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To: City of London Corporation – Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen's Park Committee

Save Our Ponds - Hampstead Heath

Save Our Ponds - Hampstead Heath

1. Forum '71 calls on the Corporation to reverse their recent anti-democratic decision to impose compulsory charges for entry to the Hampstead Heath bathing ponds and reverse their decision to take away the historic common law right of free access to all parts of the Heath

2. Forum '71 also calls on the Corporation to reopen the bathing ponds with effective voluntary payment options and without the use of intrusive data surveillance technology to tag swimmers

Why is this important?

The Women’s, Men’s and Mixed bathing ponds on Hampstead Heath are world-renowned gems for wild swimming – cherished by a large and diverse community who swim in all seasons and across the decades to maintain mental and physical health. Some people come in search of quiet solitude in nature; others for community, solace or sanctuary.

The unique setting, atmosphere and inclusive ethos of the bathing ponds are threatened by the City of London Corporation’s decision to impose compulsory charges and use intrusive technology.

The Corporation has replaced voluntary payments of £2 (£1 concession) with compulsory tickets that cost £4.00 (£2.40 concession). Many pond users have previously contributed to a donation-based system but support the fight to oppose compulsory charging because it will destroy the inclusive and diverse pond community.

The Corporation’s proposed charging regime would mean that regular swimmers must now expect to pay £624 to visit 3 times a week, an increase of 500% on the previous cost of purchasing a £125 season ticket.

At a time of unprecedented health and financial emergencies, and when inequality is an urgent social concern, it is wrong for the Corporation to demand payment.

London, UK

Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL


Reasons for signing

  • Some things should be spared from the relentless pursuit of change that alters the accessibility and ethos and this is absolutely one of them.
  • The Corporation shouldn't take away common law rights of free access or collect data surveillance on users of these ponds. Where is the inclusivity? By putting in a compulsory fee it stops those who cannot afford these charges from being able to swim. We have just come out of lockdown that has had disastrous effect on many people's health. These Ponds are of benefit for mental health. The Corporation have not thought this action through. Please have a rethink on this proposal.
  • There have been many thefts of 'the commons' over the centuries and this is another example

Updates

2020-07-27 11:25:26 +0100

5,000 signatures reached

2020-07-24 13:34:33 +0100

Dear Everyone,

Thank you all so much for your tremendous support. It is truly encouraging.

Please join us for our first Direct Action event this Sunday July 26th at noon by the Bandstand on Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath. (near The Farmers' Market which will be open)

Spread the word to help reverse the City of London's Corporation's anti-democratic decision to impose bathing charges. Help #saveourponds by keeping them #freefromcompulsorycharges

Bring 'Cozzies on Coathangers' to illustrate how we have been #hungouttodry by our landlords, The City of London - one of the wealthiest institutions in the UK.

https://saveourponds.org/index.php/2020/07/23/direct-action-this-sunday-on-the-heath/

See you there,

Forum '71

2020-07-16 08:17:42 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2020-07-15 07:31:26 +0100

500 signatures reached

2020-07-13 14:37:16 +0100

100 signatures reached

2020-07-13 09:02:40 +0100

50 signatures reached

2020-07-12 20:20:40 +0100

25 signatures reached

2020-07-12 11:10:38 +0100

10 signatures reached