Report of the Superintendent of Hampstead Heath.
Members considered an update report of the Superintendent and the following points were made.
· The Queen’s Park Manager noted that two recruitment campaigns had been conducted for the vacancy of Team Leader, but the preferred candidate had declined the role in favour of a secondment in the Ascension Islands. The Queen’s Park Manager added that he was working with City of London Corporation HR to review the job description, and a further recruitment round would be conducted in early 2018.
· The Queen’s Park Manager noted that a range of cyclical works had been carried out in the Park, including rewiring of the Play Area Toilets and the Pool. Further cyclical works were planned, including to paths and fencing. Park users would be updated on the progress of works via social media.
Projects and Programmes
· The Queen’s Park Manager noted that some movement had been detected in the Ladies’ Toilets. Temporary repairs had been carried out by the City’s City Surveyor’s Department, and the building would be monitored for further movement. The Manager reminded Members that a proposed extension to the toilet block had been proposed at the June 2017 meeting, at a cost of £45,000. The recent movement presented an opportunity to review whether a wider, more ambitious, project could be undertaken.
· In response to a question from a Member, the Queen’s Park Manager confirmed that monitoring the building for further movement was being undertaken.
· In response to a question from a Member, the Chairman noted that any increased project scope would be subject to the City of London Corporation’s Project Procedure. The Superintendent agreed to map out a draft project timeline and share it with Members outside of the meeting.
· In response to requests from Members for the Group to be involved in the process as much as possible, the Superintendent agreed to share the designs for the Ladies’ Pond at Hampstead Heath as a potential example of what any future project for the toilet block in Queen’s Park could involve.
· In response to comments regarding potential funding sources for the project, the Queen’s Park Manager noted he had approached Accessibility who had advised they had limited funding to offer. The Chairman noted that she would also approach the City’s Chief Grants Officer to see if the project qualified for any City grants. A Member encouraged officers to liaise also with the London Borough of Brent.
· The Queen’s Park Manager noted that the tender for works at the Queen’s Park Sandpit had been unsuccessful, and he would therefore be reapproaching potential contractors.
· In response to a question from a Member, the Queen’s Park Manager replied that some green waste was composted at the Park, but that the bulk was removed by a contractor as the cost of disposing with all green waste at the Park itself was prohibitive.
Ecology and Environment
· The Queen’s Park Manager noted that the City’s Director of Open Spaces had formed a Biosecurity Working Group consisting of officers from the Royal Parks and the City of London Corporation to encourage a joined-up response to biosecurity threats such as Oak Processionary Moth.
Visitors and Community
· A Member welcomed the fact the Park was licenced to hold marriages and civil partnerships at the Bandstand, with accompanying marketing potential.
· The Queen’s Park Manager noted the ongoing popularity of the RSPBs ‘Wild Park’ sessions.
· The Queen’s Park Manager noted an application had been received for a further Shakespeare in the Squares to be held in the Quiet Garden on 23 June 2018.
· The Queen’s Park Manager thanked the Queen’s Park Area Residents Association for their role in delivering a successful Queen’s Park Day, which was attended by over 11,000 people.
· In response to a question from a Member, the Queen’s Park Manager replied that local business involvement in events in the Park included an alcohol stall for Shakespeare in the Squares and a local caterer for Queen’s Park Day. The Chairman commented that it was important that the Park Café was given as much support as possible.
Sport and Recreation
· The Queen’s Park Manager noted that two tennis courts had not yet been allocated a contractor. He would be meeting with the Lawn Tennis Association on 4 December 2017 to explore grant funding opportunities, and would also review whether any potential funding could be claimed from the Wembley Stadium Trust. In response to a comment from a Member, he agreed to liaise with the City’s Central Grants Team to ensure any grant application best practice could be applied to bids from the Park.
· Members considered a tabled paper setting out income for the Park for both 2016/17 and 2018/19. In response to a question from a Member, the Superintendent noted that income from donation boxes at Hampstead Heath and Highgate Wood secured c. £80 per month, and that similar boxes could be trialed at Queens’s Park.
· In response to a reqest from the Chairman, the Superintendent agreed to provide an analysis at the next meeting on the effectiveness on the online booking system used in the Park.
· In response to a further request from the Chairman, the Superintendent agreed to draw up options for improving the fencing around the paddling pool for the next meeting.
· In response to a suggestion from a Member, the Superintendent agreed to investigate whether the listed telephone box near the Park could be converted into a community use, such as a pop up coffee shop or heritage library. He nevertheless noted that the box was still operational.
RESOLVED, that the report be noted.