ConservatorsPosted by Hugh Craddock 19 Apr, 2012 19:51:48Training Grounds
: a meeting was held at the end of March.
Training numbers are showing a decline of around 20%, in common with
other training grounds. The hatched area was discussed in the
context of creating scrapes (though we were not told what conclusions
Beacon event on the
downs: the Derby Arms had agreed to the use of toilet facilities
which would, taken with others, provide sufficient to meet
requirements. A decision was taken, after much officer engagement in
the background, to agree to the event.
Incident on the
downs: a letter from Mr Tozer, and an article from last
Saturday’s Telegraph, Menacing dogs put an end to my rides, had
been circulated. Since no-one else had seen either document, it was
hard to discern what was referred to while at the meeting, but it
emerged that it was about the long-standing dog attacks on horses. A
renewed but brief discussion took place about the viability of
requiring dogs to be kept on leads, but it was observed that the
board had been here before. The clerk referred to a recently
reported episode in Horton, where a horse had bolted after an attack,
and been put down after collision with a car. The trainers’
representative was concerned that owners didn’t get a false picture
of the risk to horses in training, and suggested stronger and clearer
advice to dog walkers at the two key entry points to the downs; the
trainers would be willing to sponsor such signs. A code of conduct
was needed for downs users. There would be a report to the June
meeting on dogs. It was decided not to respond to the article in the
funeral: the chairman attended on behalf of the board, and
reported a huge turnout.
noted without comment.
Hack sand track:
the promised ‘report to follow’ did not, owing to other pressures
on officers. An independent risk assessment was being carried out to
help assess requirements for maintenance and repair. Meanwhile, the
beachcomber remained in regular use. The head downskeeper said he
might need to close the track owing to flooding from recent rain, and
sought approval to do so. There was some discussion about the
requirement in the Act to provide an alternative, although the clerk
said that ‘health and safety’ could trump this requirement. The
head downskeeper was asked to liaise with the hack riders’
Epsom and Walton
Downs management plan: the downs strategy was published in 2006,
but was now considered dated and in need of a review. It was
proposed to prepare a management plan, involving stakeholders, and an
associated action plan, and consider where funding might be found for
the costs of implementation. The plan and action plan would link to
the existing habitat management plan, but stand apart. It was
suggested that engagement should be sought from the neighbouring
borough of Reigate and Banstead and district of Mole Valley, as well
as their councils. Progression would be dependent on resources,
including officers’ time. Recommendations to take forward were
update: the racecourse explained that the freeholder of the
hatched area continued to withhold consent for spoil extraction, and
the racecourse wanted to identify an alternative source: the project
would otherwise be further delayed. Such a source would need to be
verified as appropriate and clean. The board was asked to agree an
alternative source subject to certification. The avoidance of
routing lorries across the downs was noted, and described by the
chairman as a ‘huge concern’. Plans to create scrapes on the
hatched area was approved with murmurs of enthusiasm. The chairman
questioned whether this was intended to be subject to agreement from
all relevant stakeholders, as described in the report, and said this
couldn’t be realised: it wouldn’t happen. It was questioned
whether the Trelissick Trust was such a stakeholder, and whether it
needed to approve. The ecological adviser said he was keen to
install a ‘couple of scrapes’: asked whether creating new scrapes
was in the habitat management plan, he thought so. The chairman
proposed to remove the requirement for agreement from ‘all relevant
stakeholders’ and this was agreed without comment. With this
amendment, the recommendations were all agreed, with confirmation of
the release of funding for the downskeepers’ hut. (Ed: some
uncertainty remained about whether the Trelissick Trust would need to
consent to the scrapes, and if so, whether the scrapes should be
located outside its freehold ownership.)
events were presented for approval: Round the Borough Walk, Racing
Pigeon Liberation (tiny), Tadworth 10 (10 mile athletic race), and
Rotary Club of Banstead Sponsored Walk. Officers were grilled by the
trainers’ representative about the Rotary Club walk, but gave
assurances that the sponsors were experienced and had held the event
for many years. It was suggested that the need for patrolling
incurred additional costs, but it was concluded that there would be
no additional staff on duty. All the events were approved. It was
noted that the Cancer Research Race for Life had offered a
contribution of £200 towards reinstatement costs. Advice about
charging for events would be brought to a subsequent meeting.
it was agreed to authorise the chairman and clerk to approve the
caravan site fee.
being the final meeting of the year, thanks were offered to the clerk
and Tim Richardson, the committee clerk.
ConservatorsPosted by Hugh Craddock 20 Jan, 2012 07:48:02Training Grounds
: the TGMB met on 5 December. The two
all-weather track refurbishment projects had been delivered and were
working well. Numbers of horses in training are expected to drop at
Epsom (and throughout the industry), perhaps by one-fifth, following
a modest reduction in late 2011. Funding of the hack sand track was
discussed (to be picked up later in the agenda). On the grass
gallops below the polytrack, Walton Road was reported to be causing
problems because of the eroded paths created by users, and it was
proposed to improve the hard base to enable woodchips or polytrack to
be put down on top; the longer term aim was to improve the whole
route, but in the short term, to address the top part.
Dog control: no
progress to report, but expectation of a report at the June meeting.
these had now been placed on the horse margin adjacent to Langley
Vale Road (see here).
Hack Sand Track: Refurbishment works were
included in the list of capital projects to be considered for
approval by the Borough Council's Leisure Committee at its meeting of
18 January, but the committee was not happy about the justification
for the scheme, and particularly the legal requirements and whether
there were lower cost solutions: the committee had proposed
consideration by council in February, but this timetable was unlikely
to be met. It was reported that the racecourse is prepared to
consider funding over two years; the TGMB is concerned at its share
and it too wishes to see a lower cost solution. Alternative surfacing
would also be considered. Meanwhile, a machine which would assist in
the clearance of stones has been identified.
High winds: The racecourse declined to
comment on the damage to the roof.
Race for life: A proposal for this event to
take place on 24 June 2012 was circulated just before the meeting.
