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It’s a Hive of mystery

21 November, 2019 — By John Gulliver

The Hive building on Rowley Way estate

A DEEP mystery hangs over a small, one-storey building on a West Hampstead estate which its tenants are trying to unravel.

This week the tenants’ association of the Rowley Way estate – it is recognised as one of the best-designed council estates in London – sent a Freedom of Information request to the Town Hall seeking information about a building known as The Hive which has, apparently, been leased to a company as a nursery for children.

The mystery?

Well, it is baffling – and it has baffled me for several months.

After the building had lain empty and, effectively, abandoned for several years the council put it out to bidders. A bid by the tenants to use it as a facility for youngsters was rejected in favour of a nursery project.

But after the council had refurbished it at a cost of, apparently, about £180,000 more than a year ago it has remained unused ever since.

Annoyed that the property they had made a bid for had become a “ghost building”, the tenants met a representative of the company called the Abbey Road Nursery Ltd who explained that they were waiting for an Ofsted inspection.

But all this was several months ago and there seems to be no signs of the nursery opening.

Naturally, the tenants feel annoyed not only by what appears to be pointless – and wasteful – expenditure by the council but also their inability to make social use of the building.

Frustrated, the tenants have fired off a FOI request to the Town Hall but whether officials refuse to respond on the grounds of “commercial confidentiality” remains to be seen.


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