Hampstead Heath committee chair to stand down

Anne Fairweather, chair of the City of London Corporation's Hampstead Heath Management Committee

Anne Fairweather, chair of the City of London Corporation's Hampstead Heath Management Committee - Credit: City of London

The City of London Corporation's Hampstead Heath head is stepping down from the corporation after six "fulfilling years".

Anne Fairweather is stepping down from the City of London Corporation (CoLC) in the upcoming elections. 

Under her chairmanship of the Heath committee, controversial compulsory charges were introduced for swimming at the Ponds and events were held to mark the 150th anniversary of the Hampstead Heath Act.

She said: "I have been privileged and honoured to be the chair of the Hampstead Heath Committee, a place close to my heart and full of childhood memories from swimming in ponds to navigating the adventure playground," she said.

Cllr Fairweather was elected to represent the City’s Tower ward as an independent in 2016 and was re-elected unopposed the following year.

In 2020 she replaced Karina Dostalova as chair of the CoLC's Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen’s Park Management Committee. 

The 2021 elections were delayed by Covid and will be taking place on March 24.

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"Unexpectedly I became the lockdown chair, navigating challenges we’ve never faced before," she added.

"Everyone stepped up, with all volunteers and staff going above and beyond their duties."

She said she was "grateful" to lead the work during such a challenging period saying the Heath provided an outlet for people and was vital for supporting mental and physical health during these times.

"It’s been great to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Hampstead Heath Act and everything the Heath has to offer in 2021.

"From rich wildlife and extensive learning play and recreational opportunities including swimming, fishing, walking and team sports, the Heath is a much-loved space."

A series of events were held in June to mark the 150th anniversary of the 1871 Hampstead Heath Act, including a kite flying event, a community festival, musical performances, and a film festival. 

Under Ms Fairweather's lead, the CoLC decided to bring in charges to the Hampstead swimming ponds in 2020 citing increased running costs and safety concerns.

A judicial review to determine whether the charging regime to swim at the Hampstead Heath bathing ponds discriminates against disabled people is now scheduled for February 23-24.

“I'd like to thank everyone who has supported me during my time as chair, and who has contributed to making the Heath the amazing green space it is today," she said.