Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Spring 2012/ 1

Its been a busy month or so since we last posted - things are happening rapidly in NW6 - so there's lots to report on. We're just about to publish a new Spotlight but because there are so many stories in it, some of them are a bit brief and we've had to leave lots out - so this is an update for all our readers.

Planning is always a local issue, though more in West Hampstead Ward not so much in Fortune Green at present:

* Mill Lane - the new block "Mill Apartments" is nearly finished with prices ranging from £383k t0 £1.4 million! We now wait to see if they hold to their promises about the nature site (to replace everything that was destroyed when the site was bought!)

* The Gondar Gardens reservoir site proposals rumble on - having appealed the previous refusal by the Council,(decision by Government Inspector pending) the developers also submitted a new plan which still didn't find favour locally - it encroaches on the open space and towers over the rear of the houses on Sarre Road. It was withdrawn for further consultation and will probably come up for decision in May.

* The new building for Emmanuel School is almost complete and will be taking in pupils from September - not everyone is happy with the colour of the bricks - rather like the still partly unoccupied Sager buildings on the Green

*The new block on Maygrove Road is complete but an application for its neighbour "Handrail House" was basically refused by Camden before it ever got to Committee decision. In a way its a shame as they had worked out a good deal for improvements to the Peace Park and Sidings Community Centre ( a new cafe for example) which may get lost with a new application.

From 1st April most developments over a certain size will have to pay a special levy to the Mayor which will go towards the mounting costs of CrossRail and therefore have less to spend on local improvements.

Meanwhile further down the road - the Council granted permission (in the teeth of opposition from local residents and councillors) for the giant new development opposite Blackburn Road.
This will bring hundreds of new residents to our area and many of us are worried there aren't enough doctors, school places and other services to cope with the increase in population. Some residents had been led to believe it could or would be refused by the Mayor (who had the final say) but, unfortunately it was rubber-stamped through down at City Hall!

The proposed development on the old Garden Centre in Iverson Road- also with much local opposition, has been withdrawn for further consideration by Camden planners who may change their minds on their initial recommendation to refuse - looks like a fight ahead!

The other pressing local issue is enforcement - I have at least three regular correspondents who are having problems with getting the Council to take action on unauthorised developments - the major hold-up seeming to be with the legal department - (as Shakespeare had it "the insolence of office and the law's delays") which drive us all to screaming frustration. The planning system is not set up to help objectors or affected residents - ever since 1944 it's been getting worse. All governments seem to operate on the principle of "all developers right and all objectors wrong!"

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