Thursday, 20 December 2012

Sherriff Road Improvement

Following up a suggestion from a local resident I received a message from a Camden Council highway engineer to day.
"Thank you for your enquiry dated 06/12/12 regarding the issue of certain vehicles travelling the wrong way along Sherriff Road, even though the “no entry” signs are in place. A Design Engineer in my team has investigated this junction and has agreed with your suggestion of adding arrows on the road indicating left and right turning lanes from Sherriff Road into West End Lane. This should make drivers aware that the road is one way out of the Sherriff Road.  In addition, one of the “no entry” sign needs to be turned slightly so that it is visible to drivers approaching from either direction along West End Lane.

The above measures have been drawn up and passed to our Engineering Service to be implemented. I hope once the additional arrows are in place drivers will be more aware that the road is one way hence compliance will increase. Please do let me know if this is still an issue once the works are completed."

Let's hope this does the trick to make this junction safer. 

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Legible London Comes to West Hampstead

Residents may have noticed the installation of Legible London panels along West End Lane.  The panels, installed by TfL, provide maps and directions to landmarks and streets within the local area.  There are currently 5 boards on West End Lane: at the junction with Mill Lane, junction with Dennington Park Road outside the Library, two outside the Thameslink station on Iverson Road and at the junction with Hemstal Road.  Two more panels are due to be installed shortly, one near the entrance to the Thameslink station on West End Lane and one on the corner of Blackburn Road.

Earlier this year, your Ward Councillors highlighted the need for improved signage around the Interchange for visitors to the area, especially with the new entrance to the Thameslink station in Iverson Road and the anticipated extra traffic during the Olympics.

We hope the boards will prove a useful facility in the area but would welcome feedback from residents.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Camden's Local List

Camden Council is producing a Local List to identify the buildings and features that residents value and so contribute to the character of their local area. Being on Camden’s Local List will not mean that these buildings and features are ‘listed’ in the statutory sense but by being locally listed it will help ensure that the significance of each feature is taken into account as part of the planning application process. As of 22 November you can nominate the local features which carry history, traditions, stories and memories into the present day and so make your local area special. This consultation will run until 21st January, 2013 so start nominating!

For further infortmation go to www.camden.gov.uk/locallist







More business space needed

What is Camden Council doing to help new business around West Hampstead? Empty retail and business units have been allowed to stay empty for years, enquiries are rebuffed, premises are not marketed and then put up for auction. The former Housing Office on West End Lane is likely to stay empty for a year and the only dedicated industrial site on Liddell Road is being earmarked for a new school and housing. There is a woeful lack of available business premises in the area and units and sites are still being allowed to change from commercial to residential use. Residents moan about the poor range retail offerings in West End Lane but this will not change until the area supports more businesses and employment that will boost the weekday trading.


Over the past year several local entrepreneurs have sought my help to locate suitable business premises in West Hampstead and I am told that all enquiries about Camden properties get nowhere. Premises are advertised on the Camden website for many months but are not available to view. I have asked the Council for help to secure temporary tenants in the retail units currently being vacated on the 187-199 West End Lane site, to prevent the area to becoming blighted prior to development, but resources are not available.

Why does the Council allow buildings to remain empty and not allow tenants to pay rent and business rents to generate income for the Council to support local services? Other boroughs have innovative schemes to boost small business and support local entrepreneurs so why cannot Camden do the same? The new West Hampstead Farmers Market has sparked much new interest from local entrepreneurs so there is definite commitment to start businesses but affordable premises are needed to do so. We have a Labour Administration that cannot be bothered to manage its assets to generate income and appears as inept as the last Labour Government in managing its economy. Whilst it takes the easy option of mothballing and then selling off every available site, the local business community and entrepreneurial spirit that could boost the local economy and create jobs, is being neglected.



Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Planning Permission for Farmers' Market approved

Planning permission for the West Hampstead Farmers' Market has been approved by Camden Council. 

London Farmers' Markets were allowed to run a market on the Thameslink forecourt site on 14 occasions in a year before planning permission was required.  The market has been run every Saturday since 22nd September 2012 and has proved to be very successful both for local residents and traders.  There was much local support for the market to be run on a permanent basis and the planning application received 287 responses in support and 2 objections.  The market can now continue to be run every Saturday between 10am and 2pm for the forseeable future.

Comments on the market include it improves the sense of well being and community in West Hampstead, provides good quality fresh food that is otherwise lacking in the area, supports British farmers and local producers and has benefited other shops by drawing people into the area.

Long may it continue to thrive!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

No go for "step-free access" at West Hampstead Jubilee line station

We now have "step-free access" - which pretty much means lifts - at West Hampstead Thameslink station, and lifts are planned for the Overground station in 2014 or some time after that depending on the development of the "Ballymore site" on West End Lane.

So it's disappointing that the third West Hampstead interchange station, the Jubilee Line station, doesn't have lifts or escalators, which would make West Hampstead a totally step-free interchange.

Caroline Pidgeon, the Lib Dem Chair of the GLA's transport committee recently took this up for me with a question to Mayor Johnson, which got the rather disappointing reply below. What's surprising is that a few years ago the news agent located inside the station was moved out, and we were told it was because a lift was going to be installed at that point - but it never happened. I'm chasing that one up. And any other bright ideas will be very welcome.
 
