You are on page 1of 5

Branko Viric 16 Liddell Road Industrial Estate West Hampstead NW6 2EW London

28 November 2013 Dear Councillor, RE: Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate, West Hampstead, London NW6 I am writing to urge you to reject the proposal to redevelop Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate. The consultation that has taken place during autumn 2013 is due to report back to the cabinet in December 2013 setting out the case for the proposal. We fear that this will be purely a sales pitch and strongly believe that many alternative options have not been carefully considered which would create the much needed additional school places without destroying jobs. We all fear for our jobs and our livelihoods. I believe that most of the councillors do not know much about Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate, the unique businesses that are here or the rich and unique contribution that these small businesses make to life in West Hampstead. I do not believe that the councillors have considered the devastation that the proposed redevelopment will bring to the businesses or the huge job losses which will result. We wish to present the real facts about Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate and offer a workable alternative view. Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate is a 5 minute walk from West Hampstead tube station. It comprises 33 industrial units. Approximately 250 people are employed by the 21 separate businesses on the estate. There are 10 apprentices. The 250 employees have approximately 100 dependents. Approximately 20% are Camden residents. The businesses on Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate pay approximately 400 000 rent and 200 000 business rates to Camden Council annually. The Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate comprises the following:
Sex of employees Ethnic make-up:

70% 30%

Men Women

60% 10% 10% 20%

White European Afro-Caribbean Asian White English

Employees would be classed as the following: 75% 11% 4% 10% Manual skilled Unskilled Apprentices Professionals, owners managers

However, the figures above do not paint an accurate picture. The businesses are all thriving, but due to the future uncertainty most of the businesses have not taken on any new staff, have not invested in plant and machinery and have downscaled. If their future were assured they would all certainly be employing more people and there would easily be at least 50 more jobs created as well as more apprenticeships. Furthermore, even though we are all regularly approached by potential tenants there are empty units on the estate. They are empty because Camden property services refuse to grant new leases. New tenants would naturally bring new jobs. The businesses on Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate are listed and described below. The majority are very well established having been on the estate for many years. Arts and Heritage: Unit 3 Unit 12 Unit 20 Units 24 & 30 Units 21 & 28 Units 26 & 27 Unit 29 Carlo Manzi Roderick Cowing Musa Shavolian Hali limited ITC Limited Favermead Ltd. Jacobs Gallery Vintage costume & clothing collection and hire Upholstery and interior restorer Antique glass restoration and sales Publishers. World authority in oriental textiles Antique textiles conservation and restoration 8 years 31 years 1 year 23 years 34 years

Restoring, cataloguing & exhibiting Middle Eastern art 12 years Antique glass restoration & sales 4 years

Small Manufacturing: Unit 5 Unit 6 Unit 23 Andy ODonnell Vic Hayes Protype 21 Ltd. Metal gates & railings fabricators Metal gates & railings fabricators T-Shirt printing, screen printing & embroidery 6 years 20 years 21 years

Services to Local Community: Units 1 & 2 Unit 4 Units 7 & 8 Units 9 &10 German Autocare Vehicle repairs 22 years 15 years 14 years 14 years 14 years 24 years 9 years

Portsmouth Electrical Ltd. Electrical contractors Fieldmount (Terrazzo) Ltd. Supply & fit marble, mosaic & terrazzo tiles West Hampstead Motors Bosch car service

Units 14, 15, 16 West Hampstead Motors Vehicle accident repair centre Unit 11 Unit 13 VW Audi garages Curtain Concepts VW & Audi car repairs Manufacture & fit blinds % curtains

Page 2

Unit 15A Unit 17 Unit 18

Veolia Ranex Builders Ltd. Design Solutions

Environmental services Building & construction services Architects, interior designers, kitchen suppliers

13 years 5 years 6 years

(Design Solutions have recently vacated their unit due to the uncertainty) Unit 19 Unit 25 1st Point Distribution Disc to Print Ltd. Order fulfillment & product distribution for on-line Print services Bin storage 1 year 24 years 4 years

