Agenda and draft minutes

Basingstoke Canal Joint Management Committee
Thursday, 22 November 2018 10.05 am

Venue: Mytchett Canal Centre, Mytchett Place Road, Mytchett, Surrey, GU16 6DD

Contact: Richard Plummer 

Items
No. Item

1218.

ELECTION OF THE CHAIRMAN

    To elect a new Chairman of the Basingstoke Canal Joint Management Committee.

     

    Minutes:

    Cllr Mike Goodman as Vice-Chairman opened the meeting as acting Chairman. He proposed Cllr Jonathan Glen as Chairman of the Joint Management Committee. This was seconded by Cllr Rod Cooper. It was agreed unanimously by the Committee that Cllr Jonathan Glen be elected Chairman.

     

    The Chairman made a statement suggesting that interested Members of the Committee submit a briefing of their professional background to the Chairman of the Committee, with the aim of creating a Business Member Reference Group, which could focus on ideas to improve the commercial viability of the canal.

     

    It was stressed that Members should submit their application to the Chairman of the Committee and that these would be considered as part of the formulation of this group.

     

1318.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

    To report any apologies for absence.

    Minutes:

    Apologies were received from Nadia Martin (Rushmoor), John Marsh (Rushmoor),Colin Kemp (Surrey), Paul Deach (Surrey), Philip Riley (BCS), Deborah Hughes (Woking)

     

    Veronica Graham-Green substituted for John Marsh

    Ken Sankey substituted for Philip Riley

1418.

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING: 28 June 2018 pdf icon PDF 81 KB

1518.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

    All Members present are required to declare, at this point in the meeting or as soon as possible thereafter

    (i)            Any disclosable pecuniary interests and / or

    (ii)           Other interests arising under the Code of Conduct in respect of any item(s) of business being considered at this meeting

    NOTES:

    ·         Members are reminded that they must not participate in any item where they have a disclosable pecuniary interest

    ·         As well as an interest of the Member, this includes any interest, of which the Member is aware, that relates to the Member’s spouse or civil partner (or any person with whom the Member is living as a spouse or civil partner)

    ·         Members with a significant personal interest may participate in the discussion and vote on that matter unless that interest could be reasonably regarded as prejudicial.

     

    Minutes:

    There were no declarations of interest received.

1618.

QUESTIONS AND PETITIONS pdf icon PDF 65 KB

    To receive either any questions or petitions.

     

    Notes:

    1.    The deadline for Member’s questions is 12.00 noon four working days before the meeting [16 November 2018].

    2.    The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting [15 November 2018].

    3.    The deadline for petitions was 14 days before the meeting, and no petitions have been received.

    Minutes:

    There was one question received. A reponse was provided. These are attached as ANNEX A.

1718.

FORECAST OUTTURN 2018/19 AND FORWARD BUDGET 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 169 KB

    Purpose of the report: The purpose of this report is to brief Members on the financial outturn of the Basingstoke Canal Authority.

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

     

    None

     

    Officers:

    Jane Lovett, Honorary Treasurer of the Basingstoke Canal Authority

     

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. Officers outlined the report and noted that the Committee was asked to review and agree the revenue budget for the financial year 2018/19 and agree the future revenue budget for 2019/20.

    2. Officers highlighted that there had been a lower draw on reserves than was anticipated, and that there had been a draw of £9000 rather than the expected draw of £49000. It was explained that this was due to increased revenue and that costs of maintenance had been lower than expected.

    3. Officers explained that there had been increased revenue from unpowered boat licenses and an increase in Mytchett Canal Centre function room usage, which had improved revenue.

    4. Officers noted that, following consideration of the number of current employees of the Basingstoke Canal Authority (BCA), the state of the asset, and the contributions of the owning authorities and other factors, the levels of reserves as were currently held were considered to be adequate.

    5. Officers noted that there had been change to the scheme of charges which included charges to cover closures of the towpath and navigation when requested by third parties and that the price range was designed to encourage works to be planned outside of peak use time.

    6. Members questioned the contributions of the owning authorities and noted that Runneymede and Surrey Heath did not pay full contribution. Members noted that this was a longstanding issue and that representations had been made to both of these authorities. It was explained that there had been work undertaken with Runneymede regarding Scotland Bridge Car Park and the agreement for the BCA to retain revenue upon completion, which was a positive alternative source from Runneymede. Finance officers noted that contributions were assumed to be at the current rate and that this was factored into the BCA budget.

    7. Members questioned the timescale for the completion of Scotland Bridge Car Park to ensure a revenue stream. Officers noted that capital had been allocated for the next year for the project and that it was scheduled for completion in late 2019. It was noted that this was constrained by staff resource and delays caused by Planning and other permissions.

     

     

    RESOVLED:

     

    That the Committee:

    1. Agreed the revenue outturn forecast for the year 2018/19; and

    2. Agreed the revenue budget for 2019/20; and

    3. Agreed the proposed scheme of charges for 2019/20

     

1818.

