Agenda item

Superintendent's Update

The Superintendent to be heard.



Members considered an update report of the Superintendent regarding Hampstead Heath and the following comments were made:


Drone guidance


·         The Heath & Hampstead Society did not feel that the draft guidance was strong enough in its position regarding drones as it only encouraged against the use of drones on the Heath which was not a legally enforceable presumption. Officers confirmed that changes in the air navigation order made things more complex and they were seeking legal advice to clarify the guidance. Will revisit and simplify further.


·         A Member (London Council for Recreation and Sport) recommended differentiating between policy and guidance requesting if the Corporation could have separate guidance from national guidance due to its byelaws. Officers confirmed they were reviewing relevant byelaws for Hampstead Heath and would use FPNs against those repeatedly breaking laws.


Professional dog walking scheme


·         Officers have liaised with the Professional Dog Walking Association and received 50 responses. Criticism was received from the lack of understanding of where professional dog walkers walked their dogs and a heat map has been developed to plot the 80 different routes used across the Heath.  Members were informed that the Heath would be zoned into 6 segments and a limited number of licenses would be issued for each zone. There would no longer be AM/PM slots. 


·         The Chair noted that a number of representations had been received from small business/individuals and there was a need to balance the maintenance of the environment with business reliance needs.


·         A Member (Hampstead Conservation Area Advisory Committee) enquired if east heath was a single zone as this appeared to be the most popular area. Officers confirmed east heath up to the fairground would be one zone.


·         Members were advised that there would be approximately 15-20 licences for each area with the load spread throughout the day.


·         Members voiced concern this would this allow for constant swaps of dog walking by one professional within their zone. Officers clarified a licence would be issued to an individual dog walker who could operate within their zone. However, companies would have to licence each individual.


·         The Chair queried when the scheme would come into effect and Officers advised that 21 days’ notice must be given. It was hoped this would follow the upcoming HHMC meeting (pending approval) and come into effect in October.


·         A Member questioned how professionals would be identified. Officers confirmed either a pass, lanyard or armband would be introduced, and the Heath Constabulary would also hold information on the professionals.




·         Members were advised that Officers were working with the local community and a Concept Design for the Heath Extension Playground was produced. Public engagement was ongoing with a deadline for feedback until 12 September 2021.


·         Members were happy with the designs.




·         Jack Straws Castle (2020/1828/P). Officers await details regarding the alterations and planning permissions as this site is very close to Corporation land.


·         Murphy’s Yard. Members were advised there were major issues, particularly concerning the height, and that the Camden Councillor recommended that local user groups read up and comment on the current proposed redevelopment of the area.


·         It was recommended that planning consultants look at this high-rise development plus another nearby development and both be followed up together with Camden and Islington.


·         55 Fitzroy Park (2018/3672/P). There were still concerns concerning the historic water pond within the development and the massive disruption to biodiversity.


·         Constable pond project. Officers will attend a meeting to discuss this planning application. The plan is to develop a large pond with works by artist and it is hoped this would be approved with work to start before Christmas.


Tree planting on Parliament Hill Broad Walk


·         A Member (Hampstead Rugby Club) voiced concern regarding the planting of new trees as there were lots of users of the slope and there was potential for saplings damage.


·         Members were informed that 3 groups of new trees would be planted on the eastern corner of the athletics track down to Hive and they would be planted approximately 10-15m apart. The trees were not saplings and would be protected.


Cyclical Work Programme (CWP)


·         Members were advised that the athletics track had underlining problems regarding the shock absorbance of the track and patch repairs and a bid had been made to complete this needed work. Members were reminded that the CWP ran across the City Corporation and projects were prioritised by health and safety and infrastructure at end of life which applied to this project. It was noted that many Partner organisations had suspended their major grants funding and Officers were seeking partnership funding. The Corporation was also working with Local Authorities to identify S106 funding or SIL funding to strengthen the bid.


·         The Chair explained the annual cap bids process and highlighted the need to submit a bid for this cycle with a strong case. External funding and interest would help.


·         A Member (London Council for Recreation and Sport) requested a strong HHCC response as if the works to the track did not go ahead it could affect the Heath’s ability to host big sports events. It was agreed there was a need to get Member support for this project and prioritise the track’s importance. Bidding again in a year was not regarded as a realistic option.


·         A Member (Representative of Clubs using facilities on the Heath) noted their experience in managing and refurbing tracks and offered assistance with this project.




·         Concerning the proposal to bring a Christmas fayre to the East Heath, a Member (Friends of Kenwood) noted Christmas trees were already sold by Pines and Needles in Kenwood plus an illuminated night trail. It was hoped both sites could work together.


·         Members were informed that British Athletics had confirmed the Heath would host _ on 14 May 2022. The Heath would also be presented with a world athletics heritage site plaque.


·         With regards to weddings, 15 had taken place this year with a further 7 planned, and 15 booked for 2022. It was noted that Government had changed its regulations and allowing the trialling of current licence holders to add an additional site without a permanent fixed structure. The London Borough of Camden have additional space licenced on the pergola.




·         Officers confirmed the Lido and Ladies Pond would remain open as normal and the opening times for the Mixed Pond would be extended. On _, the Winter Swim Club would take over swimming management.




·         The tenant at Golders Hill Park will surrender their lease next year. The other Heath cafes were operating via tenancies at will and Officers would proceed with retendering at other locations in 2022.




·         A Member (Hampstead Conservation Area Advisory Committee) stated that Heath’s donation page was very different to other donations pages which normally included a totaliser, options to leave message, retweet to friends, etc.


·         The Chair agreed more work was needed and Officers were keen to make the site comparable with others.


RESOLVED – That Members:-


·         Provide feedback in relation to the proposals to manage drone usage via a drone use request form, as set out in paragraph 6;


·         Provide feedback in relation to the proposal to continue the biodiversity interpretation boards for the further year, as set out in paragraphs 9-11;


·         Provide feedback in relation to the Heath Extension Concept Design (appendix 3) as set out in paragraphs 12-14.

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