The Independent London Newspaper
23rd August 2017

NEW JOURNAL COMMENT: Chaos shows West End Lane is heading in wrong direction

    An artist's impression of how the flats blocks in West End Lane will look

    An artist's impression of how the flats blocks in West End Lane will look

    Published: 27 October, 2016

    THE proposed development at 156 West End Lane has pushed many residents to the edge of despair.

    The once calm, village-like atmosphere of the north-western corner of Camden now throngs like some inner-city metropolis.

    There are long queues to get into West Hampstead tube station in the morning rush-hours. And at night the ­narrow pavements are packed. The West End Lane road itself is almost permanently jammed with traffic. Rat-runs are a way of life. 

    The numbers there are soon to rise once again, dramatically, when hundreds of residents move into the massive blocks at the Ballymore development, next to the Overground. This follows the large ­development recently opened at Iverson Road. 

    It is no wonder that long-standing residents are filled with outrage about the development of 156 West End Lane. It is one step too far, they say. They have had enough. 

    This is not just a question of density. Will the 999 services, already stripped to the bone, be able to cope with the increase in house fires and health care emergencies? Where are the extra facilities to meet the demands of what has become a new area? 

    As ever, we are left asking questions about the system of piecemeal planning behind these changes. 

    Roof justice 

    GOOD news, ostensibly, that the council has managed to put a roof over the head of Raymond Charles after so ­callously ripping it away. 

    The former soldier was living in the bin rooms, in Rowley Way, after being evicted from his home of 20 years. Bluntly accused of sub-letting one week, the council finds a compassionate streak the next, dispatching its homeless outreach team to assess him. 

    A severely sick man, he was immediately found a hostel. He will now, presumably, stay there until the housing team can find him something more permanent, most likely at a high cost, in private rented accommodation. 

    Is this not a false economy?

    Christmas gift

    INDEPENDENT traders were sceptical about what the newly created Hampstead “BID” would bring to the area. Many saw it as another financial ­burden on top of high rents and rates. The response was emphatically that a new tier of management would breathe new life into the high street. Its first major announcement? That there is no one time or will to organise a festival at Christmas. BIDs in Camden and Holborn have brought mixed results. Is one really needed in Hampstead?