Where the route does not follow surfaced tracks, it almost entirely
lies upon hack areas: and indeed, various marquees will be erected on
the platform adjacent to the home straight. Comment was passed on
setting-up taking place from 0600, but runners would not arrive until
about 1100. The racecourse said that public relations needed careful
handling, and there was an opportunity to invite a contribution to
making good damage. The head downskeeper said that the main impact
was clearance of rubbish, but if the weather were wet, then the
impact would be much greater. Questions were asked about whether the
event could be suspended at short notice if conditions were poor, or
whether the route could be altered to remain on hard tracks. It was
suggested that there should be a cap on numbers, a charge, or
acceptance only in alternate years. A pound-a-head charge was
proposed, although officers advised that the organisers might not be
able to absorb the charge at this stage in arrangements, and that it
might be more appropriate to warn that the charge would be imposed in
future years. The organisers already put a sum aside (perhaps £1k)
to deal with clean-up. So it was agreed to approve the proposal on
these terms, with a voluntary contribution sought from the
Potential for charging for events on the downs:
It was agreed, virtually without debate, that the TGMB and racecourse
work together to produce a more detailed strategy for charging for
category B, C and D events on the downs. [Ed: It's arguable that
the racecourse may be able to charge for events, but neither the
board of conservators nor the council can: the Act confers no powers
on the board to charge (except for admission to car parks), and the
council has no power to charge for the giving of its consent to
events (and otherwise has no interest which could possibly enable it
to levy charges). In the paper submitted to the board, the legal
advice begins by proposing that the racecourse can indeed charge, but
later becomes somewhat more vague about who exactly can or will
charge: whereas the annexe makes clear that it envisages that either
the board or the council will charge! It looks like the legal advice
has fudged the issue, so it will be interesting to see what emerges in a proposal to the next meeting.]
Budget for 2013-14: The budget was
introduced by the treasurer, and as usual, approved without debate
except for the usual can’t-see-the-wood-for-the-trees questions
about budgeting for electricity.
Diamond jubilee beacon: some new logistical
issues had been identified since the report was published, concerning
parking and other matters, which had yet to be resolved, and it could
not yet be said that the event was viable, particularly as the
council could meet any additional costs. One councillor suggested
that it would be better to have alcohol sold on site by local
businesses, rather than it being brought onto site by visitors,
although the chairman thought that retailers would lack the control
which they exercised over their own premises. The beacon was
described as built from pallets, but the precise location was not
described. It was accepted that the beacon itself would go ahead, but
that the community event was insufficiently well-defined. A special
meeting on 1 March would be scheduled if a sufficient proposition was
Tattenham Straight works: the works were
approved at the Leisure committee the previous day.
Race Meetings 2012: there would be 12 race
days in 2012, as none was feasible during Olympic fortnight, and the
first three Thursdays were likely to be music nights, with the
possibility of an operatic night. It was agreed to delegate approval
of applications from the racecourse to the clerk.
Dates of meetings: 19 April, 28 June, 18
ConservatorsPosted by Hugh Craddock 06 Dec, 2011 22:14:52
This meeting had been called (the second such meeting) to approve the racecourse plans for works to level and raise the Tattenham Straight enclosure — and more relevantly, to extract part of the fill required for the works from an area of land at the foot of Six Mile Hill. See here for the agenda
, the ecological assessment and design and access statement
including map showing routes for transport of the fill, and report by Nick Owen
Receipt was confirmed of the Epsom Equestrian forum email.
The ecological appraisal was put forward first for discussion. The
chairman identified the pages of the report, but no-one had any
comments to make. The board went on to Nick Owen’s report: again,
no comments. Then the design and access statement appended to the
ecological appraisal: none again. And the soil contamination report
(not available on the website): none. (Goodness knows if anybody
had read them: you’d think that someone would have at least one
question on 29 pages of technical appraisal? Ed)
A question was asked
about the measurement of vehicle movements. The racecourse said they
would use reputable contractors who would comply with requirements,
although it wasn’t quite clear what requirements. It was suggested
that the downskeepers should not have to enforce adherence to
requirements: there should be confidence that the requirements would
be met regardless. Signs would be needed to explain what was going
on and the reasons for it.
The chairman said that
the proposals should improve the downs — certainly, biodiversity
should be improved.
There was then no
debate on approving the works: this seemed to be a foregone
conclusion. A discussion took place on whether there should be a
debate about the payment to be made to the board for works to the
downkeepers’ hut, and it was agreed that this was not relevant. (I think what was really meant was that they wanted to discuss that aspect behind closed doors: see below.)
It was noted that the
council’s leisure committee would need to approve the demolition of
the Lonsdale Standard. (The 1984 Act requires the council's approval to all the works to the Tattenham Straight enclosure.)
The chairman imposed
further conditions: works subject to the approval of the owners of
the land, and compliance with all conditions imposed.
The meeting then went
into closed session to discuss (presumably) the contribution to the
repair of the downskeepers' hut.
Editorial: So after about 20 minutes' discussion (hardly debate) the works had been approved. No questions about the impact (beneficial or otherwise) on the extraction site at Six Mile Hill, or the compatibility of the fill sources from Ashtead Park, or the impact of around 250 20 tonne HGV movements around the downs, or the effect of the extraction on equestrian use of the hatched area, or indeed on any other downs users. Remember: this is the same board which last October refused permission for an event for 165 runners because of impact on the downs. Presumably, one runner is perceived to have a greater impact than one 20 tonne lorry carting away the very fabric of the downs.
There are three
questions which we will ask the board:
1/ Does the board
consider the use of the hatched area to extract fill will render it
permanently inaccessible to hack riders? If so, does the board
consider this outcome lawful in respect of land designated for the
purposes of the Act as a part-time hack area? If so, please say what
advice was tendered to the board in this respect, and how the
consequences were made clear to the board?
2/ Does the board agree
that the use of the hard track at the foot of Six Mile Hill for 113 HGV movements (in each direction) is capable of constituting a
public nuisance in a designated public bridleway? Moreover, given
that movements could alternatively take place along Walton Road
(north across Six Mile Hill), a public road, or south along Ebbisham
Lane and via other local roads, the use of a public bridleway for
this purpose cannot be justified.
3/ Access to the
hatched area will require HGVs to cross the sand track in the
vicinity of Walton Road. What powers will the board exercise to
restrict use of the sand track and the adjacent linear hack area to
enable a suitable crossing to be put in place? Does the board intend
to grant a specific consent for that undefined purpose? Will the
crossing be removed at the close of business each day (as it must be
removed from the Mac track), or will it be left in place across the
sand track while excavation continues: if so, for how long?
ConservatorsPosted by Hugh Craddock 17 Oct, 2011 20:59:03Training Grounds
: TGMB agreed refurbishment of the Mac track and
the Poly track (at the bottom and top of Six Mile Hill). This is now
underway, with the Mac track already reopened. The position on use
of the hatched ground was unchanged, and predictably there was no
mention of the questions which we discussed at the consultative
committee meeting and asked the chairman to raise at this meeting.
