Give Us a Lift

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West Hampstead was made an intensification zone by the Mayor of London without consultation or community consent and has a high PTAL (public transport accessibility level) rating of 5.6 – as it is a hub for the Overground, Thameslink and Jubilee line stations that 11 million passengers use every year.

We have waited more than 10+ years to get step-free access in our tube station. Every single community group, local ward councillor, the Labour party, the NDF and many users of the tube have petitioned TFL to prioritise West Hampstead for a lift.

A survey has been done and a lift could technically be put on the left side (where the gents loo is).The congestion, overcrowding and difficulty accessing the Jubilee platforms has become critical YET

The Mayor of London has recently released several million pounds to finance improvements in a list of 30 selected stations around London. Including Colindale??? West Hampstead is NOT on that list on the grounds that it would be too expensive to install a lift and take up too much of the funding.

The force of numbers can really help here. Contact Transport for London, your local councillors, NOW.

Details below -interesting that despite their claimed customer service commitment to a high standard of service – they don’t provide an email address on the website and they charge for telephone calls.

Contact Transport for London  –  open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Email: Customerservice@tfl.gov.uk

Message
On Facebook or Twitter

Call
0343 222 1234 — Charges apply

Textphone
0800 112 3456

Write
Send a letter to:

TfL Customer Service
4th Floor
14 Pier Walk
London SE10 0ES

Our customer service commitment – When you get in contact with us you can expect a high standard of customer service, as detailed in our customer promise. We may also ask you to take part in a confidential survey, and we’ll use your feedback to improve our service.

A member who contacted TFL to express her opinion about the lack of a lift in West Hampstead underground received the following reply:

Thank you for your feedback form of 6 January 2018 about lifts at West Hampstead station.

I’m sorry you were unhappy that West Hampstead is not included in our step free improvement plan and I certainly understand your concerns with regards to the need for a lift at this station.

Unfortunately there are a number of factors that prevent us from installing a lift at certain stations.  There may be engineering problems which make the installation of a lift impossible, or the financial cost which can sometimes amount to more than £1m per station. Our current £200m step-free improvement plan is taking our number of step-free stations to over 100 and also includes some of our busiest stations such as Victoria, however, at this moment in time there are no immediate plans for a lift at West Hampstead.

I will, however, pass your objections on to our accessibility team and the Area Manager responsible for the station so they can take your comments into account. Should I hear of any updates from them I will keep you updated.

Thanks again for contacting us. If there is anything else we can help you with, please reply to this email. Alternatively, you can call us on 0343 222 1234 and we’ll be happy to help you.

Kind regards
Adam Tuckett
Customer Service Adviser
Transport for London Customer Services

Everyone Write to adam Tuckett at Customerservice@tfl.gov.uk so he can ‘take your comments’ into account’.

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Phones Aren’t Us

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Euro Payphone Ltd,  based in Belfast, have applied for permission to populate two of the most crowded sections of West End Lane with FOUR phone kiosks. The purpose of these is not telecommunications but the sale of advertising space (£120 per week for a single panel) and brand promotion by stealth with an near obsolete phone technology attached.

This is a quote from the company’s website about the benefits of their ‘phone kiosks’:

EURO PAYPHONE ALLOWS BRANDS TO COMMUNICATE THEIR MESSAGES TO GIVEN AUDIENCES THROUGH EXCLUSIVE MEDIA PANELS AND SITES ACROSS THE UK’S CITY CENTRES.

WE OFFER PRIME OUTDOOR MEDIA LOCATIONS FOR THE ARTS, CULTURE, MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT SCENES WITH NO ROTATIONS – SO YOUR MESSAGE REACHES YOUR AUDIENCE 100% OF THE TIME

This application is unwelcome and obstructive in terms of very congested transport interchange pavements between three busy stations and imposing intrusive, aggressive marketing in a sensitive ‘village’ area. Some years ago this neighbourhood via the Neighbourhood Planning process was promised a Master Plan by Camden Council which was not achieved and we are left increasingly vulnerable to applications like this for inappropriate signage and commercial activity in the centre of West Hampstead.

