Agenda item

Superintendent's Update

The Superintendent of Hampstead Heath to be heard.



The committee agreed to amend the order of business so that the Superintendent’s Update would be considered ahead of the Reports of the Superintendent.


RESOLVED: that the Superintendent’s Update be moved from Item 5 on the published agenda to Item 4; and that Reports of the Superintendent be moved from Item 4 to Item 5.


St Jude’s Day Storm

The Superintendent updated the committee on the impact of the St Jude’s Day storm on 28 October. He noted that it had reached the Heath around 0630 and was largely over by 0715, and that the Sandy Heath area had been the worst affected, with some paths still closed as a result. Overall around 50 trees had been snapped or brought down on the Heath, with a further 50-60 trees suffering damage to their crowns. Nevertheless a lot of veteran trees on the Heath had been spared damage, thanks to recent works.


The Superintendent went on to note that Highgate Wood had been particularly affected, potentially due to it being located on higher ground compared to the Heath, with 100 trees damaged. He informed the committee that staff resources would be diverted from the Heath to Highgate Wood to deal with the damage. He noted that staff had been exemplary in their response to the storm, coming in early on the day and working hard to deal with the storm’s impact. He concluded by saying that – with the fatality at Kew a year ago arising from a snapped branch – Highgate Wood with its high proportion of damaged trees had remained closed to the public for a few days after the storm whilst assessment and remedial works were carried out.


National Cross-Country Championships

The Superintendent informed the committee that the National Cross-Country Championships would be returning to the Heath in 2015, and that the decision to do so was secured by the Leisure and Events Manager. 



The Superintendent noted that the Duathlon held on the Heath in September 2013 had raised over £1,169 for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal.


Planning – Garden House

The Superintendent noted that the appeal to the Planning Inspectorate over the Garden House planning decision had been upheld. At the invitation of the Superintendent, Ian Harrison commented further and reiterated concerns that the application concerning the Garden House would see the road leading into the Vale of Health regularly obstructed by construction traffic, and that Vale of Health residents had little faith in the London Borough of Camden’s ability to enforce the efficient movement of traffic in the area during the construction period. He concluded by expressing appreciation on behalf of the Vale of Health Society for the City of London Corporation’s support in opposing the Garden House application.



Planning – The Water House

The Superintendent updating the committee noted there was no indication of the Camden planning officer’s view regarding the revised application for The Water House. The application if approved would see heavy use of Millfield Lane during construction works that from the Corporation’s perspective is completely inappropriate.


Planning – Athlone House

The Superintendent noted that a planning application had been received by the London Borough of Camden but not yet formally logged.


Planning – Swain’s Lane

In response to a query from Mary Port, the Superintendent indicated that he was aware of the planning proposal in question and that he would be considering its potential impact shortly.



The Superintendent concluded his update by noting that the London Youth Games and the Cross-Country Championships were upcoming on the Heath.