Dog control: no
Langley Vale Road: Signage about priority to horses in training
are being prepared. There was yet another redundant discussion about
the status of the horse margin as a public bridleway (this ground has
been covered more than once before). It was suggested that cycling
could be prohibited before noon, but the highway authority was not
monitoring report: The treasurer reported that current and
forecast spending levels were reducing available reserves. A deficit
of £27k was forecast for 2012–13, which would reduce the working
balance to around £20k. The treasurer noted that scope for further
savings and opportunities to generate more income were limited, and a
review of contributions was desirable. Although the council was
facing an 11% budget cut, it might be possible to use contingency to
fund an increase in the council’s precept. The racecourse said
that new funding was not realistic, and the conservators should start
exploring previously discounted options, such as charging for parking
and events. Was there really no scope to reduce costs? The
treasurer said that a proposal for new rotas (to reduce the staffing
requirement) had been rejected three years ago, but could be revived:
decisions on next year’s budget were needed by January. Central
services provided by the council were generally not charged even now.
The head downskeeper said that staffing had already been cut back.
There was a discussion of whether charges could be made for external
events held on the Downs (i.e. non-racing events), with
several board members speaking in support of recovering the costs of
hosting the events, and a report was commissioned from the racecourse
and officers for the next meeting in January, which would need to
consider the legal framework. Meanwhile, a proposal from the
chairman to increase precepts by 4½% for 2012–13 was deferred
until the next meeting.
The head downskeeper reported that better racecourse stewarding and
police intervention (confiscating extensive quantities of alcohol
from under-age drinkers) had helped to reduce the amount anti-social
behaviour. One board member reported particular problems with use of
Chalk Lane. The board agreed to pass on its thanks to Surrey Police.
The racecourse planned just three events next year, because of the
Olympics, targeted at an older profile.
Hack posts: A
number of new hack marker posts have been installed. Yellow hack
ride arrows, used to identify hack rides available after noon, will
be marked with a red border, to distinguish them from public footpath
restrictions: The TGMB has resolved to tighten up on regulations
regarding training on the downs, and the head downskeeper will
consider whether increased patrolling of the gallops can be done in
beacon: The event would follow the Derby weekend, organised by
the scouts, and parking might be limited owing to dismantling within
the Tattenham Enclosure. A question was asked about the financial
implications, in terms of cleaning up and additional patrolling:
however, it was expected that additional costs would fall on the
council vice the conservators. The proposal was agreed in principle,
with provision of food and drink (with reservations expressed about
Events on the downs:
several small events were approved.
downs tour: This had taken place on 7 October. No substantive
Minutes of the
consultative committee: This had taken place on 4 July. No
Hack sand track:
A capital bid had been submitted to the council as one of the
precepting bodies. The total cost would be £140k, shared between
the precepting bodies. The racecourse was asked to note the capital
requirements, having regard to the risks of the existing facilities.
Route to the south
of Juniper Hill, designation for inclusion as authorised cycle
routes: the chairman summed up by saying that the situation
should be left as it is, so that the route would not be designated,
but equally, there would be no enforcement. The county council would
be asked to remove the route from its map of cycle routes.
Pathway near 10th
hole of golf course: Proposal agreed.
Surface of Ebbisham
Lane: The chairman confirmed that copy of my email of 11 October
had been received by board members. Comments were invited. The
clerk said a site visit had taken place last year. Her report on the
notice process was before the board. Costs depended on who drafted
the notice: if done in-house, the costs would fall on the legal team,
else counsel would cost £1k. Other organisations were at liberty to
serve a notice. The chairman noted my comments that the process was
intended to be straightforward. The racecourse asked whether the
road fell within the conservators’ jurisdiction, as the road was in
the adjoining borough: why was it of concern to the board? The
conservators had a duty to maintain the car park at the foot of
Ebbisham Lane. The chairman expressed reservations about spending
any money on the process, however little. One member said she would
change her mind if the cost was less than £1k. The clerk noted the
implications of lack of repair for reinstating the hack sand track.
The board agreed to take no action.
The chairman asked to see the downs strategy action plan by the next
Date of next
meeting: Was agreed for Thursday 19th January 2012. A
meeting on the alterations to the Tattenham Flat and Lonsdale Stand
was agreed for 10th November 2011 or Monday 21st
November, to be decided by the racecourse.
ConservatorsPosted by Hugh Craddock 12 Apr, 2011 07:23:47Training Grounds
: Agreement was given (with no discussion) to
extend the polytrack to its original intended full length.
Dog control: the
promised update was that there was nothing to report. A possible dog
control order could not be taken forward unless there was sufficient
funding for enforcement – which there was not. There was the
possibility of a roadshow on the downs to promote better education.
One member said it was important to keep dog control high on the
agenda, and the recent incident (see link from blog) was mentioned.
But it was unclear what, if anything, was being done to keep it high
on the agenda.
Racecourse Family Funday: plans for a combined trainers’ open
day and family funday racecourse meeting.
Chris Grayling MP had written with his concerns about kite fliers and
model aircraft fliers being in conflict. Downs officers had gained
the support of the model aircraft fliers to resolve the situation.
Downskeepers are said to be vigilant to address any problems.
maintenance downskeeper: concerns expressed by the trainers’
representative about whether recent changes to staffing portended a
threat to the level of support currently delivered by the
downskeepers. He asked that arrangements be reviewed regularly. A
member made the sensible point that pressures on the downs were
increasing because of housing developments in the area, but there was
no increased funding for downskeeping.
Events on the downs:
approval was sought for four events on the downs – Omni Terrier
Derby (28 August 2011), Cross Country League Race (12 November 2011),
Tadworth Athletic Club 10 mile run (2 January 2012), and Rotary Club
Sponsored Walk (13 May 2012). The racecourse said they needed to
recover their costs of stewarding where this was provided, and a
member asked if charges could be raised: the racecourse wanted the
conservators to look at cost recovery. There was a possibility of
other applications coming forward later in the spring. There was the
usual criticism of excessive numbers of events (which appeared to be
predicated on a misunderstanding of how many events had been approved
– just three for the year not counting the four up for approval).
It was agreed to review the strategy, and the limits on the number of
events, at the next meeting. Meanwhile, the applications were
approved. The Tadworth Athletic Club was criticised because the
route adopted would encourage encroachment on the training areas and
was timed to set up early in the morning: it was approved subject to
set up beginning no earlier than noon. There was a lengthy
discussion about the Race for Life, for which an application had only
just been received. Probable numbers were above the threshold
previously advised by the board. It was agreed that details
submitted were too thin and too late to enable a decision to be taken
by the board, but concern for the presentational implications of a
refusal led to authorisation of the chairman to agree detailed plans.
