Agenda and minutes

Venue: Conference Room, Parliament Hill Staff Yard, Hampstead Heath, NW5 1QR

Contact: Alistair MacLellan  Email:

No. Item




The Chairman began the meeting by welcoming Bob Warnock to the Committee, noting that Bob was currently shadowing Simon Lee before taking over as Superintendent of Hampstead Heath from the end of February 2014.


The Town Clerk added that the Marylebone Birdwatching Society had nominated Dr Gaye Henson as their representative on the Committee in the room of Alix Mullineux.


Apologies were received from Virginia Rounding (Deputy Chairman) and Dr Gaye Henson (Marylebone Birdwatching Society).


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Members' Declarations Under the Code of Conduct in Respect of Items on the Agenda


There were no declarations.

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Minutes pdf icon PDF 183 KB

To agree the public minutes and summary of the meeting held on 12 November 2013.

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RESOLVED: that the minutes of the meeting held on 12 November 2013 be approved as a correct record, subject to the word ‘boarders’ being corrected to ‘borders’ where appropriate; the sentence on page 4 under Planning – Garden House, beginning ‘…commented further…’ and ending ‘…a point of law,’ be deleted; similarly that the planning decision in that item be described as upheld, not dismissed; and the typographical error ‘xtreme on page 9 being corrected to ‘extreme’.


Matters Arising

London Borough of Camden Flood Warning Letter

The Superintendent committed to circulating this letter to the Committee.


Bowls and Croquet – New Lease

Ian Harrison noted that a meeting between the two clubs was scheduled within the next fortnight.


Hill Garden & Pergola

The Superintendent informed the Committee that a report detailing future proposals for marriages and civil ceremonies at the Hill Garden & Pergola would be submitted to the April 2014 meeting of the Committee.


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Superintendent's Update

The Superintendent of Hampstead Heath to be heard.


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Ponds Project Meeting – City of London Corporation and Heath & Hampstead Society

Before inviting the Superintendent to provide his Update to the Committee, the Chairman took the opportunity to note he had just attended a meeting between the City of London Corporation and the Heath & Hampstead Society that had been scheduled at the Society’s request. Amongst those present at the meeting were Lord Hoffman, Tony Hillier and Helen Marcus from the Society and the Chairman of the City’s Policy & Resources Committee.


He described the position of the Society at the meeting as one of surprise that the City of London was pressing ahead regardless with the Ponds Project without testing its legal basis. It appeared that the Society now favoured a “Part 8” approach - as an alternative to a Judicial Review - they considered thiswould allow the legal position to be clarified before works were carried out on the dams.


The Chairman noted that the City of London’s obligations under the Reservoirs Act 1975 and the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 raise complex issues but nonetheless the City of London was of the view that it had a duty as a responsible dam owner to carry out works on the dams, and that these works would be carried out with the best interests of the Heath in mind. He said that the City of London had no intention to spend £15million on the Ponds Project unless it felt it was necessary to do so; to ensure the safety of the dams and to prevent loss of life in the event of a major storm event. He concluded by noting that the Society would be submitting a minute of the meeting to the City of London for comment.


In response to an observation from Richard Sumray that it

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Reports of the Superintendent of Hampstead Heath:-



Review of Annual Work Plan 2013 and Proposed Annual Work Plan 2014 pdf icon PDF 403 KB

Additional documents:


The Highgate Wood, Conservation and Trees Manager introduced the report on the review of the Annual Work Plan 2013 and the proposed Annual Work Plan 2014. In reviewing the work undertaken during 2013 he highlighted in particular the impact of storm damage on staff time and resources; efficiency savings in terms of fuel and staff-time provided by a new Claas baler; watering and rolling work undertaken to consolidate pathways; and the success of a corporate volunteer event held in May 2013.


In response to a question from John Hunt regarding the export of oak saplings to Northern Ireland, the Trees Manager replied that the optimal size at which a sapling was dug up for removal was based upon experience, and that it tended to be around knee height. He explained that a sapling taller than that would have larger roots and would therefore leave a larger hole once the sapling had been removed.


