The evolving high street: the future of Hampstead's village centres


Please answer our questionnaire by clicking HERE


Read more about the project below

Forum launches consultation on high street areas

The Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum is launching on 15 April 2021 a survey of local opinions on the future of our village centres. The initiative is prompted by the rapid pace of change in our high street areas since the onset of the Covid pandemic. Lockdowns have altered how we live, work and shop. 

Read a special feature in the Ham&High HERE

Read a background note by the Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum HERE.

In Hampstead village and South End Green, about 20 shops and restaurants have gone out of business since the beginning of lockdown in March 2020. The arrival of a steady stream of new businesses shows that commercial premises remain in demand. However, the rate of change has accelerated considerably, as it has on high streets across the UK.

The Forum is holding this consultation to encourage discussion about these developments and to improve Hampstead’s understanding of how our centres are being used, and how they could be used in the future. We invite the views of everyone involved in Hampstead life.

It is vital that Hampstead retains a vibrant economic life and that our village centres 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 government’s proposed removal of many planning controls would reduce ability of the Borough of Camden, as well as Hampstead residents, to influence change. So we ask whether the Hampstead community should devise a strategy for the future of our high streets. The aim would be to work with all interested parties and foster close cooperation between residents, businesses, local Councillors, Camden and, if possible, the landlords who own our retail centres. We invite you to start the discussion by completing the questionnaire.

What are your thoughts? Please take the survey by clicking hereThe deadline for responses is 29 April 2021.

Air quality

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

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 protected], including your address. Thank you for your help.

Planning/White Paper

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.

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.

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 need to be fully self-supporting and to meet the costs of projects such as the work on air quality monitoring. 

Would you be willing to help us take this work forward? Please go to our Support Us page here.

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. 


If you have questions, email [email protected]. Follow us on Twitter @HampsteadForum 


The Hampstead Neighbourhood has strongly criticised government proposals to expand permitted development rights. Read the Ham&High story here and the Forum's submission to the government consultation here.

The Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum has begun a project to study the future of our two commercial centres, Hampstead village and South End Green. Read a column by Stephen Taylor, Forum chair, in the Ham&High here.