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Venue: Metropolitan Police Hayes Sports Club, The Warren, Croydon Road, Hayes, Kent, BR2 7AL

Contact: Alistair MacLellan  Email: alistair.maclellan@cityoflondon.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Graeme Smith, Jeremy Simons, Alan Clifford, Gwyneth Fookes, Brian Hudson, Sarah Lovatt, Avril Sleeman, Cllr Hilary Turner, Cllr Chris Wright, Geoff Newton and Val Polydorou.

 

The Town Clerk noted that Gladys Edmonds had resigned from the Consultation Group.

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 1.

2.

Members' Declarations under the Code of Conduct in respect of items on the agenda

Minutes:

There were no declarations.

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.

3.

Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 175 KB

To receive the terms of reference of the West Wickham, Spring Park and Coulsdon Commons Consultative Committee.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 3.

Minutes:

Members considered the terms of reference of the West Wickham, Spring Park and Coulsdon Commons Consultation Group and the following points were made.

 

·         The Superintendent of The Commons noted that Members were asked to review the terms of reference given they had undergone some changes since Members had last seen them. Members now made up part of a Consultation Group, rather than Committee, as the former term made it clear the Group performed an advisory function to the City’s Epping Forest & Commons Committee.

 

·         The Superintendent continued, noting that the new terms of reference focused on the Management Plan for each area of the Commons.

 

·         The Superintendent finished by noting that the new status of ‘Group’ meant that the composition could be more flexible than if it were a formal Committee. That said, the Superintendent drew Members’ attention to the proposal that Members could only serve for two terms of four years, effective from that evening.

 

·         In response to a comment from a Member, the Superintendent agreed to amend the terms of reference to make clear that where a councillor was a member, they were members by virtue of their role as local ward councillor and therefore could be represented by one of their ward colleagues.

 

·         In response to a request from a Member, the Town Clerk agreed to review attendance of Members to ensure attendance by individual members was consistent.

 

RESOLVED, that the terms of reference be received, with suggested amendments submitted to the Epping Forest & Commons Committee for approval.

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 262 KB

To agree the public minutes and non-public summary of the meeting held on 23 January 2017.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 4.

Minutes:

RESOLVED, that the minutes of the meeting held on 23 January 2017 be approved subject to some amendments.

 

Matters Arising

Volunteering

The Chairman noted the volunteer hours referenced within the minutes and the fact that volunteer hours for 2017/18 would feature on the agenda that evening. He expressed his grateful thanks on behalf of the Epping Forest & Commons Committee for the hard work done by volunteers across the Commons and at West Wickham, Spring Park and Coulsdon Common in particular.

 

Coulsdon South Railway Station

A Member noted that the name change promised by National Rail to ‘Coulsdon South for Farthing Down and Happy Valley’ had yet to take effect.

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Superintendent's Report

The Superintendent of The Commons to be heard.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 5.

Minutes:

The Superintendent delivered his verbal Superintendent’s Update and the following points were made. 

 

 

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

5a

Achievements across The Commons - 2017

Minutes:

 

Achievements across the Commons 2017

 

·         At Burnham Beeches and Stoke Common a total of 13 staff had overseen the delivery of 5,500 volunteer hours. Main items of work included pollarding and wildlife surveys.

 

·         The use of invisible fencing had allowed 120 hectares to be grazed across Burnham Beeches and Stoke Common. The Superintendent was working with Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to normalise the practice of invisible fencing.

 

·         The Superintendent noted that the management of 220,000 dog visits at Burnham Beeches had been made more effective by the use of Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs).

 

·         Staff at Ashtead Common has overseen the delivery of 9,000 volunteer hours. Projects had included a community science initiative to monitor pollution of Rye Brook, and a partnership with Surrey Wildlife Trust for grazing.

 

·         The delivery of services across The Commons had been made more effective through the reorganisation and retraining of the Support Services Group who provided administrative and financial services.

 

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 5a

5b

Open Spaces Bill - Update

Minutes:

Open Spaces Bill Update

 

·         The Bill had received its Third Reading in the House of Commons in October 2017 from where it had progressed to the House of Lords. It had passed its Second Reading at the Unopposed Bill Committee recently. The Bill sought to provide the City with powers to manage common issues across its Open Spaces, such as the use of Fixed Penalty Notices, fly tipping, commercial pressures and the management of sports events. The Superintendent was optimistic that the Bill would receive Royal Assent by Summer 2018 at the latest.

 

·         In response to a request from the Chairman, the Town Clerk agreed to notify Members when the Bill received Royal Assent.

 

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 5b

5c

Budget Position 2018/19 and Beyond

Minutes:

Budget Position 2018/19 and Beyond

 

·         The Superintendent noted that The Commons were facing annual deficits for the next three years, with a £129,000 deficit forecast for 2020/21.

 

·         In response to a question from a Member, the Superintendent replied that project car park income was based on income at comparable sites. Any changes would be advertised well in advance and would be accompanied by clear communications on the cost of delivering services across the Commons.

 

·         In response to a question, the Superintendent assured Members that he had no plans to reduce the level of staffing across the Commons. He added that a Ranger post that had recently become vacant had been reviewed to ensure it was best placed to continue to support work on the Commons and would be readvertised shortly.

 

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 5c

6.

Review of Annual Work Programme 2017/18

The Head Ranger for West Wickham & Coulsdon Commons to be heard.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 6.

Minutes:

The Head Ranger for West Wickham & Coulsdon Common was heard regarding the Review of the Annual Work Programme 2017/18 and the following points were made.