Question from Caroline Pidgeon

Do you agree that West Hampstead station which sits on both the Jubilee and London Overground lines is a good candidate for being made step free?

Written response from the Mayor

The London Overground and Jubilee line at West Hampstead serve separate stations located approximately 100 metres apart from one another. There is also West Hampstead Thameslink station a little further along West End Lane.

The Thameslink station already offers step-free access and funding towards a step-free access scheme at the Overground station has been secured from the DfT’s Access for All programme. The programme and scope of this work are currently being developed.

Regrettably there is no funding to undertake works at the Tube station. Aside from the funding question, the Underground station would not be an easy location at which to install step-free facilities. This is because the small ticket hall sits on a road bridge above the tracks carrying the Jubilee, Metropolitan and Chiltern lines.  The station is also surrounded by various separately owned properties and there is no space for a lift.

Customers in the West Hampstead area who require a step-free route to central London or need to access the Tube network can use Thameslink services to a number of stations in zone 1 including King’s Cross St Pancras, Farringdon, Blackfriars and London Bridge, all of which are now fully accessible.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Proposed Sale of Land - behind Dennington House

Camden Council has started a consultation process with local residents about the possible sale of the land behind Dennington House (between Inglewood and Dennington Park Roads)  as part of the Council’s Community Investment Programme. At present the land is used for garages and car parking spaces. Proceeds from the sale would be invested in new homes, existing council homes and community facilities. As yet, we have had no indication of what the land might be used for if sold, which would depend on the plans of the new owner and the granting of planning permission.


You may already have received a letter inviting your views about the consultation or you can find out more information from www.camden.gov.uk/smallsites.
As your local Councillors, we want to be sure that you are aware of this consultation process and to hear your views on the proposal. We will ensure the views of local residents are taken into account by the Council or you may choose to respond to the consultation yourself through post or email.

The closing date for response is midnight on Sunday 2nd December.

Please let us hear your views about this proposal by contacting us on this blog or by email.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Notice anything new?

The new community noticeboard that's been installed outside West Hampstead library is the final touch in the popular improvements to the outside of the library first planned a couple of years ago when the Liberal Democrats were running Camden Council.

Regular "area forum" attenders will remember that in those days area forums had a small budget to spend on local projects. One of the ideas the West Hampstead and Fortune Green area forum came up with was to improve the outside of the library, including the new entrance, the benches and a new community notice board.

The steps and benches were done earlier this year, and after I reminded Camden about the noticeboard, it's finally turned up. We're sure that that local groups including West Hampstead Community Centre will welcome the board to advertise their activities, and we will certainly be advertising our councillors' advice surgeries there.


Monday, 15 October 2012

Proposed Changes to Recycling Service in Camden

Camden Council plans to change its recycling service to enable residents to place all their dry recycling (glass, cans, plastics and paper etc.) into one container, rather than multiple boxes and bags and, where appropriate, offer wheelie bins to residents.

Evidence from authorities that have introduced wheelie bins shows that recycling significantly increases. Similar schemes across the country, from a wide variety of authorities, have resulted in significant increases in recycling rates. Through these service changes Camden hopes to drive recycling rates up to 40% and beyond by 2020, reducing both the cost and the carbon impact of the service
As part of these changes, an assessment of properties suitable for wheelie bins was undertaken earlier this year with approximately 20,000 households regarded as having enough space for the wheelie bins which consists of most street properties north of Euston Road. The residents of these households will receive a questionnaire this week asking them for their preferences as well as more general information about recycling. This information will help the Council when ordering the containers and the way to provide communication and engagement work in the future.

The introduction of wheelie bins is a key tool for Camden to increase the amount that is recycled and reduce rising waste disposal costs. As well as the questionnaire there will also be a number of roadshows where residents will be able to see the wheelie bins for themselves and ask officers any questions about the recycling service changes.

The roadshow is coming to West Hampstead Library on 2nd November from 11.30am to 2pm.

The questionnaire, FAQ’s and other relevant information is available at https://consultations.wearecamden.org/communications-strategy-improvement/recyclingchanges/consult_view.

If residents have any concerns about the new arrangements, please contact your local Ward Councillors.









Farmers Market hailed a great success

After four sunny Saturday's, the West Hampstead Farmers' Market has proved a great addition to the area.  Launched on 22nd September 2012 and open every Saturday from 10am to 2pm, the market offers a wide range of produce that is not normally available in a city.  Meat, fish, pies, game, eggs, vegetables, fruit, cheese, bread and cakes, pasta and flowers all tempt shoppers.  London Farmers' Markets say it was their most successful launch to date and well worth the three year wait to fnally come to West Hampstead.  Their survey of shows that most of the shoppers are local residents.  But it is wise to shop early, as many stalls sell out well before closing time.

Shops and cafes in West End Lane and in the local streets have said that the market has boosted their trade and some are planning their own promotions linked into the market.  Good to have a positive business story in these harsh economic times.


