The Heath is the pride of Blackheath and one of London's most famous open spaces. It is held in trust for public benefit under the Metropolitan Commons Act of 1886. The A2 divides it into two, both physically and administratively, since it is administered to the north by the London Borough of Greenwich and to the south by the London Borough of Lewisham.
How is the Heath Governed?
An attempt has been made to bring uniformity to the running of the two fractions by the setting up of the Blackheath Joint Working Party (BJWP). This has no direct administrative power, but it draws authority from the fact that a number of councillors from both sides attend its meetings and it has always been chaired by one of them. In recent years the chairing has rotated between the boroughs. Tthe present chair is Cllr. Kevin Bonavia councillor for the Blackheath ward in Lewisham. Many Local Societies and groups, including the Blackheath Society, are represented on the BJWP. The working party meets approximately six times a year including one public meeting..
How is the Heath Maintained?
On the Lewisham side maintenance work is carried out by Glendale, which is a division of Parkland Holdings plc, whilst in Greenwich it is done by their own Parks and Open Spaces Group. To add to the administrative complexity the responsibility for the A2 itself lies with Transport for London.
Glendale can be contacted on 020 8318 3986
The Sociey supports an annual Clean Up Day of the Heath, in which volunteers join Lewisham Council and Glendale in an extra effort to keep the Heath clean.
Policy for use of the Heath
Partly driven by the issue of the pop concert on the Heath, the Society initiated with Lewisham, and then participated extensively in, the idea of a clear policy for the Heath. The Society is not against the use of the Heath, but is keen that we guard against overintensive use. We need clear guidelines about how the Heath can be used and protected for the future. We are particularly concerned about any risks of commercialisation of the Heath.
Discussions are underway with the BJWP on a new policy for the use of the Heath, to be shared by both Lewisham and Greenwich Councils. The Society is playing a leading role.