To elect a Deputy Chairman in line with Standing Order 30.
An election of Deputy Chairman was held in line with Standing Order 30. Anne Fairweather, being the only Member willing to stand, was declared elected Deputy Chairman for the ensuing year.
VOTE OF THANKS
Proposed by Deputy John Tomlinson
Seconded by Michael Hudson;
THAT the Members of the Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen’s Park Committee wish to place on record their sincere appreciation to
for her outstanding service as Chairman of this Committee from May 2015 to March 2017.
During her tenure as Chairman, Virginia dealt with some often contentious issues with tact, diplomacy and – throughout – an unwavering dedication to ensuring Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen’s Park remained among the front rank of London’s public open spaces.
On becoming Chairman, Virginia built on the work of her predecessor to bring the Hampstead Heath Ponds Project to a successful conclusion, ensuring that today the Heath and its ponds enjoy both a safe and enhanced natural aspect.
Under her Chairmanship, the Committee focused on the myriad issues that illustrate the challenges of maintaining a diverse range of open spaces, whilst all the while managing the competing interests of millions of Londoners.
Issues that Virginia turned her attention to include legislation, namely the promotion of a City of London (Open Spaces) Bill in Parliament; policies and guidance governing emerging issues, such as the development of guidance on the use of drones; and of course the ever present need to be vigilant to ensure planning applications on the fringes of Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen’s Park do not have any adverse impact on the public enjoyment of those open spaces.
Public open spaces that are so intrinsically important to the communities who rely on them for sport, leisure and relaxation can often provoke strong feelings, and it is the measure of a Chairman that on those occasions when feelings run high that the issue is resolved through measured consideration and appropriate compromise – with that in mind, the Committee wishes to place on record its particular thanks for the way in which Virginia handled the issue of leases at each of the cafes on Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen’s Park – and of course more natural challenges, such as the City’s response to the discovery of Oak Processionary Moth at both Queen’s Park and Hampstead Heath.
In taking leave of their Chairman, Members wish to highlight the robust state of health that the Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen’s Park are in, which is due in no small part to the work Virginia has undertaken as Chairman. The City’s North London Open Spaces remain premier venues for millions of people, and will continue to remain so in light of the recent decision, under Virginia’s Chairmanship, to undertake a Hampstead heath Management Plan Review which will safeguard the Heath long into the future.
Members wish Virginia well as she turns to her next venture, confident that the skills and experience she has brought to this Committee will be of inestimable benefit to the causes she chooses to promote in the future.