Photo taken 13th October, 2012

Friday, 12 October 2012

Letter about performance of Camden Council to local press

This is the full text of my letter about declining standards in Camden's performance recently published in both our local newspapers, the Ham & High and the Camden New Journal:

Dear Sir,

Camden residents are increasingly telling me that the Council is a very different authority to the one that was rated top in the country just four years ago. Here are a few examples of a serious decline in standards:

-          Complaints made by residents online are disappearing into a black hole and going unanswered – Camden have said it may take up to six months to sort this out;
-          There have been numerous cases of car owners not receiving reminders to renew their parking permits and still being harshly punished when they don’t renew on time;
-          The opening of the new Academy and special school on Adelaide Road has been severely delayed, as has that of Emmanuel School in West Hampstead;
-          Camden forgot to post letters to tenants and leaseholders who use the housing office at 156 West End Lane that the office is due to close this month – resulting in a last-moment and wasteful rush to get letters out by first class post.

These are just a few cases of Camden letting down residents – who pay a very high Council tax.

Yes, this is a tough time for local councils who are having to find savings. I understand that this is bound to have an impact on staff morale, so this is a time for strong leadership in Camden.

Instead, the ruling Labour party seems to be more obsessed with its internal power struggles than in running Camden as its residents deserve. It’s not surprising that there are so many failings in services when there has been so much squabbling at the top. In the last two years we’ve seen a change of leader, a new chief executive, four different people responsible for schools and young people’s services and three different councillors in charge of waste collection and recycling.

At national level, Labour have the luxury of criticising the government at every turn without saying what they would do instead. When they are in charge, as here in Camden, they seem to be making a hash of it.

Cllr Keith Moffitt
Leader of the Opposition and of Camden Liberal Democrat Group

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Goodbye 156 West End Lane

Your West Hampstead and Fortune Green councillors were told before the summer holidays that the Council offices at West End Lane, home to the Hampstead housing service or "District Housing Office", was scheduled to close on 28 September. We've been holding our advice surgeries there for several years, so we had to look for a new home, and you can now find us at West Hampstead library every Friday evening between 6 and 7.
So I was curious when various Camden Council tenants I mentioned the closure of 156 West End Lane to expressed great surprise and said it was the first they had heard of it. I asked the Council what was going on and got a nasty surprise...
It turns out that back in July Camden's housing department was supposed to be writing to all their tenants in the Hampstead district (which includes West Hampstead and Kilburn) to tell them about the closure and new arrangments.
I queried whether the letters had actually been sent. The housing department has written to me confessing that "it now appears that due to an administrative error the letters were not posted. We will now arrange for the letters to be sent out first class tomorrow."
What a mess! And what a waste of money! There's even talk of postponing the closure as the users have had such little notice.
Again and again, I get the distinct impression that standards in Camden are on the slide, and this is yet another example of that.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Pop-Up Cinema on Kilburn Grange Park

A Pop-Up Cinema will be held on Kilburn Grange Park on 7th - 9th September.  The films to be shown are:

Friday 7th September          Dazed and Confused
Saturday 8th September      Gross Pointe Blank
Sunday 9th August              Top Gun

Doors open at 7pm and films start at 8.30pm.

Tickets are £8 each or a Weekend ticket £20.

Hot food and a bar will be available but you need to bring something to sit on.

Further details and booking at popupscreens.co.uk

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The Paralympic Flame is coming to Camden



The Flame will enter the borough at 10.06am on Wednesday 29 August, as it travels from Outer Circle at the northern end of Regent’s Park via the St. Mark's Gate.

It then makes its way south along the Broadwalk, past the Ready Money Drinking Fountain before moving onto Chester Road and rejoining the Outer Circle.

Camden will be welcoming the Paralympic Torch Relay with an activity morning showcasing some of the great accessible sporting activities on offer in the borough.

Residents of all ages and abilities can watch demonstrations and join in with activities including football, volley ball and athletics. Activities will take place from 9-11.30am on Gloucester Green at the northern end of Regent’s Park, between St. Mark's Gate and the Ready Money Drinking Fountain.

Local groups include

• West Euston Partnership – providing adaptable bikes

• I Can Dance – provide dance and percussion performance around fountain during flame exchange

• Highgate Harriers – providing a range of athletics activities

• Two Touch Football – providing football demonstrations and participation

• Camden Sports and development team – providing a range of games and dance/movement activities.


For further information on the Paralympic Torch Relay in Camden, visit camden.gov.uk/torchrelay

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Farmers' Market coming to West Hampstead

For the past 2 years, since I was elected as a LibDem Councillor for West Hampstead, I have been searching for a site for a regular market in West Hampstead.  We managed to organise a one-day Christmas Market on West End Green for the past two years, but nothing on a regular weekly basis.

When I saw the forecourt outside the new Thameslink station I thought it would be an ideal site and so I approached the train company's executives at the opening ceremony last December.  After several months of discussions and with the support of the new West Hampstead Business Association we finally secured agreement in principle.

We then asked local people what type of market they would like and the overwhelming response was a "real food market". Other options were  arts/crafts and antiques but fresh food not available in supermarkets was the winner.

Although some members of the WHBA explored the option of running it as a community venture to support local entrepreneurs, it was soon apparent that the level of investment, time and resources required was just not feasible.  London Farmers' Markets, that run markets across London was therefore approached and they were enthusiastic about running a market in West Hampstead on the Thameslink site.  It was agreed that it would not be viable to launch a new market over the summer or during the Olympics so September was agreed and so marketing has begun to launch on Saturday 22nd September from 10am to 2pm and every Saturday thereafter.

