To receive a report from the Rights of Way and Country Parks Manager (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.
New penstock sluices in Snakes Wood and at Burlescombe
Mr Brind thanked the Canal Manager for the design of the new sluices as other potential designs may have caused some problems for the horses pulling the barge.
It was confirmed that it was not possible to remotely control these particular sluices.
The Ranger Service had been very busy reducing tree cover along the canal. This work had been able to take place due to the availability of DCC capital funding. Whilst the Rangers had been able to do a lot of this themselves large scale works had been undertaken by professional tree surgeons. A new approach to place a chipper being on the barge had helped a great deal to save time and effort in transporting and processing tree debris. The comment was made that management of the trees was vital to the health of the canal. Eco plugs had been used in tree stumps to help stop regrowth with the intention being that the stump would eventually rot. There had also been a significant reduction in the height of some overgrown hedges at a number of locations.
Signage at Manley Bridge in relation to coppicing works was felt to be very helpful to visitors
Burlescombe tilting weir
Once the tilting weir has been installed it would operate automatically to maintain levels within a desired range which could also be controlled manually or remotely via a website.
Canal Basin Play Area
This project had now achieved its funding target thanks to a contribution from Tiverton Town Council and success in the Tesco Bags of Help funding scheme.
Wall moving project
This was a complex project which was taking longer than had been hoped. Trial pits were being dug at the end of this week. There had been a number of road safety audits and consultations, however, works were expected to take place during the summer. It was not possible at this stage to say how the flow of traffic on Canal Hill would be affected. As soon as the wall has been moved, the play area can be installed. The play equipment had already been purchased and was being stored. The MDDC Conservation Officer had been very co-operative.
Lowdwells interpretation panel
The content and designs for a new interpretation panel to be located beside Lowdwells Lock had been finalised. There was general agreement that the provision of information to the public in this format was extremely helpful and made the visitor experience more valuable. The Canal Manager attended the Mid Devon Attractions Association and he stated that the group was currently trying to design a brand for Mid Devon which would influence future information formats.
It was AGREED that a letter be sent by the Chairman to the two volunteers mentioned in the report thanking them for their invaluable time, commitment and enthusiasm.
Future programme of works
The reed bed project was not high on the list of priorities at the current time. The urgency attached to this had fallen away due to improvements at Lower Whipcott Farm and there was not the same problem of run off as had existed before.
Cllr Les Neville informed the committee that Burlescombe Parish Council had purchased a piece of land for £1 at Fossend going east towards the railway track. The project was almost at its conclusion. New steps had been installed, there were views towards the new sluice and 2 new picnic benches. The area was now much more attractive and it was hoped that there would be an official opening in the spring. The interpretation panel on the bridge was also replaced.
Note: * Report previously circulated; copy attached to the signed minutes.