New year message: 'Hampstead Heath has been a godsend in 2020'
Marc Hutchinson, Chair, Heath & Hampstead Society
- Credit: Diana Von R Photography
For Hampstead’s Heath and Village this has been a year like no other.
Nevertheless, despite the bad things, there have been many good ones for which to be thankful.
The Heath, with 16 million visits, has taken a real battering, especially around its southern end, but what a godsend it has been to Londoners in lockdown, and how grateful we are to superintendent Bob Warnock and his exhausted team for dealing with so many problems such as litter, free-for-all cycling and illegal encampments.
The Heath will recover eventually but one change which is here to stay is surely the increase in visitor numbers, and as a consequence more areas of the Heath temporarily fenced off for soil decompaction and grass regeneration.
The shops and restaurants in the village have suffered grievously but the "streateries" were a big success, many restaurants continue to survive on takeaway and deliveries, and abandoned shops are now being refurbished for reopening with new retailers.
The society has continued its work on every front – planning, town amenity and the Heath - throughout this time and is looking forward, as are we all, to a much better 2021. In that spirit, we wish all Ham&High readers a very happy new year.
- Marc Hutchinson is chair of the Heath & Hampstead Society.
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