 

·         West Wickham, Spring Park and Coulsdon Common had been awarded six Green Flags and three Green Heritage awards, and during 2017/18 year seven of the ten-year Environmental Stewardship Scheme had been completed.

 

·         Regular volunteering from volunteer groups, school groups and corporate volunteers had enabled the delivery of 6,000 volunteer hours – equating to 750 days of work. Volunteer works had included new fencing and hedge laying.

 

·         Rangers had hosted 50 events and engaged with 1,400 people. Some Ranger Walks had proved so popular they were double booked. Rangers had endeavoured to undertake more community and education outreach.

 

·         In response to two questions regarding outreach, the Head Ranger replied that feedback forms were collected after each event, and events were advertised on social media.

 

·         A ‘changing history’ information board had been installed at Riddlesdown which featured a different history board each month.

 

·         Seven goats had been introduced to Riddlesdown prior to Christmas 2017 and would remain until Easter 2018. They had been successful in promoting more diverse flora.

 

·         Further highlights from 2017 included dealing with some minor storm damage in the wake of Storm Doris, and the removal of ten tonnes of ragwort from Farthing Downs. Furthermore, the London Borough of Croydon had accepted their responsibility for the maintenance of the Marlpit Triangle at Farthing Downs.

 

·         Spring Park had been declared a Regionally Important Geological and Geomorphological Site (RIGS). West Wickham and Spring Park volunteers had contributed 616 hours. Rangers had undertaken local library talks and school activities.

 

·         Year 15 of a 16-year pollarding programme had been completed at Spring Park. A pedestrian crossing had finally opened on the A232.

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Presentation of Management issues and priorities for 2018/19

The Head Ranger for West Wickham and Coulsdon Commons to be heard.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 7.

Minutes:

The Head Ranger for West Wickham & Coulsdon Common was heard regarding Management Priorities for 2018/19 and the following points were made.

 

·         Priorities for Farthing Downs and Riddlesdown included more livestock fencing, restoration of grassland, and increased Ranger presence through patrols, public events and safety audits.

 

·         Priorities for West Wickham included restoration of heathland, coppicing, increased Ranger presence, and the installation of a GeoTrail.

 

·         Other priorities included the recruitment of a Livestock Ranger and a Conservation Ranger. In response to a question, the Superintendent replied that the Livestock Ranger would cover all of The Commons.

 

·         The Superintendent noted that he would need to make applications for fresh Countryside Stewardship monies for the Commons.

 

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Kenley Revival Project Update

The Kenley Common Ranger to be heard.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 8.

Minutes:

The Kenley Common Ranger was heard regarding the Kenley Revival Project and the following points were made.

 

·         The Kenley Common Ranger noted that the project involved £1.1m of Heritage Lottery Funding over three years, which had commenced in 2016. The majority of the monies had been spent on conserving the Battle of Britain era blast pens around the airfield.

 

·         The Kenley Common Ranger continued, noting that the project had met all of its key targets to date, with over 10,000 members of the public engaged and 7,000 website users. The Sky Heroes Event in Summer 2017 had been a big success. The project had exceeded its volunteer target, with 658 volunteers against a target of 300. Kenley volunteers had been nominated at the London Volunteer Awards.

 

·         Kenley was now part of a wider WW2 era fighter station heritage network including Biggin Hill. In response to a question from the Chairman, the Kenley Common Ranger agreed to check whether this network was advertised on City webpages.

 

·         The project included community archaeology, with finds due to be displayed on the website. In response to a question whether it would be possible to dig for a rumoured WW2-era crashed aircraft, the Superintendent noted that the legal implications were too complex to embark on such a project.

 

·         Some graffiti was due to be removed from some of the structures now that vegetation had been cut back. In response to a question, the Kenley Common Ranger replied that the issue of graffiti had not got any worse but that it was now more visible.

 

·         A five-day education festival had been held that involved re-enactors and a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). Eight schools had been engaged. In response to a question, the Kenley Common Ranger replied that the City focused on engaging

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Questions on matters relating to the work of the Consultative Committee

Minutes:

Lyme Disease

In response to a question the Superintendent noted that there was an identified Lyme Disease hotspot at Ashtead Common which was mitigated through advertising the risk to the public using the Common as much as possible.

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Any Other Business that the Chairman considers urgent

Minutes:

A232 Signage

In response to a comment from a Member that the new signage blocked the sightline of drivers, the Senior Ranger noted that Transport for London (TfL) was the responsible authority for the road in question and that it was a London Borough of Bromley sign that had been identified as the issue. TfL had conducted a Stage 3 Safety Audit which, once evaluated, would be shared with the Senior Ranger. In short, the outcome should be the sign being moved to a more convenient location.

 

Croydon Review of Open Spaces

A Member commented that the London Borough of Croydon was currently reviewing its parks and open spaces. Croydon was clearly concerned about its ability to maintain its current level of expenditure and therefore the Member would welcome the Superintendent putting some consideration into whether the City and its programme of volunteering could be of any assistance. In response, the Superintendent noted that he did have a dialogue with his counterpart at Croydon and that he hoped to re-establish some element of partnership working that had existed in the past.

 

Kenley Airfield

The Superintendent noted that the Ministry of Defence had reactivated Kenley airfield which had raised the question of what improvements could be made to boundary fencing between the Common and airfield to promote public safety. The Superintendent would be making a report to the Epping Forest & Commons Committee on the matter. In response to a question, he stated that it was unlikely that car parking could be moved on to the Common due to it being a conservation area.

 

Summer 2018 Walk

Members agreed that Spring Park should be the focus of the Summer 2018 Walk. The Town Clerk agreed to liaise with the Superintendent to identify a date.

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

 


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