Forum objects to school and boundary proposals
The Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum has lodged an objection to the Abacus proposal to develop the former Hampstead police station on Rosslyn Hill into a one-form entry school. The proposal is contrary to the Hampstead Neighbourhood Plan, as well as to the Camden Local Plan and the emerging London Plan.
Separately, it is opposing proposed boundary changes under which Pond Street and Hampstead Hill Gardens, as well as part of South End Road, would be removed from Hampstead Town ward and placed in Gospel Oak ward. The Forum argues that the Boundary Commission's proposal goes against 800 years of history.
The Forum's submission on the Abacus school plan for the former police station noted that the proposal would have a detrimental effect on local state schools, especially New End Primary which is operating well below capacity amidst a sharp decline in demand for school places in Hampstead and Belsize Park. This is contrary to policy HC2 of the Hampstead Neighbourhood Plan. Secondly, the application has failed to demonstrate that there would not be a worsening of air quality in an area that already has NO2 levels substantially above the legal limit. The proposal is contrary to policy TT1 of the Hampstead Neighbourhood Plan, paragraph 4.33 of the Camden Local Plan, and policy S3 B 3 of the emerging London Plan which states that new schools should be located away from busy roads.
The Forum's separate submission to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England is in line with protests from local residents that have been reported in the local and national press. Among the changes proposed in the Commission's regular review of ward boundaries is the shifting of Pond Street, Hampstead Hill Gardens, Maryon Mews and part of South End Road from Hampstead Town ward to Gospel Oak ward. The plans are visible by toggling on the the Commission's website here. The same Commission webpage is the one to use for comments, if you wish to do so. The deadline is 5 August 2019.
The Forum argues that Pond Street and the surrounding area have played an integral role in the development of Hampstead town since the earliest recorded settlements some 800 years ago. When Hampstead became a spa around 1700, Pond Street was the road used by carriages coming from London to Well Walk, where the waters were taken. The story of Hampstead's development is of an area that was - and remains - bounded by Pond Street to the south. Houses in Hampstead Hill Gardens were specifically designed for artists, underlining the place of the street in Hampstead, which has long been home to writers, artists and actors. In addition, Pond Street is the southern boundary not only of Hampstead Town ward but also of the Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum and the Hampstead Conservation Area. You can read the Forum's full comment here and you can make your own comment to the Boundary Commission here by 5 August.
The Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum is a voluntary group set up by local residents to write a Neighbourhood Plan. Following intensive public consultation, the Plan was finalised in 2018 and was approved by residents in a referendum. It has now taken its place as planning law alongside the Camden local plan and other regulations.
Under the terms of the Localism Act 2011, communities were given the ability to shape future development in their areas through Neighbourhood Plans. The Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum developed the Plan following intensive discussions over the past five years with local residents, community groups and businesses.
The entry into force of Hampstead's Neighbourhood Plan means that planning applications in the plan area must take account of the Plan's policies, and that Camden's planning officials must also do so when they decide whether to approve applications. A summary of the Neighbourhood Plan's policies can be found here, and you can read the Neighbourhood Plan here. You can keep up to date with the effectiveness of the Plan by following our Planning Watch page here.
The purpose of the Neighbourhood Plan, and of the Forum, is not to oppose all development. Rather, the Plan aims to keep Hampstead lively and contemporary, while safeguarding the fine heritage of our streets and buildings. Hampstead should be enduringly green, with the Heath, open spaces, trees and landscapes well protected. It should be safe and walkable, with good public transport. It should foster local enterprise, supporting the needs who live and work in the area as well as visitors. And it should be a strong community with good amenities.
The Forum assists councillors by acting as a focal point for proposals for spending of proceeds of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) in Hampstead Town ward. It conducts surveys to assess public support for proposals. Councillors then make decisions on which projects to fund.
Recently, the Forum prepared an extensive response to Camden's proposals for traffic changes on Hampstead High Street. Among the proposals was replacement of the zebra crossing with a crossing controlled by traffic lights. The Forum's response supported some of Camden's proposed changes but strongly opposed the removal of the zebra crossing. Subsequently, Camden decided to proceed with some of the changes, but not to replace the zebra crossing. You can read the Forum's submission by clicking here.
PLANNING WATCH: The Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum comments selectively on planning applications that, in our view, support or are at odds with the Neighbourhood Plan's policies. Click here to see the Forum's recent comments and to see how the Plan's policies are being taken into account in planning decisions.