Details of the produce to be offered will be confirmed nearer the time.  If local entrepreneurs want to participate in the market, they should contact www.lfm.org.uk.

I am really excited about the market coming to West Hampstead and have even rearranged my holiday to ensure that I am there at the opening on the 22nd.  I hope it will really contribute to the community of West Hampstead, boost local trade and encourage further retail investment in the area.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Flooding on Kilburn High Road

We've just received this message from Camden about flooding in Kilburn High Road:

As you may be aware there has been a burst water main on Kilburn High Road which has caused some significant flooding.

Following the incident Kilburn High Road is now open. The only road now closed is Christchurch Avenue (within the London Borough of Brent). Christchurch Avenue (the source of the Thames Water leak) will remained closed for repair works until 30/07/2012 – according to TFL Olympic Games Desk.  No other roads will be affected by Thames Water carrying out repairs at this time. There may, however be further remedial works required in Kilburn High Road after the Olympic Games.

Some properties (both in Brent and Camden) have been affected by flooding - the Fire Brigade were pumping out properties affected  but have now left the scene of the incident . NHS London have advised that the GP Surgery at 279 Kilburn High Road is closed due to being affected with the flooding.  No council properties have been affected.

Camden Council's Network Management Team have sent the Network Coordinator for this area to the scene.  The NC is working with Thames Water representatives on scene to establish the extent of the damage.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Camden and the 2012 Games

This is the information sent to Ward Councillors

Travel and  Transport
• Javelin train is the high speed link from Central London to the Olympic Park, taking just 7 minutes. This service will be departing from the South Eastern platforms at St Pancras Station. At peak times (mornings) the service will transport up to 9,000 passengers per hour. This will result in queuing round the station; there is a strategy in place to manage this.

• London 2012 Media Transport Hub will be based in Russell Square, Bloomsbury. This will be in operation 24/7 from 25 July to 15 August. From this location 5,000 media will be transported to sporting venues around London. There will be restrictions on vehicles using certain roads in the area, but access for residents and businesses will be protected. Russell Square Gardens will remain open throughout.

• The Olympic Route Network (and Alternative ORN) is the network or roads used to transport the Olympic family around London. In Camden this includes Kingsway, Southampton Row, Russell Square, Woburn Place, Tavistock Square, Upper Woburn Place and Euston Road. Changes include dedicated 2012 Family Games Lanes, banned turns, suspension of some pedestrian crossings etc. Details of the changes can be found here: www.tfl.gov.uk/orn

• Camden has been working closely with partners to ensure we minimise the disruption where possible and to inform residents and businesses what they need to do to prepare. Our communications (with partners) have included direct mail, web presence, e-newsletters, resident’s magazine, drop-in sessions, events and workshops and door-knocking. Residents and businesses are being advised to where possible, reroute or retime journeys.

• Camden have agreed a light touch approach to night time deliveries – Due to the transport disruption during the Games the council has agreed that businesses in impacted areas can make night time deliveries and that the council will take a light touch approach to noise and parking enforcement, providing businesses try to minimise noise and disruption to residents.

Service Changes
• Camden has been planning to maintain business as usual for the majority of services. Most residents and businesses will see very little change to services. Residents and businesses should continue to contact the council through the usual channels – Contact Camden on 020 7974 4444.

• Waste collection and street cleansing – Due to traffic restrictions some waste collection and street cleansing services in the south of the borough have been shifted to overnight or early mornings. Affected residents and businesses have been informed about these changes.

• Parking – Residents parking bays in Russell Square and some surrounding streets have been suspended. All affected residents have been offered alternative parking provision in nearby streets, or if they prefer in the underground car park at the Brunswick Centre.

• Torch Relay – There are some short term changes to services for businesses and residents along the Torch Relay route, including changes in waste collection times, loading and stopping restrictions and suspension of some parking. Affected residents and businesses have been informed about these changes.

Safe Games and Olympic Coordination
• Camden will have a Borough Olympic Coordination Centre (BOCC) for the duration of the Games period performing a reporting function to Central Government and coordinating the borough’s response to Olympic activity. The BOCC will be based in the Dennis Geffen Annexe. The contact details are bocc@camden.gov.uk and 020 7974 3400.

• With the spotlight on London there is an increased risk of protests and occupations in the borough. Over the summer we will be closely monitoring key locations such as Russell Square, where there is a heightened risk of occupation.

Camden Torch Relay, Summer Programme and Olympic Dressing
• Torch Relay in Camden on Thursday 26 July from 06:45 to 07:57. There are events along the route at the Roundhouse (start point), St Pancras Gardens (community breakfast), Granary Square and St Pancras Station. All events will feature performances and activities from artists and groups with strong Camden links. Councillors are encouraged to come along to any of the events and all events are open to the public.

• Camden Summer 2012 Programme – Camden showcasing our local talent. Specific stories and events are aimed at the media to gain profile pieces and sustain our reputation as a visitor destination, whilst providing lots for Camden people to do over the summer period.

• Olympic Dressing - Most of central London is being dressed in Olympic branding, Camden has dressing in most of the south of the borough, and routes north from the main stations towards Camden Town. The Torch route is also being dressed, from Chalk Farm southwards. Additional dressing has been secured for each outdoor gym including those in the north of the borough. We also have bespoke pieces created by local students in our main train station concourses, and additional bespoke dressing on key iconic buildings.

