News from the Downs - February 2014
Next Meeting: Wednesday 12th March – 7:30 at Brockhampton Primary School. I hope we can count on your support going forward which will prove to be an exciting time for the Downs.
Hello everyone, our last meeting proved popular with several residents attending and a full turn out from the committee members. Firstly I must let you all know that Evan Bowen- Jones our current Chairperson has resigned his post. This is due to Evan taking up a new job as Chief Executive of Herefordshire Nature Trust.
Herefordshire Nature Trust is one of our partners helping and advising with the Heritage lottery grant and to ensure there was no conflict of interests Evan felt it best to resign from the BDCA. Thankfully we will not be entirely loosing Evans expertise as Evan will still be very much involved with the Downs project from the Herefordshire Nature Trust perspective. Our thanks and good wishes go with Evan, who was instrumental from the start in setting up the BDCA and our successful Heritage Lottery application.
James Hawkins whom many of you will know from Warren Farm, has stepped into the breach and was duly elected as our new BDCA Chair person. Evans departure had left a further vacancy on the committee which was in fact 4 persons short. However, after asking for further volunteers from the residents at the meeting a further 4 residents volunteered and all were duly elected to the committee. The committee now stands at full strength and a full list of members can be found at the end of this letter
We have had several enquires voicing concerns with the note from the last meeting which stated that horse riding on the Downs was subject to Open Access regulations which didn't give Horses right of access. We would like to make it clear that in no way are we imposing any restrictions on Horses and riders enjoying the freedom of Bromyard Downs, we intend to honour the current byelaws and all legislation that covers the rights of access on Common Land.
We would however, ask riders to use the Downs with discretion over the current waterlogged period, please keep to hard paths and avoid poaching the soft ground, which when dried can prove a hazard to other users.
Several other concerns were raised at the meeting one covered the muddy lane access point where the current bank, placed at the entrance to stop joy riders driving on to the common, has become very slippery due to the wet conditions. We will be taking a look as see what can be done to improve this entry point. In the meantime please take care when using this area.
A further point was raised regarding the responsibility of maintenance of the many benches and seats which have been placed around the common, many in remembrance of family members. Maintenance of the actual benches falls to the families who have placed the benches although we will as a committee arrange for work parties to clear around benches during the summer months.
The loss of views on the Downs has also been raised this is mainly due to the imposing scrub and trees now growing on the Downs. We can assure you all that this will be looked at as a whole as we move forward in developing our Downs management plan.
A concern was also raised regarding the lack of a lower speed limit on the main Stourport road as it approaches the brow of the hill as well as over the main top road and of course outside Brockhampton School. Gary Swinford as our Bringsty Ward councillor will take these concerns forward with the Parish council and speak with the highways authorities concerned.
Moving on to our Heritage Lottery Funding we can now announce that a full time Project Manager, Hannah Welsh has been appointed to the post of developing the Downs Management plan. Hannah will initially be working from the Herefordshire Nature Trust offices but negotiations are underway for Hannah to be based nearer the Downs, I expect we will be hearing news from Hannah once she has settled in.
A steering committee for the Downs project is being set up and will consists of;
4 members of the BDCA committee, Chair, Vice Chair , Treasurer and Secretary ;representatives from Local schools, The National Trust, Parish Council, Hereford Nature Trust and Bromyard History Society. As we have said before, any work or plans for the Down will be in full consultation with residents and common rights holders.
Our next meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday 12th March – 7:30 at Brockhampton Primary School, I hope we can count on your support going forward which will prove to be an exciting time for the Downs.