Approximately 25 residents attended this year’s AGM – some committee members had prior travel or work commitments, and some were not able to attend due to the overlap with the ‘Day of Atonement’. It was agreed that future proposed AGM dates, and other planned events, should be diary checked to avoid religious events.
Andrew Neale, chairman led the meeting and covered the pre-circulated agenda items.
- Traffic Matters The traffic working party led by Patrick O’Connor and Mark Dennis reported on the results of the second questionnaire.
45 households responded to the request for information with a broad range of houses represented up and down the street. Of the 45 responses received, 40 households would support some sort of a one-way system being introduced. 26 respondents would support an eastbound one-way system (in the direction; Rosslyn Hill to East Heath) 6 would support a westbound one-way system with 8 supporting a one-way system in either direction.
A discussion was had regarding the merits of each system including its impact on surrounding streets. Paddy O’Connor reported that consultation between DHRA and other neighbouring residents’ associations had taken place, including Keats Grove, Pilgrims Lane to Willoughby Road, Windmill Hill, Christchurch Hill and Gayton Road, Cannon Place and Flask Walk. We found that their residents suffer from many of the same issues we are experiencing and would welcome a joint approach to Camden Council for a coordinated traffic plan to benefit all. This would of course be a very complex exercise. These discussions had produced valuable information and strengthened ties and DHRA would be working closely to produce a coordinated response as far as possible for submission to Camden Council.
DHRA would be sending neighbouring residents’ associations, a questionnaire template for circulation to their members in order to compile a complete understanding of the wider area’s issues and oblige Camden to take the matter seriously.
DHRA traffic concerns and any solutions cannot be tackled in isolation and the committee made clear that this would likely be a long-term [at least two year] project.
It was agreed that Downshire Hill residents should remain aware of the evolving traffic issues and that the DHRA would continue with its efforts to working to find a solution.
SOUTHEND GREEN – Andrew Neale outlined the basic changes to the South End traffic and pedestrian flows in general. The principal concern related to the closure of the slip road linking Pond Street and South End Road. A complete closure here may encourage vehicles on Rosslyn Hill to avoid Pond Street in favour of Downshire Hill, in order to access East Heath Road. However, the inclusion of the left turn at the bottom of Pond Street meant that the DHRA broadly favoured the proposals as currently circulating.
It was agreed amongst residents that there are a number of other issues related to South End Green in general that warranted further investigation and discussion, including the number and location of pedestrian crossings – most notably the station crossing. Paddy O’Connor agreed to put forward a response to Camden asking for further analysis.
Residents thanked Paddy and Mark for their continuing efforts.
- Planning Updates POLICE STATION: Andrew N. shared current knowledge, including the sale of the property by the Dept. of Education following the failed Abacus appeal.
Redington Capital, the purchaser, has sold off the two adjoining properties which will be converted into residences. The stables building has received planning approval.
It is likely that the main part of the building will comprise commercial office space on the ground floor, Architects’ offices taking up the old Magistrates Court, and the upper parts will form residential units.
It is understood that James Frost of Redington is intending to occupy one of the flats. This is encouraging as he will have a vested interest in the quality of the scheme.
The residential and commercial elements would be a car-free scheme and all refuse would be managed on-site, hopefully avoiding any further negative refuse impact at the top of the street.
12B KEATS GROVE: This proposal is still in planning and being monitored. Keats Grove residents appear to be mainly supportive and happy with the scheme.
It was pointed out that there is a proposal for the inclusion of a large area to the rear of the building to be used by the owners as part of their charity organisation work and a meeting place for benefactors. There was discussion regarding the visual and acoustic impact this area may have on DH residents at the lower end of DH.
Andrew N. has agreed to enquire further regarding the acoustic measures intended to avoid noise nuisance.
12 PILGRIMS LANE: Andrew N. has looked into the application and has subsequently made an objection to Camden planning on the basis of the impact this development would have on the historical character of the area, the impact of the swimming pool proposed and the resulting effect this work would have on the green corridor along the boundary of the houses to the north-west side of Downshire Hill.
