Members noted the Divisional Plan 2nd Quarter Update and the following points were made:
· The Superintendent advised that two new columns had been added and that an updated Divisional Plan would come back to the Committee in February split by year for the next three years. He noted that the document would be updated to include a recurring header row on each page to make it easier to read.
· A Member (Hampstead Garden Suburb Residents' Association) noted that the veteran trees policy had been relocated to the Annual Work Programme (AWP) but felt that its status needed to be retained on the Divisional Plan as the guiding document, so it was not lost. He felt there was a difference between a completing project and an ongoing, evolving project. The Chairman suggested mirroring the Project Sub Committee’s approach of updating Members on a project before moving it. The Superintendent explain that “business as usual” projects were reflected in the AWP but agreed to provide annual/regular updates on these projects to ensure Members were kept up-to-date.
· It was suggested that the previous recommendation of an online library holding important and historic documents be set up.
· In response to a query from a Member (Heath and Hampstead Society) regarding the progress on licensing commercial dog walkers, the Superintendent advised that a project plan was in development to tackle this controversial issue which would also involve consultation with dog walkers. The same approach to dog walkers will be implemented across all of the Corporation’s Open Spaces. With regards to dog waste, each professional dog walker will purchase a license and the income would subset the costs generated by waste.
· A Member (Hampstead Conservation Area Advisory Committee) noted that they had googled a number of dog walking companies and on average each company charged £10p/h with each walker taking up to 20 dogs on every walk. Members were surprised by the significant money these companies were making and prompted the Superintendent to charge walkers proportionately.
· In response to a concern regarding knock-on effects for Kenwood, Members were advised that Kenwood were involved in the conversations regarding dog walkers and licenses.
· A Member (Hampstead Rugby Club) raised the significant health impact caused by dog waste, particularly for sport, noting a case of a little girl needing to get her leg amputated. Members noted that it was impossible for walkers with a number of dogs to pick up after all of them. It was agreed the serious health implications needed to be highlighted to all dog walkers and the number of dogs needed to be capped. The Superintendent confirmed that the licensing scheme would restrict the number of dogs.
· Members were concerned that dog walking companies would avoid licensing all of their walkers by simply swapping the dogs throughout the day.
· The Chairman thanked the Committee for their feedback which would be considered in the scheme and inform the unified approach from the Corporation’s Open Spaces and Kenwood.
· Regarding 3.4, the Superintendent advised that a Play Strategy had been drafted and would be coming to the Committee for input. This would inform bids regarding parks at the Heath. The Superintendent highlighted the move in natural play and materials (e.g. timber, hollowed wood) in parks across London and this would be the springboard for natural play in the woods at the Heath.
· Members agreed that natural play was important noting that fallen trees were hugely popular with children. A Member (Highgate Conservation Area Advisory Committee) noted that bright colours were not good for all children, particularly those suffering with hypersensitivity. The Superintendent agreed to circulate concepts to the Committee.
· In response to a query regarding how the zoo strategy would be implemented, the Operational Services Manager advised that a Project Board was set up to review and redevelop the Golders Hill Zoo and develop a plan similar to the 10-year plan developed at Queen’s Park. He noted that an annual £10k investment had been secured which would also be offset by filming money. The plan would have a focus each year, e.g. year one would focusing on improving the donkey enclosure, year two would focus on the paddock, etc. The Chairman requested that the Committee receive regular updates on the ongoing project.