Venue: Council Chamber - Time Square, Market Street, Bracknell, RG12 1JD. View directions
Contact: Emma Young 01344 352269
The chairman welcomed Members to the meeting and Geoff Paxton from Winkfield Parish Council
The minutes of the last meeting were approved as a correct record subject to the below changes:
Page 3, item 73 – the date would be changed to 2017.
Page 4, the words carry out would be changed to investigate.
Arising from the minutes, an update on ‘Devil’s highway’ would be given later in the meeting.
Work was ongoing to finish the design of the Rights of Way Improvement Plan 2 (ROWIP2) and it was close to being finalised. Due to GDPR regulations, a new picture would be taken of LCAF members as the current one was over two years old. Members confirmed they were happy for their photograph to be used in the publication, which would be distributed as hard copies and made available online.
It was noted that a big publicity campaign would be done to celebrate the launch of the new publication.
An update was given on the actions completed so far:
ROW for all:
- A map showing furniture (e.g. step-over stiles) and accessibility was being created which would be made available to the public as an online map on BFCs website. Volunteer Path Wardens were collecting the data as part of their BVPI monitoring of Rights of Way and this was then being captured on GIS.. The map would also include dates of when it was updated so improvements carried out over time could be monitored.
- The P&C rangers and volunteers (e.g. South East Berkshire Ramblers) continue to work in partnership to improve the accessibility and Rights of Way. This includes removing inaccessible squeeze and step-over stiles and where appropriate installing accessible pedestrian / bridle gates.. Path surfaces had also continued to be improved. The forum was informed about the replacement of the bridge at Shepherd Meadows. The new bridge has been designed to be more accessible to the public and it is hoped that it would last a long time. The additional path works carried out to further improve accessibility at this site is part of SANG improvement works.
- The newish kissing gates at Wildmoor Heath were mentioned as being less accessible than what is usually desired. It was noted that the boardwalks had normal accessible pedestrian gates on the other side, which meant that those with disabilities could travel to the end and have to turn around due to the reduced access. It was confirmed that it was the landowner who installed the gates and it would be their responsibility to address this, a fact which would be recorded.
(Action: Graham Pockett to contact Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) about the kissing gate and about the potential to add a sign on the other end of the footpath advising users about the reduced access of the kissing gate)
It was reported that there had been some improvements carried out to Allsmoor Lane to make it more accessible. New surfaced paths had been created at Pope’s Meadow to improve access at this Green Flag Award winning site and Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG). Both of these improvements were delivered using s106 funding.
An update was given on Devil’s Highway following a report at the last meeting that the surface of the Restricted Byway (RB) was in a poor state of repair and was almost impassable in places. This particularly applied to the section of the ... view the full minutes text for item 85.
PROW and Local Developments
An update was given on the new Broadmoor SANG and local developments. The NHS trust had confirmed there were some sites being allocated for housing and they were putting new SANGS in the area. This would include a Cricketfield Grove SANG. There would be also be 2 sports pitches not included in the SANG and a car park. It includes woodland and varied landscape and a brook with some bridges. Currently being built and would be open soon.
It was questioned whether the developers building the SANG have any responsibility for publicising and it was confirmed they would to local residents. They would also be added to local SANGS.
The Forum was shown the footpath map for the new SANG.
Reports from Meetings and Site Visits
Peter Radband had organised for members to Wellington College grounds. The visit was scheduled for 7pm, on 17 July 2018 and would be similar to the previous visit in this location. Members who wanted to attend were asked to email Peter.
Members were asked for ideas for site visits.
Graham Pockett would lead a site visit to Bucklers Forest SANG with a date suggested for August which would include a guided tour with the landscape architect.
Hugh Fitzwilliam’s would also do a visit to the new SANG in Warfield.
There were also plans to visit Easthampstead Park to see what potential that held for a site visit.
Members were asked to consider ideas for future site visits.
Natural England (NE) was contacted regarding position on producing annual reports that need to be submitted to them. The 2017 report had been published on BFC’s website and sent to Natural England who thanked LCAF for its production.