However, it seemed likely that the organisers would be told that the
event would not be permitted subsequently. The public comments
received on the refusal of the Oddballs’ Perch event were ‘noted’:
one member, noted for her advocacy of refusals, said the comments
were ‘valid’, which was odd.
the racecourse said that they now had a proposal connected with the
downskeepers’ accommodation which they wished to bring to the next
meeting. This would involve some landscaping in the area to enable
easier use of the land for raceday facilities, but also improve
public amenity, improve fencing, and provide some funding for
replacement accommodation. The works could be carried out early in
the New Year. So no further action was taken on the report
recommending refurbishment. However, a warning was sounded about
potential planning permission issues. The chairman criticised the
late announcement from the racecourse, and stressed that she wanted a
detailed report for the next meeting.
Hack sand track:
the report suggested that works costing £34k would be wasted in the
long term and adequate structural works costing around £140k were
needed to preserve the equine sand. The chairman said the report was
clear, and the board didn’t need to go through it. It might be
possible to spend capital savings from the downskeepers’ hut on the
£140k works, and it was agreed to prepare a scheme for capital
funding (but don't hold your breath). The treasurer said that
the issue around health and safety was critical, and a case should
address the board’s responsibilities. The trainers’
representative said that only spending the full £140k would protect
the investment; recent maintenance had increased, and he suggested
that summer maintenance should be adequately continued throughout the
entire year. The head downskeeper said that maintenance couldn’t
be done during the racing season, as they didn’t have time to do
this, although they had done a good deal of flint picking by hand
during the winter months. Officers said they would look at providing
additional resource from grounds maintenance. Stone picking machines
had difficulty collecting variable sized stones, and a membrane was
needed to exclude stones. Spreading the sand around did not
necessarily improve conditions for riders, even though the appearance
was better. Option 1 was approved (care and maintenance –
except during the summer it seems), and the contractors would be
approached to refine their costings of the full £140k option.
Gypsy caravan site
(Derby): the proposal was to adopt and construct a new entrance
onto Langley Vale Road to better manage access to the gypsy caravan
site, which was agreed.
Countryside Management Project: it was strongly agreed to “note
the proposal made by Surrey County Council with regard to the level
of support and financial contribution it provides the Lower Mole
Countryside Management Project” and “That the Conservators
express their views on the proposal and request the Clerk to respond
to Surrey County Council appropriately.”
Date of next
meeting: 27 June 2011.
ConservatorsPosted by Hugh Craddock 27 Jan, 2011 22:02:14Pedestrian access across the five furlong spur on Tattenham
: it was agreed that nothing could be done: it was
all too difficult.
Dog control on the
downs: it now seemed unlikely that the council would appoint an
enforcement officer, and it’s clear that, beyond seeking a new
byelaw, the head of steam behind a new initiative to influence dog
walkers’ behaviour on the downs (or indeed anywhere else in the
borough) has dissipated.
Hack sand track:
more quotations for work are to be obtained for remedial works
(inspections due next week), and advice will be given to the chairman
and vice-chairman to reach a decision on approving tenders for the
works. The vice-chairman confirmed that no contribution would be
forthcoming from the Horse Race Levy Board.
Simon Dow’s report
on hack riders’ misbehaviour: the report had not been
circulated outside the board, but it was said that a leaflet would be
produced to be given out by the downskeepers in the circumstances
expenditure of £353k forecast in 2011–12 (of which the council
meets 60% of the contributions). Delivery of the habitat management
plan is one of the risks identified from potential shortfalls in
future years’ funding. The council undercharges for the provision
of officer services to the conservators, which in effect subsidises
the racecourse. Funding for the downs had not been identified by the
council as a target for cuts at present.
Charging for car
parking on the downs: a discussion booted off with a member
suggesting that the public should not be charged for visiting open
spaces (Ed: presumably, it’s OK to charge if they want to
go shopping or visit the cinema — and compare with,
say, National Trust car parks). Any charges would need to be
recycled into maintenance of the car parks. It was thought the car
parks were adequately maintained at present (Ed: do any members
use them, I wonder?), and
the analysis of options was agreed to be discontinued.
Filming on the
downs: filming for Wade In (apparently starring Bob
Hoskins) was done on the downs last week, bringing in a fee
(apparently, ‘half the fee’) of £1,000 to the conservators (Ed:
presumably, the other half went to the racecourse).
Management Board (TGMB): the racecourse held a press morning in
early January to highlight trainers’ performance in Epsom during
2010, with just short of £1m in prize money. Two articles appeared
in The Guardian about training on the downs. Last year, there
were an average 171 horses per month using the training grounds (200
in May), at the highest level for a decade. A new trainer, Olivia
Maylam, has moved into Chalk Pit Stables in Headley Road. At the
December meeting, the TGMB considered use of the hatched area (no
change of course), and considered that improving facilities for hack
riders on the downs, by restoring the hack sand track, should be
addressed as soon as possible. The vice-chairman, as secretary to
the TGMB, was in direct discussion with the hack riders about use of
the hatched area (see here).
Byelaws and cycling:
the recommendation to submit the byelaws for approval was agreed
without any discussion, as was the recommendation not to consider any
other proposals for changes to byelaws.
plan for the golf course: the management recommendations were
agreed without substantive comment (i.e. someone drew
attention to the length of the plan), as was the need for a further
meeting with the golf course to identify responsibilities for
delivering the actions.
fencing period for the Derby: the clerk said she had received
representations from the consultative committee and the Epsom
Protection Society about the powers to grant an extension, but had
set out her view in the report that the extension could be permitted.
She acknowledged that the Act conveyed no specific powers to vary
the fencing periods, she had concluded that it nevertheless had the
power to do so. A member asked why the fencing needed to go up so
early, and was told there was a huge amount to do, so that the
fencing provided a secure area for additional works coming on site,
and because it took time to put up the fencing. Health and safety
requirements were now more onerous and the work could not be done in
the time stipulated in the Act. An assurance was given that, during
the build up period, the fencing would not exclude the public (Ed:
though it was not clear how this was reconciled with the earlier
stated need to provide a secure area. Meanwhile, it seems that the
clerk's view is that the framework of the Act can be dispensed with
when it doesn't suit any party, a handy principle which we will need
to bear in mind).
