Friday 11 November 2011

Benches and Beggars

At the West Hampstead Safer Neighbourhood Team meeting on Thursday 10th November the panel heard about the latest work the team has been doing to address the problems caused by street beggars in our area.

The previous work of the team led to the discovery that most beggars on our streets, usually operating close to stations, are not homeless at all but use their begging skills to feed drug or alcohol habits. The police liaise with Camden Council's street services team to ensure appropriate interventions for support are made, but eventually our local police team has applied and secured ASBOs against those who persist.

Currently the team are monitoring four people at different locations and will apply for ASBO's if necessary. The discussion reminded me of a current consultation taking place in response to requests for more street benches in our area.

Currently the Council is considering requests received from community groups for four new benches at -

1) West Hampstead Library (1-18 Dennington Park Road)

The bench would be at the back of the footway, between the two existing trees.

2) The pavement outside Sanoling, (260 West End Lane)

The bench could be located either at the front of the footway, opposite the Sanoling Chinese Medical shop, or in the middle of the footway, in line with the existing tree.

3) The footway opposite Unique Star (222 West End Lane)

The bench would be located between the tree and the lamp post at this site.

4) On the footway outside Pizza Express (319 West End Lane)

The bench would be located at the front of the footway, between a sign post and a lamp post.

What your ward councillors are trying to weigh up is the balance between the needs of the elderly and disabled who need a place for a breather when out shopping, and the potential for the benches to be commandeered by street drinkers or beggars.

Please let us know if you have strong views either way. I don't think there is a case for all 4 benches and so expressing a favourite position for one would help.

The panel on Thursday night suggested using the new space created by the new Thameslink station on Iverson Road as a further possible location. What do you think?

Monday 7 November 2011

Traffic and Cycling Consultations for West Hampstead

Camden Council are carrying out two consultations with West Hampstead residents:

1) Introducing a 20mph limit on West End Lane and residential streets on the west side and traffic calming measures including repositioning of islands and changes to the footways.
2)Improvements in cycle permeability to provide safer cycling routes between Kilburn High Road and Finchley Road. The principal road to be affected in West Hampstead is Sherriff Road, but other roads in Kilburn and Swiss Cottage Wards are affected.
Information leaflets on both consultations are available online at
Responses must be received by 11th November 2011, including your postal address.