The Head Ranger for Ashtead Common to be heard.
The Committee received a presentation from the Head Ranger of Ashtead Common regarding the changes to grant funding that affected the grant income received for the Common. The Head Ranger advised that the previous grant income of £70,000 per annum would be reduced to £33,000 per annum due to the introduction of a new Basic Payment Scheme. The new Scheme determined that the Common was eligible for a grant of £3,000 for 17.8 hectares of wood pasture compared with a grant of £40,000 for 200 hectares formerly received under the previous Single Payment Scheme. Members noted that the grant of £30,000 per annum received under the Stewardship agreement remained secure for the next five years.
Members were advised that community work and conservation land management would remain unaffected by the reduction in grant income but larger refurbishment projects would no longer be carried out yearly. In response to members’ questions, the Head Ranger advised that refurbishment works required would be prioritised to the most affected parts of the Commons, so visitor experience should not be affected.