Search

Legal battle over Hampstead Heath dams will be of ‘national importance’

10:43 12 June 2014

Speaker Philip Everett, City of London's director of the built environment, who is in charge of the project. Picture: Polly Hancock

Speaker Philip Everett, City of London's director of the built environment, who is in charge of the project. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

An imminent legal battle over the Hampstead Heath dams project is of “national importance” according to the scheme’s opponents.

The Heath and Hampstead Society is set to challenge the £15million scheme by judicial review after the City’s Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen’s Park Committee approved the plans on Monday (June 9), with only one member voting against.

The society believes it will become a “test case” that could determine how reservoir laws are interpreted and how they apply to smaller water bodies, like the Heath’s ponds, across the country.

Marc Hutchinson, secretary of the society, said: “It’s of national importance as well as just for Hampstead, so we would hope the judge would agree it’s a case that should be heard.”

The City looks set to defend the scheme in court despite appearing to admit that it would be in its own interests to lose the case.

At a fiery public meeting last Thursday (June 5), Philip Everett, the City’s director of the built environment, admitted that a judge’s ruling that the project need not go ahead would be gladly received.

After repeatedly being asked if he would “welcome” such a decision by the High Court – which would save the City £15million and spare it from widespread public criticism – he finally responded with a resounding “yes”, prompting huge cheers from the hall.

Mr Hutchinson said: “It would save the City a lot of money. The society has been saying for the last two years that it must be in the City’s interest to find a way not to carry out the works on this scale.”

The public meeting was hosted by Camden Council at Parliament Hill School in Highgate Road and saw residents grill representatives from the City and its contractors Atkins and BAM Nuttall.

The audience of hundreds appeared to be almost unanimously opposed to the scheme, which critics say will “permanently disfigure” the green acres.

“We feel that Camden Council were left in no doubt as to the general public hostility to this entire project,” added Mr Hutchinson.

The project would see dams enlarged by up to 18ft, with major changes including a new embankment to be built across the “catchpit” valley, north of the Hampstead chain of ponds, and drastic changes to the Model Boating Pond in Highgate, which would be much larger with a tree-studded island in the middle.

The City claims the work is required by reservoir legislation. The Corporation also believes it will be liable for any deaths contributed to by the collapse of the dams if it does not act, estimated to be as many as 300 in the most extreme storm.

It plans to submit a planning application to Camden Council in July.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

55 minutes ago

The mixed pond on Hampstead Heath will be ‘women only’ for two weeks in October after management confirmed the ladies’ pond will close so that work can be carried out.

Police were called at around 23.20pm to reports of a gunshot last week but there have been no arrests made so far

07:00

A vigil is to be held at the spot where much-loved Heath character Sheila Karsberg was tragically killed after being hit by a cement mixer in Camden.

Yesterday, 18:21

Both of Camden’s Labour MPs who backed Owen Smith in the leadership contest have called for party unity as speculation mounts over whether they will serve on Jeremy Corbyn’s front bench team if invited.

Yesterday, 18:05

Police figures show the number of drivers who use mobile phones behind the wheel is on the rise.

Yesterday, 17:06

The suspect apparently had nothing in which to stash the money and left a trail of cash as he left

Yesterday, 16:35

Local MPs have overwhelmingly backed calls for the government to make historic changes to end the secrecy surrounding offshore property sales.

Yesterday, 16:01

Highgate farmers’ market organisers are encouraging more community gardeners and allotment groups to get in touch to sell their produce

PROMOTED CONTENT

Interested in purchasing a flat and want to know the rules, rights and regulations as a leaseholder? Or maybe you are already a leaseholder and want to find out more about extending your lease?

Scores of people visited the opening of Composite Door Master’s first public showroom in Hayes at the weekend, where they were treated to a spectacular show by award winning magician, Marc Oberon.

You’ve got cash, you’ve got style and you’ve got a bursting social calendar, but no time. These Crouch End studio suites to rent could be your dream come true.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

As we grow older it becomes more and more important to have means to travel about safely and quickly. Our friendship groups and families grow and the need to have a car that is not only safe but also fast and big enough for all our needs is ever more important. There are many cars on the market for such needs but none deals with them as efficiently or as neatly as a VW Golf Estate. These cars are build strong, long lasting and spacious for a reason. They cater to the needs of many and are some of the most popular cars currently on the market.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now