You’ve read the Ham&High, now go to the eaterie - in Alabama
By Charlotte Newton HAMPSTEAD has always been the envy of Londoners who wished they could live a stone s throw from the Heath or in the hub of the liberal, literary scene. But one man s quest to live and breathe the Hampstead dream has inspired him to try
By Charlotte Newton
HAMPSTEAD has always been the envy of Londoners who wished they could live a stone's throw from the Heath or in the hub of the liberal, literary scene.
But one man's quest to live and breathe the Hampstead dream has inspired him to try to actually recreate the village - more than 4,000 miles away
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Harvi Sahota, 35, and his wife Anna Lowder, 33, helped to develop a neighbourhood called Hampstead in the state capital, Montgomery, in 2008.
And now their work is complete because North London's best newspaper has been added into the area with a restaurant named Ham&High, which opened on Friday.
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Mr Sahota, who lived in London until 2005, said: "I spent a good amount of time in Hampstead when I lived in London. It's full of great cafes, restaurants, parks and public spaces. Walking on Hampstead Heath was always a favourite afternoon activity for us.
"Hampstead, which means homestead, was the inspiration of the neighbourhood
"We decided to name the restaurant building Ham&High because of its location in Hampstead High Street, but we are also familiar with the newspaper. It has a certain ring to it. It's a cool-sounding name and it grabs people's attention."
Mr Sahota became interested in town planning while writing a dissertation, during which he met the founder of a new wave of urban planning in the US - Andres Duany.
Mr Duany is part of a development company which has built 300 communities in the US based on time-tested principles of some of the best-loved places in the world.
So when Mr Sahota and his wife moved back to her hometown of Montgomery they decided to become involved with developing a new settlement.
Mr Sahota explained that he was attracted to the principles which led social reformer Dame Henrietta Barnett to build Hampstead Garden Suburb.
"We're not recreating a replica but we're using the same principles," Mr Sahota said.
"Hampstead and Hampstead Garden Suburb had a masterplan and streets were designed upon the pedestrian experience. We were attracted to the pedestrian-centred village-like atmosphere where people are not reliant on cars to get around."
Mr Sahota hopes that, like Hampstead, his settlement will grow to be known as the liberal enclave of Montgomery.
"I think having that kind of atmosphere is very conducive to having an interesting place to live and will attract other like-minded people," he said. "I think the real connection between the two communities is that they are based on a masterplan conducive to a friendly neighbourhood.
"Also every resident here has a dog, like most people in Hamp-stead, London."
Although Hampstead is home to 13,000 residents, its sister settlement in Alabama opened only in 2008 and has a mere 36 homes.