Agenda item

Superintendent's Update

To receive an report of the Superintendent of Hampstead Heath.


The Superintendent provided an update on recent operational and management activities that had taken place across the Heath since November 2016.


The Superintendent reported the sad news that Glyn Roberts, a Duty Lifeguard who had worked on the Heath for almost 25 years, had passed away. The Committee wished to express their sincere condolences to his family.


Restructure of Culture, Heritage and Libraries Department

An organisational change within the Culture, Heritage and Libraries Department had resulted in Keats House coming under the responsibility of the Superintendent of Hampstead Heath. However, Keats will continue to report to the Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee. Responsibility for Tower Bridge and the Monument would also be bought into the Open Spaces Department.


Business Plan

Following a presentation from the Open Spaces Department Business Manager the Committee discussed the business planning process as it related to the 2017/2018 plan. The Committees views were sought on their ambitions and outcomes they felt were most important both for Open Spaces generally and Hampstead Heath specifically, and submissions by email were welcomed.


It was noted that the business planning process and the budget planning process were not currently well aligned, with the budget being set before the business plan was determined. The timescales of the process would be amended to allow for the plan to inform the budget in future. Members were supportive of this.


The Committee discussed the “People, Place, Prosperity” themes which were likely to inform the City’s Corporate Plan. A Member (Hampstead Garden Suburb Resident’s Association) felt that “wellbeing” would be a more suitable term than prosperity to describe the principle behind the management of the Heath. It was agreed that synergy was needed between the management plan and the business plan, and a policy needed to be in place where conflict, particularly conflict relating to the need or desire for the Heath to be “prosperous”, occurred between the plans. There was agreement that the plan for the Heath needed to reflect the needs of users and nature together. The Superintendent felt that such a mission statement needed to be strategically placed in the Divisional Plan.


A Member (Highgate Conservation Area Advisory Committee) felt that the outcomes based approached to business planning should avoid the mantra that “more is better”, and that quality of services and preservation of environment were just as important.



The Café lease options appraisal report to this Committee has been delayed to allow the Café Working Party more time to evaluate the findings from the Café engagement and consultation exercise.


Members discussed the options for the Lido Café lease. It was proposed that a tendering exercise would be undertaken for a short term lease up until January 2018 to bring it in line with the other Cafés. There was a long term ambition for the café to be able to open year round, but the short term lease arrangement would be flexible to cater for the 2017 season. Members were supportive of this approach.


A Member (Dartmouth Park Conservation Area Advisory Committee) outlined a proposal for the improvement of the Parliament Hill Café. It was noted that the nature of the short term leases impacts on the ability of the leaseholders to make significant capital investments in the facilities.


Eruv Proposals

The Superintendent led a discussion on the proposals to construct an Eruv at two locations on Hampstead Heath. Members felt that although they did not disagree in principle to the installation, it should not have an impact of the natural landscape and should not increase the visible built environment. The Superintendent would provide feedback and request further proposals that are less visually intrusive.


Community Infrastructure Levy

The Superintendent introduced three projects which have been put forward to apply for funding from the Community Infrastructure Levy. These include improvements to the Peggy Jay Centre, the full conversion of the Hive and the installation of an outdoor gym. The Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum had also received proposals for funding which would affect the Heath, including playground upgrades, additional lighting, an enhanced village green and a public art installation. These proposals would need first to be evaluated by the Superintendent and discussed with this Committee and the Management Committee before they could be put forward for wider consultation.


A Member (Mansfield Conservation Area Advisory Committee) suggested that the bridge approach to the Heath could be considered for funding.



A date has yet been confirmed for the Water House appeal hearing. The City Corporation would present technical evidence in opposition to the scheme. The Superintendent was also in the process of submitting a letter of representation in relation to a planning application at 114 – 120 West Heath Road.




Public Art

The Dinosaur sculptures “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” currently on display in Golders Hill Park will be moved to a new location at the CASS Sculpture Foundation in Sussex in February. It was confirmed the cost of deinstallation was approximately £7000.


RESOLVED – that the report be noted and that the views of the Committee are conveyed to the Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen’s Park Committee.


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