Letter to Ham&High: Open Spaces Bill would benefit London's green spaces

The City Corporation, which manages Hampstead Heath and many other London green spaces, is considering asking Parliament to pass an Open Spaces Bill which would give us additional statutory management powers. The aim is to secure the best possible future for these precious sites.

This includes looking at ways of generating income through events like weddings, recitals and exhibitions, which can then be invested back into the running of the green spaces – including Hampstead Heath, where many such events already take place.

The Bill would also aim to strengthen enforcement powers to help us deal with anti-social behaviour more effectively, and to give us greater controls over commercial activities like commercial dog-walking.

An Open Spaces Bill would complement, not supersede the 1871 Act - and the existing duty to preserve the natural aspect of the Heath would be maintained. Any changes won’t undermine the use of the spaces as a natural amenity for public recreation and enjoyment. That is the overriding purpose that underlies our role as conservators of these beautiful green spaces.

We have already been consulting with local groups, including the Hampstead Heath Consultative Committee, on which sit representatives of 19 organisations. We will continue to do so as details are drawn up so that we can do our best to address any concerns.