THE council chamber speech of the week: Sally Gimson’s contribution to Thursday night’s planning meeting in which councillors granted permission for the new dams on Hampstead Heath. Speech of the week that is because, even in a debate as hotly contested as the dams, it seems to have split opinion more than most.
She is adamant that she needed to lay down in no uncertain terms why people “downstream” were at risk from a flood, and that it’s her duty to explain that, as much as nobody wants the majesty of the Heath to be spoilt in any way, lives are at stake. “Imagine the horror if pupils walking to the four large secondary schools near the Heath were swept away in the torrent and killed,” she warned.
But opponents to the dam scheme were not happy with the journalist’s fearful language, as she described a family unable to outrun the surf. There were sarcastic laughs from the public gallery when she went on to describe the prospect of people dying in a ‘tsunami’.
Those laughs were all too much for fellow councillor Maeve McCormack, who was sat next to her. You can see the three-stage process on the webcast: shock, angry face, tweet.
Callous opponents of Hampstead Heath dams project just laughed at poss of people dying in flood if project didn’t go ahead at #Camden DC.
— Maeve McCormack (@mccormackmaeve) January 15, 2015
For Sally’s part, she went on to explain the tension: “Those who live at the bottom of the hill who felt those at the top have taken a dismissive and completely unsympathetic attitude to their perfectly reasonable and understandable concerns.” Amid more disruptive rofling upstairs, she added: “Indeed it is, and you’ve just shown it.”
You can make your own minds up with the clip below…