Securing a Legacy and involving children and young people
• Camden has 12 Legacy Projects linking residents and businesses to the opportunities and excitement of the Games. These initiatives have a focus on using the games as a catalyst to improve uptake of healthy lifestyles, cultural activities and volunteering, as well as making the most of the economic benefits of the Games and improving the public realm.

• 69 Camden schools have signed up to London 2012’s official education programme, qualifying Camden young people for 2,212 free tickets the Games.

• Every school child in Camden will receive London 2012 badges and every school will receive official London 2012 dressing to help them celebrate the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

• With an estimated 3 million additional visitors in London during summer 2012 Camden is preparing to welcome the world. 160+ local volunteers will provide information and advice at visitor hotspots and 200,000 Time Out branded Camden guides will be distributed to residents and visitors.

















Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Olympic Torch Comes to Camden

Join the celebrations for the Olympic Torch as it moves through Camden on Thursday, 26th July, the last day before the Games begin. The first Olympic torch will be lit at the iconic Roundhouse at 6:45am, before it makes its way along the Camden leg of the route. The best choirs in Camden will come together to welcome the flame.

If you can’t make the start of the relay, you may wish to attend one of the other celebratory events being hosted by Camden along the route.

Community breakfast and events in St Pancras Gardens from 7am-10am and the torch will pass about 7.10am.

Special music and youth performances in Granary Square from 7am to 9.45am with the torch passing at 7.30am

Final performance and music event at St Pancras International from 7am-9.45am with the torch passing at 7.35am.

For further details of the Olympic Torch Route go to camden..gov.uk/torchrelay

Monday, 16 July 2012

West Hampstead Interchange during the Olympics

This is the response your West Hampstead Councillors have had from TfL about our concerns as to whether the West Hampstead Interchange would be adversely affected by increased passengers and congestion during the Olympics, given that there are two lines to Stratford and one to Wembley. We are grateful to Caroline Pidgeon, Chair of the GLA Transport Committee for raising this on our behalf.

The GetAheadoftheGames.com website highlights stations where it is predicted that demand for services during the Games will exceed available capacity if people do not change their regular travel behaviour. TfL has made this information available to enable people to make informed choices about their travel and to provide advice on how they might reduce, re-route, re-time their journey or travel in a different way.

West Hampstead does not appear as a ‘hotspot’ because the additional travellers predicted to use the station during the Games is within the available capacity for both the station and the lines serving it. For example, on one of the busiest days of the Games, Friday 3 August, approximately 16 per cent more passengers are predicted to use West Hampstead station. Based on this prediction, London Underground expects to be able to manage with minimal customer impact. Further, if regular travellers do change their travel habits during the Games, the situation will be further improved.

However, it is important to remember that these are only our best predictions of where and when travel hotspots may arise. The travel situation in London will be different each day and may change throughout the day, as crowds travel to and from the different sporting and cultural events. Therefore, my advice to customers using West Hampstead station, and indeed any other part of the transport network, is to refer to www.GetAheadoftheGames.com to plan their Games-time journeys and to check before they travel in order to avoid disruption to their journey. TfL will also provide real-time information to assist Londoners and visitors with their travel at stations.

We hope TfL are right. 

Meanwhile, I found out last night that First Capital Connect has included West Hampstead Thameslink station in its Enhancement Plan as a station that will require extra resources during the Olympics as they anticipate thousands of extra passengers on their routes. The station will be manned 24 hours a day and tensile barriers may be installed to manage any crowding.

I have also asked Camden Council to arrange to install additional signage on Iverson Road and West End Lane to give clear directions between the three stations and four entrances, particularly from the new Thameslink exit to the Jubilee Underground and the Overground stations.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Correspondence with Tesco


Once I was able to identify a suitable contact within Tesco, here is the correspondence I have had.  I first wrote on 8th June and received a response - after some chasing - on 27th June
Dear Carol:

Attached is a photo that I took last Saturday, 2nd June, from a bus that was blocked by the congestion caused by the lorry delivering to Tesco. It was at least the third delivery lorry to Tesco that blocked traffic that morning. I also attach a photo that was taken on Thursday, 3rd May showing traffic congestion caused by the delivery lorry to Tesco.

Deliveries to that Tesco store cause traffic congestion throughout the day every day and affect all traffic and bus routes along the length of West End Lane. Since it opened, the traffic congestion caused by these deliveries is the largest cause of complaints that Ward Councillors receive from residents – in fact one residents’ association has threatened to organise a boycott against that store.

Residents are very angry that change of use permission was not required for the premises to change from furniture store to supermarket, a small site that lacks storage space, hence the need for frequent deliveries to replenish stock, and on a bend in the road that is hazardous for large delivery lorries to offload. Tesco appear to have done nothing to mitigate the inconvenience caused by their deliveries to local residents and traffic.

I have raised these issues with Camden Officers who claim that there is nothing the Council can do to stop your deliveries.

We receive no complaints about Sainsbury, who trade on the same block, who use their own small vans, not external suppliers, and only deliver in the early morning or mid evening when traffic is light and, as far as I am aware, cause no congestion. Why can’t Tesco operate in the same consumer friendly manner?

What is Tesco prepared to do to stop the traffic congestion it causes on West End Lane?