Barbecues on the
downs: the racecourse said it was not clear whether the byelaws,
which prohibit the lighting of fires, applied to barbecues, which
were part of the Derby event and Derby 'culture'. It was suggested
that the conservators could decide to allow barbecues during racing
events (but not on music evenings), but the clerk said that the Act
only enabled the conservators to make byelaws, and byelaw 2(i)(g)
simply prohibited lighting of fires, although that left open the
question of enforcement. A member suggested that allowing barbecues
at certain times would lead to abuse at other times. The racecourse
said that barbecues on music evenings would be quickly clamped down
on. The chairman was reluctant to ‘consent’ to barbecues on
specific days only, but thought that it might be sensible to continue
to turn a blind eye during events. That approach was endorsed after
a heated discussion. (Ed: quite how the conservators could
consent or not consent to a breach of the byelaws remained unclear,
particularly since any aggrieved party may prosecute).
the clerk reported on the possibility of a repair notice to be served
on the highway authority, under section 56 of the Highways Act 1980
(as we had previously suggested), and described the procedure.
Following which, the chairman immediately moved on the discussion to
the next item.
Tattenham straight: Nick Owen had asked that native species
should be used, preferably seeded from other areas of the downs
(regrettably, Nick Owen will be leaving the Lower Mole Countryside
Project in March). The request was agreed, taking Nick Owen’s
advice into consideration.
Management of staff:
overtime payments needed to be reduced. It was proposed to integrate
the maintenance downskeeper into the Streetcare section of the
council’s operation services. A report was circulated at the start
of the meeting, and although the agenda item was described as
‘confidential’, the public was permitted to remain, even though
the discussion related to a particular member of staff. That person
was reported content with the new arrangements (thought it was
apparent this wasn’t the whole story). Agreed.
bizarrely, we were then asked to leave while the conservators
discussed the future of the downskeeper's hut, even though this item
hadn't been branded as confidential: an odd sense of what is and is
not confidential. So the outcome is unknown for now.
Date of next
meeting: 11 April 2011.
ConservatorsPosted by Hugh Craddock 25 Oct, 2010 21:57:07
bumper agenda which meant the meeting lasted two and three quarter
Andrew Cooper was not present, but it was reported that ground
conditions did not permit the hatched area to be opened up.
Increased income from horses in training allowed investment in some
of the horse walks and railings.
nothing further was reported.
the council's in-house surveyor was looking at options to make the
hut more environmentally sustainable, as there is no money to replace
it, and the heating costs are excessive.
at mid-year, the budget is heading for a modest £40k overspend,
apparently owing to overtime incurred during race meetings, which the
board hopes to recover from the racecourse. The chairman asked
whether the Tattenham Corner Road toilets were disability-compliant,
which they aren't, though no particular action was contemplated.
Discussion moved on to the budget for 2011-12, in the context of the
Spending Review. The racecourse said that funds raised by the
Horserace Betting Levy had fallen by half, and there had been a
substantial reduction in income from sponsorship and media: the
racecourse could not sustain an increase in its contribution to the
board, any more than the council. It was suggested that staff could
be employed by the board (rather than the council) which could
achieve VAT savings, or be integrated with the council's grounds
maintenance service. Support from council officers could be reduced
either nominally or in real terms (currently, all work done by
officers is recharged), and work done during race meetings and other
events could be recharged to the racecourse. It was noted that the
downs were a specialist environment, where downskeepers were expected
to have knowledge and training to look after horses in training. The
treasurer was asked to look at all the possibilities and provide a
more detailed report to the January meeting. [Editor's
note: I'd guess that the treasurer was looking to pare down the
options for study, so that he could concentrate on those which were
likely to be favoured, but no such luck.]
In response to a question, Bob Harding said that he had two staff on
work duties and four on patrol. [Editor's
note: demonstrating that two-thirds of the staff resource, and much
else besides, are primarily deployed to look after horses in
A suggestion was made to introduce pay-and-display parking, and it
was agreed this should be looked at too.
there was continuing concern about litter left after the event. The
racecourse will manage the race for life next year, and was keen to
ensure that the costs of the clean-up were covered. Conditions can
now be imposed to require a bond for reinstatement.
concern was expressed that stone-picking and harrowing was having
little effect: it was agreed that it did improve the surface, but it
needed a more comprehensive solution. A quote had been received for
work to upgrade the sand track, costed at £15-£23k, and two further
quotes would be sought. Discussions continued with the Horserace
Levy Board to further understand the history of the sand track, and
how its initial provision was funded. There would then be a further
discussion between officers on how to take forward. The quote was
described by the chairman as 'not very good news'. One member asked
whether the hack riders could make a contribution, while another
member asked if the non-contributory principle for hack riding on the
downs could be reviewed, or whether it might be possible not to
provide the sand track at all? Another member pointed out that it
would be difficult to collect contributions from a large number of
yards and riders. It was suggested that the issue be considered at
the forthcoming consultative committee meeting.
the racecourse suggested that, if asked, its maintenance team could
be ready to carry out repairs to furniture damaged during race
signs on Walton Road:
some of the several signs at the foot of Six Mile Hill will be
removed, it being acknowledged that there are too many.
on Saturday, a local athletics club started to train alongside one of
the main tracks. One of the coaches, informed that this was
undesirable, declined to respond to advice given, and demonstrated an
intention to continue regardless, leading to lengthy and Ugandan
on-site discussions. The Leisure Developments Manager has since
spoken to the chairman of the club, and been assured that it won't
happen again: an alternative suitable site will be suggested for
morning training. The next edition of Borough
will contain an article about the downs, addressing questions of
this year's concerts had led to various incidents, including damage,
rowdy behaviour, barbecues etc.
A written complaint had been received from a local resident.
Neighbouring property had been damaged. Officers had met with the
racecourse to discuss the problem, with a meeting planned with the
police on 3 November to explore potential mitigation of the impact of
the concerts: it was suggested that it might be desired to reduce the
number of people on the Hill. The racecourse said that the race
meetings were not viable without the concerts: it did not wish to
encourage people onto the Hill, but could not restrict people from
using the downs, although it could (for example) restrict the view.
It was taking a number of initiatives to discourage use of the downs
at such times (though further examples were not given). The
racecourse suggested it might want to review the 1984 Act to give it
greater flexibility to control access. Litter pickers were sent out
on the following day to deal with litter. One member criticised
Chinese lanterns being released, and suggested that stewards should
have taken action: the racecourse said legal clarification was needed
as it wasn't necessarily open to the racecourse stewards to put a
stop to it. Bins had been put out, but they had been knocked over.
There had been large numbers of young teenagers attending, who lacked
responsibility. There was no police presence at any of the events.