Units 31, 32, 33 Camden Council

There is a rich and varied business culture on Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate. Many of the businesses offer an invaluable service to the local community. The arts and heritage businesses are unique, world leaders in their fields of expertise. They greatly enhance the culture of Britain as well as that of West Hampstead. These companies have all been lovingly and painstakingly built into stable and successful businesses over a number of years. They are all employers, most would readily train more apprentices if their future was stable and the majority of the businesses are precisely the type of small businesses that we are repeatedly being told by the government and the Mayor of London will bring future prosperity to the UK. They bring a rich and diverse culture to West Hampstead and add to the unique village atmosphere of the area. It would be very sad if the rare artisan and heritage trades present on Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate were lost for good should the businesses be forced to close due to the redevelopment .These are the skills that surely should be embraced and protected and passed on through apprentice schemes. If the proposal to redevelop Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate is accepted, all but perhaps one or two of the businesses on the estate will be forced to move out of the borough. There is simply no available light industrial space to rent in Camden. Many of the businesses in Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate have grown organically over a number of years by providing services to the local community. Should they have to relocate out of the local area they will lose the majority of their existing customers. They will practically have to start a brand new business and it is highly unlikely that most will be able to afford the cost to relocate or have the energy to do this. Therefore approximately 250 jobs will be lost. We understand that there is a shortage of primary school places in Camden and accept that this must be resolved. However, there is also a shortage of jobs, apprenticeships and good local businesses. We do not accept that one can only create additional school places in West Hampstead by destroying jobs and livelihoods. We do not accept that all the options and alternatives have been thoroughly investigated. We are convinced that the size of Kingsgate School can be increased by partially redeveloping the present site. The plot is actually quite large and is underused. This can easily be seen by looking at an aerial view of the school. The present 1960s building could be demolished and rebuilt. The courtyard could also be built on. This will create more than enough space for now and the future. I believe that a skilled architect could substantially increase the size of the school. Kilburn Grange Park adjacent to the school could be used as a playground during school hours. This part of the park would be closed to the public during school hours but open as normal at all other times. There is precedent for this. The demolition works can easily be carried out during the summer holidays to minimise disruption. Whilst the building works are being carried out, the empty offices above Travis Perkins at 156 West End Lane could be used as temporary classrooms. This may be inconvenient but is a far better option than destroying Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate. The adjoining Kingsgate Community Centre could also be redeveloped. This is owned by Camden and earmarked for redevelopment. Alternatively, Kingsgate Workshops are practically next door to Kingsgate School and could be redeveloped to extend the size of Kingsgate School. They are also owned by Camden. The workshops could probably be entirely re-housed in Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate to create a wonderful unique and distinctive arts and business community in the heart of West Hampstead. This can easily be financed. It has been estimated that Camden Council will pay approximately 1 Million statutory compensation to the businesses in Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate. This could be used instead towards the school extension. Furthermore, Camden could sell the units in Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate to the businesses occupying them. Surely this is far better than selling them to a property developer. The Travis Perkins building is for sale and some of the proceeds of the sale could go towards financing the extension. Furthermore, the existing building costs Camden approximately 270 000 per year to keep empty. This is wasted taxpayers money that could also be used for the redevelop-

Page 3

ment. This will raise the necessary funds to comfortably cover the cost of either building a school extension or converting Kingsgate Workshops. Alternatively, Camden could raise the necessary funds by taking out a loan on the freehold land. Based on the 400 000 per annum rental income, Camden could easily raise the necessary funds and comfortably repay the loan. A further option would be to build the school on Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate. Units 31, 32 and 33 are being used by the council to store the bins, unit 18, unit 22 and the front caretakers hut are empty. I am sure that a clever architect could incorporate a school on Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate as well as the present business units. I have not heard or seen the above options discussed by anyone. The only alternative suggestion I have heard was to build a school at 156 West End Lane (The Travis Perkins Building) which was rejected. Most of the reasons for rejecting 156 West End Lane equally apply to Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate. Aside from the massive job losses that this will create, there are many reasons we believe that it is a terrible idea to build an extension to Kingsgate School in Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate. Many parents will have children at both schools as siblings are usually close in age. Walking with the children between the schools is dangerous. The pavements are narrow and extremely busy in the mornings and afternoons. Eventually a child or a pedestrian will be forced to step out onto the road and will be injured by a car. According to official figures and police crash reports, nearly 1200 children a month are involved in collisions within 500 metres of school gates. In 2011 in the UK there were a total of 6645 school run child casualties of which 804 were deaths and serious injuries. London accounts for 13% of the child casualties. Kingsgate School is 1 mile from Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate. Parents will have to walk from one school to the other with young children. This is unfair on the children. This is also unfair on the parents, many of whom have full time jobs. We have been advised that the school opening times will be staggered to enable parents to walk one child to one school and another child to the other school. I estimate that this walk will take young children 30 minutes each way. One school will therefore need to open at least 30 minutes before the second school and will therefore need to close 30 minutes before the second school. This scheme will force two siblings to each walk for 1 hour, covering 2 miles per day. The unfortunate parent will be forced to walk 4 miles per day, taking at least 1 1/2 hours. The children will be exhausted. The parents will also be very tired, as if bringing up small children isnt challenging enough. These parents will be unemployable as they will not have the time to work a full working day.

