Hack writer

Hack writer

About this blog

This blog records occasional comments affecting hack riders' use of Epsom and Walton Downs, including reports from meetings of the Conservators and the Consultative Committee. See the downs web page for more information about riding on the downs.

Meeting, 31 October 2011

Consultative CommitteePosted by Hugh Craddock 01 Nov, 2011 07:19:24

A meeting which was almost entirely dominated by issues raised by horse riders' representatives, but even then lasted only 50 minutes. Oddly, despite a good turn out for the meeting, hardly a word was spoken by any other representative.

Bridleway 146: we reiterated that a traffic regulation order could be made to control cycling on the ‘horse margin’ adjacent to Langley Vale Road (a point we've made before).

TGMB hatched area: no change in position on use of hatched area. We pressed for disclosure of the criteria which will permit (or not permit) use and asked the chairman to press for an answer. The racecourse said that the eastern area suffered from rabbit damage etc and the physical ground conditions were unsuitable; the western area was maintained for use as training grounds: the TGMB’s view was that opening this area would lead to uncontrolled use and conceded that the condition of the hack sand track was critical to maintaining the hack rider facilities in good condition. We asked whether there was any possibility of maintainance of the eastern end of the hatched area? The TGMB believed it was not responsible for maintenance, but the downskeepers agreed to review what would be required, including taking account of the offer of rabbit control by a third party.

Training restrictions: the TGMB had called for greater enforcement of regulations on horses in training, which had lapsed in recent years: these covered access to the gallops, gallops in use, speeds. Horses had been straying onto the grass, for example, in place of using surfaced tracks. The TGMB will re-issue the regulations and seek to police them more actively.

We also asked for a proper balance between policing use of the gallops by hack riders, and ensuring hack riders’ safety by enforcing rules on kite flying, dogs, cycling etc. Just because the TGMB had asked for more patrols of the gallops during the afternoon should not divert resources from other legitimate enforcement duties.

Works to Tattenham Straight: there will be a display of racecourse plans for the Tattenham Straight at the Grand Stand, 1530-1930 Monday 7 November.

Ebbisham Lane: we asked why the board, at its discussion on 17 October, had failed to acknowledge the potential savings which would accrue from eliminating the need for double handling of materials delivered to the hack sand in the event of reinstatement works, by ensuring that Ebbisham Lane is kept in good repair. Those savings had not yet been identified, but a report to a previous board meeting had identified the costs as a significant element in the total costs of reinstatement. We said we were puzzled that the point had not been considered by the board. The clerk said the board had had my comments before it at the last meeting, but neither clerk nor chairman could explain why they weren't pushing an approach which would save them money. Unless of course they don't think that the plans for reinstatment of the hack sand track have a hope in hell of being approved.

Walton Road: I asked what provision would be made to ensure that carriage drivers could use Walton Road across the downs, given that it is currently obstructed by various barriers. Since there was some lingering uncertainty about whether the traffic regulation order on the Walton Road did permit carriage driving, I agreed to forward a copy of it to the clerk when it was received by me from the traffic authority, Surrey County Council, who will then provide advice.

Events maps: We asked for a map of the routes to be used by events to be published on the downs website alongside the calendar, so that riders could ensure they would avoid those routes. It was agreed that officers would seek to do this.

Next meetings: 9 July 2012 and 8 November 2012 at 1800.

  • Comments(2)//ewd.craddocks.co.uk/#post48