Forum begins new projects on air quality, high streets
The Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum has new projects for 2021, following up on themes that were important to residents during the creation of the Hampstead Neighbourhood Plan. Among the issues on which we seek the participation of Hampstead's residents are air quality, the future of our high streets and the preservation of our pubs as community hubs.
The air we breathe can damage our health. In 2015, the Forum conducted air quality tests that showed that even in leafy Hampstead, pollution was at alarming levels. This year, after the school run returns, we will take new NO2 readings to see what has changed. We are seeking modest funding to help with the costs of the project. Read more and donate here
The pandemic has triggered changes in our commercial centres, Hampstead village and South End Green. Quite a few retail outlets and eating establishments have closed, and new arrivals have replaced some of them. During consultations on the Neighbourhood Plan, the make-up of our high streets was among residents' top concerns.
It is vital that Hampstead retains a vibrant economic life and our high streets remain a hub for residents and visitors alike. The shifts to working at home and online shopping have raised questions: what will we need in future in our urban centres? What will help them thrive? How can we as residents influence outcomes?
The Forum has set up a group to study these questions. Your views will drive this project and we will be holding consultations. Please send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
Protect Hampstead pubs
Most of our pubs are registered as Assets of Community Value (ACV), which gives the community the right to bid should these pubs be sold. The listings of the King William IV and the Holly Bush are expiring. We are applying to Camden to renew their ACV status but need evidence from you to support our case that the pubs are an integral part of community life in Hampstead. Please tell us in an email why one (or both) of these pubs is important to you. Please mention memorable events, social gatherings, business meetings, or other ways you have used the pub. Please send your testimonial to email@example.com, including your address. Thank you for your help.
The Forum comments on planning applications in the Forum area. Our comments are based on the policies of the Hampstead Neighbourhood Plan as well as Camden's plan, Conservation Area Statements, and other planning regulations and guidance. You can keep track of all the Forum's comments and the outcomes on our Planning Watch page. Recently, an inspector rejected the appeal against Camden's refusal of permission for the Abacus school to take over the former police station on Rosslyn Hill. The Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum, as well as many others, opposed the application.
We are watching the development of government proposals to reform England's planning system. The Forum submitted comments on the White Paper entitled 'Planning for the Future.' The Forum believes that the government's radical proposals would be damaging and would undermine local democracy. Read a brief summary here and the Forum's full submission here.
During 2020, the theme for us, as for everybody, was how to respond to the Covid pandemic. We sought your opinions on measures being taken by Camden to improve walking and cycling in an era of staying at home and maintaining social distance.
For example, you strongly supported a proposal to close the sliproad at South End Green to facilitate a 'streatery' so that cafes and restaurants could offer more open-air tables. Camden temporarily narrowed the sliproad so that business on the pavement could be expanded, but did not create the full 'piazza' that had been envisaged.
There was controversy about the siting of the 168 bus stand. As autumn came, the streatery's licence expired and the area returned to normal. It seems clear further progress requires agreement on a site for the bus stand.
Funding the Forum's work
As a community organisation, the Forum relies heavily on the generosity of supporters and on time given by committee members and advisers. Government assistance helped with the costs of creating the Hampstead Neighbourhood Plan, but support ended in 2018. This means that we now need to be fully self-supporting and to meet the costs of projects such as the work on air quality monitoring.
The Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum is a voluntary group set up by local residents. Under the terms of the Localism Act 2011, communities were given the ability to shape future development in their areas through Neighbourhood Plans. The Forum developed the Hampstead Neighbourhood Plan following intensive discussions over five years with local residents, community groups and businesses.
The Neighbourhood Plan, which was passed by referendum with a 91.5% majority and adopted by Camden in 2018, set goals for Hampstead’s future, and policies to achieve them. You can read the Hampstead Neighbourhood Plan here, view the Plan area here and follow the process of consultation and drafting that led to the Plan's creation here.
The purpose of the Neighbourhood Plan, and of the Forum, is not to oppose 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.