Previous phone boxes around West End Lane have been damaged, hardly used (except for business card advertising), vandalised and, in many cases, removed.

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For more detail, look at these four kiosk applications 2017/5429/P – 2017/5430/P – 2017/5431/P – 2017/5432/P @ Camden Planning online or email the planning officer : Sofie.Fieldsend@camden.gov.uk and have your say by the 1st November 2017

 

Winter Comes Early to Heritage Lane

The planting around the ‘public’ square at the Ballymore site seems to have gone wrong.

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Plane tree missing…leaves

It is early July, and all three plane trees at the front of West End Square – which some residents feared would not do well – have not done well and all their leaves have dried out and dropped. The recent new planting on the left of the lane at the entrance has also died.

Who is looking after this ‘soft’ landscaping?

Ballymore : ‘West Hampstead Square embodies everything that is to be celebrated about the area, offering a shining example of how regeneration can enhance an existing environment as well as providing new places to live, work and play.’

Space Hub: ‘We design public realm and landscape that is specific and memorable’.

Kingston Landscape Group: ‘From stunning roof top gardens within some of the London’s most admired developments to open space improvements that unite communities, we offer a diverse range of landscaping services across London and the South East.’

If the public using this ‘new public square’ are responsible for it- could someone fit a hosepipe nearby so we can water when necessary?

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planting at entry to lane

 

Not Farmers and Not a Market

London Farmers Markets (LFM) have submitted a planning application for change of use – 2017/2391/P (comments by 6th July) which, although attracting some support, will compromise the neighbourhood economy and harm our limited public realm and green environment.

This is not a cosy, rural collective of farmers driving their tractors to town but a private shareholding company with 22 outdoor markets (none of the others run more often than once a week for several hours) making profits of approx. a million pounds per annum. It sub- contracts stalls to suppliers for a percentage of daily takings, offers no significant local investment, no new local employment tractor logoopportunities and little meaningful connection or commitment to the host community.

The Design and Access Statement (DAS) proposes an over-ambitious and oppressive arrangement giving LFM exclusive-7 day a week, 12 hours a day (an increase from 4 hours to 80 hours a week) control of a valued central location which is, by custom and practice, a ‘public realm/ space’.

The forecourt area is not and has never been, as the LFM claims, ‘merely a walk through’ or an ‘overspill’ for the station and the original planning documents submitted by Network Rail in 2009 and 2010 included the undertaking to widen the pavement to create an ‘attractive and safe movement route for pedestrians and opening up clear views of the station entrance from West End Lane’.

This objective is still very relevant in terms of amenity, congestion and the management of safety and emergencies with a greater number of people passing through the area. With the new Overground station,  potentially 1000 new residents (Ballymore+156) and children transiting by foot up to the new Kingsgate school, this is not a ‘windswept’ or ‘underused’ space as described in the application but an environmental and social asset which provides an outlet for pedestrian and commuter capacity and relief at the pinch points between the three busy stations of West Hampstead. It is the last remaining oasis in a hub of over- development.

There has been no meaningful consultation with the community or detailed information about why and how LFM should be gifted this kind of access, control and monopoly in West Hampstead. Existing, nearby, small to medium independent businesses: fruit/veg shops, bakeries, butchers, cafes, coffee shops, restaurants and takeaways who are already paying very high business rates to locate here and along with any new start-ups, will all face prejudicial competition from such a dominating, full-time, commercial operation. We have canvassed a number of the small businesses on West End Lane near Thameslink (including M&S) and none were aware of the application or welcomed it.

