Report of the Superintendent of Hampstead Heath.
The Committee received a report of the Superintendent of Hampstead Heath that provided an update on management and operational activities across the Heath since March 2016 and sought input from members regarding a review of the consultation arrangements. Members considered the following matters:-
· The Superintendent wished to increase the levels of forward planning and consultation for the development of regular committee reports that could be adjusted for the Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen’s Park Committee (Management Committee), taking into account Consultative Committee members’ comments after each meeting.
· The management plan, which would be reported regularly to the Consultative Committee, would become more outcomes focussed so that members were aware of the steps taken since the previous meeting and the steps to be taken before the next.
· Members were supportive of a change from three Consultative Committee and six Management Committee meetings to four meetings of each per year, with Consultative Committee meetings held approximately four weeks beforehand to allow feedback to be reflected in reports to the Management Committee – this should be piloted for a one year period if agreed by the Management Committee.
· Some members (London Council for Sport and Recreation, Highgate Conservation Area Advisory Committee) suggested that reports to the Consultative Committee could be clearer on what members’ needed to comment on to allow the Management Committee to infer clear recommendations from Consultative Committee minutes as well as in the amended reports to the Management Committee.
· Some members (Friends of Kenwood, Hampstead Conservation Area Advisory Committee) proposed that Consultative Committee minutes could include the results of members’ votes on required decisions, although others suggested that voting was unnecessary as minutes should just include a clear consensus on each decision summarised by the Chairman at the end of each item.
· A member (Vale of Health Society) suggested that separate minutes of Management Committee meetings that specified when the views of the Consultative Committee had been taken into account could be provided to the Consultative Committee, although the Town Clerk advised that this would be difficult to implement.
· In response to a member’s (Representative of Clubs using facilities on the Heath) question regarding written representations from Consultative Committee members, the Superintendent advised that the existing practice was the members could circulate their comments concerning certain agenda items via the Town Clerk in advance of each meeting.
· Members noted that the Consultative Committee walks were a valuable exercise, which should continue to be held two or perhaps nine days before each meeting with details of members’ discussions at the walk to be circulated by the Superintendent via the Town Clerk at or before the following meeting.
· In response to a member’s (Hampstead Garden Suburb Residents’ Association) request, the Open Spaces Business Manager advised that the upcoming Departmental Business Plan could be reported to the Consultative Committee for feedback regarding budgets and divisional objectives for Hampstead Heath.
· The Chairman raised the matter of representation on the Consultative Committee and noted that young people were currently not represented within the membership of the Committee.
· Most members suggested that the current membership represented a variety of Heath user groups who could engage with a wide range of users – one member (Hamsptead Garden Residents’ Association) added that members of the wider public from the groups represented on the Consultative Committee could be invited to observe one meeting annually.
· The addition of local Ward Members was raised by the Deputy Chairman but members noted a selection process would be difficult as the Heath was situated across two London Boroughs and a large number of Ward areas – the Chairman added that the London Boroughs of Barnet and Camden were both represented on the Management Committee.
· A member (London Council for Sport and Recreation) suggested that other user groups could be consulted on certain matters where necessary on an ad hoc basis.
· A member (Highgate Conservation Area Advisory Committee) suggested that Hampstead Heath projects blog (similar to the Ponds Project blog) could be introduced, as well as increased advertising of the Consultative Committee, including how to contact members, on notice boards and online.
· A presentation from the developers regarding the planning application for Athlone House on Thursday 30 June, 10:00 – 11:00am at the Parliament Hill Staff Yard meeting room.
· A member (Highgate Society) added that there was no work envisaged to reduce the basements at Athlone House at this stage.
Open Spaces Learning Team
· Progress being made with the appointment of new staff and new opportunities to engage with local secondary schools children would be reported at the next meeting.
· Heath Hands were thanked for their contribution to the Kenwood education garden which was viewed as a great success.
A report regarding the waiting list for memorial benches would be submitted for consideration at the next meeting.
The fencing approaching South End Green would be re-sited ten metres further back behind the planetrees.
RESOLVED – That:-
a) The Superintendent’s update of management and operational activities across the Heath be noted; and
b) Members’ views regarding consultation arrangements be noted.