Report of the Director of Open Spaces.
Members considered a report of the Director of Open Spaces providing Members with an update on the Fundamental Review. The following points were made:
· A Member (London Council for Recreation and Sport) voiced concern over the way the report was written which he did not feel reflected a balance between the City and the Corporation’s spaces outside of the City. It was felt that the focus on the Square Mile could negatively impact Open Spaces and Members queried how this would be managed. This view was endorsed by the Heath and Hampstead Society who were concerned that the Review would negatively affect the heath’s budget.
· A Member (Friends of Kenwood) highlighted the importance of health and wellbeing and regarded it as short-sighted to not include Open Spaces in delivering this.
· A Member (Hampstead Garden Suburb Residents' Association) found the language in the report worrying and felt that substantial savings would need to be made to cover the cost of other big projects.
· It was noted that the report stated that the “importance of meaningful input from the Hampstead Heath Consultative Committee in the process is recognised” and a Member (Hampstead Garden Suburb Residents' Association) queried how meaningful this input would be into the Review. The Member drew attention to the Corporate Plan stating that the basic vision and aims gave importance to contributing to a flourishing society, health and wellbeing, and shaping outstanding environments, all of which were supported heavily by the Corporation’s Open Spaces and contributed to London as a whole. Members agreed this was important and needed to be considered within the Review including meaningful input from the Committee and other relevant Committees.
· The Chairman and Deputy Chair confirmed that they had both become Members of the Policy & Resources Committee and Projects Sub Committee and would ensure the views of the Committee were reflected at these meetings. The Chairman noted that it was not clear how projects would be prioritised at this stage and that more information would be available by the next meeting.
· It was noted by a Member (Highgate Society) that if the focus of the Corporation was to boost the international profile of the City, it would be counterproductive to make cuts to high profile areas in London such as the Heath.