Map of walk between proposed school sites http://www.westhampsteadlife.com/2013/09/kingsgate-school-expands-mile-away-0218.html


It is unthinkable that Camden Council is proposing to separate siblings at such a young age, when they are at their most vulnerable. Many studies have shown and proven that this is highly traumatic and leads to social problems and must be avoided by any means necessary. The number of cars will inevitably increase due to the separation of the two schools and the pressure on parents to get their children to school on time and to get to work. West Hampstead and Kilburn are both extremely congested. The last things both areas need are more cars during the rush hour. A school bus won`t work as the roads are too narrow and congested. Kingsgate School is an award winning school. Creating an extension 1 mile away is likely to result in standards dropping. Schools seldom improve when they get bigger. It is even less likely to do so split over two sites. Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate is beside a massive railway interchange. There are high speed train lines and freight lines. The numerous freight trains also carry significant amounts of waste. There have been enquiries questioning the safety of trains carrying nuclear waste through West Hampstead. This waste is still transported by rail. It has been suggested that the new commercial space created in Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate would increase the net employment on the estate. This is simply not true. The Councillors have been told that there are 80 people currently employed in Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate. This is untrue; approximately 250 jobs are at risk. The proposed redevelopment will destroy 250 jobs as well as the 50 jobs already destroyed by not employing in this current uncertainty. The proposed offices and the school will not get anywhere near this figure. Furthermore, there will not be any scope to create apprenticeships for the young and vulnerable that need jobs the most. The proposal should not simply look at jobs but also at the types of jobs. We cannot all be professionals working from offices. Not everyone wants or is able to be a salesperson or an office clerk or a teacher. However, many young men and women seek hands on, blue collar type work that is currently thriving in Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate. It is unfair to deny Camden residents, especially the most vulnerable, of this opportunity.

Page 4

There is a danger of over development in West Hampstead. The London Plan requires 800 new homes in the part of West Hampstead identified as an Area for Intensification. Camdens Core Policy is expecting 1000 new homes and this quota is on target to be fulfilled. Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate is outside this Area for Intensification. Therefore there is no requirement for further housing on Liddell Road. There is already massive redevelopment in West Hampstead. If it isnt carefully controlled, West Hampstead will shortly resemble Croydon with tasteless ever taller buildings.

Map of all the proposed sites for various flats https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=209809921073988349250.0004cdaa798acf3d4b408&ie= UTF8&t=m&ll=51.547723,-0.193291&spn=0.032025,0.05167&z=13&source=embed
We fear that the local infrastructure will not be able to cope. The roads will become ever more congested. Even if Camden pursues car free policies, residents will still purchase and drive cars. This will create unbelievable congestion coupled with a shortage of parking spaces. Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate has been identified as a High Quality Employment site in planning terms of which there are very few in the borough. The loss of business and employment will be significant (33 light industrial units, 21 businesses, 250 jobs). Added to the loss of jobs from other developments nearby, the loss of Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate is in breach of policies in the NPPF (18-21), the London Plan (policies 4.1, 4.2 & 4.12) and the CCS (CS8). For the proposed development on the Iverson Tyres site at 159 161 Iverson Road, which almost neighbours Liddell Road, Camdens planners strongly insisted that the employment space in the new development remains light industrial. There are numerous examples of Camden planners applying this policy rigidly e.g., the Travis Perkins re-development in Kings Cross as another example. We fail to understand why Camden council believes that this doesnt apply in Liddell Road. DP13 of the development Policies of the LDF must be applied. This clearly states that any redevelopment of work space needs to incorporate the same square footage of work space in the new development. In other words, according to Camdens own policies, change of use should not be allowed unless the units cannot be rented out for light industrial use and the square footage of the new development units must be no smaller than of the old units. There is considerable opposition from West Hampstead residents, Kingsgate parents and customers of businesses in Liddell Road. Furthermore the West Hampstead Neighbourhood Development Forum who have spent considerable time and effort in creating a Neighbourhood Development Plan in response to the Governments implementation of the Localism Act and are experts in local development proposals have expressed grave misgivings. They wrote to Kate CornwallJones (who is driving this proposal) expressing their concerns. The link to the letter is below. NDF letter

http://www.ndpwesthampstead.org.uk/5LiddellRoadconsultletter.pdf
In conclusion, I urge the councillors to carefully consider this letter, to put aside party politics for the good of West Hampstead and to reject the proposal. There are many alternatives for the school but none for the businesses in Liddell Road Light Industrial Estate. The loss of 250 jobs and 21 businesses cannot be later reversed. In my opinion the proposed plan is poorly thought out and impractical... Should you require any further information, please feel free to contact me. Sincerely yours,

Branko Viric Secretary Liddell Road Trade & Business Association Mob: 07801 387084 Tel: 020 7372 8811

Page 5