Dear Councillor Risso-Gill


Apologies for the delay in responding to you. I have forwarded your email onto our distribution manager. I have suggested another risk assessment be undertaken to look at the issues and discuss solutions. Matt Magee is now responsible for this area and he will contact you as soon as this assessment has been conducted.

Kind regards

Carol













Monday, 25 June 2012

West Hampstead's heritage


Camden has lots of interesting buildings, some important like the British Museum, and some quite small. Many of these are “listed”, which means taking special care over changes to them. Here in West Hampstead we have a Conservation Area around West End Green but we have traditionally only had two “listed buildings” – the Fire Station and the Synagogue in Dennington Park Road. More recently, Emmanuel Church and the Victorian public conveniences by West End Green have also been listed. Also, Hampstead Cemetery has specially designated status. But we do have lots of buildings and features which give our area its special character. So it’s good that there is new legislation which lets Councils produce a “local list” of buildings which have a value to local residents.

To be included in the local list the building should be a good example of a style particular to a local area/ designed or built by some notable local or national builder or architect, and or be an especially good example of some particular craft or technique. Alternatively, or it should be of local or national historical significance in the area’s history, or associated with an important local or national person or event. Or it could have have “social value” which means having local community, cultural, religious, political, educational or economic significance.

Camden will soon be asking for suggestions for buildings to go on the list – watch this space!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Public drop-in Session on West Hampstead Traffic Scheme Thursday 12 July

We've just heard from Camden's officers about a drop-in session about transport related issues (NB cars, bikes, lorries etc, not buses and trains) in the West Hampstead area. Here are the full details from Camden:

Public drop-in Session – West Hampstead Area Scheme, Thursday 12th July
 
Following the approval of the West Hampstead Place Plan as the strategic guidance for the area, Camden Council want to ask local stakeholders about their views on specific transport related issues in the West Hampstead area. As a local resident or business, we want to know what things you think would improve the streets and traffic in the area. This will help us to deliver the objective to improve the quality of experience for people in the streets and public spaces.

The Council is holding a drop-in session to give you the opportunity to highlight what you believe are the key street and traffic problems in this area, as well as what solutions you would like to see.  Council officers will be present to discuss your traffic questions. 

We are interested in discussing a wide range of traffic issues such as: -

  • Road safety and accident reduction.
  • Vehicles speeds and congestion.
  • Ease of pedestrian access.
  • Provisions for cyclists.
  • Waiting and loading provisions.

Please note that the scope of this scheme will not include buses or trains.

Details of this drop-in session are as follows: -

Venue: West Hampstead Synagogue
Date: Thursday 12th July 2012
Time: 2pm to 7pm

Officers from Camden’s Transport Strategy Service will be present for discussion throughout this session. We will then use the information gathered to assist in the development of a scheme, on which we expect to undertake a public consultation later in the year.

If you would like any further information, please contact Costa Kakouratos in the Design Team on either 020 79745132 or costa.kakouratos@camden.gov.uk. If you would like any further information about the West Hampstead Place Plan, this is published on the council website: 

Friday, 15 June 2012

GetAheadoftheGames Road Show at O2 Centre on 6 July


We've just received this message from Transport for London about a Road Show to be held at the O2 Centre on 6 July:

To ensure Londoners can find out how their travel will be affected by the Games and what transport changes to expect, TfL is holding a series of Road Shows. Staff will be on hand to answer questions about the Olympic Route Network and Games Lanes, road restrictions and closures, hotspot stations and bus diversions in the local area.

When and where are the Road Shows?
In your area, the GetAheadoftheGames Road Shows will be held:

  • Friday 6 July 14:00-20:00 O2 Centre, 255 Finchley Road London NW3 6LU (on corner of Finchley Road near tube station) 

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

The Olympic and Paralympic Route Network during the London Olympic Games

Although TfL do not consider that West Hampstead will be much affected by the Olympic and Paralympic Games, we thought residents would like to know how the Games will be affecting travel through other parts of London.

During the 2012 Games, London will be turned into a massive sporting and cultural venue. This will, of course, have a major impact on the city’s roads, so Transport for London (TfL) will be putting in place the Olympic Route Network and Paralympic Route Network (ORN/PRN).

What is the ORN/PRN? The ORN is a 109-mile network of roads linking Games and accommodation venues. It is vital to ensure all athletes, officials and the world’s media get to their events on time and keep London moving. Thirty miles of the ORN include Games Lanes (available only to vehicles carrying the ‘Games Family’ – the athletes, officials, media and some sponsors). When will the ORN/PRN operate? The ORN and Games Lanes will begin operating on Wednesday 25 July, and will end on Tuesday 14 August. They will not be in force between the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The smaller PRN will also begin operating two days before the Paralympic Games on Monday 27 August and will end on Tuesday 11 September. Once events are completed at a particular venue, such as Wimbledon, the ORN will be removed. Creating the ORN/PRN A programme of temporary road changes need to take place ahead of the creation of the ORN/PRN. This will include installing temporary traffic islands and barriers to simplify junctions and changing around 1,300 sets of traffic signals to prepare for the expected increase in traffic. To keep any impact to a minimum, work is being carried out over a four-day period beginning on Friday 20 July and finishing on Tuesday 24 July. Most of the works will take place overnight but, depending on weather conditions and restrictions in certain areas, some daytime working may be required. Creating Games Lanes