Natural England would not expect an annual report form for this year and they unfortunately didn’t have time to look at them but there will be an annual report with pictures for the website.
Steven Chown presented to the Forum an informal update from Parks & Countryside service.
It was noted that the Council has big savings targets to meet as part of the transformation programme. Local green spaces were the area which was most loved by Bracknell residents and it was important to other aspects of councils agenda including public health that these are protected.
It was confirmed that £400k of savings needed to be found in total, however it was acknowledged that the department had a greatest potential to earn income from new services.
The council would also look to work with other partners to deliver services and encourage people to join in and volunteer. This would include working with partners to apply for grant funding as a collective.
It was acknowledged that where the department was adding income generating services, they would need to provide a better service in exchange for the charge. The number of staff would stay the same which would provide challenges however efficiencies were being found so there was time for income generating projects.
The strategic options proposed were:
- Income generating options included: chargeable car park facilities, access to parks for commercial dog walkers, and catering vans
- Minimisation of land management costs through volunteering and sponsorship
- It was noted that the public were supportive of issuing fines to people who misuse open spaces. The fines would not generate income however if it could improve behaviour which would mean less costs and less staff time. Any surplus would be put towards good causes.
- Members had supported developing Horseshoe Lake as a Country park which would provide more opportunities for people to access the park. This would include the addition of a café, a more focused water sports offer, a cycle area and a play area to educate about the outdoors and nesting birds. Happy that RSPB Reserve visitors will have access to facilities.
- Concerns were raised that roadside walking would be dangerous and questions were raised to see if this could be improved. It was noted that this detail had not been considered yet but the traffic management study would consider access.
- £333K savings had already been committed for 2017-2018 with the bulk of savings made from changes to charges made to developers. Currently developers paid money to enhance and maintain local green spaces but nothing towards facilitation of the scheme as a whole which was now being charged for.
- A huge amount of contaminated grass is generated within the Borough but a biomass burner which would generate heat for the new building at Horseshoe Lake.
- Hay would be stock piled to heat the building for the rest of the year
- The potential to kiln dry wood in the future was also being explored. It was hoped that it would be a volunteer led business in processing the wood and charcoal kiln
John Deakin happy to collaborate regarding wood products in future and share contacts if required.
- SANGS are ... view the full minutes text for item 89.
Any Other Business
It was confirmed that there was potential to get Jenny Yung set up on Huddle as there were spare licenses.
(Action: Rose to liaise with NE to get Jenny set up on Huddle and to organise training for her)
The forum were encouraged to have a look at images on walls outside the council chamber as the pictures were of local parks and open spaces. Some of the images were from past Parks Photography competitions. This year BFC were joining forces with the Economic and Skills Development Partnership (ESDP) to run the new competition themed – “A great place to grow”. The competition was to have a wider remit than previously, featuring new aspects such as jobs and economy.
Rose would also circulate a publication to members, about Walking in Urban parks and Greenspaces. This publication was the subject of a news report at South Hill Park..
(Action: Rose to circulate)
It was also requested that any examples of progress made towards delivering actions in the RoWIP be sent to Rose.
There was a request for input from the Thames Basin Heath Partnership on their activities to be added to next meeting agenda.
The importance of advertising the positive things around the borough was highlighted as there was a lot to be positive about. It was confirmed that BFC social media channels could be further used to publicise good news stories.
North Ascot has The Three Castles footpath which crosses bridleway – impossible to cross bridge safely on foot. Could a footbridge be provided next to the road bridge? If the local area is developed then there was feedback that the bridge should be redeveloped. The mechanism would be Infrastructure Delivery Plan which would support development.
Stephen to check with planning team if there is a solution in the new IDP and if not, explore whether there’s scope to develop this as a project that can be used to secure future development money. P&C have been working with BFC planning to design a new template that can be used to collect future projects such as these.
(Action: Stephen Chown)
Could CIL money be used?
Richard offered to lead a walk for the LCAF members.
(Action: Richard to send Rose details)
Public Question Time
(Maximum 10 Minutes)
There were no questions from members of the public
Date of Next Meeting
2 October 2018
The date of the next meeting was confirmed as 2 October 2018.