8,00 join protest against Heath road
Susanna Wilkey A PETITION against the proposed vehicle-only road across Hampstead Heath has been handed over to the Heritage Lottery Fund in a bid to stop its funding. The Say No to the Road campaign has received huge support from more than 8,000 people i
A PETITION against the proposed vehicle-only road across Hampstead Heath has been handed over to the Heritage Lottery Fund in a bid to stop its funding.
The Say No to the Road campaign has received huge support from more than 8,000 people including TV presenter Bill Oddie, comedian Michael Palin, singer Suggs and royal biographer Andrew Morton.
Following action days held on the Heath, a group of campaigners travelled to Belgravia to hand over their report to the committee deciding whether or not to allocate �2,730,000 to the City of London Corporation's masterplan for the Heath.
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Organiser Jonathan Futrell, who lives in Lissenden Gardens, said: "We have all been overwhelmed by the support we have received from the public. It was incredible what people were saying to us on the Heath.
"The corporation said this plan was based on 132 people filling in a questionnaire which is unbelievable considering we have 8,000 people who have signed."
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The road is just one part of the 20-year masterplan for the Parliament Hill triangle which aims to improve access to the Heath. Proposals include improving the appearance of the entranceways, improvements to the lido, relocating the Parliament Hill depot to Kenwood Yard and introducing office space for the superintendent's management team.
The scheme would be part funded by the National Lottery but campaigners feel the plans are being "steamrollered" through. Since starting the petition last October, more than 3,000 have signed and another 5,000 have joined the campaign through internet site Facebook.
Another organiser Ros Bayley said: "I am now very eager to hear from the lottery fund that they have delivered our reports to the members of the committee because we were originally told that this would not be possible.
"We've been overwhelmed by the goodwill shown to the campaign - people know instinctively that converting a footpath to vehicle use is wrong and won't sit by and let it happen.
"In the era of climate change, people feel strongly about reducing carbon emissions and preserving the environment so these incursions are very unwelcome.
"The corporation is totally out of touch with Heath users."
Kiki Kendrick, of Mackeson Road, is just one dog owner to have signed the petition.
She said: "The dogs are definitely opposed to it because they like to be off the lead and run around without worrying about a road.
"We think once we let this happen, it will open the floodgates and within a couple of years, development will be all across the Heath."
A spokeswoman for the Heritage Lottery Fund said: "While we cannot comment on live applications, we will take into consideration any concerns among the community as part of our assessment."
A decision is due to be made in the next few weeks. A spokeswoman for the City of London Corporation said the petition had arisen as a result of "inaccurate comments" and a growing misunderstanding about the proposals.
She said: "This comprises one element of a masterplan to transform Parliament Hill triangle to provide a welcome befitting such a popular and important open space.
"It is hoped the Heritage Lottery Fund will judge the scheme on these merits and recognise the significant social and environment improvements that can be delivered through this initial phase of the plan.