Report of the City Surveyor.
The Committee received a report of the City Surveyor setting out a provisional list of cyclical projects being considered for the Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen’s Park Division in 2021/22 under the umbrella of the Cyclical Works Programme (CWP).
The Chair highlighted that the bid was less than in previous years. Members were advised that City’s Cash was approximately £6m per year which was used to maintain corporate properties across the Division. Projects were scored and funded based on health and safety priority and securities scores. Members were concerned by the significant drop in funding and the impact this would have on scheduled projects. Members were advised that cyclical projects would be maintained and that 2020 was an exceptional year in terms of high priority projects.
A Member (Friends of Kenwood) enquired how the Fundamental Review and the City's commitment to big projects pre-Covid would affect the Open Spaces department. The Director of Open Spaces explained that a full review of the financial position of all departments was taking place to understand the impact of the pandemic. Estimates were being produced with a plan to report in October together with the findings from the Fundamental Review, i.e. sustainable budgets, income generation, etc, to enable the organisation as a whole to re-examine its priorities. Optimising income streams, producing sustainable streams and completing key projects remained a priority for the Department. It was noted that capital projects were separate and would be looked at separately.
A Member (Hampstead Garden Suburb Residents' Association) noted that surveys were a concern raised by the HHCC last year and were assured that these would continue. The Member was concerned that there would no longer be enough money to ensure proper surveys continued. The Director informed Members that the Epping Forest & Commons Committee were also concerned regarding the projects backlog and suggested that a written request come from Open Spaces requesting additional funding to deal with the backlog. This would need to be argued for strongly. A Member (London Council for Recreation and Sport) felt that more detailed financial information was required first, then evidence could be gathered to support the case for more funding.
In response to queries regarding Covid-19, Members were informed that the CWP average was still currently £6m per year as normal. The Chair stated that it was too early to know what the wider impacts of Covid-19 were but there were clear missed event opportunities and income from swimming and sports.
RESOLVED – That:-
· Members of the Hampstead Heath Consultative Committee, the Highgate Wood Consultative Group and the Queen’s Park Consultative Group note the report and provide feedback on the provisional list of cyclical projects being considered for the Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen’s Park Division in 2021/22;
· The views of the Hampstead Heath Consultative Committee, the Highgate Wood Consultative Group and the Queen’s Park Consultative Group be conveyed to the Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood & Queen’s Park Committee.