my parking place. However, when I come home from work at around 4.30pm, I have to drive my work vehicle around for up to an hour to get a space, sometimes not anywhere near this first stretch of Iverson Road.

"I am outraged to think that we will lose many of these essential spaces. The parking situation is already hugely stressful and the cause of much local strife."

Residents have also criticised Network Rail's consultation process, saying it has not been thorough enough or reached enough people.

Diana Frost, from West Hampstead Local Consultation Group, said: "We welcome improvements to the station but feel the exhibition and consultation by Network Rail was rushed through."

Although Network Rail does not need planning permission for the station because it is operational land and therefore exempt, it has submitted an application to Camden Council in a bid to reach out to more residents.

A spokesman for Network Rail said: "We have carried out a wide-ranging consultation involving all parts of the local community. More than 130 local people attended our drop-in event and more than 2,000 letters and a thousand leaflets were delivered locally.

"This consultation played a vital role in our final application, which is currently with the council for consideration.

"Together, the new footbridge and station building will require the removal of two protected ash trees, but that is all."

The company says that it is in discussion with Camden Council over the parking spaces but it is ultimately the council's decision.

A meeting will be held on Tuesday (November 24) at 7pm in the Synagogue Hall on Dennington Park Road to give residents the chance to scrutinise the plans.

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