The West Hampstead Neighbourhood Development Forum is consulting on the final draft of its development plan. If you’re not familiar with the organisation, do check out its website, or this introductory article.

In a nutshell, the NDF is drafting a plan for the area that will have statutory power. It’s been set up under the Localism Act to give communities more say over what happens to them. Crucially it may not be anti-development and it must fit in with the other levels of planning (which in our case are the Camden Plan, the London Plan and national planning frameworks).

Although a large part of the plan considers housing development, there is a section dedicated to the local economy.

We’ve copied the  draft policies below – there is more accompanying text in the draft plan itself, which you can find here [pdf] (the Economy section starts on page 29). If you’d like to leave a comment, please do so below – comments left before Feb 28th will be fed back to the NDF (note, you must leave your name/business if you want your comment considered).

The vision: Economy
Development will promote and support a successful local economy, with thriving town and neighbourhood centres. Development shall protect and support existing jobs and employment sites – as well as providing new jobs and attracting new businesses to the Area. Such development shall also provide flexible space, particularly for small and micro-businesses.

POLICY 11: Business, Commercial and Employment Sites
Development in the Area shall allow for economic growth and employment – as well as providing sites for business, commercial and employment use. This shall be achieved by:
i. The protection of existing employment sites and jobs.
ii. Avoiding any further loss of such sites.
iii. Ensuring that where the redevelopment of existing employment sites is proposed, the level of employment floorspace is maintained or increased.
iv. Finding the equivalent space elsewhere in the Area for commercial and business activities, if there is a change of use of such sites.
v. The provision of additional and new business space.
vi. The provision of a range of different sized units, particularly smaller spaces for micro-businesses and studio space.
vii. The provision of affordable or subsidised business space, to sit alongside requirements for affordable housing.
viii. The provision of space for markets and short-term ‘pop up’ shops and services.

POLICY 12: West Hampstead Town Centre
Development shall protect and enhance the village character of the Town Centre as a mixed retail area with a diverse range of shops and businesses. This shall be achieved by:
i. A presumption in favour of protecting and enhancing the character of the Town Centre.
ii. The control of signage, adverts and forecourt developments in keeping with the surrounding development and Conservation Areas.
iii. The provision of a diverse range of retail outlets, food/drink outlets and commercial premises.
iv. The support of proposals for independent shops and businesses, including affordable rents and business rates.
v. Contributions to public realm improvements to improve the look and character of the Town Centre, which are in keeping with the Conservation Area.

POLICY 13: Mill Lane Neighbourhood Centre
Development (including changes of use) shall protect and enhance the character of the Neighbourhood Centre and provide for a diverse range of shops, businesses and economic activity. This shall be achieved
i. A presumption against the conversion of ground floor retail/business space into residential use.
ii. A presumption in favour of improving and restoring the look of shop-fronts.

RECOMMENDATION: in support of Policy 13 the following actions are proposed.
i. The drawing up of a ‘Mill Lane Action Plan’ to give focus to and revitalise the Neighbourhood Centre.
ii. A need to attract a diverse range of shops, food/drink outlets and businesses to the Centre.
iii. Improvements to pavements and the removal of street clutter.
iv. Improved signage to attract people to Mill Lane.

POLICY 14: Fortune Green Road Neighbourhood Centre
Development (including changes of use) shall protect and enhance the character of the Neighbourhood Centre and provide for a diverse range of shops, businesses and economic activity.