CANAL MANAGEMENT REPORT pdf icon PDF 93 KB

    Purpose of the report: To inform the Committee of actions taken by the Strategic Manager and BCA Canal Manager in managing, maintaining and operating the Canal; and report the work of the Conservation Steering Group.

     

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

     

    None

     

    Officers:

    James Taylor, Strategic Manager, Basingstoke Canal Authority

    Fiona Shipp, Canal Manager, Basingstoke Canal Authority

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. Officers provided a brief outline of activities undertaken by the Basingstoke Canal Authority over the period since the last meeting of the Committee. Officers did highlight the closure of Lock 18 and the subsequent loss of boating revenue. It was noted that the Deepcut Locks had just reopened due to difficulties in repair and issues with water levels. Officers assured Members that costs for the repair of Lock 18 were received from the damaging party.

    2. It was noted that planning permission work was underway for the Canal Centre Campsite agreed by the Committee in November 2017, and that this was proceeding as expected.

    3. Officers highlighted that work had been completed on Woking Town Wharf and that this had represented a significant volume of work.

    4. Officers noted that work had been undertaken with the engineer of the Inland Waterways Association and Hampshire County Council’s engineers relating to Swan “Cutting.” Officers noted that, following inspection, there were significant topographical issues that needed to be further explored and that there would need to be discussions with the 12 riparian landowners to begin to find a resolution.

    5. Officers explained negotiations with the Canal and Rivers Trust (CRT) regarding the transfer of the canal and explained that the BCA would be pursuing other options regarding the future of the Canal. It was stressed that the BCA would not be severing the connection with the CRT.

    6. Members stressed that the asset of the canal must be carefully managed and that any transfer must consider the future sustainability of the canal.

     

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    1. That the Committee notes the report.

     

1918.

BASINGSTOKE CANAL AUTHORITY RISK REGISTER pdf icon PDF 57 KB

    Purpose of the report: To inform the JMC of the key risks associated to the BCA Canal Partnership after annual review and to ensure risks are mitigated as far as possible.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

     

    None

     

    Officers:

     

    James Taylor, Strategic Manager, Basingstoke Canal Authority

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. Officers explained the risk register and noticed that the majority of the risks identified by the BCA had remained static.

    2. Officers highlighted that the only risk with significant change and downwards trend was due to the change in supplier for Reservoir Inspections, and that this would resolved upon appointment of the new supplier. Members queried the cost of the new supplier. It was noted that the cost had risen by a few hundred pounds.

     

    RESOVLED:

    1. That the Committee noted the report

     


2018.

CYCLING POLICY - DECISION REPORT pdf icon PDF 153 KB

    Purpose of the report: To consider the adoption of a cycling policy statement and a Towpath Users code of conduct for the Canal.

     

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:


    None

     

    Officers:

    James Taylor, Strategic Manager, Basingstoke Canal Authority

    Fiona Shipp, Canal Manager, Basingstoke Canal Authority

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. Officers explained that this report followed on from a query to the Committee regarding shared cycle usage. It was requested that officers undertake some research on cycling policy and how the BCA could potentially manage cycle usage.

    2. Officers explained to the committee that there were several options available:
      1. Widen areas to fit within the three metre guideline and create joint cycle and pedestrian pathways.
      2. Prohibit all cycle usage along the towpath
      3. Implement a scheme of signing and minorworks designed to reduce cycle speed and implement other soft measures to encourage better relations between cyclists and pedestrians.

    3. Officers noted that the towpath would not be considered a public right of way. It was noted that the BCA and County Councils invite cyclists to use the towpaths for cycling. It was noted there had been several incidents of disputes between cyclists and pedestrians.

    4. It was informed by Surrey County Council’s Legal Directorate that as the BCA/County Councils had invited cyclists to use the towpath, that the BCA does have a duty of care to these users.

    5. Officers noted that national policy indicates that any joint pedestrian and cycle route should be three metres wide. It was noted that much of the canal does not fit within this parameter. Officers did note that this was a national waterways issue, and that there were several campaigns that were able to be used by the BCA, which had formed part of the cycle strategy draft plan to the Committee.

    6. Officers explained that an area of significant contention was in between West Byfleet and Brookwood where the towpath is used by commuter cyclists.

    7. Officers explained that the BCA was prepared to allocate £10,000 to design signage and minor works to reduce cycle speed and encourage considerate usage. Members suggested designing a sign which stated that pedestrians have priority on the canal towpath.

    8. Members questioned the liabilities in case of cycling accidents. Officers noted that this was dependent on the circumstance, but, generally, it would be the case that if the route was at fault then the BCA/County Councils who may bear part of the liability.

