Minutes of a meeting of the Northam Burrows Advisory Committee held in the Council Chamber, Windmill Lane, Northam on Thursday 6th August 2009


PRESENT: Chairman - Cllr R W A Miller

Members - Mrs S Collins, A Eastman, C K Langton,

R H Osborne, R Tisdale

District Council - Mr R Webster, Mr S Corin

Golf Club - Mr D Bushby

1716 Committee - Mr T E A Barclay

South West Water - Mr P McNie

Natural England - Mr J Gillett

Other Member in attendance Cllr R Johnson

Apologies were recorded on behalf of Cllr P Hames and Miss S Jobson Scott, Grazier

1. Minutes of the meeting of the Northam Burrows Advisory Committee held 17 th February 2009

The minutes of the meeting of the Northam Burrows Advisory Committee held 17 th February 2009 were noted.

2. Update from South West Water

Mr McNie reported that investigations had taken place in respect of the stream outlet at Appledore Bridge which was routed, in part, through a South West Water overflow discharge pipe. He advised that it was proposed to change the arrangement so that the amount of water entering the overflow pipe would be reduced and therefore the amount of water flowing through Appledore Bridge increased. It would be necessary to build a weir arrangement so that on occasions some water did flow down the outfall pipe in order to keep it flushed out. It was now necessary to work out a detailed plan for the works and to seek consent from the landowner and Natural England.

Mr McNie also made comment with regard to the surcharging sewers at the Westward Ho! end of the Burrows between Eastbourne Terrace and the Cricket Club. This scheme had now been accepted into the programme but when the funding would come on stream is not yet known although it would fall in the period 2010-2015.

Cllr Miller advised that with South West Water undertaking their works it would now be appropriate for the Town Council to prepare a programme of works for Bassetts Bridge and the Burn.

3. Latest situation from Natural England

Mr Gillett reported that there had been little change on the Burrows. The majority of the Burrows remained unfavourable except the Great Plain. He wondered whether any further thought had been given to entering into an agreement with Natural England under the Higher Stewardship Scheme. The major concern here seemed to be the desire of Natural England to introduce cattle and how that would be managed. Members felt that if the Great Plain was cut it would encourage grazing animals to use it and therefore take pressure off the remainder of the Burrows and Mr Gillett advised that he did not see any major problem in carrying out some trial areas outside of the bird nesting season and it was agreed that Northam Town Council would fund this work. It was agreed to draw up a scheme for Natural England's consent.

4. Improvements to the Burrows

The District Council were asked if there were any works of improvement required on the Burrows which could be funded by the Town Council. It was thought that more dog bins and litter bins could be provided but at this stage it was agreed to site a new litter bin on the Appledore Road in the vicinity of the former civic amenity site. There was also the possibility of some ditch work being required which Mr Corin would cost up.

5. Torridge District Council

Mr Corin reported that due to increasing vandalism and misuse of the Burrows additional security was being introduced and the gates would be locked at night all year round. During the summer time this would be 10.00 pm to 7.00 am and during the winter from 6.00 pm to 7.00 am. Cllr Eastman reported that ragwort was being removed from the Burrows using labour available from the Community Offenders Scheme. Mr Barclay questioned the absence of snack bars on the Burrows and it was reported that the successful tenderer had pulled out. On responding to a question from Mr Barclay,

Mr Webster advised that some remedial works to the pebbleridge was being considered as part of the Shoreline Management Plan.

6. 1716 Committee

Mr Barclay advised that the Shoreline Management Plan made no mention of the fact that Northam Burrows was a grazing common. The public consultation would be taking place on the Shoreland Management Plan in September and October when this information could be fed into the system.

7. Dog Control Orders

Mr Webster reported on the latest situation at the District Council with regard to the introduction of Dog Control Orders. At the present time the District Council were waiting to see how effective these Orders were in those authorities that had chosen to implement them. Mention was made that under the CROW Act dogs were required to be kept on a lead from March 1 st to July 31 st but how this was to be enforced was difficult to see.

Cllr Johnson made the point that Dog Control Orders do need to be implemented as it would then be possible to issue “on the spot” fines, whereas with the Bye Law Scheme it was necessary to find witnesses and to take the matter to the Magistrate's Court.

Mr Webster advised that in the interests of common sense for a rural area like Torridge, the most satisfactory result would be for the Order to be implemented to the effect that dogs be kept on a lead when directed. It was agreed to recommend this to full Council.

8. Any other items

Cllr Eastman reported that a Mr G Slade would like to make a presentation regarding the pebbleridge. Mr Webster advised that Mr Slade's report had been seen by him and it had been forwarded to the Shoreline Management Plan Group.