Hampstead boundary changes altered after local protests
The Boundary Commission has abandoned a proposal to shift Pond Street, Hampstead Hill Gardens and part of South End Road from Hampstead Town ward to Gospel Oak, following strong protests from local residents and bodies including the Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum. Our submission to the Commission argued that the proposed changes went against 800 years of history.
The Local Government Boundary Commission for England published a new set of proposals for the borough of Camden, and opened them for a further round of consultation. The new map, which can be viewed on the Commission's website here, keeps the north side of Pond Street, Hampstead Hill Gardens, Maryon Mews and the southern end of South End Road within Hampstead Town ward. The change was welcomed by local residents, as reported in the Hampstead and Highgate Express here. A further change is that St Stephen's, the restored former church on Rosslyn Hill, will remain in Hampstead Town. However, the Royal Free Hospital will switch to Gospel Oak ward, as was planned in the Commission's earlier proposals.
The Forum's submission to the Commission argued that Pond Street and the surrounding area had played an integral role in the development of Hampstead town since the earliest recorded settlements some 800 years ago. The story of Hampstead's development is of an area that was - and remains - bounded by Pond Street to the south. 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.
The latest project to be funded by proceeds of the Community Infrastructure Levy has just been completed in Hampstead. The Community Centre in Hampstead High Street has new rooflights. The Centre says the new windows, which improve both lighting and temperature control, have 'transformed the space for all users.' Camden's councillors approved the funding after the project was strongly supported in a public consultation organised by Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum. To see an up-to-date list of CIL projects in Hampstead Town Ward, click HERE
Earlier, the Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum 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. On 14 November 2019, the Planning Committee of Camden Council unanimously rejected the Abacus proposal.
The Forum's submission 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 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.
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.