Save the Hampstead Heath Bathing Ponds

Kentish Town has reacted strongly against the news that some of the services at the Hampstead Heath bathing ponds might be cut back. Whilst there was news that Ken Livingstone had offered to take over the ponds (BBC News), the Corporation of London responded by rejecting this offer completely, on the grounds of 'costing the taxpayer'.

Resistance is mounting, with broadcaster and local resident Jon Snow, and MPs Glenda Jackson, Frank Dobson and Jeremy Corbyn all supporting the campaign to keep the ponds open (the MPs have even signed an early day motion). Locals are also organising a calender, to be sold to raise funds for the campaign.

The problem stems from the Corporation having overspent GBPP200,000 a year on the Heath in the last couple of years. The ponds are the most expensive facility on the heath to maintain, costing over half a million in lifeguardian alone. So far though, nothing has been decided. A meeting to discuss the budget proposals has been called for Monday, 10 January at Hampstead Town Hall (213 Haverstock Hill, London NW3 4QP) - 250 capacity, filled on a first come, first served basis.

Update (2008): A quick bit of research reveals that the swimmers won a high court case to keep the ponds open in winter, although they now have to pay for the privilege.