Minutes of a meeting of the Northam Burrows Advisory Committee held in the Council Chamber, Windmill Lane, Northam on Tuesday 10th June 2008


PRESENT: Chairman - Cllr R W A Miller

Members - Mrs S Collins, B Edwards, P Hames, C K Langton, R H Osborne District Council - Mr S Corin 1716 Committee - TEA Barclay Golf Club - Mr D Bushby Grazier - Miss S Jobson-Scott Other Member in attendance Cllr S Robinson

Apologies were recorded on behalf Cllrs A Eastman, R M M Tisdale and Mr R Webster (TDC)

1. Election of Chairman

Cllr Miller was unanimously elected as Chairman.

2. Minutes

The minutes of the meeting of the Northam Burrows Advisory Committee held 12 th March 2008 were approved and signed.

(Vote: Unanimous)

3. Bassetts Bridge

There was a general discussion on the best way of proceeding with regard to Bassetts Bridge. From the horse riding aspect it seemed important to ensure that the bridge was replaced as soon as possible after removal of the old bridge and concerns were expressed that the horses would be shy of crossing a timber construction. There was also concern regarding the costs and it was also thought that if the materials from the existing bridge were re-used on site then this would substantially reduce the costs. It was agreed to obtain quotes for the demolition and the construction of a new bridge and re-consider the matter when the true costs were in.

4. Natural England latest report

Cllr Miller reported that Natural England were still concerned about over-grazing and he thought that it may be necessary for Northam Town Council to take action and appoint an assessor. It was also reported that sheep identification was a problem and that dead sheep and lambs were left lying on the Burrows. It was important to put measures in place before next year's allocation. It was also agreed to ask Natural England to come to a future meeting to discuss the various concerns.

5. Items from District Council

Mr Corin, the Senior Ranger, reported that he had received complaints that there were problems with water supply and Miss Jobson-Scott complained that the ditches were not accessible. Mr Corin agreed to look at the possibility of clearing the ditch near the entrance to the Burrows. It was also agreed to write to graziers to advise them that provision of water was their responsibility and that they should be maintaining the troughs which are fed with water by the Golf Club.

Mr Corin also reported that ragwort and thistles were a problem but he had insufficient manpower to fulfil the responsibilities of removing them. There was also a problem of dogs chasing sheep which may result in all dogs on the Burrows being required to be kept on a lead. He also advised that the cattle grid at Appledore Gate needs substantial work which will result in a three to four day closure in the autumn.

6. Items from Graziers

Miss Jobson-Scott reported that a grazier was riding outside the designated riding area. She was also concerned about model cars which present a danger to horse riders and, in particular, children under instruction. She also reported that there is a pony on the Burrows which is clearly neglected. It was thought that the owner was deceased and Miss Jobson-Scott agreed to take it over. It was agreed to write to Torridge District Council's Solicitor to emphasise that action was required with regard to model cars and kites as a health and safety issue.

7. Items from 1716 Committee

Mr Barclay was concerned that there was reference to car parking on the Burrows. He thought this should be more correctly described as hardstanding for vehicles. He also advised that he had information available in the way of photographs and slides for the officers considering the tip.

8. Items from the Golf Club

Mr Bushby reported that there was a championship golfing event on the Burrows which attracted entries from many clubs and was of considerable benefit to the local economy.