Minutes of the Axe Catchment Meeting Held at 1 Church Street, Highbridge on Friday 28 November 2014 at 10.30 am Chairman: Mr Jim Lukins

  1. Attendance and Apologies: as per register appended

Items additional to the agenda:

  1. Declarations of interest: E Scott – May Ditch
  2. Opportunity for the public to address the meeting: no members of the public present.
  3. Minutes of the Axe Catchment meeting held on 29 August 2014: (appended) having been previously circulated, one amendment was made: Item 6 Hall Road should read haul Road.  With this amendment the minutes were signed by the Chairman as a true and correct record of the meeting held.
  4. to have byelaws dis-applied. Ashford Solicitors are to draw up an agreement, and costs are to be re-claimed on a quarterly basis. Western Power Distribution will be undertaking enabling works for National Grid.
  5. Bleadon Sluice – no update available at this time. It is believed that OFWAT may not approve the content of capital programmes within the Asset Management Plan (AMP 5) which beings in April; the Environment Agency (the Agency) has advised of long term maintenance issues due to the lack of information received from Bleadon Sluice.
  6. Ivy Down Ditch – members were advised that structure BK01 will be completed as Phase I. Notice has been served regarding sustainable drainage systems, for the access on Ivy Down Ditch.
  7. Hixham Rhyne – members were advised that a liaison meeting will be held in January with the Agency to discuss costs, however the Agency will not provide commuted sums for the Board to undertake works in perpetuity. A Public Sector Co-operation Agreement (PSCA) could be drawn up for the Board to undertake works on behalf of the Agency on a fixed term basis i.e. 5 years.
  8. May Ditch – A Dowden (AJD) and MS Wall (MSW) advised that a meeting is to be held with Bristol Water and May Gurney in December to discuss the condition of Bailiffs Wall following recent works undertaken by May Gurney. The meeting will also discuss May Ditch and the Mill Stream.
  9. A meeting is also to be held with Black & Veatch to discuss matting and other works which have been undertaken during reinstatement works; B&V are due to de-mobilise shortly.
  10. Labourham Drove – AJD advised that Mr A Hann has accepted liability for damage to the headwall of a culvert and has agreed to undertake appropriate repair works.
  11. Finance – overview of expenditure and budget: (appended) S Gee (SMG) briefed members on the report, advising that routine maintenance is on-going and Health & Safety works are progressing in the lower catchment, including the Coastal Catchment. Members noted the report as submitted.

Engineering Report: a) Maintenance and Improvements: Lower Rhyne AX01: following damage to a section of gabion baskets adjacent to structure AX01 members concurred that gabion baskets are not suitable for maintained channels.

Proposed J Lukins, Seconded E Scott ‘that as remedial action concrete should be poured along gabion baskets adjacent the structure AX01 at Lower Rhyne.’ Vote: unanimous RESOLUTION 1

Ivy Down Ditch: MSW advised that following completion of the Heads of Agreement for repair works and boundary fencing, notice has been served on a landowner and/or occupier to require removal or repair of a detrimental culvert.

Hawkers Farm, Theale:  AJD advised that a recent planning application to erect a solar farm on land that borders two District Council areas has been approved by Sedgemoor District Council (SDC) however was refused by Mendip District Council (MDC).

Members were advised that in-filling of this ditch had occurred without prior consent of the Board; the watercourse is not a conveyance ditch however will cause loss of storage on the flood plain.  The land owner has offered £2k to the IDB to upgrade an adjacent view ditch as mitigation.

After a full discussion it was agreed that a warning letter should be forwarded to Mr Hatch for in-filling the watercourse and mitigation works required for the net loss of volume for storage of water. It was further agreed that construction and access should be monitored with consent applications scrutinised accordingly.

Proposed J Healey, Seconded E Scott ‘that enforcement action be taken against Mr Hatch in the form of a warning letter advising of breach of the Board byelaws and that mitigation works are to be undertaken at the cost of the developer.; Vote: 6 for, 1 against, 0 abstain motion carried. RESOLUTION 2

Copper Beech, Badgworth: members were advised that historically a ditch had been in-filled with no culvert in the access gate, which has raised concern for Grove Cottage, the neighbouring property. A Land Drainage Consent application has been received to re-profile the ditch between Copper Beech and Grove Cottage; however the ditch has since been reinstated by the landowner. It was agreed that a warning letter should be forwarded to the landowner.

Pint Pot Cottage: members were advised that the landowner did not allow access for routine maintenance operations; therefore notice of entry was served as maintenance in this area is necessary for the release of water to allow conveyance of water through the in-view water system.

Maintenance in the upper catchment is almost complete.

Maintenance contract tenders are due to be set in 2015; letters of intent to tender will be disseminated shortly to all contractors.

Ellenge Stream: works on this watercourse have not yet been undertaken, it was agreed that AJD should investigate and report at a future meeting.

  1. b) Future maintenance contract strategy: (appended) MSW briefed members on the paper, a full discussion as held including but not limited to:
  • All contracts to be aligned on a 3 year basis
  • Tenders at March 2015 to be awarded as Axe 1 year, Brue 2 years and Coastal 3 years
  1. Any Other Business: meetings calendar 2015/16 – the calendar having been reviewed by the Chairman and Assistant Clerk was discussed with members.
  2. Proposed J Fear, Seconded J Healey ‘that the Axe Catchment approves the meeting calendar 2015/16 as submitted.’ Vote: unanimous RESOLUTION 3
  3. Somerset Rivers Authority: NWS advised that the SRA will have a committee of 13, with 4 IDB members; Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of the Axe Brue and Parrett Boards respectively. Interim funding has been requested for 2015/16 prior to the formation of the SRA, however the request has yet to be approved by Treasury. Members were advised that the Board would seek funding to cover costs of officers assisting with the set-up process. Consideration will be given to channel maintenance as a priority rather than structure maintenance.Date and venue for next meeting: SWADA 10 December 2014 Oaktree Arena, Full Board 20 January 2015 Bradbury House and Axe Catchment 08 May 2015 Bradbury House.
  4. Following re-location of the Board offices in mid-December, all future meetings will be held at Bradbury House, 33-34 Market Street, Highbridge TA9 3BW.

There being no other business the Chairman thanked members and officers for attending and closed the meeting at 12.05pm.