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:


Hampstead Heath Management Plan


·         The Superintendent advised Members that development of the Hampstead Heath Management Plan 2018-2028 was progressing to schedule and that a final draft would be submitted to Members of the Hampstead Heath Consultative Committee (HHCC) with the final version to come to the Committee for signoff at its November meeting.


Land acquisition


·         The Chairman updated Members that she had met with the buyer of the Harry Hallowes land with Mark Hutchinson regarding his intensions for the land which was followed up with a formal letter setting out the responsibilities of the buyer, particularly the need to manage the Japanese Knotweed on the land. The buyer has since met the team and visited the land.




·         The Water House, Millfield Lane 2017/3692/P. The Superintendent advised Members that this planning application had been granted subject to S106. It was noted that work had begun and that the Superintendent would be attending a meeting on site next week.


·         Parliament Hill William Ellis School 2018/1270/P. The Superintendent noted that he had a seat on the working group and that work was progressing.


·         South Fairground Site. The application was subject to enforcement action London Borough of Camden and Officers had given Counsel for the development to be removed.


·         North Fairground Site 2017/4346/P. It was noted that the London Borough of Camden had not determined the application to the timescale and therefore a local enquiry was ongoing with Officers providing witness statements.


·         Jack Straws Castle 2017/2064/P. A decision has not yet been determined and Officers await a decision.


·         Chester Court, Lissenden Garden 2017/1353/P. The Superintendent advised that Officers had presented evidence against at the application appeal and was pleased that the appeal was refused by London Borough of Camden.


·         55 Fitzroy Park. It was noted that a development had just been listed with a request to build five houses as a private open space. The Superintendent stated that the team would object to this application as this would be developed on the periphery of the Heath and would have an impact on hydrology.


Oak Processionary Moth


·         Members were advised that the Tree Team had inspected trees for nests from May to August which was a huge undertaking as 2,013 nests were identified from 680 trees on Hampstead Heath. A specialist contractor carried out nest removal on high risk trees removing 1,400 nests.


·         In response to a query regarding the drastic increase in nests from the previous year, Members were advised that there was a consistent pattern of a significant increase in nests after two years of gradual increase once OPM is identified at a site.


·         A Member noted that OPM was being managed in Germany by fencing off large areas of trees for protection and queried what measures were being taken in the UK to deal with OPM. The Director of Open Spaces assured Members that the pest was being taken seriously which was now present in all 32 London boroughs and that he Chaired the Forestry Commission’s Committee for OPM. It was noted that there was no quick fix to eradicate this pest, but that a programme to manage and slow the spread was being developed. Officers continue to identify zones to treat the areas of most risk to the public and are seeking to get additional funds towards the cost of managing OPM.


·         The Director of Open Spaces stated that a report would come to the Committee detailing the costs and implications of OPM.


Adventure playground


·         The Team have received revised proposals from the designer with design alterations in line with feedback received following engagement with young people. A 3D model of the proposed design will be produced to and following further engagement the project will go out to tender.




·         Superintendent advised that the good weather throughout summer had resulted in increased visitor numbers which had a huge impact on Heath services, and notably at the swimming facilities. As a result, the Lido was closed early due to reaching capacity on a number of occasions.


·         Unfortunately, there had been a knock-on effect resulting in members of the public swimming in the model boating pond which is not lifeguarded.


·         The Chairman thanked Heath Staff for their hard work over the busy summer period.


·         The Superintendent noted that there were posters at the Heath regarding the Corporation led initiative concerning gender identity which was being actively promoted and had generated a worldwide response.


·         Waste and recycling have remained an issue at the Heath with huge numbers being cleared by the Team throughout summer which the Superintendent highlighted had received positive feedback from visitors. The Team were working with the Heath & Hampstead Society to fast-track the project in the Divisional Plan in an attempt to deal with the issue of litter and were talking with local providers.




·         The Leisure & Events Manager noted that the annual Hampstead Heath Duathlon event which took place at the weekend had been a huge success. Hampstead Heath Rugby Club, the chief sponsor, were thanked by the Chairman along with all the volunteers that helped with the event.

Highgate Wood


·         It was noted that the Friends of the Roman Kiln (FORK) were now a constituted charity and an external consultant has been appointed to prepare an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Queen’s Park


·         It was noted that the Book Festival on 30 June - 1 July 2018 was a success and the event organisers have already requested a date for 2019.


·         The Superintendent advised Members that numbers in attendance for the outdoor cinema screenings over the summer had been mixed but that the most recent screening had a turnout of 500 people.


·         Members were invited to attend the upcoming annual Queen’s Park Day on 16 September 2018. The Town Clerk agreed to circulate details regarding this event to all Members. 



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