The Independent London Newspaper
24th April 2017

Not all of us can afford to be nimbys

    Published: 23 July, 2015

    • IT is easy for Lymington Road residents, home owners and council tenants, sitting in their nice comfortable sitting rooms, watching their flat-screen TVs, looking forward to a nice, settled future, (Letters, July 2 and 9) to start a campaign to “stop the blocks” being built in the West Hampstead area, or in other words I’m sitting nice and pretty, so b****x to anyone out there, and there are many, in desperate need of a home without half a mill’ in their back pocket.

    “I don’t want any more building, it’s gonna cast a shadow, it’s gonna block my view, it’s gonna disrupt my day, we’ve got enough parking problems” (all reasons given on the street by anti-development campaigners) are nimby arguments. 

    West Hampstead is not a village, nor does it have a village feel as some would have you believe, it is a small dot on the map of London.

    What we need is a lot more homes for social and “affordable” rent as well as starter homes for first-time and middle- market buyers. 

    As a life-long Labour voter I hate to say this, but there is one area of the economy where the Thatcher/Regan theory of “trickle-down” works – and that is housing.  

    If you exclude the top end of the market, in most cases when someone buys a home their previous home becomes available.

    What we need to stop is not buy-to-rent, as by its very nature someone will be living there.  

    The curse, which will turn to blight, is buy-to-leave.

    The four buildings proposed for the Travis Perkins site, at only eight floors they cannot be called towers, will provide 60 social, 40 intermediate homes (which includes part-buy and discounted rents) and 100 for sale; which matches Camden’s minimum. 

    Given that they have allowed Ballymore to get away with no social housing, that they own the Travis Perkins site and are selling it to a housing association, we should be expecting a lot more social housing.  

    That is my only objection to the plan.

    Iverson Road, NW6


    WH not a Village but nor do we want a Ghetto...

    Nimby(ism) was a novel term fashionably used when it arrived, but alas it seems a term these days for people to use lazily to say people should be compliant, behave like sheep, do as they're told, not care or voice an opinion on what happens in the area they live and spend vast majority of their time in, and be shepherded through live in an ever increasing nanny like state, devoid of proper democracy.

    It would seem particularly important time to care about what is happening where you live for the importance of the community given the Council's recent mess of Liddell Road, Ballymore etc viz social/affordable houses..its actions and promises hardly instill confidence.

    I do not think anyone is saying 'don't develop at 156 WEL' what they are saying is don't let the Council flog it off without any proper impact assessments, build in absolute contradiction of the Council's existing Strategic Policy (on building in or adjacent to Conservation Areas; buildings to match surroundings in terms of height, appearance etc). Regardless of Author's point on whether WH is, or feels like, a is a nice place to live with unusual characteristics, and has developed slowly with integration of the Conservation Areas and resources are now stretched to the extreme; schools, dentists, GP's, traffic, rubbish collection...the Council's proposed gung-ho shotgun approach threatens this "Village" or "Nice place to live" and any increase in people surely must be carefully assessed and measured, rather than load basically two very small and narrow strips of land at 156 WEL and Ballymore with 400 homes and c1300 people and see if the existing resources can cope? (which clearly they cannot)

    100 new "social homes" will hardly prick at the affordable housing shortage but Ballymore and 156 WEL as proposed together could very well move West Hampstead past the tipping point

    Didn't something similar happen in what has become the ghettos of Paris..

    The short term view v the long term

    George Downton, the evaluation of West Hampstead as having a 'village feel' comes straight from documents outlining the 'vision for the area' and written by the now-leader of Camden Council, Sarah Hayward:

    "West Hampstead is well loved for its village feel, a characteristic much valued by the communities that live here and appreciated by those who work and visit this place. West End Lane with its interesting variety of shops and cafes, the village green and the characterful Mill Lane all contribute to a feeling of human scale that people want to experience in the heart of their neighbourhood."

    Human scale is important after all we are all humans, whereas the money scale we are witnessing currently developing our 'village' is destroying this.

    I don't know which members of Save West Hampstead - Stop the Blocks! you claim to have spoken with but there are many different and varying concerns over the proposed development of 156 West End Lane. Not least that this is Camden land and therefore a future asset for us and our grandchildren which will be flogged off for approx £20m. Camden could take the long view and redevelop the offices as Camden owned housing instead of allowing A2Dominion to own all the assets including all the housing and land.

    Each Housing Association social rented property that is built there - and it is currently only half - could cost Camden one of the top third of their council homes under the new Tory 'right-to-buy' scheme which proposes this to support HA tenants buying their properties. In effect Camden could lose not only the land, but also 2 socially rented properties. How does that make sense considering the desperate requirement for more social housing?

    We need Camden to take the long view not the short term view as it continues this fire sale of assets of which they are merely the custodians not the owners.

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