In response to a further question from John Hunt, the Superintendent confirmed that staff were willing, in principle, to create alternative paths upon the Heath.


In response to a question from Colin Gregory, the Trees Manager replied that monitoring of tree disease continued despite the need to deal with storm damage arising from the St Jude's Day Storm and the inclement weather over the Christmas and New Year period. He confirmed that Oak Processionary Moth had not been detected and London-wide monitoring indicated that it was now moving in a south-westerly direction away from the capital. Moreover, Massaria continued to be actively managed and had now been incorporated into risk management plans. The Trees Manager noted that a Practical Management Guide on Massaria Disease of Plane Trees had recently been released by the London Tree Officers Association. He added that the disease appeared to be triggered by

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Fees and Charges pdf icon PDF 102 KB

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The Superintendent introduced a report of Fees and Charges, noting that it had been drafted following work with the Sports Advisory Forum. He added that Richard Sumray had been instrumental in helping to formulate the overarching charging policy. The Superintendent concluded by saying it was critical the City of London moved away from a static charging policy and instead targeted the policy to encourage participation in Heath activities.


Richard Sumray added that it was important, now a policy had been drafted, to consider how it would be applied in practice. He noted that it could be further developed by looking at case studies of best-practice at other sites and facilities so that City of London charges could be compared and amended accordingly. He concluded by noting that work on the charging policy had been affected by City of London staff-time being taken up with the Ponds Project.


Ian Harrison noted that the reference to croquet in appendix 3 should refer to a croquet lawn not croquet rink.


John Weston noted that, of the Adult pricing for the Lido, one should refer to Adult Concessions.


Simon Taylor requested pricing and information on booking facilities like changing rooms on match days be made clearer, and moreover that charging at the Parliament Hill Athletics Track be frozen for a year a gesture of goodwill following the issues faced by users of the track in terms of inadequate showers. Lastly, he suggests a chip and pin facility be installed at the track to increase convenience for customers. The Chairman said he would pass the comment concerning Athletics Track charging on to the Management Committee.


In response to remarks by Steve Ripley and Michael Hammerson over the amount of surplus generated by charging at some facilities, the Superintendent replied that seasonal income was an

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Introduction of Dog Control Orders at Burnham Beeches pdf icon PDF 207 KB

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The Director of Open Spaces introduced a report on the introduction of Dog Control Orders (DCOs) at Burnham Beeches. She noted that it demonstrated the level of consultation that had been undertaken and that members of the Committee should keep in mind that DCOs, should they be introduced on the Heath, would be different in character to those trialled at Burnham Beeches. She added that the Epping Forest & Commons Committee, which was the Management Committee overseeing the trial, had deferred the report until its meeting in March 2014 to allow time for a small sub-group to consider a late representation concerning the trial received from the Kennel Club. She concluded by noting that, whilst current statutory DCOs were due to finish in the near future, the Anti -Social Behaviour Bill was currently in the House of Lords and would be returning the Commons shortly, it was expected that secondary authority status could be maintained for the City of London.


Richard Sumray said that it was difficult to ascertain from the report what the underlying principles governing DCOs were, and that it would be useful to have this addressed in the version of the report that came back before the Committee.


Colin Gregory noted that there were some instances where the report did not appear to correlate with the evidence in the visitor survey. He hoped that if and when DCOs were trialled on the Heath they would be designed with its unique character in mind.


In response to a query from Ian Hammerson over why the report did not explicitly deal with commercial dog walkers, the Superintendent replied that this arose from the fact that commercial dog walkers could not currently be licensed. Ian Hammerson went on to express concern at the level of criticism directed at the trial by

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Management Work Plan for Model Farm Compartment pdf icon PDF 124 KB

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In response to concerns from Susan Rose the Chairman replied that the principle of Committee Members visiting sites upon which they were being asked to comment upon at Committee had not been deliberately abandoned. He accepted that a visit to the Model Farm Compartment, which was closed to the public had been offered to Committee Members only at very short notice.


