Earlswood and Redhill Commons Steering Group site walk minutes 9 July 2019

1. Welcome and Apologies

Members present: Executive Councillor Natalie Bramhall (Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhood Services), David Watts (RBBC), John Cumberland (Reigate Society), Nick Faulkes (Environment Agency), Bernard Fiest (Merstham Cricket Club), Tony Clinghan (Former Redhill and Reigate Golf Club), John Potts (Friends of Swan Group)

Apologies: Simon Elson (RACV)

The Steering Group were introduced to Councillor Bramhall who confirmed she has been appointed the new Chair of the Steering Group. A discussion of each member's interest was held and, the current membership was looked at. DW commented that representatives for St Johns Primary School and Redhill Football Club need to be renewed.

Action the Chair will investigate this. 

The Chair noted large amounts of rubbish on and by the picnic tables on the grass area behind the café.

Action the Chair will investigate this matter.

2. Habitat improvement works by Horley Piscatorial Society

The ditch clearance that was carried out in the winter of 2018 has been welcomed by the group and members of the public. DW commented that he had received numerous positive comments about the work done. Upon advice from SE it was agreed to monitor the regenerating vegetation there is visibly a good range of aquatic plant life now growing in the areas now exposed to sunlight and the water quality was of a good condition.

TC reported that the ditch along the former 18th fairway leading to the 4th is blocked with silt.

3. Former golf course land

The golf course fairways are still being cut on a monthly basis, it was noted how good they are looking. The Chair confirmed that there is still an interest to reinstate another golf facility but, the Council are still in discussion with providers and they are going through the due diligence process. DW commented on the wide range of wildflowers growing on the fairways in between the cutting cycles, there was agreement of this. Pockets of the Wild Chamomile were also noted when walking from boating lake to the fairway and in the location previously submitted by DW adjacent to Pendleton Road.

It was also commented on how nice it was to see visitors enjoying the space without fear of getting hit by golf balls.

Whilst walking over the golf course the group looked at the proposal DW asked for comment on from a resident to plant a Copper Beech. The exact location could still not be determined and there were questions over how well it would grow on clay soils prone to waterlogging, its pure native origin and ongoing maintenance costs. DW is still to hear from SE regarding this proposal.

4. New Pond/Felland Copse

A brief walk over to New Pond and Felland Copse followed; more Wild Chamomile was noted as well as other wildlife. A dog walker reported problems of uncontrolled dogs both at Earlswood Common and New Pond, DW offered to report this to the RBBC Dog Warden.

Action DW to report this to the RBBC Dog Warden

 A horse box was also seen in the New Pond car park which may be linked to the recent sightings of horse riders on Earlswood Common. DW outlined that he is keen to increase a coppice programme in Felland Copse, he mentioned that this currently undertaken by Paul Matthews from Hedges and Hurdles but on his own he cannot coppice much. Paul has offered to work with volunteer groups if there is the interest in doing so. He is also looking to carry out  bushcraft sessions here, DW to investigate whether this is possible.

Action DW to raise with RBBC and Steering Group       

5. Petridgewood Common

There was no time left to visit this site.

The group said goodbye and farewell to Tony Clinghan who would no longer be attending Steering Group meetings.

6. Date of next meeting: 12th November, 6.30 pm, Town H