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The Committee is asked to confirm as a true record the Minutes of the Meeting of the Committee held on 14 December 2022 (attached) and to authorise the Chair to sign them.
The Minutes of the Meeting of the Epsom and Walton Downs Consultative Committee held on 14 December 2022 were agreed as a true record and the Chair was authorised to sign them.
To consider matters raised by Members of the Epsom and Walton Downs Consultative Committee.
The Committee considered matters raised by Members.
The following matters raised by the Epsom Downs Riders’ Protection Association Member were considered:
a) Condition of Hack Canter Ride at the top of Six Mile Hill. The Committee were informed by the Council’s Streetcare Manager that this will be added to the Winter Workplan for this year. The Chair informed the Committee that an update would be fed back to the Training Grounds Management Board.
b) Protection from Damage to large noticeboards around the Downs. The Committee were informed by the Streetcare Manager that the protective covering for the boards will be put up over the winter months and the old signs will be removed, to avoid any confusion and add clarity. The Streetcare Manager and Downskeepers are working with Surrey County Council Rights of Way to ensure that all signs for bridleways are in the right place. The Chair informed the committee that the byelaws will be put up on the noticeboards. This was confirmed by the Streetcare Manager, who also shared that maps and interpretation boards will be put up on the noticeboards over the winter.
The Committee received a comment from an invited representative regarding the inclusion of the Epsom Downs Model Aircraft Club site on the noticeboards. This was noted by the Council’s Streetcare Manager for inclusion.
An additional item raised by Epsom and Ewell Borough Council Member was considered:
c) Overgrown Vegetation. The EEBC Member raised that residents in Roseberry Road had complained about vegetation encroaching into their back gardens from the Downs. The EEBC Member informed the Committee that the vegetation was cut back within 3 days of letting the Streetcare Manager know and queried whether that is the best route to follow when the vegetation needs to be cut back again. The Streetcare Manager confirmed that they should let them know when it needs to be done and explained that workplans are being created by the Lead Downskeeper for that area to cover this in future.
Following consideration, the Committee resolved:
(1) That it had considered the matters raised by members of the Committee as set out in the report.
To discuss issues raised by representatives invited to attend the meeting of the Committee.
The Committee considered issues raised by representatives invited to attend the meeting.
The following issues raised by the invited representatives were considered:
Woodcote Epsom Residents’ Society (WERS), Councillor Bernice Froud on behalf of Jane Clarke;
a) Maintenance of the Downs. The Committee were informed by the Council’s Streetcare Manager that the Downs Habitat Management Plan is very prescriptive in what areas should stay long and what areas should be cut short. The Streetcare Manager informed the Committee that the Habitat Management Plan has been written, by the Council’s Countryside team, with the need to balance biodiversity with the racing industry in mind and explained that the plan can be found on the EEBC website. The Committee were informed that the Habitat Management Plan is a live document which can change. The Chair highlighted that the TGMB had raised the issue that pollen poses for horses, and that this is going to be taken into consideration going forward.
Epsom Civic Society, Nick Lock and Epsom Equestrian Conservation Team, Caroline Baldock;
b) Noticeboards Content. The Committee noted that this item was covered during Agenda item 2, issue number 2.
c) Spoil heaps of training track material. The Training Grounds Management Board Member informed the Committee that there is a plan to make a start on recirculating the track material by the end of October 2023 and confirmed that it will all be reused on the Downs, with whatever isn’t used being disposed of. The TGMB Member explained that there is no finish date identifiedas of yet, but that the spoil heaps will begin to be dealt with soon in close collaboration with the Streetcare Manager and Team. The Streetcare Manager highlighted that all the materials will be recycled. The Chair asked the TGMB Member if some of the items are recycled to/from other Jockey Club courses. The TGMB confirmed that is correct.
The Committee received a comment from an invited representative that the recycling of the material that came off the gallops is full of rocks and the rocks need to be removed or crushed in order to protect the horses. The TGMB Member confirmed to the Committee that the surface being used on the horse walks doesn’t have any stones in, it’s off the Polytrack and the bottom track and is a different surface.
d) Incorrect Signage. The Streetcare Manager explained that there will be less confusion once the old signs are taken down over the winter months.
The Committee received a comment from an invited representative that it is important to highlight the official and accurate training days and times on the signs so that dog walkers are aware when they should have their dogs on leads and are not keeping them unnecessarily on the lead when they do not need to be. The Streetcare Manager explained that it was simpler and more consistent to keep ‘before 12 o’clock Monday – Sunday’ on the signs.The Committee were informed by the Streetcare Manager that the byelaws state that ... view the full minutes text for item 8.
Items for the Attention of the Conservators
To identify any items which the Committee wishes to be brought to the attention of the Conservators at their next meeting, and nominate a spokesperson to present them if appropriate.
The Committee did not identify any items from the meeting which would require verbal representation to the Conservators.
The Chair informed the Committee that Agenda Item 2, issues 1 and 2 and Agenda Item 3, issues 3, 6, 12 and 13 would be followed up on before the next Consultative Committee Meeting.