‘Streatery’ set for South End Green slip road
Al fresco dining plan in Hampstead
27 July, 2020 — By Dan Carrier
The slip road used by the 168 bus
SOUTH End Green could be the next area to get a summer “Streatery” after a residents and businesses poll voted overwhelmingly in favour of closing a slip road to provide space for cafés and restaurants.
The plan, drawn up by the Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum, would be to use space currently used as a bus stand for al fresco dining. The forum also wants to see the Victorian fountain at the centre of South End Green more accessible.
Forum member James Knowles, who organised the online poll of people in the neighbourhood, told the New Journal that he hoped new licensing legislation introduced this week, could mean the “Streatery” is in place by the beginning of next month. He said they had been inspired by a similar scheme in Belsize Park where cafés and restaurants have been serving customers with new chairs and tables on the village square.
The aim is to help businesses now operating at limited capacity due to the coronavirus crisis and social distancing rules. “We want to do the same for our traders to help them recover,” said Mr Knowles. “They have been paying rent for four months without a customer stepping through the door. It is also for our community to get out and enjoy the neighbourhood. It will be reinvigorating, for what has been an anxious time.”
He added there had been widespread support among residents, with the Forum’s survey showing 78 per cent in favour.
Cihan Kocak at Zara
A further poll, asking if it should be made permanent, saw 52 per cent vote in favour, 25 per cent against and a further 24 per cent requesting this summer’s plans are treated as a trial run. Businesses are in favour of the move, and say it would be a vital addition to help them back on their feet.
Cihan Kolcak, who has run the popular Anatolian restaurant Zara for 20 years, recalled past campaigns to remove the 168 bus stand, traced back to when the former Hampstead Classic cinema was being demolished to make way for a supermarket.
He said: “It would be wonderful for the locals, for visitors, and for us. We have months to catch up. It would make such a difference – sometimes there are three buses there, and it cuts off access to the fountain.”
Hassan and Gita Dominiques of Dominiques Cafe
His views were echoed by Hassan Dominiques, who runs his family cafe on the parade.
He said: “It is such a good idea – it will bring people together, mean less traffic and make the place much more beautiful. It seems a long time they tried to move the 168 bus – and now hopefully we can.”
The Streatery in Belsize Village caused some complaints that people living nearby had not been fully consulted but in recent weeks the New Journal has been deluged with letters of support.