Agenda item

Superintendent's Update

Report of the Superintendent of Hampstead Heath.



Members considered an update report of the Superintendent and the following points were made.




·         The Superintendent noted the positive coverage of the Heath arising from the BBC Countryfile ‘One Man and His Dog’; the successful 16th Annual Conker Championships held on 1 October; and the forthcoming 10,000m event on 19 May 2018.


Shire Horses


·         Two petitioners were heard in support of the use of shire horses on the Heath in the place of motor vehicles.  The petitioners noted that shire horses were an integral part of Richmond Park and had great potential to be part of the Heath as an open space. As well as activities such as moving timber, the horses had been shown to have a positive therapeutic role, through initiatives such as interaction sessions with bullied children.


·         Ellin Stein (Mansfield Conservation Area Advisory Committee) welcomed the idea and suggested that consideration be given to stabling the horses at City Farm.


·         Colin Gregory (Hampstead Garden Suburb Residents’ Association) welcomed the proposal and noted the heritage aspect of bringing horses back to the Heath – for example, Whitestone Pond was a former horse pond. He noted that the economics of employing the horses on the Heath full time looked to be too expensive but welcomed the idea of more limited working patterns, and the participation of horses in the Heath events programme.


·         Michael Hammerson (Highgate Society) suggested that the horses be employed in Highgate Wood.


·         Richard Sumray (London Council for Recreation and Sport) supported the proposal but noted that the heritage aspect was not reflected in his view, in the wider Heath strategies.


·         Helen Payne (Friends of Kenwood) supported the proposal and noted that she could raise it with her organisation to see if there was any potential for synergies between the Heath and Kenwood. She added that, if the proposal should be pursued, that the horses should be educational and should not become too commercialised in an events sense.


·         The Superintendent thanked Members for their views and noted that the proposal would be further reviewed ahead of submission to the Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen’s Park Committee for decision. He noted that horses featured at Queen’s Wood near Highgate Wood, and on the City of London Corporation’s City Commons. He noted that in his view the employment of horses on a contractor style basis looked to be the most sensible option.




·         The Superintendent noted that he was recalling the Pedestrian and Cycling Working Group to discuss how the surface and drainage along shared routes could be improved in line with the Heath’s natural aspect.



·         The Water House, Millfield Lane, 2017/3692/P. the Superintendent noted that the City had participated in the stakeholder group taking part in the application and that he had registered the need to protect the trees along Millfield Lane from construction traffic.


·         Peabody Trust Archway Campus and Euston Stations Planning Brief. The Superintendent noted that submissions had been made in both of these instances noting that the proposals should not conflict with strategic views from the Heath.


·         London Borough of Barnet Green Infrastructure Supplementary Planning Document, Public Consultation. In response to a question from Richard Sumray (London Council of Recreation and Sport) the Superintendent confirmed that representations on strategic documents such as this sought to identify synergies in delivering excellent public open spaces across a number of sites in a given London borough.


·         North Fairground Site, Vale of Health 2017/4346/P. Ellen Solomons (Vale of Health Society) updated Members on the North Fairground site application. She noted a number of applications had been submitted for the site and subsequently rejected. The applicant had now claimed that the historic use of the site gave permission to use the area to site static caravans. The Vale of Health Society had yet to receive any feedback on the matter from the London Borough of Camden. She noted the Society’s thanks to the City of London Corporation for its support on the matter.




·         In response to a question from Colin Gregory (Hampstead Garden Suburb Residents’ Association) the Conservation and Trees Manager noted that a decision on whether a representation would be made to the Forestry Commission’s review of current Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) treatments was a matter for the City’s Director of Open Spaces.


Koi Herpesvirus


·         The Conservation and Trees Manager noted that the Environment Agency had been notified of an outbreak of the Koi Herpesvirus (KHV) on 4 September 2017. The virus had a 90% fatality rate and affected at present the Model Boating Pond. Its likely source was a net infected at another site and then used on the Heath. Fishing had been suspended across all ponds, and 37 fish had been lost so far. The last affected fish had been identified on 2 October. A judgement on reopening the ponds to fishing would be made once a two-week clear period had passed.


·         In response to questions, the Conservation and Trees Manager noted there had been other outbreaks of KHV in Walthamstow and Epping.


Memorial Bench Project


·         In response to a question from John Weston (Hampstead Conservation Area Advisory Committee) the Superintendent replied that a Memorial Bench Policy would be submitted to Members at a future meeting.


·         The Projects and Management Support Officer noted that the policy would likely involve memorial benches being installed for a period of ten years, after which the persons who installed the bench would be given the option to renew the bench for a further 10 year cycle. Some of the existing memorial benches on the Heath dated back 40 years and it was proving challenging identifying those sponsors.


Title - xxx


·         The Superintendent noted that there would be an award announcement on 12 October 2017 for xxxxx


Solar Panels – Lido


·         The Superintendent noted that solar panels were due to be installed on the roof of the Lido shortly.

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