Monday, 2 December 2019


Under threat: These lush, green gardens are home to a host of wild birds and other animals and an essential 'lung' just off the highly polluted Finchley Road. They would come under threat if Camden permits this unwarranted development. The already fatally-congested area would become yet more chaotic were HGVs to partially block off Arkwright Rd.

By Red Frogger

An ‘appalled' group of neighbours are battling against Camden Council’s planning department, who have, quite inexplicably, recommended approval for an application to build two, large, multi-million pound houses in the green back gardens of Arkwright Road, Hampstead. 

The neighbours have protested about the projected 'serious and unwarranted' overdevelopment, density and overpowering nature of the proposed structures, and the resultant deprivation of daylight, amenity and privacy for their homes, as well as the huge impact on already heavily congested roads during any construction. 

Camden’s proposed acceptance of the application is contained in a 53 page Draft ‘Members Briefing Pack’ which contains several serious misstatements of historic fact as to previous buildings in the area, and various inconsistencies and contradictions regarding Camden's own Planning Guidance and Policies.
Was this to go ahead, it would mean significant construction in a conservation area, against Camden Council’s own stated policy. 
The developers have already had to withdraw their earlier application to build three houses in the face of some 80 objections by neighbours and local community organisations. Although these would be ‘luxury villas’, the applicants would pay Camden Council just £58k  in affordable housing compensation as part of a 106 Agreement; a tiny fraction of the millions that would be made when these new properties are sold on.
They point out that the ribbon of gardens reaching down from Frognal to the Finchley Road is one of the last remaining green areas and animal habitats in the vicinity. Camden’s apparent siding with developers flies in the face of current global and national concerns about environmental impacts through loss of trees and green corridors. (This is not an urban brown field site). 
Camden dismisses the point that granting the application would create a precedent for other neighbouring owners to follow suit; yet another application to build 9 flats in the nearby garden of 17 Frognal is already being considered by the Planning Department.
There are also complaints that the Council , while working in close association with the developers, has not provided proper community consultation with neighbours most closely affected by the proposals, nor have the developers themselves done so, despite stating that they had.

No date for a hearing has yet been set.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Summer Edition Takes Out BID

Dearest Hampster,
The new front cover of the magazine is such a closely guarded secret that we won't be publishing it online until publication day. So here's the contents page of the summer edition which will feature a jaw-dropper of a story on the incredible extortion racket that is the Hampstead Village Business Improvement District Ltd.
I've no problem calling it an extortion racket, because that's exactly what it is. And any lawyer who wants to make a case out of that had better look the up word extortion in a dictionary before sending any nasty letters.
Legal or not, we always new the BID was dodgy, and now we've seen it's income and expenditure for 2018/19 and its projected books for 2019/20 we can report exactly how dodgy. And the answer is very dodgy indeed. 
The new Hampstead Village Voice will be out on the 1st of June 2019 and it pulls no punches.

Emmanuel 'Mustafa' Goldstein,
Editor in law suit (with dictionary).

Thursday, 21 March 2019


by Emmanuel ‘Mustafa’ Goldstein 

On the 14th of March, just three days before the recent Camden/BID v James McGrath court hearing, Camden Council closed down Mr. McGrath’s pub, the King William IV, after a surprise health inspection. The council’s reason? Alleged Mice.
   Locals have confirmed that they've never once seen a mouse there and we concur.
   The timing of the closure – just two weeks after a story broke in the Hampstead Village Voice revealing the council offered the pub a £5k rates credit – £2k of which was to be ‘offset’ against a BID bill in order to vacate the court hearing was, to say the least, curious.
    It was to be a big weekend for the pub. The Six Nations, Cheltenham and, crucially for an 80-year-old Irish landlord, St. Patrick’s Day, all fell immediately after the Council’s enforced closure.
   Is it beyond the realm of possibility someone with a vested interest - pardon the pun - might have ratted to the council about these alleged mice?
   In any case, the pub has been thoroughly sanitised and reopens on Friday 22/03/19 after an enforced 8 day closure. And the Hampstead Village Voice says: Jimmy’s a local hero for fighting off these BID sheisters and standing up to the council.

