A brief history of the Ponds Project – part 2 (2011 – 2012)

Continuing on from my previous post which finished in 2011, the story continues…

In July 2011 the City approved an Evaluation Report setting out the broad scope of works (circa £15M) to comply with  existing and emerging reservoir legislation while also considering  the Hampstead Heath Act 1871 and to improve water quality. Officers were instructed to commence production of a Detailed Design Report, taking the project to a position where a planning application could be submitted to the Local Planning Authority. In considering the need to meet public safety, whilst reconciling the works so that they fit with the character of the Heath, the City approved an outline scheme that upgrades all of the ponds in the two chains. This approach (as opposed to one which only focussed on the three existing large raised reservoirs) was selected as it mitigates against the risk of dam failure at any of the ponds. It also reduces the visual impact of the works in any one place by spreading the impact across all of the ponds. It avoids works being carried out on the three large raised reservoirs that would become redundant in future, and ensures full compliance once the 2010 Act is in full force, avoiding the need for further works in the future.

The City also started the process of consultation with Heath users and other stakeholders. A workshop took place which highlighted key themes and areas of concern. This was the start of a detailed dialogue that informed and consulted the Hampstead Heath users and local people over the essential works.

In March 2012, the City began it’s tender process to find the best company to design the scheme.  This process was complete in the Autumn and two companies were appointed to the design team: W.S Atkins will manage engineering, planning, landscape and ecology and Capita Symonds will act as the cost consultants and client representatives.

Meanwhile in July 2012 the Ponds Project Stakeholder Group meets for the first time. This group is made up of  14 people with knowledge and interest in Hampstead Heath established as a group to provide views and advice to the Hampstead Heath Consultative Committee in relation to the Hampstead Heath Ponds Project within the context of the Hampstead Heath Act 1871 and relevant reservoirs legislation. The group meet monthly with additional ad hoc meetings. A decision was also taken by the City to appoint a Strategic Landscape Architect. This individual would be independent of the City and would act as a champion of the landscape and also a liaison between the Stakeholders and the City.

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