Agenda item

Assistant Directors Update

Report of Executive Director, Environment.


Members received a report of the Executive Director, Environment, providing the Assistant Director’s Update.


The Assistant Director reported that corporate projects were progressing well. The Committee heard that a corporate review of all projects within the City of London Corporation was taking place, including the athletic tracks and the ponds projects. It was noted that the pond project was progressing well with procurement and design now finalised. The Committee was advised that good progress had also been made on the pond and wetlands conservation plan and work had also begun on building a brand new pond. Members noted that the London Cricket Trust had confirmed funding for several improvements to the cricket facilities and the environment department continues to liaise with stakeholders and users to ensure funding continues to progress.


The Assistant Director highlighted to the Committee a correction regarding a project involving the Royal Free Hospital, noting the project was funded not by the Hospital but by the Royal Free Charity.


Queen’s Green Canopy


A Member (Marylebone Birdwatching Society) queried whether the trees being proposed for planting on the Tumulus site would be in a line or group. An officer confirmed that the plan was to recreate the field boundary that once existed across the field and the trees would be placed as naturally as possible and would be positioned in such a way that they would mark the field boundary and will be irregularly spaced. They added that, should Members of the Consultative Committee wish to be involved in the placing of the trees, this would be welcomed.


A Member (Representative of Clubs using facilities on the Heath) said the location for the trees around the Tumulus site looked to be on the route where the large cross-country races followed and asked that this be considered. An officer said the relevant officers would be working on the issue raised and plans would be made to avoid disruption to the cross-country races.


Constabulary Update


The Chairman asked whether the weeklong operation with the Metropolitan Police in partnership with the City of London Corporation and the London Borough of Camden (Community Safety Team) would take place again. The Assistant Director said the operation took place because of the recent issues concerning anti-social behaviour on the Heath; the operation had been successful in providing public reassurance and there was an opportunity to continue to work jointly with other partners to make sure the Heath remained safe.


A Member (London Council for Recreation and Sport) said there are issues each summer around Parliament Hill, just after exams have taken place for young people and further partnership work with the police would be welcomed and provide safety for young people on the Heath. Regarding boating issues in the pond, the Member asked whether fixed penalty notices could be issued where unsafe actions were occurring and said more notices needed to be placed regarding the use of disposable barbeques in the park. Regarding the pond, the Assistant Director said that large signage was situated to ensure that the public does not access the pond and natural barriers were also being used to maintain health and safety. Concerning the use of barbeques, the Assistant Director said there had been a huge effort from staff to minimise the risk of fires and firebreaks had also been put in place, but the department understood the challenges disposable barbeques posed to the Heath.


A Member (Heath Hands) suggested that signage declaring fixed penalties would have a substantial effect on boating issues in the pond. The Assistant Director agreed to take these suggestions away to colleagues at the constabulary.


A Member (Hampstead Garden Suburb Residents' Association) asked if the Assistant Director could confirm if serious trends of anti-social behaviour had been observed. The Assistant Director said a dashboard is planned to analyse trends but also to look in further detail as to where problems were arising and in which locations.


A Member (London Council for Recreation and Sport) expressed their concern that the current timetable for the developments being carried out on the Parliament Hill Athletics Track for 2023/24 including the timing for the changing of floodlights. The Assistant Director said   have already been raised back to appropriate colleagues and will be considered when the project develops.


Good News


A Member (Hampstead Garden Suburb Residents' Association) queried what more could be done to encourage women’s cricket and requested an update on the rollout of dog licensing. The Assistant Director said Women are already a priority group for Camden’s Health and Wellbeing agenda. The department was working closely with the London Cricket Trust but also with the English Cricket Board to make sure good work and progress continues with partners. Regarding dog licensing, the Assistant Director said licences are continuing to be sent out, and this was a priority for the department. The Assistant Director also provided an update on the Heath extension playground, which is progressing well and contractors have been engaged.


Corporate & Strategic Implications


A Member (South End Green Association) asked whether monies being sought for the Model Boating Pond Island would only be raised through donations, enquiries were also made on whether the former role of Constabulary, Queen's Park and West Ham Park Manager would be appointed in the same capacity. The Assistant Director confirmed donations are continuing and will be used as match funding towards funding applications as and when they become available. Regarding the filling of the vacant position, the Assistant Director said the role was currently being undertaken by existing staff as a temporary measure until the Target Operating Model review was complete.


RESOLVED – That Members receive the report and provide feedback.


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