Why It Matters: ‘West Kentish Town is welcome,’ says KTNF’s Caroline Hill

It’s great that so many people feel very passionately about joining Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum and its boundaries. The problem …

It’s great that so many people feel very passionately about joining Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum and its boundaries. The problem with any drawn boundary is that it is, by its very nature, arbitrary. We felt that the railway line was a natural border to the west that kept Kentish Town Road at the centre.

The boundaries were agreed at a public meeting, open to all, back in January this year and the Forum area was then seen as quite large enough. Most of the KTNF area is covered by a patchwork of existing residents groups. Representatives of these attended the January meeting and this also helped inform the current KTNF boundary. At that time the area of the Forum incorporated the Castlehaven and Rochester areas down to Camden Road Station, but it’s just been confirmed that both of these areas wish to form their own Neighbourhood Forums – Castlehaven linking up with Hawley Wharf and Rochester (strangely) joining up with Camden Broadway.

Now that the KTNF area is smaller, you may be pleased to hear that there is an opportunity to incorporate some of West Kentish Town into the Forum: if residents and businesses in West Kentish Town wish to join KTNF then they would, of course, be welcomed.


Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum is run by a committee of 15 local volunteers elected by Forum members – now numbering well over 200. The Forum Committee members are working extremely hard in their own time to produce the Kentish Town Neighbourhood Plan, giving up countless unpaid hours to the cause.

With an enlarged boundary naturally comes extra work. It is therefore important that, in combination with increasing the boundary further west, we have a corresponding active engagement from any newly incorporated residents and businesses to the Neighbourhood Plan’s production and to all other activities the Forum undertakes.

The first issue to be addressed is where the boundary will be drawn in West Kentish Town. This should be decided democratically – from those in West Kentish Town contacting as many local residents and businesses as possible, by email and/or leafleting, and by holding a public meeting and voting on the boundary.

Article continues below advertisement

It is important that a local resident or business person from West Kentish Town represents the West Kentish Town area group by joining the Forum Committee. Not only will this person help to organize the work needed in the area but they will act as a key contact to ensure all issues and aspirations for the area are represented.

When North Kentish Town wanted to join Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum, existing local residents groups and councillors joined together to carry out a leaflet drop and arrange a public meeting to show they had support to join KTNF. North Kentish Town is now a valuable addition to Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum.

So yes, if people are willing to donate their time, work hard, and have the satisfaction that they are playing a pivotal role in how their local area will develop, then we would love to hear from you.

As the main pic illustrates, we can really make a difference. After listening to the opinions of residents and businesses, including those of the hundreds of people who spoke to us during the 6 day street engagement before the Planning Event, the Prince’s Foundation came up with a scheme called Kentish Town Square. Taking a lead from the new traffic management plan in Oxford Circus, the design shown in the drawing suggests an all red phase of traffic lights, lasting slightly longer than the present one, that will allow time for pedestrians to cross the road safely in all directions. In the canopy area there would be small useful shops in front of the wall; it will, we hope, be an attractive space for residents.

This is box title
Words: Caroline Hill, chair of Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum.
If you’re interested and want to get involved, please contact secretaryatktnf@yahoo.co.uk
This is box title
Why It Matters is published in association with Discount Insurance, whose big boss guy lives in a road that everyone would call ‘Kentish Town.’


  • Show Comments

  • Marcus

    Like the look of those plans – when are you hoping they’ll be implemented?

  • NW5 (@nw5)

    Wouldn’t this square be fantastic! Well done to the irrepressible Caroline & co for building such momentum.

  • Dudisimo

    The square is fantastic inasmuch as the drawing is a complete fantasy.

    If you look at a map, you will see that Regis Road and Leighton Road emerge into Kentish Town Road virtually opposite each other; Regis Road is in no way 10-15 yards south of Leighton Road.

    Anyone who travels by bus down Portland Place and Upper Regent Street will know that it can take an age to travel from the BBC to the Oxford Circus bus stop. Oxford Circus is possibly not the best example to follow.

    “Kentish Town Square” would have buses running in four directions, the commercial/council traffic from Regis Road, police and fire brigade vehicles, ambulances, etc etc.. It’s already a point of traffic congestion and could never, realistically, take on the appearance of the artist’s drawing.

    We have to face the fact that we live in an Inner London borough, with all the advantages and disadvantages that this involves. Personally speaking, I’d far prefer to have the emergency services and buses arrive promptly than to have very small area of KT undergo yet more beautification.

  • Pat Barson

    I aam afraid I agree with Dudisimo …. Holding up the traffic at the junction with Leighton Rd.
    and Regis Rd. etc.Would just make the congestion and. Traffic fumes worse and it is not a suitable place for a square.
    Kentish Town Road has wonderful shops. But it is a main thoroughfare. And will always be busy one just has to,be patient. Maybe an elegant. cast iron footbridge or two would be nice .
    Opening up the public
    footpath which used to run between Arctic Rd. and Regis Rd. would be extremely useful for local people ….more footpaths and pedestrian short cuts would cut down on the traffic a bit . Having to drive , to reach the parcel depot and recycling centre adds to the traffic pollution and maybe tthere are other places where footpaths could be made ?
    Pat Barson