Hampstead Heath lovers hold ‘damn nonsense’ protest party

Heath lovers hold a 'protest party' on the first anniversary of the Heath Dams Project getting the g

Heath lovers hold a 'protest party' on the first anniversary of the Heath Dams Project getting the go ahead - Credit: Archant

Heath lovers held a demonstration on Saturday to mark the first anniversary since the controversial Heath dams project got the go ahead from Camden council last January.

In an ironic call to action. organiser Kiki Nets, from Mackeson Road, invited others to join her to “celebrate the first anniversary of the felling of trees and introduction of roads on Hampstead Heath in the name of The Ponds Project.”

With a hint of sarcasm she said: “The City of London Corporation are making preparations for the event; having cleared the area of shrubs and trees, they started pouring tons and tons of concrete into the side of Pond No 1 – the icing on the cake!

“Wow let’s party! Enough of this damn nonsense. It’s time for the King Solomon test to find who really loves the Heath; the thousands who signed the petition and went to court to stop this carnage or the City of London who have earned millions from carving it up.”

The protesters gathered at the South End Green entrance to the Heath at the protest last Friday.

As reported in the Ham&High, Camden Council approved the £22 million scheme last January, despite a 12,465-strong petition against it and over 1,000 letters of objection.

The work, which got underway in April, has seen months of heavy construction across the Heath and the closure of the swimming ponds, and is expected to last until October.

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Protesters claim it is causing “irreparable damage” to the historic landscape and “vandalising” the Heath.

Mrs Nets said: “Our beloved Heath is being churned up, oasis by oasis, as we all look on in despair..”

Some of the protesters walked around the Heath to view the extent of the works at the ponds as shown in our photos taken over the weekend.

The year since the scheme was approved has already seen:

* The project slammed as a “complete fiasco” in August as work on the Model Boating Pond was halted because a temporary dam threatened to give way. Contractors BAM Nuttall had spent weeks emptying the southern part of the pond with pumps while experts rescued fish and wildlife.

However they were forced to urgently refill it as an inspection of the temporary barrier revealed it could not cope with the resulting water pressure from the north side of the pond.

* A few weeks earlier during the dredging the rusty shell of a rusty Ford Cortina was found mysteriously at the bottom of a pond. Mystery still surrounded how it got there as it was removed from the pond bed las month.

* On January 1, the Ladies Pond New Year’s swim went ahead of the closure of the pond for three months next month for work to be completed. Women swimmers an relocate to the Mixed bathing pond.

A spokesman from the City of London Corporation said work is on budget and construction is set to be completed in October. He said: “Work is starting this week on the Catchpit which is north of Mixed Pond.