The Head Ranger for Ashtead Common to be heard.
The Committee received a presentation from the Head Ranger of Ashtead Common regarding the upcoming management issues and priorities for the Common. Members received updates regarding the following matters:-
Cows would be returning to graze on the Common later in 2016 but a programme of grazing had not progressed as officers had hoped.
Fire and Water
Five arson attacks had been carried out on the Common by an unknown group or individual in April 2015. It had been suggested to create a direct water supply to the affected parts of the common to tackle future fires but this was deemed not possible. However, officers had been reassured by the local Fire Brigade that they would be investing in training and equipment to improve their response to local wild land fires.
Community Audit Report
A local organisation had recently produced a Community Audit Report in consultation with local residents from the Wells Estate. The report recommended that a muddy, unsurfaced pathway be surfaced to enable children from the Wells Estate to take a quicker direct walking route to school. Members were reminded that it had previously been agreed not to surface any more pathways due to its negative impact on local wildlife and hydrology. Members also noted that the number of schoolchildren affected was relatively minimal for such a major piece of surfacing work to be carried out, particularly during a period of financial constraint. The Committee agreed to assess the surfacing of the pathway in question at the next visit during summer 2016 to determine its level of priority.