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Northam Burrows Committee Meeting - 01 February 2007

Council Offices. Windmill Lane, Northam 1st February 2007

TORRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL

NORTHAM BURROWS COMMITTEE

Council Offices. Windmill Lane, Northam

1st February 2007

PRESENT: Torridge District Council

Councillor Mrs S A Mounce (Chairman)

Councillor L S Ford (Vice Chairman)

Councillors H R Barton and E J Davies.

Northam Town Council

Councillors R D Bradford MBE,

Mrs M M Cox, R W A Miller and P B Waters.

Apologies for absence were submitted from Councillor Mrs P J Paddon and the Head of Environmental Health and Public Protection. The Chairman also noted that Councillor R M M Tisdale was due to have an operation on Monday 5th February and together with the Committee, wished him all the best.

Mr Bushby from the Royal North Devon Golf Club addressed the meeting on the subject of the Pebbleridge erosion. He thanked Members for the opportunity to address them and explained that he had attended the meeting of the Northam Burrows Forum and spoken on the same subject.

He told Members that the Government had expressed serious concern on this issue and circulated some photographs of the current state of the Pebbleridge. The Golf Club was concerned about the possible loss of the 7th tee, the 8th green and the access to the 9th tee and the overall rate of the sand dune erosion by both wave action and wind and rain. He went on to say that repairs are needed urgently and that recharge of the ridge which was last carried out three to four years ago needs to take place again very soon. He asked that Torridge District Councillors bring pressure to bear to bring this necessary recharge forward as a matter of urgency.

He also highlighted the situation of the threat to the refuse tip which would also be liable to erosion and he felt that the people of Northam and Appledore would probably see this aspect of the erosion as more serious than the loss of Golf Club land.

He informed the group that, if short-term finances were an issue, the Golf Club may be able to fund this recharge with rent relief at a later date.

47.

MINUTES

Resolved: That the Minutes of the Meeting held on 1st November 2006 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

48.

REVIEW OF THE ACTION LIST

The Chairman informed the group that budget meetings were currently taking place and cuts were expected but as yet the areas affected were unknown. However she had highlighted her concerns on the vandalism that might occur if parking meters were to be installed on the Burrows.

Re Minute 46 - Illegal parking on the Burrows. Councillor P B Waters reminded the Committee that in previous such cases, Torridge District Council had delayed in taking action and the support of witnesses had been lost. The Chairman provided her assurances that she had already spoken to the Council's Solicitor on this subject and would address it again.

Minute 46 - Byelaw in respect of the use of model cars on the Burrows. Councillor Barton asked for clarification on this item and the Burrows Warden explained that the Council's Solicitor was reviewing this but at present there are no pertinent bylaws

49.

MINUTES OF NORTHERN BURROWS FORUM HELD ON 7TH JANUARY 2007

Some discussion ensued in respect of the following:

Item 2 - Dunes Pebbleridge Erosion

It was stated that Natural England had been consulted on this subject and had stated that they were not in favour of any recharge - the Pebbleridge should evolve naturally. The only possible area that could be considered for recharge was the Westward Ho! end. As a result of these comments, Northam Town Council had written to Natural England, highlighting their specific concerns, but this had provided no further comment from Natural England.

Councillor Waters reminded the meeting that such recharges had been carried out in the past with good results

Item 4 - Bassets Bridge

The Burrows Senior Ranger circulated photographs of the proposed changes to Basset Bridge and explained that this bridge was supplied in 'kit-form' and was one proposal. He informed the Committee that the main concerns were for Health and Safety and drainage. He went on to say that It is cheaper to remove and replace the bridge rather than repair but of course until the clearing away has been completed, it is not certain what will be found below it and therefore the costs presented are estimate rather than detail. Northam Town Council hopes to be able to provide some financial assistance to this project.

Item 6 - Pebbleridge Recharge

The Burrows Senior Ranger explained that the new Commons bill received assent in July 2006. In January a consultative document was issued in respect of fencing and building on common land to replace Section 194 Law of Property Act 1925. It is proposed that instead of taking such permissions from the Secretary of State, this permission will come from DEFRA. This matter is still subject to consultation.

Councillor Barton reminded Members that he sits on the E A SW Regional Flood Defence Committee. It was therefore requested that in this capacity, he speak to this group and if possible arrange an informal meeting so that they can review the current status of the Pebbleridge at first hand.

The Senior Ranger informed the group that a full presentation to both Torridge District Council and North Devon District Council was planned by the North Devon and West Somerset Coastal Group on the subject of the Estuary. This is expected to take place later in 2007. He hoped that by the next meeting the protocol for the management of the Pebbleridge will be received from Natural England.

The minutes were duly noted.

50.

APPLEDORE GATE

The report of the Head of Environmental Health and Public Protection was presented and discussed.

Councillor Waters informed the meeting that the gate was not locked at all before 1974. It was generally felt that the gate should be left unlocked for various reasons (fishing, Graziers to reach animals in an emergency, Emergency Services access etc)

It was suggested that the Police be asked to patrol the area twice per month and it was therefore

Resolved;

That the Appledore Gate remain open and the other gates to the Burrows remain as they are now.

(Vote: 8 for, 0 against)

51.

PROGRESS REPORT

The Burrows Warden gave his progress report and informed the Committee that some patching of the fencing system would be required and that in the last 5 years, the fence have been moved back some 40 feet.

They had been an incident of a car being crashed through the gates of the former Refuse Tip and then set alight. There was an increase in fly tipping.

Devon County Council has been surveying the tip and its current levels. Tthe Surveyors had indicated to the ranger that there was little or no change from the original levels. This would indicate little breakdown of the refuse which is clearly a concern.

Sandymere Road needs some major repair work. Patching is thought to be scheduled but it was discussed with regard to budgets and insurance. The ranger indicated that he thought the engineer had instructed a contractor to repair the worst potholes but to date the weather had been against the work to be carried out.

Resolved;

That the Emergency Planning Officer make a request of the Head of Environmental Health and Public Protection that the current condition of the road be brought to his attention and the scheduled patching works to the road be brought forward as far as possible.

(Vote 8 for, 0 against)

52.

Members requested that the next meeting be held in April, preceded by a Northam Burrows Forum

The meeting commenced at 10.00 am and ended at 10.50 am.