From Sunday 1 July, road markings will be put down along the ORN to create the Games Lanes. This work is weather dependent so it is not possible to specify the exact dates but works will take place overnight between 21:00 and 06:00. The

Games Lanes will not be operational and enforced until Wednesday 25 July, so you will be able to use them until this date. During the Games, vehicles that drive in the Games Lanes, load, park or stop illegally on the ORN/PRN will be removed and will face a £130 Penalty Charge Notice. It will take between 10 and 14 days to create all the Games Lanes. There will be advanced warning signs along the route advising which dates the works will take place. Other key road changes From Saturday 7 July: Traffic direction through the Kingsway Tunnel (Aldwych) will be temporarily reversed to flow southbound only. This will be vital for assisting movement to and from the Media Hub in Bloomsbury. The road will return to normal in mid-August after the Olympic Games, and the change is not required for the Paralympic Games. From Monday 16 July: The M4 Games Lane will come into operation owing to the arrival of the Games Family which include athletes, officials and the world’s media. From Tuesday 24 July: The designated pedestrian crossings and parking/loading bays along the ORN will be suspended and blocked off overnight. TfL will remove each section of the ORN after it is no longer required. These works will take place over a number of nights.

It will be necessary to re-instate some of the network for the Paralympic Games and works will take place overnight from 24 August to 26 August. The PRN will be fully operational and enforced from 06:00 on 27 August.

There will be additional changes to roads and local parking around Olympic venues. These are being put in place by the organisers of London 2012 to ensure that resident and business parking is protected and the venues can operate safely. Full details of changes and timings can be found at london2012.com/local-residents.

Advice for road users During the implementation programme, roads will remain open but there may be rolling lane closures and local diversions, which will be clearly signposted. Local access to properties will be maintained but please do not park along the ORN/PRN as cars may be removed. If possible, do not travel on the route while the work is taking place. This will help you avoid delays.

The work will not affect pedestrian access, but may affect bus stops along the ORN and information will be provided on any affected stops. From mid-July, motorists should avoid central London, roads around the ORN and Games venues. Motorists should avoid the areas around the road events on competition days, such as the Cycling Road Races on 28 and 29 July. Every day of the Games is different, so if you must drive, plan ahead and allow more time. Go to getaheadofthegames.com to find out how you can avoid the road hotspots during the Games. Planning ahead To ensure that everyone begins to plan their Games time travel, please pass this information on to colleagues and regular contacts, and promote it through any available communication channels you may have. In addition, all properties on or within 400 metres of the ORN/PRN will receive letters this month outlining the works schedule and offering advice for residents and businesses to help them prepare ahead and during the operation of the ORN/PRN. If you wish to find out further information, go to getaheadofthegames.com Keeping London moving TfL is committed to keeping London moving throughout the Games. To help achieve this, the Games Lanes will operate as flexibly as possible, and be open to traffic when demand from Games Family vehicles is low and capacity is available. Signs along the route will advise motorists when Games Lanes are open to regular traffic throughout the day. I apologise in advance for any inconvenience that these essential works may cause. You can find details of the planned changes on the ORN/PRN, the latest on the build programme timetable and other Games-related travel information at GetAheadoftheGames.com. You can also follow @GAOTG on Twitter, sign up online for email bulletins or email ORNandPRNengagement@tfl.gov.uk

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Points replacement on Jubilee line - part closure between Finchley Road and London Bridge on Sunday 1 July


Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat leader on the GLA, has just passed on this advance warning from Transport for London about part closure of the Jubilee Line between Finchley Road and London Bridge on Sunday 1 July.

"In order to ensure that Jubilee line infrastructure is as reliable possible during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, London Underground is replacing a number of points on the Jubilee line. Some of this work has already been taking place on the east of the line - mainly during engineering hours and also through slightly later starts on a number of Sundays. In addition there will be a one-day part closure between Finchley Road and London Bridge on Sunday 1 July to allow for points replacement."

Friday, 8 June 2012

West Hampstead/Fortune Green Area Forum on Tuesday, 19 June - on parking, crime and planning


The next West Hampstead/Fortune Green Area Forum (Area Action Group) is scheduled for Tuesday, 19 June, at the Synagogue Community Hall on Dennington Park Road. Regular attenders have been notified by e-mail or letter.

Here’s the agenda for the meeting, which Cllr Keith Moffitt will be chairing:

7 - 7.30 pm: an opportunity to meet ward councillors informally over tea/coffee

7.30 meeting starts:

Parking Policy review
For more details of the review, see below. The consultation formally ends on 18 June, but Camden will take into account comments made at the area forum.

Community Safety
Representatives from the Fortune Green and West Hampstead Safer Neighbourhood Teams

Neighbourhood Development Plan                        
James Earl, chair of the West Hampstead Neighbourhood Development Forum.

We'll aim to finish by 9.30 at the latest.

We look forward to seeing lots of West Hampstead residents on Tuesday 19 June.

