The idea for Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum grew out of a public meeting held on 3 September 2013 at Burgh House. We met to learn more about the Localism Act 2011 and the authority that it gives local communities to develop their own Neighbourhood Plans. A Steering Group was charged with recommending whether or not the benefits of creating a bespoke template for the development of Hampstead merited the work involved. The group unanimously recommended that we should proceed: here was an opportunity to shape how the village develops, while also protecting and enhancing the things people love about Hampstead.
The Forum proceeded to establish itself, consulting local people on their wishes and concerns. We proposed boundaries and a constitution, and a committee was elected at the first annual general meeting on 6th March 2014. Several public meetings were held at which residents offered their views. These steps fulfilled the conditions for an application to be made to Camden Council to approve of the Forum. Camden held a six-week public consultation in summer 2014, and formally designated the Forum in September.
Camden has designated eleven other neighbourhood forums. These are in Highgate, Kentish Town, Kilburn, Fortune Green and West Hampstead, Fitzrovia East, Mount Pleasant, Somers Town, Dartmouth Park, Camley Street, Church Row/Perrins Walk, and Redington and Frognal.
The next stage for the Forum was to write a Neighbourhood Plan, which would create policies aimed at encouraging good planning that retains and improves Hampstead’s unique character, streetscape and natural environment. It should also ensure that Hampstead offers a welcoming environment to businesses, and that the area’s development is sustainable socially and environmentally.
The Plan for Hampstead would sit alongside Camden’s other strategic planning documents such as the Local Strategic Framework and the Core Strategy but would carry more weight than the Conservation Area Statement and Camden Planning Guidance. Before it takes effect, it must be approved by voters in a public referendum, and by an independent inspector.
As a first step, the Forum created a Vision document that set broad objectives and invited all local residents and businesses to comment on them. Some 400 people did so, and the objectives found strong support.
The Vision document took forward what we had learned from previous public meetings. For example, about 50 people met at Burgh House on 26 January 2014 and their thoughts were captured in this report, A Living Village: Themes for Hampstead's Future. After our inaugural annual general meeting on 6 March 2014, a brainstorming session was held, reflected in this report, How to Improve Living Hampstead. Then, on 27 April 2014, we held a tea party at St Stephens, Rosslyn Hill, attended by about 120 people whose thoughts are summarised in this report, Living Hampstead: Community Tea.
Over the following four years, the Forum succeeded in drafting a Neighbourhood Plan which was subjected to two rounds of public consultation and to scrutiny by an independent examiner. The Plan was approved in a public referendum on 21 June 2018. The Plan can be viewed here.
If you have questions or would like to get involved, join the forum on this website or email [email protected]