Immediate residents in Pilgrims Lane have been making very detailed representations.
- Street Refuse The refuse situation at the top of the street continues to be an issue. Redding T. and Andrew N. have met with Camden Council’s refuse officer and agreed that properties located on Rosslyn Hill that have their access off DH should place their refuse on Roslyn Hill. This improved matters initially but requires constant pressure be placed on both residents and the council to maintain standards.
There are still issues related to the commercial properties on DH and Redding T. is in consultation with the owners and occupiers in getting to an agreed solution; one of which would be the use of a side passage for bins. This would be an ideal solution for the commercial units however there is still some work to be done to resolve the residential and Airbnb properties’ refuse issues.
Andrew N. is to contact local councillors to suggest planning restrictions that prevent properties from being used for AirBnB unless they have on-site refuse facilities. Andrew N. also pointed out that with a constant changeover of visitors to the Airbnb properties and the general irregularity of pickups by the refuse team, often bags are left on the pavement for too long, resulting in rubbish becoming a magnet for more rubbish dumping. Bags end up breaking open and littering the street further.
A discussion was had about the merits of a more permanent refuse receptacle being placed in the area. However, there is concern about these becoming magnets for more refuse dumping. Further investigation is needed.
Residents thanked Andrew N. and Redding T. for their ongoing work.
- Security Andrew N. reviewed: Two new community police officers have been appointed and replace Sergeant Nicola O’Hara. PCSO Anthony Alexis and PC Lucas Seagrave have been appointed to the Hampstead Town ward.
Please use this link to access the relevant Met Police website: https://www.met.police.uk/a/your-area/met/camden/hampstead-town/
A report of recent drug activity at the top of the street was reported including the concealing of materials and possible transactions being undertaken in the area. Andrew N. will report to the police.
- Treasurer Report Mark D. gave his annual summary of membership and fundraising. There is a balance now of £500 in the kitty which should suffice for now and no further fundraising will be necessary in the short term. A contribution from the available funds will go toward the annual garden party for 2023 which it was agreed would likely be held in conjunction with the AGM in June. Mark D. will come back with suggested dates and venues.
Linda Parsonage has been appointed to the DHRA committee as membership secretary and has been visiting residents in the last few weeks with the following objectives:
i. Sign up new households
ii. Ensure up-to-date contact details
iii. Encourage joining the WhatsApp group
iv. Promote the viewing of the new website
v. Raise donations
Linda P. has visited 49 households so far and reported strong support for the WhatsApp group.
The residents extended their thanks to Linda P. and Mark D. for their work in supporting the DHRA.
- AOB ST JOHN’S CHURCH: Paddy O.has been in touch with Tom Watts, the Minister. Tom has highlighted the potential for its community role and in particular, the interaction and support residents can offer.
Paddy O. asked residents if there was any objection to Tom Watts joining the DHRA WhatsApp group. Andrew N felt this seems appropriate given the need to advise on/coordinate possible functions at the church that affect residents. Views on this are welcome and Sally is asked to facilitate this if there is a consensus, which there was at this meeting.
Paddy O. discussed the possibility of a winter community support program run from the church basement and encouraged residents to become involved by offering support or volunteering during campaigns. Further information about this will be distributed in due course on the WhatsApp group.
FREEMASONS ARMS: Mark D. pointed out that the pub is now under new management. He has met with the new manager to agree to continued support for house rules. He was sympathetic and there seems to have been an improvement so far.
WEBSITE: Ian Thompson shared information about a new article which has been posted on the DHRA website related to historical information he has gathered. He encouraged residents to send any information they may have relating to historical events or interesting stories they would like to share.
Meeting closed @ 20:15
Meeting minutes will be distributed via the DHRA WhatsApp group and on the association website at downshirehillra.com/minutes