Thursday 28 November 2013

The grit bin returns...

Lymington Road and Crediton Hill residents will be happy to see the new grit bin now in place after a former bin was mysteriously stolen over a year ago. Now we are ready for some snow...

Monday 18 November 2013

Doris Lessing and West Hampstead - The New Café

Many words will be written over the next few days about Nobel prize-winning and West Hampstead-dwelling Doris Lessing, but I'd like to mention a short story of hers with a very strong West Hampstead connection.

"The New Café" is one of the short stories in the collection "London Observed", published in 1992 - for more on the collection see: It's only five pages long.

The story was set in what was at the time the first of the new wave of cafés in West End Lane. Hard to imagine now, but around 25 years ago the arrival of Dominique's café in West End Lane marked the start of a new era and was greeted with great excitement.

The West End Lane Dominique's, an Iranian family business, closed several years ago and was replaced by J's, which in turn has transmuted into Bella Luna.  But Dominique's lives on not only in Doris Lessing's short story, where the café becomes Stephanie's and the Iranians turn into Greeks, but also in its sister café on South End Green. And of course in the memories of those of us who were living in West Hampstead when "The New Café" was the place to go.

Sunday 17 November 2013

Have you queued for ages to get out of the O2 car park?

I know from personal experience and from residents' complaints that there can be long queues to get out of the O2 car park onto Finchley Road at certain times. So I raised this with Transport for London, who control the traffic lights at the junction. There reply is below.

I'll be interested to know if people think there's been an improvement.

Dear Councillor Moffitt

Thank you for your enquiry regarding the weekend operation of Finchley Road and in particular the exit from the O2 centre car park which gets busy on weekends.

This junction has been known to be problematic on weekends in the past and measures were put in place to allow for additional green time to traffic exiting the car park.  Upon investigation it was found that the timings which had been in place to assist traffic exiting the car park were being hampered by a fault occurring with the vehicle detection on street.  This fault is in the process of being fixed.  In the meantime, new signal timings which increase the green time to the exit from the car park onto Finchley Road have been implemented as of Saturday 9 November.

We will monitor the new timings on street with the hope that this will ease the delay that you have experienced. 

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Review of Camden's key planning policy documents

What is being reviewed and why?Camden  Council is starting to review two of the key planning documents that the Council uses when it makes planning decisions - the Camden Core Strategy and Development Policies.  As a first step we are carrying out initial engagement to gather views from Camden residents and other interested parties.

Much has changed since the Core Strategy and Development Policies were adopted by the Council at the end of 2010, including:
the publication of the Camden Plan;
the introduction of the Council's Community Investment Programme;
the National Planning Policy Framework and revised London Plan (our plans need to be consistent with these);
changes to government policy and funding arrangements for affordable housing;
new planning rules that mean some changes in the use of buildings no longer need planning permission;
the introduction of neighbourhood planning;
an extended period of economic uncertainty and accelerated population growth.

Therefore we now need to review these key planning documents to make sure that Camden continues to have robust and up-to-date planning policies that reflect current circumstances and help to deliver our local priorities.

The review will assess how existing policies are operating and how they can be made more effective.  We believe that the Core Strategy and Development Policies are generally working well and therefore envisage that many current policy approaches will not require significant change (for example, design and heritage).

Initial public engagement
At this stage we are inviting comments on any matter that interested people and organisations think it is important for us to consider when reviewing our key planning policies.   We would particularly like to hear views on the following:

which of our planning policies could be improved and how?
which policies are working well and should be retained?
whether any new polices are needed?
whether any policies or parts of the plan are no longer needed?
what more can our plan do to create the conditions for economic growth and harness the benefits of              that growth for the borough and its residents?
how can our planning policies do more to contribute to reducing inequalities in the borough?
how can our plan contribute further to creating sustainable communities?
how can our policies maximise the delivery of genuinely affordable housing and housing in general?
should we continue our current approach to protecting employment land or should this be amended (and if so how)?
do you think it would be helpful to combine the Core Strategy and Development Policies into a single 'local plan'?

Comments, to be sent to, are due by 20 December 2013.

What happens next?                                
The review of our planning policy documents has to follow a statutory procedure.  Once we have gathered initial views and updated our supporting evidence we will produce a draft 'Local Plan' for consultation and engagement (this is likely to be in summer / autumn 2014).  We will then consult on a further draft of the plan before we submit it for a public examination held by a Planning Inspector.

We will keep interested parties updated on progress with the review through our quarterly planning policy newsletters and web pages.

 If you would like further information please do not hesitate to contact the Strategic Planning team ( or 020 7974 2519).

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Tree Removals Planned in West Hampstead

We have been informed that the Council will be carrying out works to remove certain trees in West Hampstead after a recently carried out an inspection. 

It has become necessary to remove several trees for health and safety reasons.

Below is a list of locations and reasons for removal of the trees.

West Hampstead
 Tree species
 Reason for Removal
Aesculus hippcastanum
Trunk decay
Robinia pseudoacacia
Sorbus intermedia
Basal decay
Tilia europaea
Tilia europaea
Root and butt decay
Betula pendula
Prunus sargentii
Trunk Decay
Sorbus sargentiana

The trees are scheduled for removal during the forthcoming winter by our term tree contractors. A felling notice will be placed on each a minimum of 10 working days before the work is carried out. Where required we will be placing additional information on the trees to inform residents.

The vacant tree pits have been added to the tree planting list.

For further information about the Council’s tree programme (including tree removal and re-planting plans), log on to The above tree will be placed on the website list of trees to be removed once the works order has been issued to the tree contractor.

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact -

Robert Butcher 
Arboricultural Officer
Culture and Sport
Culture and Environment
London Borough of Camden

Telephone:   020 7974 1862
Fax:               020 7974 1649

Clean Camden Campaign

This week the Council has launched the Clean Camden campaign, a new initiative to tackle environmental crime across Camden. The campaign will crack down on those people who continue to litter, dump their waste or unwanted items, or not clear up after their dog. The new education and enforcement team will lead operations across the borough to increase the action being taken to tackle these issues.

The Clean Camden campaign also calls on residents to help us crack down on environmental crime by identifying local enviro-crime hotspots or offenders so we can target our work.  Anyone caught committing an offence will be issued with an £80 fixed penalty notice, and flytippers face being prosecuted and fined up to £20,000.

Please encourage local residents to visit or call 020 7974 4444 for more information or to report a problem or offender.