More details  of the Parking Policy Review from Camden:

As part of the Parking Policy Review (PPR), a public engagement exercise will take place, to gauge opinion on issues relating to the size, days and hours of control of Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs), as well as on the maximum stay in pay and display bays. I would welcome your views on this issue and ask that you send your comments to parking.review@camden.gov.uk

The results of the consultation will inform where changes may be required to CPZ days and hours of control to respond to changing parking demands and lead to the development of a work programme of CPZ reviews. A report outlining the consultation responses will be considered later in the year, outlining any options for change. It is also proposed that this will be considered by the Culture and Environment Scrutiny Committee.

This questionnaire is being undertaken as part of the wider Parking Policy Review (PPR). Some changes have already been implemented and details about these can be found on the PPR web page at Parking Policy Review.

The questionnaire will be available for anyone to respond to, but direct notification will be sent to the groups below:

- Residents’ and Tenant’s Associations;
- Businesses (through business forums and monthly e-newsletter)
- minority groups such as those representing the disabled and elderly;
- individuals who have previously requested changes to CPZ hours.

The questionnaire is available on the Council’s web site for public consultation on the following link: https://consultations.wearecamden.org/culture-environment/test-fl/consult_view

Hard copies of all documents can also be obtained by emailing parking.review@camden.gov.uk (although please consider whether you really need a hard copy as we wish to keep printed material to a minimum).

The public consultation ends midnight on Monday 18 June 2012.

If you have any questions about the consultation or would like further information, please contact:
Email: parking.review@camden.gov.uk
Phone: 020 7974 4639

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Jubilee Celebrations in West Hampstead

Big Lunch on West End Green on Saturday
Residents in West Hampstead and Fortune Green entered into the spirit of  the Jubilee weekend with street party celebrations.

On SaturdayWHeart held a Big Lunch on West End Green organised by Sally Bowman and her team of helpers and sponsored by Chelsea Square.  There was a bouncy castle and face painting for children, a cake competition, raffle with prizes donated by local businesses and Spanish dancing.  One of the highlights was a large black chicken handing out chicken wings from Nandos.

Also on Saturday, the Fordwych Road Residents' Association held their event in St Cuthbert's Church Hall, while on on Sunday residents of Glenbrook Road and Friends of Fortune Green all held Big Lunch events, despite the rain.  The Fortune Green event decamped into the Play Centre where at least 100 residents shared food and some entered the Bake Off competition.

Spanish Dancers at the Lymington Road street party
On Monday, MARA were lucky with their weather for their street party, and on Tuesday, Lymington Road was closed for the LRRA Celebration Streeet Party with two bouncy castles, a steel band, barbeque, more cakes  and Spanish dancers.

Well done all the organisers for helping us celebrate the Jubilee weekend with friends and neigh-bours. Our sincere apologies if we missed anyone in the West Hampstead area out!
Councillors Keith and Gillian at the Lymington Rd party

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Hampstead Garden Centre Site Planning Application Approved

Given the strength of objections that had been submitted from West Hampstead residents, local groups and Ward Councillors, many will be disappointed that the Planning Application for a development of 36 dwellings for the Hampstead Garden Centre site was approved by Camden’s Development Control Committee last Thursday.

Previously, the Officers had recommended the application for Refusal because there was insufficient Affordable housing but when this was increased from 7 to 10 units (only 70% of Camden’s requirement) the recommendation was changed to Approval.  Yet none of the objectors were consulted on the revised application and were only given a week’s notice that the application would be heard at the meeting the day before the Jubilee Weekend when many people were going away and, ironically, when the new Neighbourhood Planning Forum (to develop a local Plan) was meeting.
   
The Officer’s report appeared to focus on the Developer’s compliance with Camden Policy – even though allowances had to be made – rather than the very real concerns of  local residents.  The case for Change of Use was considered for residential use only, even though the site had had Commercial Use for 26 years.  No case was made of why it could not continue even though no market research had been carried out and the Officer concluded continued retail use would not be viable.  Although the new Placeshaping Action Plan identified the need for office or workshop accommodation, for which the site would be ideal, this was not considered as it was not included in the developer's application.  It would nevertheless provide jobs and employment which would support the local weekday economy.

Bizarrely, because this site is not included in the London Plan for the Intensification of the area, it was not necessary to assess the cumulative impact on the area and local services of this development with the approved plans for 200 homes at 187-199 West End Lane and the 300 Student Housing in Blackburn Road, only 100 yards apart.  Each application is assessed on its merits, not against other applications.

Furthermore, no noise assessment was carried out to meet the concerns of
Sumatra Road about the bulk of this development amplifying the railway noise for them.


Given the continuing outrage of residents around Lymington Road about the South Hampstead School development, the Planning Officers continue to adopt very narrow assessments of planning applications in West Hampstead that favour developers whilst ignoring the issues raised by the people who live here and will have to endure the long term consequences of their recommendations.

Councillor Risso-Gill, a member of the Committee, challenged the Officer and Developers on all these issues that had not been covered elsewhere and Councillor Eagling also challenged the proximity of the railway and erosion of employment space in the area. 

Unfortunately, there was no representation from local residents at the meeting, which usually sways the Committee members if residents feel so strongly against an application that they will attend the meeting to object in person.
Most of the members who voted to approve the application live elsewhere in the Borough and were swayed by the increase in Affordable Housing.  Our objections on the night did result in three members abstaining from voting.

There is a slight glimmer of hope that the development will not be built as the rationale for recommending approval in  the Officer's report based on increased Affordable Housing also commented that such complex designs often find difficulty in securing finance.