Battlemead Common Update
- Meeting of Local Access Forum, Thursday, 4th July, 2019 6.30 pm, NEW (Item 26.)
- View the background to item 26.
Jacqui Wheeler outlined the above titled item. Members were shown a short video clip of the Battlemead Common site. It was outlined that this large piece of land had been acquired by RBWM and had significant amounts of wildlife. The primary reason for purchasing this land was to enable open access. At a recent Friends of Battlemead Common meeting (held on the 18th June), there has been a deeper discussion relating to the types of wildlife on site which included birds and various species of woodland mammals. There were currently 68 varieties of birds and 8 species of mammals, 100 species of shrubs and trees. Members were told that this piece of land was unique as it had both woodland, wetlands and was uniquely placed adjacent to the Thames river. It was outlined that this was a fantastic opportunity for residents to access a significant asset of the borough, but that there were challenges in enabling access without detriment to wildlife on the site. . Members were told that this piece of land had been privately owned and had now been successfully purchased by RBWM.
ACTION- That Jacqui Wheeler circulates the minutes of the Friends of Battlemead Common meeting held on the 18th June 2019 to LAF members.
It was highlighted that there were 40 attendees at the Friends of Battlemead Common meeting and that this included individuals from Cookham Society, Maidenhead Rotary, Ramblers, Access Advisory Forum, Thames Path, LAF and Waterways Board. There had been a range of external stakeholders also present at the meeting and that this had been hosted and facilitated by Kevin Mist, Directorates Project Lead- Communities & Enforcement. It was noted that this was the first tentative attempt to discuss public rights of way plans and access whilst looking at the competing needs of recreation and conservation for the area. Members were told that discussions had been had in relation to when the site would be opened and it was confirmed that an extensive site survey and lifespan of flora and fauna survey was yet to be carried out. Forum Members were advised that the next Friends of Battlemead Common meeting would take place in September.
ACTION- That Jacqui Wheeler forward invitation for the September, Friends of Battlemead Common meeting to LAF members.
At the conclusion of the verbal update members discussed the following;
Planning applications- It was outlined that the planning application would be considered at the relevant development management panel in August and that permitted pathways were planned for opening in July. It was also highlighted that further fencing would need to be added to the site for areas needing protection.
Signage- Members highlighted the need for adequate signage in relation to the routes, protected species and for access reasons.
Car park- Members queried whether there would be a car park to access the site. It was confirmed that there would be two pedestrian access points from the planned car park space and that there were some challenges with the current visibility of the displays in place. It was also outlined by Dom Lethbridge that the National Trust had looked at the hedgerow aligning the entrance to the intended car park and that this would need to be cut back to Widbrook Common.
Boundary Walk- Members queried whether this piece of land would now complete the boundary walk. It was outlined that this piece of land was the missing link in the boundary walk and that boundary stones had been found on the site. Members were also informed that from the site views of Cliveden Estate could be seen.
Public Rights of Way- It was queried whether RBWM would consider opening the paths permissions to becoming a public right of way and it was confirmed that current plans suggested that all paths would be permitted paths and that there was no ambition to change this presently.
Dogs and walkers- Members queried whether there would be any outlined restraints on dog walkers and it was confirmed that there may be dog control orders in place and signs outlining where dogs could be on lead and off of their leads.
History of the land- Members were informed that the land sought to preserve some of the local heritage and that there was some work being carried out to look at the linking of this particular piece of land with Cockmarsh. It was highlighted that Cockmarsh had some roman heritage and that members would be informed of any progress of these findings.
Members were informed that there would be a countryside walk and it was noted that all LAF members would be invited.
ACTION- That Jacqui Wheeler circulate the Countryside Walk invitation to all LAF members.