If you’d like to read the full report and help support the Hampstead Village Voice, please feel free to join from only £2 a month.


11/10/18: Camden | BID v King William Highbury Magistrates, first hearing: adjourned.   
17/11/18: Camden | BID v King William Highbury Magistrates, second hearing: adjourned.
05/02/19: Camden writes to King William IV offering pay pub £5k ‘rates credit’ and offset £2k to pay the BID and vacate court hearing.
06/02/19: King William IV’s counsel writes to Camden declining its generous offer.
01/03/19: Hampstead Village Voice breaks story on Camden’s attempt to pay rates credit and vacate court hearing.
14/03/19: Camden inspectors close the King William IV due to alleged ‘mouse infestation’.
17/03/19: Camden Council | BID v King William IV court hearing takes place. Adjourned.
21/03/19: King William IV reopens after an enforced 8 day closure.
29/04/19: New date for court hearing. 10am. Highbury Magistrates’ Court.
Emmanuel ‘Mustafa’ Goldstein

Tuesday, 19 March 2019


This is the third occasion on which 80-year-old Jimmy McGrath, landlord of the King William IV has been dragged to Highbury Magistrates’ court and it won’t be the last.
   He refuses to pay Hampstead Village BID Ltd's 'levy' on principle and is being seen by many businesses as a local hero - a martyr to the cause. He's certainly taking one for the team.
   But the reason he might well win this case isn’t because the BID extorts money from the 70% of Hampstead businesses, schools and charities who didn’t vote for it; nor that Camden Council acts as debt enforcer for the private limited company – nor even that several businesses have complained of being repeatedly coerced and harassed by the BID’s unapologetic management.
    These certainly are just some of the reasons he and an increasing number of 'hereditaments' – as the BID likes to call them – do not wish to pay it, and why on Monday the 17th of March 2019, he told the court: “I’d rather go to jail than pay the BID”.
   District Judge Julia Newton couldn’t quite believe her ears: ‘I’m sorry Mr. McGrath, I couldn’t quite hear what you said. Could you please repeat it?’ Mr. McGrath did so unashamedly. “I’d rather go to jail than pay the BID.” It was quite a moment.
   More eyebrows were raised too when, after nearly an hour of cross-examination, and already having read various documents, Camden’s tax officer, Charles Quick, admitted he couldn’t read the date on a document in front of him because he’d forgotten to bring his glasses. 
   But Mr. Griffiths was more interested in Camden's three-man legal team forgetting to bring along a crucial piece of evidence than their spectacles. The document in question? A legally binding information ‘insert’ sent out with all 241 BID invoices.
   Before long the QC was to reveal, what might well be, the killer blow for Hampstead Village BID Ltd...

If you’d like to read the rest of the report and help support the Hampstead Village Voice, please feel free to join from only £2 a month.

Sorry darlings, no more Mr. Nice Guy. Writers have bills too!

Emmanuel 'Mustafa' Goldstein
Editor in public gallery.

Thursday, 21 February 2019


Well, we can't always get it right.
Both the printed front page and cover story became something of an 'historical document' before they even reached the shops – and this only a day after I proudly told Robert Elms on BBC London Radio: "we have an advantage over the Ham & High and Camden New Journal because we're quarterly so can take our time over getting story's right..." Well that backfired a bit, didn't it. D'uH!
   What you see above is up-dated online version of the Springo edition's front cover - below the updated cover story. This unavoidable mishap all happened due to Camden and TfL changing their minds on the zebra's fate after we'd gone to press. And, despite repeated requests the previous week, they neglected to tell us about it. 
   In any case, the zebra is saved and the printed version has become a 'must have historical document' before it even hits the shelves. Nonetheless, the whole point being to save the zebra and, having campaigned so hard to do so, the Hampstead Village Voice is more than happy to take this one for the team!

Long live the zebra! Down with the Toucan! Pelican? Traffic lights? Whateva!

Emmanuel 'Mustafa' Goldstein.
Editor in Abbey Road.

Below: the updated on line story. For the 'must have historical document' go to your local newsagent on the 28th of February 2019.

Watcha Hampsters, Hampsteadites and Hampstonians! After weeks banging away at publishing my new book The Joy of Addiction , I've also ma...