It was noted that a report would follow to the next board meeting
following officers' meeting with the police and racecourse.
routes on the downs:
Two potential routes to be designated for cycling (under the proposed
new byelaw) were discussed, as we had not been able to agree their
exclusion with the cyclists' representative (although there had been
a broad measure of agreement on most of the routes). The trainers'
representative supported exclusion of the route past Downs House,
criticised unofficial use of routes by cyclists across Six Mile Hill,
which was scarring the grassland, and said that a policy for
enforcement was needed to make clear what would be tolerated: the new
byelaw would officially authorise horses encountering cyclists, and
how would it deal with situations where cyclists might be expected to
wait rather than push on? Another member asked whether the exclusion
of the Downs House route and the route to the south of the Downs
House enclosure would make abuse more likely? It should be stated on
maps and signs that cycling on grassland was illegal (under the
proposed byelaw). One route, between Longdown Road North golf club
house and Burgh Heath Road (Wendover Stables), was agreed for
designation as recommended, and another, descending Downs House Road
to the valley path, was agreed not to be designated, but it was
suggested that the foliage should be cut back on the first route.
The map of authorised cycle routes was therefore approved.
it was agreed not to proceed with the model car byelaw, as there had
been no recent complaints about nuisance (and there was a general
byelaw to address nuisances), but to proceed with the cycling byelaw
subject to the agreement of the consultative committee. There was a
question over whether to wait until new legislation might remove the
requirement to submit byelaws to the Secretary of State for
confirmation, but it was agreed to proceed immediately.
a report was noted explaining the origin of the provision for hack
use of the hatched area, and how maintenance responsibility might be
attributed. The report said that there was no specific allocation of
responsibility, although the Habitat Management Plan commended a cut
of the grass once each year in thirds. The recommendation, that this
existing maintenance regime be continued, was agreed without
substantive debate. The racecourse said that part of the hatched
area was used each winter from January to March for training use.
on the downs:
a late paper was circulated. Some events were imminent, and there
was concern that there was inadequate notice if the board wished to
reject a proposal. The trainers' representative said that many
tracks were unable to support intensive use without causing damage,
and it was important that events adhered to the designated routes;
there had been agreement to impose a ceiling on the number of events.
One member said none of the events contributed to the upkeep of the
downs, and suggested that none of the proposals should be allowed
(this notwithstanding that the board had already agreed limits).
Amid much confusion over what was being decided, the Epsom College
cross-country events, which were close to the winter gallops (which
would just have opened), just slipped through on the basis that the
applications had been pending since the spring. The 26.2 Road
Running Club proposal for 165 runners, and the Epsom Oddballs Club
for 600 runners, were refused (no particular reason given, although
the trainer's representative noted the oddity of the road running
club wanting to run on the downs, and some account was taken of for
how long each event had taken place on the downs). The Sponsored
Poppy Walk (October 2011) was criticised as having a disproportionate
impact with 2,500 walkers, and it was suggested that the Race for
Life (June 2010) and the Poppy Walk were too big to both be allowed
to take place (even though they are four months apart): how should
such a decision be taken? The Race for Life was agreed in principle
(with two members voting against), and the Poppy Walk was approved,
with vague talk of a more discerning approach to be taken next year.
a report had been prepared by the clerk about the provision of a
gypsy site during the Derby festival, amid concerns about the site's
management and impact. It was suggested that the board should take
account of the likelihood of incursions elsewhere in the borough, if
no site were provided, and the costs this would impose. Advice was
to continue to provide a site but with tighter management through the
imposition of conditions and better liaison with the temporary site
manager. This was agreed, with the outcome to be reviewed the
following year. A question was asked about whether the site charge
of £80 covered the costs of the subsequent clear-up, but it was
noted that the charge was reviewed each year, and could be increased
a report of issues arising from the meeting of the consultative
committee was noted, but the discussion as to the possibility of a
repair notice for the maintenance of Ebbisham Lane was not reported.
of Derby fencing period:
the extension granted last year had been questioned by the Epsom
Protection Society, which had asked for a legal view on the powers,
and the clerk asked what line the board would like her to take? It
was agreed she would not give advice on past decisions, and that each
decision was considered on its merits, but that future decisions
should be related to the relevant part of the 1984 Act.
on bridleway 146:
(bridleway alongside Langley Vale Road), signs restricting cycling
had been removed as inconsistent with its status. The clerk would
write to the council to clarify the status.
map of the downs:
an updated version was circulated in A0 format. It was questioned
whether the map should be adopted for the notice boards, or whether a
more legalistic map was necessary to accord with the requirements of
the 1984 Act. The board agreed that this map was preferred, but the
Leisure Development Manager said she would seek further legal advice
on its use for this purpose.
of motorised trolleys on golf course:
the golf club had asked for the current limit of five to be
abolished. The golf club has volunteered that no requests had been
refused because of the ceiling, and so it was agreed to raise the
ceiling to a maximum of ten.
this had been requested by the model aircraft club, for the junction
of Walton Road and Downs House Road. It was asked how use would be
restricted, and what enforcement was envisaged? The arrangement
would be monitored by the downskeepers.
of next meeting:
27 January 2011.
ConservatorsPosted by Hugh Craddock 21 Jun, 2010 21:59:06Chairman
Jean Smith was elected chairman and Andrew Cooper
vice-chairman (I say 'elected', but oddly, there was no vote, show of
hands or otherwise, only a nomination).
New downs manager:
Samantha Beak was introduced as the new downs manager,
replacing Sam Whitehead.
legal concerns were reported from Department for Communities over the
wording of the proposed new byelaws, which would be considered at the
Road crossing of the racecourse:
more discussion about improving provision for pedestrians crossing
the end straight of the racecourse, where there is no pavement.
There were ideas for improvement (some photographs would have
helped). The chairman lamented the absence of a representative from
Surrey Highways (presumably, they don't have time to attend any
more). Someone commented that the board had been here before, and
that it should have been dealt with previously. The chairman asked
whether everyone was happy with what the board had to do (though it
was far from clear what that was), The vice-chairman was concerned
about liability, and thought that the racecourse wouldn't be liable
for any accidents. It was agreed that a small group of members would
meet on site with Surrey Highways.
the clerk had looked at dog control byelaws, and doubted that they
could be enforced (which raises the question why the board is
bothering with new byelaws at all?). Whereas a dog control order
would very likely be uniform throughout the borough, and there would
be greater familiarity with enforcement. It was asked whether there
were still plans to accredit the downskeepers to enforce byelaws, and
this was reported as under active discussion.
