Hampstead Neighbourhood Plan influences planning decisions
The Hampstead Neighbourhood Plan has played an important part in the Camden planning process since it came into effect in 2018.
The Planning Watch page on this website shows the comments that the Forum has made on selected planning applications and the outcomes in the cases that have been decided. In addition, it shows planning applications on which the Forum made no comment, but Camden planners cited the Neighbourhood Plan's policies in making their decisions.
The page shows that the Forum has so far submitted comments on 40 planning applications, either to oppose or support aspects of proposed developments. In addition, Camden cited the Plan's policies in nine decisions, bringing the total to 49. Of these 49 cases, 33 have been resolved. In 27 cases, the Plan's policies were taken into account by Camden's planners, and in only two cases they were not. In some cases, applications have been withdrawn before Camden's officials came to any decision. In others, developers made adjustments to plans after receiving objections from the Forum and/or others, and Camden officials subsequently approved the modified plans.
Overall, these outcomes demonstrate that the Neighbourhood Plan has had an influence on the planning process since it was enacted in 2018. You can read the Plan here, view the Plan area here and follow the process of consultation and drafting that led to the Plan's creation here. A summary of the Neighbourhood Plan's policies can be found here.
The Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum is a voluntary group set up by local residents to write the Neighbourhood Plan. Following intensive public consultation, the Plan was strongly supported by residents in a public referendum. It has now taken its place as planning law alongside the Camden local plan and other regulations. This 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. The Forum will continue to monitor the progress of the Plan and to comment on selected planning applications.
In addition, the Forum engages in other activities that are in keeping with the Plan's expressed aims, vision and policies. In 2019, it submitted comments on proposed boundary changes to Hampstead Town Ward, and on Camden traffic proposals. Following comments from the Forum and others, the Local Government Boundary Commission for England abandoned the part of its proposed changes to which we objected. The change was welcomed by local residents, as reported in the Hampstead and Highgate Express here. The Forum's comment is here.
The Forum has assisted local Councillors by arranging public consultations on potential projects that could be funded by proceeds of the Community Infrastructure Levy. For example, in 2019 the Community Centre in Hampstead High Street obtained 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 the Forum. To see an up-to-date list of CIL projects in Hampstead Town Ward, click hereUnder 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 five years with local residents, community groups and businesses.
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.
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.