Agenda item

Superintendent's Update

Report of the Superintendent of Hampstead Heath.


Members considered a report of the Superintendent providing an update on matters concerning Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen’s Park. The following points were made.


·         The Director of Open Spaces confirmed that meetings with the four Open Spaces Chairmen had taken place to discuss and prioritise a list of improvement projects applicable to a new source of internal funding. It was noted that bids for the top 10 priority projects would be submitted by the deadline at the end of May for consideration by the Chamberlain’s Department.


·         The Chairman saw identifying similar needs across Open Spaces as a great opportunity to form synergies.


Divisional Plan


·         The Superintendent drew Members attention to the 2018/19 Divisional Plan (Appendix 1) and advised that items 1.11, 1.12 and 3.12 were all priority projects that would be submitted for consideration for funding via the Priority Improvement Pot.


·         The Superintendent noted that a Q2 update of the 2018/19 Divisional Plan and the Division’s risk register would be brought to the next Committee meeting.


Shared-use path surfacing


·         Members were advised that a draft report outlining the surfacing and waymarking options for the existing shared-use-paths on Hampstead Heath was discussed by the HHCC in April and their comments were incorporated in the final draft of the report (Appendix 2).


·         The Superintendent sought Members views on the report and, in particular, on the preferred surfacing material, the priorities identified and waymarking.


·         Members were advised that all feedback would be incorporated into the plan and a prioritised programme of surfacing and waymarking works would be prepared and subsequently implemented through the Annual Work Programme.

·         A Member noted that there was scope for softening the impact of the shared use paths.


·         In response to a query regarding which recommendation was being recommended in the report, the Superintendent advised that a palette of materials was needed for different areas and the preferred surface material was Breedon Gravel.


·         A Member recommended seeking feedback on the cycle and pedestrian pathways from different disability groups, e.g. the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNBI). The Superintendent advised that the DBE Access Group had been consulted in the finalisation of the report.


·         The Kenwood House General Manager encouraged engaging with English Heritage who had carried out similar works.


·         The Committee supported the two recommendations from the report.




·         The Water House, Millfield Lane. The Superintendent noted that this planning application had been granted planning permission subject to S106. The City of London Corporation would be entering into a Financial Bond to ensure sufficient resources were set aside to make good the lane on completion of the development. Members were supportive of the approach.


·         Parliament Hill William Ellis School 2017/5395/P. The Superintendent advised that planning permission has been granted and that City of London Officers had met with the developer to discuss tree and root protection.


·         Athlone House. Planning permission has now been granted and Officers are monitoring revisions to the planning application in relation to garden lighting and fencing.


·         The Wallace House – A further development within Fitzroy Park is being reviewed specifically in relation to the impact of the basement on Hampstead Heath.


Extreme Weather


·         Members were advised that the unprecedented hot weather had led to the queue for the Parliament Hill Lido being closed in the afternoon of the Spring Bank Holiday Monday as the facility had reached capacity. It was noted that the site was well prepared for the upcoming expected good weather.




Members acknowledged the 25th anniversary of the Hampstead Heath Constabulary in 2017 and felt that it was important to mark the occasion. The possibility of a visit by the Lord Mayor, including meeting the Constabulary was discussed.


City Surveyors Cyclical Work Programme


·         The Superintendent advised that 1,000m3 of silt had been removed from the Mixed Pond and two partially submerged silt revetments planted with suitable aquatic species. At the Lido, the roof in the Men’s changing facility has been replaced and solar panels have now been installed successfully above the Ladies’ changing facility.




·         The Superintendent provided an update on works underway and further proposals to make the Men’s Pond fully accessible.




·         Members were advised that the Open Spaces Department has appointed 23 Apprentices as part of the Government’s Apprentice levy and six apprentices have been appointed at Hampstead Heath.


Upcoming Events


·         Give it a Go! returns to the Heath on 15 July 2018 which showcases sport, health, wellbeing and physical activity on the Heath.


·         Members were advised that 20 August marks the 80th Anniversary of the Parliament Hill Fields Lido. This occasion will be celebrated by a series of events organised by the Parliament Hill Lido User Group (PHLUG) at the Heath.


·         In response to a question regarding the costs of hosting events at the Heath, Members were advised that most of the events would be self-funded by the PHLUG. The Leisure & Events Manager will be providing advice, rather than funds, to the event organiser by way of support.


Learning Team – Play Programme


·         The Superintendent provided an update on the different programmes noting that the schools programme, play programme and Green Talent were ahead of their target and Playing Wild were working to target.


·         A Member queried whether the play programme was designed to include inclusive play equipment for children with disabilities. Members were advised that inclusivity was very important in the design stage and confirmed that disabled children’s needs have been included in the plans for the Adventure and Peggy Jay playground improvements.


Highgate Wood


·         The Superintendent provided an update on progress at Highgate Wood and noted that some snagging works were being undertaken in relation to the paths that were surfaced in the winter.


Queen’s Park


·         The Superintendent advised Members that Queen’s Park successfully had its first wedding ceremony on the bandstand at the end of April and that the couple had agreed for pictures of the day to be used in advertising. The feedback from the couple and their family was very positive.


·         It was noted that there would be Green Flag Award judging in mid-May.


·         Members were advised that a feasibility study of the Play Area toilet facility was due to take place to inform what the costs would be for refurbishment versus developing a new build.


·         Works have begun to develop the children’s farm.



RESOLVED – That Members:-


·         Note the contents of this report;


·         Provide feedback in relation to the recommendations presented in the Shared Use paths report (appendix 2) as outlined in paragraph 3;


·         Agree that a prioritised programme of surfacing and waymarking works will be implemented through the Annual Work Programme as outlined in paragraph 4.


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