Maintenance of hack
sand track: the agenda's
suggestion that the clerk was going to give an oral update was
declined by the clerk. The vice-chairman said he had forgotten the
historic arrangement for maintenance between the conservators and the
racecourse: he acknowledged that the hack sand track was 'hugely'
lacking in material, and that perhaps the downskeepers were
responsible for harrowing. He acknowledged that there would be a
significant outlay. The chairman said it was getting worse and
worse, and suggested that there should be an agreement as suggested
by the vice-chairman. The clerk suggested the work should be costed,
which would be done in conjunction with the racecourse, and reported
to the next meeting.
leaflets: it was acknowledged
that final versions of the information leaflets had not been
circulated (as stated in the agenda), and that these would be sent to
the board members and consultative committee members.
the board agreed to adopt a model publication scheme and guide to
information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The head
downskeeper had procured road-planings from Surrey County Council, at
no cost, to improve the surfacing of the car parks. Bizarrely, the revenue account and balance sheet for 2009–10 were blank (and headed as at "31 March 2009"), but no-one said anything or even appeared to notice.
no comments were invited nor passed on the head downskeeper's
description of the post-Derby clean-up as having gone 'well'
(personally, I'd disagree, having regard to the usual evidence of
broken glass, spent barbecue sites, and generally a significant
covering of small bits of litter on the Hill). The chestnut paling
contractor had tried to start no fewer than four weeks before the
event, and had been asked to return at the right time. In his oral
report to the board, the chief executive of the racecourse said it
was a 'fantastic day' in racing terms. He acknowledged impact on the
local community, and said there was much to learn, and things that
could be done as regards, for example, traffic management. The
police had made only three arrests. He wanted to have an earlier
meeting with local councillors next year. The head downskeeper
mentioned 'tons and tons' of broken glass: another said it had been
raised before. It was difficult to ban glass from the downs, but
no-one drew the corollary that the racecourse needed better
arrangements to clear it up.
Derby gypsy site:
The vice-chairman said (unsolicited) that the regulating Act merely permitted use
of the downs for a temporary gypsy site, and that the board should
look at the options available to it, as it was not obliged to make
provision. But others suggested that the impact on the borough would
be much greater if no provision were made: there had been greater
numbers and more trouble in past times: indeed, the clerk noted that
the Act enabled provision for not less than 200 caravans (whereas
only 55 or so sought accommodation this year). The clerk was asked
by the chairman to produce "a balanced report which would
hopefully come down on the side of no longer having a camp", and
board members were asked to provide any relevant evidence. Editor's note: it
was difficult to see that there were any new issues raised at the
meeting, and as it was pointed out, the gypsy community has always
been part of the Derby. So, first the funfair, next the gypsies?
Temporary closure of
pedestrian subway: the
racecourse said they had been asked to seek powers to close the
subway by health and safety and the police, but would not necessarily
act on them. One board member thought that discouraging racegoers
from the downs would be seen in a very negative light by the local
community. But it was approved just the same. Editor's note: even though the
subway provides the substitute means of access to the Hill to the
public footpath crossing which has long been obstructed.
a late paper was circulated, which appeared to amount to further
delay in doing anything to improve or replace the present inadequate
accommodation. It was agreed that any replacement should be on the
present site, and not involve a move to the toilet block.
Date of next
meeting: 4th October 2010
conservators' downs tour:
date yet to be adopted.
Friends of Epsom
Downs: meet next on 14th August.
ConservatorsPosted by Hugh Craddock 15 Apr, 2010 18:13:29TGMB
: met in early March, with "little to report" to the Board, and no "fresh information" to change its view on use of the hatched area. A letter from Pat Phelan was circulated, trainer at Ermyn Lodge (time was given for members to read this). It is proposed to use a new return route to the London Road crossing for horses in training on Six Mile Hill through the woodland at the top of the Hill: some clearance would be needed. It was suggested that a decision should be deferred to seek the hack riders' views, but Simon Dow said that a decision was needed urgently because it was a safety issue: there would be no impact on hack riders' rights, and hack riders would be allowed to use the route at other times (presumably, as a de facto
afternoon route). Bob Harding, the head downskeeper, noted that there might be a problem with dogs exercised in the woods. It was decided to allow the chairman to make a decision after consultation with the consultative committee members, because the "conservators didn't want a complaint that they had done something without consulting the [hack riders]."
Tattenham Corner Station to the Downs
Andrew Cooper for the racecourse was firmly opposed to improvements
to the crossing of the racecourse at Tattenham Corner Road, because
this would mean sacrificing about a metre of the turf. Walking on
the grass was not the answer. Safety concerns were acknowledged, but
the conservators “had to accept that the racecourse said it
couldn't be done”. It was suggested that part of the carriageway
should be taken instead, but the highway authority did not consider
it as an accident blackspot, although the suggestion would be put to it.Dog control
: nothing to report, as the lead officer, Sam Whitehead, was away ill. Simon Dow said there was a serious incident the previous day, with a horse chased and brought down by a small white terrier (the rider was OK, but the horse was injured). The clerk would discuss with Sam on her return. There was mention of a new byelaw (which rather ignores the previous advice about dog control orders). The chairman said that:"the principle thing is to avoid accidents to the horses." Simon Dow thought it was important to put something in place, even if it did not take effect for some years: e.g. no dog off a lead during training hours; the racecourse thought a new byelaw would show intent. But the head downskeeper warned that new rules would be hard to enforce, and routine enforcement could distract downskeepers from dealing with more imminent hazards, and create confrontation with some dog keepers. One conservator suggested designating part of the downs dog-free, and others contributed their concerns about the situation (although the focus was entirely on the threat to horses in training and the training industry). Leaflets and signs were preaching to the converted: education would be better. But there was strong support for better signage, and comparison was made to Richmond Park. Comment was made that breaches of the byelaws were never prosecuted. It was noted that there was a power to make byelaws, and the board decided that it wished to proceed with seeking a new byelaw (though there was no discussion of what that byelaw might say, or how it would improve on the current byelaw, or whether a new byelaw would be approved in view of the move towards dog control orders).Onward rides from the downs
: agreed to remove from the action list, since there was no prospect of action by the highway authority.Downskeepers' hut
: still no developments, which was generally agreed to be unsatisfactory.Maintenance of hack sand track
: again, no news, because the clerk had been on holiday. Andrew noted that there was an agreement at the time the sand track was put in relating to its maintenance, but it had not been found. He said it was in extremely poor condition, and unuseable in parts. It would take significant work and money to put right. A proposal was sought for the next meeting.Ebbisham Lane
: removed from the action list, as highway authority unwilling to act.Jogger affects rider
: a jogger unsettled a horse and rider in training near the downskeeper's hut, which has been reported in the local Guardian
. The rider was dismounted shortly afterwards, and was taken to hospital. It was agreed that the downskeepers should be able to attend further horse awareness training to help in attending such incidents.Friends of Epsom and Walton Downs
: a smaller turnout, but a successful day, shortly before Easter.
