Why are battling against road plan for Hampstead Heath

WE would like to comment on Bob Hall s suggestion that misrepresentations have arisen about the campaign against the proposed road on Hampstead Heath. The campaign has been very clear that it is opposed to the Corporation s plan to replace a footpath th

WE would like to comment on Bob Hall's suggestion that 'misrepresentations' have arisen about the campaign against the proposed road on Hampstead Heath.

The campaign has been very clear that it is opposed to the Corporation's plan to replace a footpath that has been heavily used for over 100 years, with a vehicle- only road. (The word 'road' or rather 'dedicated vehicular access road' is the Corporation's own, from its report to last September's consultative committee.)

If you stand on the footpath from Gordon House Road for any length of time you will see why we oppose the road. The path is the beginning of the Heath for everyone coming from the south east. It's where we see our neighbours and our dogs make friends, where children ride their scooters. It's the route to the cafe. It provides a sunny, sheltered place when cold north and east winds blow.

We have pointed out that vehicles use the path - this fact is crucial to our case. Vehicles drive more safely on shared-use paths than vehicle-only roads. Children using the back gate of Parliament Hill School and everyone using the Lissenden Gardens path would be more at risk crossing this road than they are now by sharing the path.

The Heath Consultative Committee and the Heath and Hampstead Society rubber-stamped this contentious proposal, without proposing any specific consultation with those most affected.

Imagine how they would have reacted if someone had suggested that a vehicle-only road should replace the avenue from the Pryors, or the Swain's Lane entrance.

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Lots of us care about poor scrubby Parliament Hill Fields and even more care that vehicles shouldn't be given priority over people in a natural environment such as the Heath.

We're not arguing that nothing should change and we support the Corporation's desire to reduce the number of vehicles on the main east west path. However the proposed road merely moves the vehicle/pedestrian conflict from one part of the Heath to another.

We believe that if the Corporation looks longer and harder it will find a better solution somewhere in the land between the depot and Highgate Road. A solution that minimises the distance that outside vehicles have to drive on the Heath and that doesn't sacrifice any open land.

One final point. Our critics claim that the road plan 'is to be considered in detail' as though that was a concession. It's not. It's a declaration of war. You can't consider the detail of a road unless you have a road. Who is misleading whom?

Ros Bayley & Julia Dick

Say No To The Road