Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, has intervened in a growing row over proposals to close at least one of the three historic swimming ponds on Hampstead Heath.
Mr Livingstone has announced that he plans to write to the Corporation of London asking that they either retain the ponds or transfer the entire heath to his control. The Corporation took control of Hampstead Heath following the abolition of the Greater London Council.
Anouncing his plans, Mr Livingstone said:
“The Corporation of London took over responsibility for Hampstead Heath following the abolition of the Greater London Council. As the public body managing Hampstead Heath the Corporation has a duty to provide public access to its wonderful facilities, including the historic ponds, to promote good health and recreation. Hundreds of thousands of Londoners and visitors swim in the ponds every year.
If the Corporation seriously cannot find the resources to fulfil their duty to maintain these facilities on Hampstead Heath, I would be happy for them to be transferred back to London government. There is no reason why the Mayor of London should not be responsible for this key London asset.
I will be writing to the City of London Corporation today to ask the Corporation to keep these historic ponds open and, if they feel unable to do so, will seek the transfer Hampstead Heath to my office so that the public can continue to enjoy all of the facilities provided by one of London’s most famous attractions”.