    9. Officers stressed that widening the towpath would be a very expensive solution and not recommended.

    10. Members questioned whether officers had met with cycle forums to discuss this. Officers noted that they had discussed this issue, but that many commuter cyclists do not engage with these groups. Members did stress that more outreach could be done on social media.

    11. Members questioned whether the canal towpath could be removed from cycle route maps. Officers noted that this would be contrary to most local authorities’ wish to promote wellbeing.

    12. Members did note that there were some reported issues with night cyclists and bright and intrusive lights blinding canoers and startling animals which could be taken into account with regard to any policy, and that this could be a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2018.

2118.

CONSERVATION MANAGEMENT PLAN pdf icon PDF 119 KB

    Purpose of the report: To inform the Committee of actions taken by the Strategic Manager in drafting and gaining approval from Natural England for the new Conservation Management Plan.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

     

    None

     

    Officers:

    James Taylor, Strategic Manager BCA
    Fiona Shipp, Canal Manager BCA

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. Officers explained that 90% of the canal is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and that, resultant of this, the owning authorities had a duty to protect and enhance this status.

    2. It was explained by officers that there was a requirement to implement a conservation management plan in order to ensure that conservation of the SSSI was considered and to satisfy the regulator. It was highlighted that, if no management plan was in place, there would be a need to negotiate with the regulator for most of the canal’s business. Officers explained that the plan was in need of review as the last iteration had come to the end of its ten-year life. .

    3. It was explained that the Conservation Management Plan was a technical document developed in partnership with the BCA, Basingstoke Canal Society (BCS), Natural England and other experts as part of the Conservation Steering Group.

    4. It was noted that the agreed Conservation Management Plan had been formally Assented by Natural England. The representative from Natural England stressed that they had confidence in the report and that it was a good compromise between conservation and recreation interests.

    5. Members from the BCS noted the powered boat limit and stressed that in some areas of the canal there may be a potential for increasing the limit. It was suggested by the BCS that conservation efforts should not constrain financial viability. Officers and Natural England stressed that the limit on powered boat movements was agreed at the upper limit to ensure commercial viability and that they felt that this was adequate to retain commercial viability whilst ensuring  that the SSSI was maintained. Officers explained that the formula of the upper limit of boat movements was contained in an appendix to within the plan, based on a piece of research published previously by Dr Eaton (a leading botanist and former advisor to the CSG).

    6. Members questioned what the effects of increased boat movements would be on the SSSI. Officers explained that boat movements had the effected of displacing silt material on the bed, which increased turbidity and restricted sunlight to plants and aquatic life. It was also noted that it had the potential to reduce vegetation width across the canal, cause bank erosion and damage submerged plants.

    7. Members questioned whether the SSSI was deteriorating and whether it would be considered to be an SSSI in the future. The representative from Natural England stressed that the canal was a site of national importance. An SSSI could be de-notified where the protected features had ceased to exist through natural processes, but it was very unlikely that Basingstoke Canal SSSI would be de-notified in the foreseeable future.

    8. It was noted that the BCA had applied for some funding through the Water Environment Grant to aid the authority to undertake its conservation priorities.

     

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    1. That the Joint Management Committee noted the report  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2118.

2218.

REPORT OF THE BASINGSTOKE CANAL SOCIETY pdf icon PDF 734 KB

    Purpose of the report: To provide the Committee with an update of the work of the Basingstoke Canal Society since the last meeting of the Committee.

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

     

    None

     

    Witnesses:
    Martin Leech, Basingstoke Canal Society

    Ken Sankey, Basingstoke Canal Society

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

    1. Members congratulated the BCS for their Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. It was noted that the event was well attended and that HRH The Duke of Kent presented the award.

      Steven Dennett left the meeting at 11.15am

    2. The representatives for the BCS noted that work on the Farnborough Road mooring had been delayed and that work would continue next spring. It was noted that work was expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

    3. The representatives for the BCS explained that significant engagement work had been underway on social media and that teams were working with local authorities to help promote the canal as an asset.

    4. Members questioned the age range of volunteers for BCS. It was explained that most volunteers were of retirement age, but that there was a growing number of younger members resultant of the social media campaigns. It was stressed that the BCS wanted to do engagement work in schools and businesses in future and would be developing a plan to do this.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    1. That the Joint Management Committee noted the report

     

2318.

ACTIONS TRACKER pdf icon PDF 63 KB

    Purpose of the report: To review previous actions agreed by the Committee and provide comment as required.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

     

    None

     

    Officers:

    Richard Plummer, Democratic Services Officer

    Lisa Creaye-Griffin, Countryside Group Manager, Surrey County Council

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. Members questioned the status of houseboat income, one of the actions on the tracker. It was explained by Surrey officers that there would be a report considered by Cabinet in the near future which would clarify this issue further, but that there was no substantial update at this time.

    2. Members noted and agreed the actions tracker.

     

2418.

DATE OF THE NEXT MEETING