Agenda item

Superintendent's Update

The Superintendent of Hampstead Heath to be heard.



Hampstead Heath Ponds Project

The Superintendent noted that the Partnering Contract between the City Corporation, Atkins, Capita and BAM Nuttall Ltd had been signed on 14 March 2014. BAM Nuttall had based their operations in the City of London’s Kenwood Yard, and ground investigations had commenced on 24 March. The locations and dates the ground investigations are being carried out are mapped on the City of London’s website. BAM had given a presentation to the Ponds Project Stakeholder Group (PPSG) on 24 March. Ground investigation work had been completed on the Ladies’ Pond and the Stock Pond, and work had commenced on the Boating Pond. Trial pits would commence on 14 April, and surveys of bird nesting were being carried out to assess likely impact. Locations for bore holes had been changed and in some cases cancelled based upon the likely impact. Seminars would be conducted for the PPSG on 13 April and 10 May, with the 13 April seminar focusing on the upper chains of ponds.


Planning – Water House

The Superintendent noted that a review of the basement impact assessment had been carried out and submitted to Camden, and that the developer had been requested to respond to the assessment’s conclusions before the documents are placed on the website.


Planning – Archway Tower

The Superintendent noted that he had met with the developer, Essential Living, to discuss the proposed conversion of Archway Tower from office to residential use. Proposals included the profile of the building to be set back, and aerials to be removed. The application would be considered by the Islington Planning Committee on 23 April, and the City of London had asked to be consulted on the eventual palette used for the façade of the building.


Planning – Athlone House

The Superintendent noted that the applicant had not responded to concerns raised with them regarding the likely impact of their proposals.


Planning – Garden House

The Superintendent noted that there was no further update from the January meeting of the Committee.


Planning – Swain’s Lane

The Superintendent noted that the City of London was objecting to the proposed scheme on grounds of its inconsistency with national planning policy guidelines and its lack of suitability to the character of the surrounding location.


Property - Parliament Hill Athletics Track

The works to replace the boilers and showers was progressing according to the programme. The Superintendent noted that he had liaised with the Highgate Harriers to secure electricity supply for their 10 April event. He expressed his appreciation for the club’s co-operation whilst the works were progressing.



The Superintendent noted that the 14 February storm had caused a collapse of 25m of perimeter walling and works to remedy this were still progressing and forecast to continue for the time being. Thought was therefore being put into ensuring there would be additional space for users of the Lido on the sun terraces during the summer. He added that anti-climb paint would be applied to the hoarding surrounding the works.


Pergola Belvedere

The Superintendent, as per item 5i, confirmed that an inspection would take place on the Belvedere on 21 April.


National Grid

The Superintendent noted that gas leaks had continued to be a problem during January-March 2014. Nevertheless the football pitches had now been restored and restoration works to the Education Centre Secret Garden were due to commence. The costs of the works would be charged to the National Grid.


Southern Counties Cross-Country Championships – 25 January 2014

The Superintendent reported that the cross-country championships held in January had been a great success and that the course was recovering well, due in part to a dry March. The Conservation Team had fenced areas of the course off to assist in the natural recovery of damaged areas. It was expected that the National Championships would take place on the Heath in 2015.


Hampstead Heath Diary 2014/15

The Superintendent noted that the new diary would be available from 14 April.


World War One Centenary

The Superintendent noted that a field of poppies would be planted in Golders Hill Park to mark the centenary of the Great War.


Christmas Tree Sales – East Heath Car Park

The Superintendent noted that a proposal had been received for the sale of Christmas trees on East Heath Car Park during the festive season and this was currently under consideration. A report would be submitted to the Committee in due course.


Hampstead Heath Constabulary Dogs

The Superintendent reported that one of four Constabulary Police Dogs has failed the Home Office Licence and has consequently been re-homed.  Working with Constabulary and Queens Park Manager he has launched an informal consultation proposing a restructure of the Constabulary.  The proposed structure comprises 2 Sergeants, 2 Constable/Dog Handlers and 8 Constables.  This retains the Constabulary at 12 Officers but reduces the number of Constable/Dog Handlers to 2.

            In response to a query from Richard Sumray over why a restructure was being considered, the Superintendent replied that it was felt that the Constabulary could operate effectively with two dogs rather than four. A reduction in the number of dogs would remove the issue of having to backfill a Constable’s role whilst on the annual 16-day refresher training for dog handling.

            In response to concerns that, given the Constabulary operated on a two-shift rota, there would be no dogs on patrol on the Heath for significant periods of time, the Superintendent replied that the deployment of dogs could be planned based on experience and knowledge of particular times of day when dog patrols would be most effective.

            In response to a comment by Jeremy Wright that the Constabulary used to have six dogs to call upon if needed, the Superintendent replied that the reduction to two dogs was a proposal and that he was currently consulting staff on their professional views to establish if a reduction in the dog team was feasible.


Parliament Hill School – Partial Demolition

In response to a question from Susan Rose, the Superintendent confirmed he was aware of proposals to partially demolish Parliament Hill School and that these were being monitored to assess how these proposals would affect the Heath.


Pitt Arch Sign

In response to a query from Helen Payne, the Conservation Manager confirmed he would investigate the issue of the Pitt Arch sign and report back to the Committee.