Sunday 28 November 2010

West Hampstead and Fortune Green Area Forum Monday 29 November

Some of you have been asking what's happened to the West Hampstead/Fortune Green area forums that you found so helpful. The answer is that the Council is changing the way it involves local people in decision-making by launching “area action groups” across Camden this autumn.

The good news is that one of the options under the area action groups model is essentially to continue with area forums much as before, which gave you an opportunity to discuss important local issues with your councillors and neighbours, and speakers for relevant outside organisations, and to influence decisions about the West Hampstead area’s future.

As the area forum model was very popular in our two wards, your Fortune Green and West Hampstead councillors have decided to continue with this, while also looking at other ways of involving local residents, such as the use of social media - which we're using to advertise this meeting. The first meeting will be tomorrow on Monday,  29 November, and those of you who regularly attended area forums will already have been notified about it.

Sadly, individual wards will no longer have a pot of money to spend, and the cost of meetings is to be reduced by streamlining publicity and the way meetings are organised. So there will unfortunately no longer be a budget for full refreshments, but Chez Chantal on West End Lane are providing tea and coffee. Thank you!

The agenda for the meeting on 29 November is as follows:

·         7 - 7.30pm: an opportunity to meet ward councillors informally over tea/coffee
·         7.30pm: start of meeting
-         introduction to area action groups
-         update on new Thameslink station on Iverson Road and associated highway improvements
-         councillors’ work on West End Lane and Mill Lane shops
-         impact of the Comprehensive Spending Review on council budget and our area
·         9.30pm: end of meeting

We look forward to seeing lots of you on 29 November, despite the tube strike and possible snow!

Friday 26 November 2010

No extended opening hours for kebab shop

The application by Karahi Master on West End Lane to extend its opening hours to 5am 7 days a week was turned down by the Council's Licensing Panel on Thursday 25th November. There were strong objections from the Metropolitan Police, Camden Environmental Health, local residents as well as my fellow Councillor John Bryant and me The objections were concerns about the potential of an increase in public disturbance and crime and disorder that a takeaway shop open through the night might attract, as has happened in other parts of London. I attended the panel hearing in support of the residents.

I pointed out that West End Lane did not have a vibrant night-time economy, the pubs closed at midnight and questioned where customers would come from, other than outside the area. The applicant claimed that "there are many middle class customers such as minicab drivers, shift workers and elderly people" who want to buy food between 2am and 5am! Who are they?

I am very willing to support all the traders on West End Lane, but not at the expense of the peace and quality of life of local residents.