The Warren Wood track
between Walton Road and Grosvenor Road, and the track between Wendover Stables and the golf club house, have both been cleared of vegetation, following "recent events", which were described as simply the winter routine.Damage to bridleway 65/66
: contractors have been hired to restore damage caused by farm traffic (but it hasn't been done yet).Old London Road
: was shut temporarily the previous day ("with the trainers' agreement") for some resurfacing funded by the racecourse. The highway authority disclaim responsibility for maintenance, but the racecourse says that the borough council is liable to repair. Confirmation is being sought.Events on the downs
: Two charitable events were proposed for approval. Simon Dow complained that the routes were in practice sometimes set out on the downland, and in any case the impact of, say, 800 people running down these routes would inevitably cause spread onto the grass. A conservator suggested that an event of this kind would attract a similar number of cars. The board decided to refuse the Fix
event on the grounds of adverse impact, but accepted that the Tadworth Athletic Club event was well established, and suggested that there should be further discussion with the organisers as to the route to keep it away from the gallops. Simon Dow also asked that the Race for Life
should be made aware that the set-up time conflicted with the times during which horses would be in training (the racecourse said that the scale of promotion suggested that there would be a very large turn-out this year, although it was said that the number of participants had been firmly limited to 5,000).[Editor's note: are these the same downs which host the Epsom Derby, with a crowd of over 100,000, and with another 13 race meetings this year? Is this the same board which approved plans for a commercial two day concert in the middle of the downs in 2009, attracting an audience of 50,000 over the weekend? To be fair, the
Fix event would be in October, when the ground is less able to recover, but it was far from clear that this consideration drove the decision: it wasn't even mentioned.]Applications for extension of racing period
: Covered in the report, but no mention was made of the approval issued since the last meeting. Date of next meeting
: 21 June.
ConservatorsPosted by Hugh Craddock 21 Jan, 2010 21:00:54Policing of the Derby
: Supt Bristow attended the
meeting to give an account of concern about policing of the 2009 Derby. The post-Derby report to the conservators
was described as ‘bland’. Supt Bristow
was not responsible for the Derby, but said he had spoken to those who
were. He had had no feedback to suggest
the event was worse than usual.
Policing during the evening was unchanged from previous years. The relocation of the fair to the Hill
changed the crowd dynamics which will be noted for the plan for 2010. There was some sporadic disorder in the
vicinity of the fairground during the afternoon and officers attempted to deal
with it: some bottles or cans were thrown, and appropriately trained officers
responded, not dressed in riot gear, but wearing ‘code 2 dress’. This means that some elements of riot gear
were worn, but they were not fully kitted out.
He could not explain the use of sirens, but presumed that they were
being used in relation to the disruption on the Hill. Arrests were very low.
Questioned whether the racecourse’s primary responsibility for
stewarding within the racecourse had had an impact, Supt Bristow said that the
police had not relinquished responsibility for policing within the racecourse,
and the stewards had no responsibility for criminal law enforcement: there was
no ‘imaginary line’ beyond which the police did not go. There was criticism that the police presence
in Langley Vale evaporated in the evening (although there were traffic wardens
patrolling at 20:00!), and was needed until late. Andrew Cooper from the racecourse said there were no plans to
move the fair back to its previous position: its decision was criticised by
another conservator (but no-one thought to press a discussion on the subject,
just as there was none at all when the racecourse announced its decision to the
board last year).
Training Grounds Management Board: met on 9 December.
It concluded that the hatched area remained unfit for use (no surprise again).
Mark Berry, head of Epsom and Ewell Borough Council addressed the Board on
planning and the racing industry. The trainers had reported a very successful
year: the best in a decade, with 170 winners.
Rubbing House car parking extension: the proprietors
have still not responded to a request from planners for further information.
Byelaw boards: the replacement boards will be ‘basic’
in design, similar to the present ones (so presumably just as
user-unfriendly). Expected to be
installed sometime during 2010-11.
Making use of the Tattenham Corner equestrian crossing:
the highway authority has declined to take an interest, and the conservators
weren’t going to either. Discussion sort of petered out.
Hack sand track: the clerk reported that she needed
to meet with Andrew Cooper from the racecourse to discuss management of the
sand track. Pity that the meeting hadn't taken place before.
Hack rides: Bob Harding reported that work had been
done to clear overgrowth in Beech Wood (see blog report 14 November 2009) and
Top Wood (not sure where that is, possibly east of Burgh Heath Road), and to
maintain the openness of the rides on Juniper Hill.
Ebbisham Lane: Surrey highways continues to refuse to
properly maintain the road, and pleads lack of funds.
Downs strategy: the clerk has reviewed the downs
strategy to seek to bring it up to date, and a work plan will be prepared of
actions (as has been done for Nonsuch Park).
New byelaws: the proposed byelaws for prohibiting the
use of model cars on the downs and to prohibit cycling except on authorised
routes was approved for consultation; in discussion of authorised routes for cycling,
Simon Dow asked about use of Walton Road across Six Mile Hill, which he said
was risky (but agreed could not be excluded, although alternative routes could
be signposted by way of encouragement).
There was no debate at all about authorising cycling on a considerable
number of hack rides on the downs where use at the moment is simply tolerated
or little known, despite detailed comments from the hack riders setting out our
objections, and despite a board member later pointing out that the downs were
unsuitable for cycling. This came about
20 minutes after the conservators had agreed that policy decisions should take
account of impact on all users of the downs!
Downs leaflets: draft leaflets were presented for
approval prior to publication. Despite endless comments, the leaflet for hack
riders is still unsatisfactory, being presented on A5 paper, and with colouring
which makes it very difficult to distinguish afternoon hack rides from all-day
rides, but we're assured that there will be further revisions.
Closure of Old London Road: was authorised on 27 June
2010 for the Cancer Research UK Race for Life (this refers to New Road Work No
2, which runs round the inside of the racecourse). Some uncertainty whether
this is actually within the gift of the conservators, or whether it's a public
Date of next meeting: fixed for 15 April 2010.