§ Sir Geoffrey Finsberg
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what arrangements he proposes for the future of Hampstead heath after the abolition of the Greater London council.
§ Mr. Kenneth Baker
I have considered very carefully the responses to our proposal announced on 4 October that the Corporation of the City of London should own and manage Hampstead heath, apart from the land going to the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission together with Kenwood house. The responses make it clear that views continue to vary about the future of the heath and to favour more than one option. In particular, the London borough of Camden has submitted substantive alternative proposals. I need to examine its proposal closely and to review it among other options. As Camden did not submit its proposals until October, despite first being asked to do so in January, it may be that final decisions on ownership and management cannot be reached in time to enable transfer to take place on abolition day. In that case responsibility for the heath will be passed to the London residuary body while permanent arrangements are being finalised. I remain firmly committed to the concept of unified management for the heath.
My noble friend the Minister of State is today inviting the leaders of the London boroughs of Barnet, Camden and Haringey to meet him to review the position.