Improved floodlighting is part of a planned £2 million refurbishment of the athletics track on Hampstead Heath which is finally underway.

Plans for the Parliament Hill Athletics Track will be shared at a public event on Friday, March 24 from 3.30pm to 7pm at the track entrance.

Anyone who uses the facility or interested in the proposals can view the designs and speak to experts at the City of London Corportation, which runs the heath, about the project.

Staff at the City of London Corporation (CoLC), which manages Hampstead Heath, warned in 2021 that if it failed to secure funding of up to £2 million, there was a “real risk” that the track would have to close.

But last year CoLC’s policy and resources committee agreed to fund the project.

The track will be resurfaced to ensure it maintains UK Athletics TrackMark accreditation and can continue to be used to host major national and international athletics events.

Floodlighting will also be upgraded to make it more energy efficient and environmentally friendly, and reduce light pollution, CoLC said.

The main improvement works are planned between June and September.

There has been an athletics track at Parliament Hill since 1939 and the current track was laid in 1978.

It is made up of an all-weather, eight-lane synthetic track, a commentator’s box, changing rooms, an outfield, and facilities for field events. 

Big names such as Olympic, World and European 5,000-10,000m champion Mo Farah, double European Cross Country Championships winner Hayley Yelling, and European Athletics Championships silver medallist Andy Vernon, have won Championships at Parliament Hill.

The athletics track is home to Highgate Harriers, used by several running clubs and schools from across north and central London, and open to the public. 

William Upton KC, chair of CoLC's Hampstead Heath management committee, said: “The track is an important community sports venue and is open to everyone, from elite athletes to school children.

“Sport has a hugely positive impact on community health and wellbeing, and on London’s attractiveness as a leading global city. That’s why the City Corporation is making this multi-million pound investment in its future."