City Corporation begins review of Hampstead Heath swimming facilities


The City of London Corporation is beginning a review of Hampstead Heath’s swimming facilities so that they can remain safe, sustainable and meet the growing demand for outdoor swimming.

The City Corporation wants to make sure it is ready for the upcoming summer season after a record number of visitors last year.

In January 2020, it will start discussions with swimmers about how they can continue to have a safe and enjoyable experience.

This will also cover the lifeguarding provision following recent advice from the Health & Safety Executive as well as the charging arrangements for the bathing ponds.

Following discussions, proposals will be developed and considered at the Heath’s Consultative Committee before a decision is made by the Hampstead Heath Management Committee in March 2020.

The Heath’s bathing ponds were originally created in the 17th and 18th centuries as reservoirs to meet London’s growing demand for drinking water.

Over time, some were repurposed for public swimming. They include the Mixed Bathing Pond, Highgate Men’s Bathing Pond and Kenwood Ladies’ Bathing Pond.

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Karina Dostalova, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Hampstead Heath management committee, said: “We recognise the growing popularity of the Heath’s swimming facilities as an opportunity for Londoners to step away from their busy lives.

“We want to make sure that we have the right resources in place to serve this purpose and maintain visitor safety.

“That is why we are reviewing arrangements now to ensure our facilities are safe, enjoyable and accessible for everybody in the years to come.”

Hampstead Heath is one of London’s most popular open spaces, situated just six kilometres from Trafalgar Square and receives over nine million visits a year.

The City of London Corporation, which is a major green spaces provider in the capital, has owned and managed the site since 1989.

Hampstead Heath is a registered charity, receiving over £5m of funding from the City Corporation every year, along with revenue generated though services, various grants and donations.

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