Jeremy Wright welcomed the report and suggested that further consideration be given to the screening of Athlone House, depending upon the outcome of the planning application and resultant size of the new property.


The Hampstead Heath Ecologist explained the location of the Model Farm Compartment and outlined the two main factors that made it a unique site on the Heath. The first was that it was home to an important population of grass snakes, and secondly it was the site of a historic model farm from the Kenwood Estate.


In response to a question from John Hunt the Heath Ecologist replied that the raspberry border in the Compartment would be kept but maintained in such a way as to ensure it did not infringe upon neighbouring grassland.


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Progress Report on Improvements to East Heath Car Park and South End Green Approach pdf icon PDF 626 KB

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The Assistant Operational Services Manager introduced a report on improvements made to the East Heath Car Park and the South End Green Approach. She noted that reconfiguration of car parking had led to an increase of £60,000 in revenue and that enhancement works had made the site a more sustainable location for fairs.


In response to concerns expressed by John Hunt, the Superintendent assured the Committee that there were no plans to remove shrub from around nearby buildings.


Jeremy Wright congratulated the Superintendent on his commitment to removing unnecessary fencing across the Heath. As an aside, he expressed concern that the panel engineer on the Ponds Project would request that shrubbery from the downslope of the dams be cleared and requested therefore that thought be given to providing some remedial screening. Lastly, he stated that the planned discharge facility to be appropriately screened. The Superintendent expressed doubt that the panel engineer would make such a request regarding the downslope of the dams, and agreed that the discharge facility should be appropriately screened.


In response to a question from Jeremy Wright on the perceived success of the grass planting on the fairground site, the Assistant Operational Services Manager replied that a full assessment would take place later in the year.


Ian Harrison congratulated Heath staff on the hydroseeding work that had taken place, commenting that it had improved the aesthetics of the location remarkably.


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There were no questions.

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Any Other Business That the Chairman Considers Urgent



The Chairman informed the Committee there was a possibility that the City of London may secure the Jake & Dinos Chapman sculptures The Good, The Bad and The Ugly  - currently located near the Gherkin in the City – for display in Golders Hill Park from Spring 2014. Should this be likely, a paper would be tabled to the next meeting of the Committee.


World War I Centenary

In response to a question from Ian Harrison the Leisure and Events Manager confirmed that planned City of London Festival events on the Heath would feature commemoration of the WWI Centenary. The Operational Services Manager added that poppies would be planted in Golders Hill Park.


Simon Lee

The Chairman noted that this was the last meeting of the Committee at which Simon Lee would be present in his current role as Superintendent, as he would soon be moving to take up his new role as Chief Executive of Wimbledon & Putney Commons. He remarked that Simon had been Superintendent of Hampstead Heath for nearly half of the time since the Heath came into the City of London’s custodianship in 1989. During this time many Chairmen and Committee Members had come and gone, noting that the Heath we see today was largely his legacy. Throughout, Simon had managed to balance many competing interests with tact and sensitivity, often managing to successfully ‘square the circle’. The Chairman expressed thanks therefore, on behalf of everyone present and moreover for all the Londoners who came to enjoy the Heath, for all of the work Simon had done over the years.  


Jeremy Wright echoed these sentiments on behalf of the Heath & Hampstead Society and took the opportunity to welcome Bob Warnock to his new role. He added that the Heath & Hampstead Society was holding a reception on 6

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Date of Next Meeting

The date of the next meeting to be discussed.

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The Chairman explained that, due to the need for time to analyse the results the Ponds Project consultation process, the date of the next meeting would be Monday 7 April at 1900hrs. The meeting would be preceded by a walk on Saturday 29 March.


These dates replaced those originally scheduled for Saturday 8 March and Monday 10 March.


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