THE ancient view of St Paul’s Cathedral from King Henry’s Mound in Richmond Park looks set to be saved from a threat to remove its protected status.

Last year, Ken Livingstone’s Draft London Plan included a list of historic views and sightlines which must be preserved from being blocked by new development.

Local heritage activists were distraught to see that the King Henry’s Mound view had been omitted from the list.

The Richmond Society and others mounted a campaign and attended hearings of the public inquiry into the plan, whose report this week came out in favour of protecting the Richmond view.

The inquiry report stated: “We consider its strategic protection should be maintained.

The inspectors added: “We found the viewing place at the mound to be interesting and well-maintained, offering attractive views to the west as well as the strategic view.

“We saw the view towards the cathedral, through the shrubs and between the trees, attracts both visitors and tourists.

“We found much to agree with in the arguments put forward in support of this unique and outstanding view.” A victorious Peter Locke, chairman of the Richmond Society’s conservation, planning and development committee, declared: “The first round of the battle to safeguard the historic ten mile view of St Paul’s from Richmond Park has been won.” Mr Locke, who represented the society at the hearings, had argued strongly that the importance of the view is London-wide and not simply confined to locals visiting Richmond Park.

He drew attention to the support given by Ham resident James Batten, a member of both the Ham and Petersham Association and the Richmond Society.

Mr Locke said: “It was he who in 1976 restored the view from the mound by personally cutting his way through the overgrown holly hedge which had blocked it and was subsequently instrumental in getting the vista protected.” Although this week’s report is not binding on Mr Livingstone, the campaigners believed they have won an important victory and hope that the mayor will accept the inquiry’s recommendations.

Tony Arbour, Richmond council leader and London Assembly member, welcomed the report decision too.

He said: “Mr Livingstone’s proposal to delete this view was vandalism.

“I am glad that the representations I made, along with those of the council and local amenity societies, to the examination in public have prevailed.

“However, the mayor has now to be convinced that his crazy proposal is withdrawn.

“I shall continue to do my best to see that he sees sense.” The Ham and Petersham Association says the view from King Henry’s Mound to St Paul’s Cathedral is almost as old as the cathedral itself.

Soon after St Paul’s was completed in 1710, an avenue of trees was planted from the mound, aligned directly towards England’s great new cathedral.

This is possibly the only planned distant vista of a cathedral dome in Europe, apart from the keyhole view of St Peter’s through the back gate of the Villa of the Knights of Malta in Rome.