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Hampstead Heath boss pledges to protect beauty spot from commuter cyclists

PUBLISHED: 09:43 05 March 2012

Hot weather Hampstead Heath

Hot weather Hampstead Heath

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The chief of Hampstead Heath has pledged to protect the beauty spot from becoming a commuter route for cyclists.

Heath Superintendent Simon Lee has told the Ham&High that the City of London Corporation could step in if the Heath is threatened with becoming part of the capital’s transport network.

Although recreational cycling is allowed on designated cycling paths, pedestrians will always be put first, according to the Heath’s top man.

“We welcome responsible cyclists. There are concerns regarding further use of the Heath for commuter cycling and that’s something that needs to be thought through carefully,” said Mr Lee.

“The underlying principle is the Heath is there for pedestrians, that’s what it is primarily there for and it’s important that people respect that. There is a balance to be struck in terms of turning the Heath into part of the transport network.

“If that interferes and causes a nuisance to other users of the Heath then like everything on the Heath where there is an effect on the other users I think we have a role as the stewards of the Heath to intervene.”

The City has already installed humps along cycle routes to try and slow speeding cyclists. The Heath’s constabulary is also tasked with keeping an eye on cyclists in the beauty spot.

Tony Ghilchik, the Heath and Hampstead’s spokesman, for the open space, said: “It’s fine when cyclists stick to the routes and give way to pedestrians but the Heath should never become part of the commuter network.

“The Heath is for people to walk around with their children so they can relax. They should not have to worry about cyclists rushing past them.”

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