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, 9 July 2012

Consultative CommitteePosted by Hugh Craddock 10 Jul, 2012 07:12:11

The previous minutes were approved without comment. Apologies from Nick Harrison and Andrew Cooper.

Constitution: a constitution of the consultative committee was turned up from 1991, and it seemed that the chairman could invite along anyone who had an interest in the committee’s business. However, the constitution was circulated only at the meeting itself, so it was a bit hard to pursue questions arising.

Fill for the Tattenham Straight works: this was now intended to be sourced either from the Human Resources block of the racecouse near the old paddock, or from a site in Guildford. Work would commence on 3 September.

Carriage driving on Walton Road: still no response from Surrey Highways. It is said to be a question of whether the width of the highway is unlawfully restricted. They will try the Surrey Portfolio Holder if no response is received from officers within a month.

Events: organiser’s bond for clearing up: we asked what had happened to this idea, which sought to ensure that organisers of a major event would deposit a bond to guarantee satisfactory clear-up after the event. It was reported that the last meeting of the conservators had agreed charging for events, including a bond, which would come into effect for full applications after October 2012. All regular event organisers would be written to, and the intention was to solicit a full application from the organisers of the Race for Life. Charging would be mandatory, and done by the council on behalf of the conservators. The clerk agreed to check on powers of the conservators to charge.

Tarred sealed surface to Walton Road on Six Mile Hill: I asked about the conservators’ approval of the so-called improvement of Walton Road. It was agreed that the conservators needed to consider this at the next meeting. But Alex noted that many hack riders would ride either side of the tarred surface, so moving the erosion elsewhere.

Byelaws: DCLG was reported to be still considering the requested confirmation of new byelaws on cycling on the downs.

Future use of Downs House: the clerk noted a continuing legal dispute. The council had achieved an order for possession in the county court, but the order was being taken to appeal. A member said that she hoped there would be continuing equestrian use of the yard. The clerk said that, if vacant possession was achieved, the building would not be left empty, and would be protected. It was implied that there was a firm intention for continued equestrian use.

Dog control: ambition was now limited to a code of conduct to be displayed on site. We asked for the conservators to be willing to consider cases for prosecution: the chairman made the point that it was usually difficult to identify offenders.

Hack sand track: officers had received a risk assessment from specialist contractors, and a report would be made to a future meeting of conservators.

Clear-up after the Derby: we were told that the intention is to pick up glass straight away, and contractors were sent back where necessary. But the fact remains that, every year, glass is ignored by the regular clearing-up team.

Signage on the downs: it was reported that of the seven introductory road signs on the downs, one was missing, and four were damaged. In view of the Queen’s jubilee visit, it seemed that the county council had restored all of the signs. However, signage appeared to be proliferating, with no regard for need, appearance or location. The byelaws signs were often illegible or defaced. A discussion followed.

Unfortunately, I and Alex had to leave at this point for other engagements, but the minutes of the consultative committee will be available shortly and fill in the remainder of the agenda.

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