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The Committee is asked to confirm as a true record the Minutes of the Meeting of the Committee held on 17 September 2018 (attached) and to authorise the Chairman to sign them.
The Minutes of the Meeting of the Epsom and Walton Downs Consultative Committee held on 17 September 2018 were agreed as a true record and the Chairman was authorised to sign them.
Issues raised by Members of the Committee
To discuss any issues raised by Members of the Committee.
· Replacement of Hack Sand Track - Review/feedback on proposals.
· Condition of hack canter at top of Six Mile Hill - surface reinstatement and widening.
· Marking of hack ride across The Hill - insufficient marker posts and difficulty in identifying width and route.
· Hack post renewal on the Downs.
· Water logging of track at top of Rifle Butts Alley. Overgrowth in several places of horse track running along Burgh Heath Road/ Downs Road.
· Update on Downskeepers’ winter work programme.
· Traffic light phasing for pedestrians and racehorses crossing by Bus Shelter.
The Committee considered the following matters:
a) Replacement of Hack Sand Track. The Chair invited Mr Stephen Wallis, as a representative of the Training Grounds Management Board and Jockey Club Racecourses and Mr Hugh Craddock as a representative of the British Horse Society (BHS) to provide an update on this matter.
Mr Wallis expressed his thanks for the constructive and helpful way in which representatives of the BHS and Epsom Downs Riders Protection Society had engaged with the Racecourse as landowner in trying to find a solution to the problems surrounding the hack sand track. Mr Wallis outlined that the hack sand track was uneconomic to maintain and would fall into disrepair in its current location. It was proposed that a new 16 metre wide grass hack canter ride be created in the bottom section of the area reserved for Racehorse training, and made available for use by the hack riding community after noon daily. The continued maintenance of the ride would be undertaken by the Jockey Club and Training Grounds Management Board. The Committee was presented with a plan showing the proposed location of the new ride. The Consultative Committee noted that the proposed route of the ride clipped the ‘hatched area’ at the foot of Walton Downs in part, and narrowed at both ends due to the space available in those locations. It was noted that there would be no impact from the proposed ride on the status or size of the ‘hatched area’.
Mr Craddock informed the Committee that the BHS very much welcomed the initiative and felt that it was capable of being an enduring agreement subject to minor remaining negotiations, and that the BHS was more than prepared to commend it.
Mr Alex Stewart informed the Committee that the views of local hack riders had been sought via the BHS’s Facebook and that there had been initial support from the 50 responses received. The BHS also would undertake a more comprehensive consultation of its Members, local riding establishments and individual riders. This would be communicated with an endorsement for the proposal from the BHS, setting out it’s benefits to hack riders. It was anticipated that the proposed new ride would reduce the incidence of hack riders encroaching on the Gallops and other tracks, and the communications would reinforce this message.
b) Condition of hack canter at top of Six Mile Hill. The Committee received images of the condition of the hack canter at the top of Six Mile Hill. The Streetcare Manager informed the Committee that the area was a high priority within the works schedule for the Downskeepers and extended an invitation to Mr Stewart to meet with the lead Downskeeper to assit in identifying future works.
c) Marking of hack ride across The Hill and Hack post renewal. The Chair informed the Committee that the Conservators had been successful in a bid to the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development recently and had been awarded funding for new signage, picnic tables ... view the full minutes text for item 2.
Issues raised for consideration
To discuss any issues raised by representatives invited to attend the meeting of the Committee.
The following matters were raised by the representative of the Epsom Equestrian Conservation Group, Caroline Baldock:
· Lights on Farm Lane.
· Tresspass on the gallops and grass above the wax track by hack riders.
· Information signs and leaflets on the Downs:
o Maintenance of the 2 furlong sign on the wax track.
o Size of signs for cyclists.
o Availability of information leaflets on the Downs.
The Committee considered the following matters raised by invited representatives:
a) Lights on Farm Lane. The Committee was informed that a condition on woodland trust car park for traffic lights had been removed by the relevant planning authority. It was noted that Councillor Steven McCormick, as the County Councillor for the area would be taking this matter forward with Surrey County Council and Mole Valley District Council. It was further noted that an alternative equestrian crossing solution was operated effectively in both Newmarket and Lambourn.
b) Encroachment on the gallops and grass above the wax track by hack riders and information signs and leaflets on the Downs. The Committee noted the issues detailed on the agenda and was informed that the sign posts identified had been included in the recent signs audit undertaken by the Downskeepers. It was noted that the Streetcare Manager would discuss the issue of cyclists crossing the Valley Gallop with the lead Downskeeper and Training Grounds Manager to identify any actions which could assist with the matter. The Committee also noted that the Jockey Club had funded an education programme aimed at improving awareness of issues on the Downs.
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.