Agenda item

Introduction to Structural Changes

Verbal Report of the Superintendent of Burnham Beeches, Stoke Common and City Commons.


The Chairman introduced the item on structural changes by informing the Committee that the City of London had made major changes to its management structure following the appointment of the Superintendent of Hampstead Heath as Chief Executive of Wimbledon and Putney Commons. As a result the Superintendent of City Commons Bob Warnock had moved to Hampstead Heath to take up the interim position of Superintendent of Hampstead Heath. The Chairman placed on record his thanks to Bob for his work across the City Commons and at Ashtead Common in particular, which the members endorsed.


The Chairman went on to introduce the Andy Barnard, the Superintendent of  Burnham Beeches, Stoke Common and City Commons, noting that he had worked closely with Andy in Andy’s previous capacity as Superintendent of Burnham Beeches. He added that Andy was a very talented conservator and manager, and that whilst the logistics involved in covering Stoke Common, Burnham Beeches and the City Commons were enormous, he was confident that City Commons staff would find they had a good leader and manager.


Wyn James noted that the Ashtead Common Volunteers wished to place on record their thanks to Bob Warnock.


The Superintendent noted that he was aware of the strong legacy that Bob Warnock had left across the City Commons. He went on to introduce himself, noting that he had been involved in the management of Open Spaces since the 1970s, beginning as a volunteer. He had moved to Burnham Beeches in 1996. He added that he was passionate about the environment, biodiversity and sustainability. On a personal level he had been married 24 years and had a 34 year old daughter, and he was a keen kayakist and cyclist. He concluded by noting that the current management arrangements were for 14 months and therefore were not necessarily permanent.


The Superintendent then went on to outline the structural changes to staffing across the City Commons, noting that the process had begun under his predecessor in 2011 and was now nearing completion. He highlighted the fact that a new position of Head Ranger had been created for West Wickham Common and Spring Park.


In response to a question from Cllr Townsend regarding how often he would be visiting each site, the Superintendent replied that he would remain based at Burnham Beeches, and aimed to spend one day per week at each of the Commons, with a further day spent at Guildhall. He added that he planned to set aside one day per month for a dedicated site visit to each site.


In response to a question from Barbara Newman regarding staffing changes at each of the Commons, the Superintendent replied that a balance would be struck between maintaining continuity and allocating staff where they were best suited.