Our love of the Heath is threatened by wealth and power
You describe the Millfield Lane planning dispute as The clash of the Titans (H&H May 7). I wish it were. It is the clash between sensitivity, love of the Heath and all it means, and normal home life for many residents, against the power of money or, in yo
You describe the Millfield Lane planning dispute as The clash of the Titans (H&H May 7). I wish it were. It is the clash between sensitivity, love of the Heath and all it means, and normal home life for many residents, against the power of money or, in your words, a company believed to be controlled by a Russian billionaire.
It is vital to the future of Hampstead Heath that we save the rural end of Millfield Lane from predatory developers. Forget the 'road' down by the Lido. This was far more serious.
If these developers ever get their way the gate will be opened to the rape of one of the most lovely and peaceful parts of the Heath. Will it just be one house? There is talk of another, equally large, on part of the same site at Fitzroy Farm.
Plans for a similar development of the Water House site, also in the lane, have been withdrawn but may well come back.
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It is hard to believe that Camden Council ever gave permission for such a house to be built, with a huge basement, two stories deep, dug out just above the Ladies Pond. The works could seriously have polluted the water but even when work finished, the flow of springs would have been permanently altered, affecting not only the swimming pond but the water right down the chain of Highgate Ponds.
What would the carbon footprint of 22-tonne trucks passing down the lane have been every 12 minutes for possibly up to three years?
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The developers demanded that the decision of the planning inspector should only consider the impact on the local residents and not the environment issues. Are not beauty, magnificent trees, the presence of kingfishers, frogs and newts all part of the amenities enjoyed by local residents? And was it not the duty of planners to consider the impact on Heath users, swimmers and children walking to and from school?
Hampstead Heath is unique. There is not another great city in the world which has such an area of seeming countryside in its midst.
Houses come and go, desirable one year, pulled down 50 years later. But, if we fulfil our duty to protect it, not just for ourselves locally but for all Londoners, the Heath will go on and delight and nourish many generations to come.
Parliament Hill, NW3
Your article about Millfield Lane shows the strength of public feeling in relation to the impact of the construction process. It's a shame residents, swimmers, allotment holders and other Heath users had to go through the worries of the last year about the potentially devastating impact of constructing a massive house on what is in effect a quiet country lane.
Though ward councillors have done what they can to support those affected, residents have had to put in much of their own time and employ advisers - which wouldn't be an option available to all Camden residents. This problem arose partly because development control councillors had been advised in such cases to leave construction issues to a management plan to be agreed between council officers and developers.
Green Party councillors have asked for construction issues to be considered at the time of, or in advance of, the application. This should ensure we do not have cases like this in the future where it may in fact not be possible to build such a sizeable development without compromising safety and tranquillity for a considerable period of time.
We are pleased that this approach has been taken in a more recent case in Holly Terrace, Hampstead. We will continue to lobby and seek to ensure that amenity and safety issues are properly considered before an application is granted.
Cllr Maya de Souza
(Green Party) Highgate Ward