The LFM Design and Access Statement also states that the Market will open at 7:00am – setting up, idling and obstructing the already busy junction at West End Lane /Iverson Road. Residents directly opposite the site and neighbouring the Thameslink station have expressed concerns about existing problems with parking which create a serious loss of amenity as many of the Saturday Market vehicles park in neighbouring roads and do not leave the area. On  market Saturdays there is no CPZ for Iverson Road, Maygrove Road, Ariel Road or Loveridge Road. With up to 16 stalls in the 5 weekdays from 8:00 till 20:00, stallholders vehicles will block pedestrians’ routes to and from the station, increase pressure on parking, cause more traffic and nuisance for local residents.

The LFM claim that a 7 day market will be “maintaining customer interest in West End Lane during the week and stopping customers drifting away to out of town shopping centres, which has been so common in many high streets fulfilling the objectives of policy CS7 and the aims of the London Plan (chapter 3D.3)” bears no scrutiny as West Hampstead was never intended to compete with Brent Cross, Westfield and the West End.

Market organisers are exploiting the general goodwill towards the existing one-day only market without explaining that the weekday set-up will have a large ‘food-to-go’ element and make quite different and much more intense demands on the neighbourhood.

Residents living  close to the interchange and directly affected by the proposal may want to express their view by contacting:

Camden using this link online: http://planningrecords.camden.gov.uk  or  John Diver, the planning officer by emailing: planning@camden.gov.uk and quoting 2017/2391/P by Thursday July 6th or
 you can also phone: 0207 974 2506 

 

NDF: Neighbourhood Democracy First

Suggestions for  West Hampstead Neighbourhood Development Forum’s Structure and Function

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West Hampstead Gardens & Residents Association (WHGARA) was invited to make suggestions about the NDF constitution at the January NDF/AGM and, at the NDF meeting on 1st March , 2016 briefly introduced the issues below for the attention of the wider Forum members.

  • The Name: There is still confusion regarding the name of this Forum. The lead name is Fortune Green in one context and West Hampstead in another. They are not interchangeable. As the current challenge is to improve the Forum and the Plan relevance and recognition – it is essential that the name be consistent.
  • New Aims and relationships of the Forum: CONGESTION and pressure on BASIC SERVICES are problems in the ‘growth’ area of WH. We suggest that the NDF initiates a direct relationship with statutory providers to influence better provision of supply & call for accurate impact studies. This is essential for realistic Masterplanning.
  • Communication/Consultation: Individual Committee members could take on more specific responsibilities relating directly with community members on particular issues. Effective communication depends on a strong NDF social media profile and the website must be more interactive and dynamic as a tool for community involvement. An a IT advisor/designer should be enlisted to donate help.
  • Politics: The constitution states that the NDF ‘shall not be a party political body’. This political neutrality should be protected from partisan and party affiliations.
  • Membership: NDF Membership should be based on formal consent with the completion of an official registration form and audited yearly.At the recent AGM the constitution was changed to allow group membership. The benefits or rights conferred by this and how groups will  be represented must be defined by members of the Forum collectively.
  • Roles and reporting back: NDF officers and committee members who are invited to private meetings on behalf of the NDF should include outside community representatives, keep accurate notes and report back to general Forum meetings about outcomes.We also suggest introducing a rotating chair arrangement to give committee members shared responsibility for managing general meetings. The role of deputy Chair needs better definition and some specific area of responsibility.Involving Community: To increase community engagement with the NDPlan, small and time-limited volunteer working groups should be supported – bringing greater input from the wider membership.Canvassing members views and providing background information by email before meetings and workshops would allow for informed debate & more considered judgments.
  • Meeting procedures: Before General Agenda items opportunities should be available to table general members issues for the attention of the meeting.The meeting minutes must be accurate, impartial and reasonably complete. Formal requests and motions should be put to the meeting, voted on and recorded in the Minutes.
  • Finance: Requests for Section 106 or CIL funding should be disclosed when applied for and mandated by a general members vote.A detailed explanation of the NDF financial position and more transparent financial reporting system will be required for future (CIL & other) funding