Venue: Exe Room, Phoenix House
Contact: Sarah Lees Member Services Officer
To receive any apologies for absence.
The following members of the committee had sent their apologies for the meeting:
· Philip Brind (Mid Devon Moorings)
· David Cutts (Sampford Peverell Parish Council)
· Roger Croad (Devon County Council)
· Cllr Chris Daw (Mid Devon District Council)
· Cllr Sue Griggs (Mid Devon District Council, Chairman of the Grand Western Canal, Joint Advisory Committee)
· Cllr Des Hannon (Devon County Council)
As the Chairman had sent her apologies, the Vice Chairman, Cllr Ray Radford, took the chair.
PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
Mr Melvyn Lucas stated that he had recently been involved in an incident involving 12 cyclists as he and his wife had approached the Whitnage Road bridge with their dogs. The cyclists had not dismounted and it was only by sheer luck that a serious accident and not occurred. He questioned what more could be done to avoid this persistent problem with cyclists refusing to dismount but accepted that it was extremely difficult to police. He wondered if it would be possible to contact other canal’s or tow paths around the country, where cyclists were permitted, to ascertain how they tackled the problem. The Chairman indicated that discussion relating to this item would be dealt with later on in the agenda.
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Meeting held on 6 October 2015 (please find attached).
The minutes from the meeting held on 6 October 2015 were approved as a correct record and SIGNED by the Chairman.
To consider any matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting.
There were no matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting.
To receive any announcements that the Chairman may wish to make.
The Chairman had no announcements to make.
Report of the Head of Public Rights of Way and Country Parks (DCC) informing Members of the work that has taken place to date.
Consideration was given to a report * of the Public Rights of Way and Country Parks Manager.
The update in the report regarding the new aluminium stopboards was noted. It was explained that in terms of their life span, they were made of an extremely sturdy metal which should not corrode and should last for a very long time. A licence agreement had been provided by the Canal and Rivers Trust.
There had been a delay in starting construction due to a long procurement process and complex technical issues. It was hoped that work would start after the Easter holidays and the intention was to keep the towpath open throughout the works. The ultimate intention was to be able to get the levels down as quickly and easily as possible during persistent wet weather. The question was asked as to why the tilting weirs needed to be powered and could not be automatic. Jacobs had looked at various options including solar powered weirs. The ones chosen had been their recommendation and they had a good history in other locations. They were able to pre-empt a serious situation and could be adjusted even if the canal rangers were not there. They were also able to be manually opened in the unlikely event of a power failure.
Black Bridge culvert
The culvert capacity had been increased although concern remained regarding the potential for flooding of adjacent land and property.
Embankment tree management
A lot of tree coppicing had taken place over the last few years and the rangers were about to start the next big block of work along the embankment between Tiverton Road Car Park and the golf course. A felling licence had been secured and an arboricultural consultant had helped to plan the works. Work has just strated and the felling element was due to be completed by mid March but the timing of the extraction of timber would be dependent on the weather.
Embankment scrub removal
The aim was to keep on top of any regrowth from the Sellake embankment. An adjacent farmer would be grazing his sheep there in order to deter the re-emergence of scrubby growth.
Maintenance barge overhaul
The update provided in the report was noted. It was explained that the barge had historic interest having taken people on tours up and down the canal in the 1970’s. The repaired barge would be ready to go back on the water in the next week or two.
Gabions under bridges
Stone-filled gabion baskets had been installed underneath Black Bridge in Burlescombe. There were a few areas that had been prone to crumbling due to erosion and an absence of vegetation.
At the last meeting there had been an agreement to set up a working party. A lot of work had been done to clear away emergent weed and this was now an integral part of cyclical maintenance. There was a plan to start moving towards Sampford Peverell ... view the full minutes text for item 22.
CYCLISTS ON THE TOWPATH
To discuss a recent incident on the towpath involving a number of cyclists and to consider the most appropriate way of dealing with this going forwards.
The question was asked as to how the towpath was defined in law. The response was that it was a public footpath and Devon County Council, as the landowners, had given permission for cyclists to use it. The rise in cycling as a hobby had been phenomenal. In the past it had mainly been used for leisure cycling but there was now evidence of more cycling as a sport with the canal towpath being used as a practice route. However, it was extremely difficult to police and impossible to insist that cyclists dismount when going under bridges. The only way to stop it would be to introduce a chicane but there were laws governing pathways needing to be wheelchair accessible.
There was an additional problem in that some mopeds had been spotted driving along the canal, especially in the Swans Neck area. This was particularly difficult to enforce as these bikes did not have registration plates. If the individuals riding the bikes were known attempts could be made to reason with them as to the safety issues along the canal.
Signs were currently displayed instructing cyclists to dismount, however, perhaps consideration needed to be given to additional signs stating that pedestrians had the right of way.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
To consider any other relevant business.
The following issues were brought up under this item:
· The trader selling refreshments at the Tiverton Road Car Park had ceased trading at the canal.
· A site visit would be organised for an evening in early July so that the committee could see the sections where water soldier had been removed and the new sluices in situ. It was suggested that this could also be used as an opportunity to meet with Aggregate Industries if there had been no progress with the Fenacre water transfer system.
· The Angling Club would be celebrating its 40th anniversary in November and Mr Malcom Trump had represented them on the Joint Advisory Committee for the duration of that time.
· Adam Pilgrim, speaking on behalf of Holcombe Rogus Parish Council, firstly congratulated the canal ranger service on the excellent way they maintain the canal and secondly to express the Parish Council’s concern at the way the Red Linghay application had been managed and the length of time it was taking to reach a decision.
· The Canal Manager referred to a report that day in the Tiverton Gazette regarding a project to place decorated models of the Tivvy Bumper around Tiverton and the surrounding area. He informed the committee that models would be located outside the visitor centre and also The Globe in Sampford Peverell with the latter being sponsored by the pub itself. There would also be one located at the start of the disused railway line.
DATE OF NEXT MEETING
Tuesday 4 October 2016 at 7.00pm – Exe Room, Phoenix House.
It was confirmed that the next meeting would be held on Tuesday 4 October at 7.00pm.