Peter Wilder of Wilder Associates has been appointed in a special strategic role to defend the landscape of Hampstead Heath.
The City of London Corporation appointed Wilder to carry out this role on the special open space in northwest London during a project to improve the flood defences of the Heath Ponds. Wilder will work closely with the recently-convened Water Management Stakeholder Group, and act as a conduit between them and the designers on the development of the proposed scheme. As well as championing the landscape and contributing knowledge to the design thinking, the strategic landscape architect will work independently of the design team and challenge, if necessary, any engineering solution that fails to respect the natural aspect of the Heath.
The flood and water management project is intended to prevent the failure of the current earth dams in an extreme rainfall event that could result in catastrophic flooding to the residential areas downstream of the ponds. This £15 million project, funded by the City of London, must meet current and new reservoir legislation, while also taking account of the 1871 Hampstead Heath Act which is in place to preserve as far as possible the natural aspect of the Heath. The guidance requires that dams may safely pass a flow of water either in spillways (which enable flow from a dam to be controlled in a channel leading either to a water body downstream or into the surrounding area), or by over-topping of the dam, provided that this does not risk its collapse.
Subject to contract, W.S Atkins has been appointed to manage the engineering, planning, landscape and ecology and Capita Symonds will act as the cost consultant and the client representative.