All change on the Green
Having worked in the area for so many years (and Jeremy lived here too for some years), Jeremy and Michael have seen considerable changes in the Green. “In the years I’ve known it, the Green has changed from a slightly sad recreation ground to a revitalised green space,” says Jeremy. “When we had the office on Fortune Green Road we were obviously aware of it, but there was nothing about it that drew us to it.” “We wouldn’t walk through it or sit and have our lunch there,” added Michael. “It just wasn’t inviting.” Much more enticing was The Art of Food sandwich bar – where the Wet Fish Café is now – “the best sandwich bar in the area, with queues out of the door and down the street every day,” Michael remembers. The flowerbeds and the current children’s playground have made all the difference to the Green. Quite a shift then that last year the firm had a summer picnic there: the weather was fine, the flowerbeds were looking good, and everyone had a great time; employees, their partners and children, and dogs (outside the dog-free area of course).
Reconverting the property conversions
West Hampstead has changed radically over the years too, West End Lane morphing from a high street of independent shops to its current mix of chains and services. Manuel Swaden’s real estate client base has changed too. “In the late 80s, people were coming to West Hampstead to buy what were then brand new conversions, and young people were buying properties jointly with friends. Now of course, we’re seeing the reversal of that to some degree, with converted properties around the Green being redeveloped as single houses, to be bought by sole purchasers.”
Keeping it local
In the last 10 years, the firm’s private client department has developed very strongly, particularly in the areas of wills, administration of estates and Enduring (now Lasting) Power of Attorney. “We have a large client base locally,” says Michael. “Lots of people want to support a local firm rather than taking their business into town.” “It’s the nature of our environment in West Hampstead and Hampstead,” adds Jeremy. “People want to support all things local.”
Manuel Swaden is keen to support all things local too. Over the past few years, the firm has supported local initiatives that benefit the environment and local people. As well as Love Our Green Sundays (LOGS), it has also supported Henderson Court, a centre for elderly people in Hampstead, sponsored a tournament for young players at Hampstead Cricket Club, as well as the West Hampstead Christmas Market and the Marie Curie Christmas Fair.
Jeremy and Michael are obviously very pleased to be able to play a part in the local community projects, and their support of LOGS has been invaluable and will continue to be so in the face of potential cuts to parks services. The redevelopment of the flowerbeds and maintenance of the Green is “a very worthwhile project – really highly commendable –“ says Jeremy. “It massively enhances the environment that we live in, and we at Manuel Swaden are very pleased to play a part – albeit a small part – in that. It’s very impressive that the same group of volunteers continue to work so hard to keep the Green maintained. West Hampstead doesn’t have that much green space, so it’s really important to make the most of what there is.”
Manuel Swaden’s offer to FoFG members
As part of its community involvement going forward, Manuel Swaden will be offering a discount to FoFG members for setting up Lasting (previously Enduring) Powers of Attorney. This offer will be available for a 3-month period starting on 1st February 2017. For further information, please contact Michael Swaden at Manuel Swaden solicitors, 340 West End Lane, NS6 1LN, telephone 0207 431 4999.
- Catherine Allison