Agenda item

Weddings and Civil Partnerships at the Hill Garden and Pergola

Report of the Superintendent of Hampstead Heath.


The Superintendent of Hampstead Heath introduced a report outlining proposals to begin offering weddings and civil partnerships at the Hill Garden and Pergola.

            He thanked those present for the comments that had been provided on the proposal at the committee walk on 29 March and noted that officers intended to adopt a ‘soft opening’ of the proposal to ensure its impact on the site and other visitors was kept to a minimum.

            John Weston welcomed the fact there would be a ‘soft opening’ but expressed concern over the potential impact of weekend popularity of weddings.

            In response to a question from Colin Gregory regarding how long set-up and dismantling of temporary wedding structures would take, the Superintendent replied that officers would seek to encourage a minimalist approach to the site given the appeal of its landscaped setting. Colin Gregory commented that the time of day at which the wedding was conducted would also have an impact on other visitors, given an afternoon wedding would conflict more with popular visiting times compared to a morning wedding.

            Richard Sumray commented that he supported the proposal but agreed with Colin Gregory that the time it took to set up and dismantle temporary structures would be an issue, particularly in the event of rain.

            Jeremy Wright commented that he too welcomed the proposals provided appropriate safeguarding work on the setting was put in place by officers. He welcomed the fact that the initiative would encourage a greater awareness amongst the general public of what was arguably a little-known part of the Heath.

            Helen Payne endorsed the concerns expressed over the impact on the wider public posed by set-up time of weddings and civil partnerships. She noted that particular rooms and areas of the property being closed off at Kenwood House had been known to be resented by other members of the public seeking to enjoy the site.

            Michael Hammerson suggested that the City of London Corporation adopt internet marketing of the proposal to maximise awareness amongst interested couples.

            Jeremy Wright requested that the impact of the proposal be evaluated after two years and the conclusions of the evaluation be reported back to the committee.

            In response to the concerns expressed, the Superintendent noted that there was a demonstrable appetite for Friday ceremonies which would hopefully lessen the impact posed to the general public by staging weddings and civil partnerships at the weekend.


Supporting documents: