Minutes of the Coastal Catchment Meeting

Held at 1 Church Street, Highbridge, Tuesday 09 September 2014 at 10.30

Chairman: Mr Jeff Fear

  1. Attendance and Apologies: (appended) Apologies received from R Adlam and N Stevens
  2. Items additional to the agenda:
  • Matthew Wall (MSW) -Brean – BB09 Red Road, unauthorised operations of a structure
  • Brent – unauthorised work adjacent to track, Burnham resulting in damage to the bank
  • Soil sampling carried out in Brent Broad
  1. Declarations of interest: None
  2. Opportunity for the public to address the meeting: None
  3. Minutes of the Coastal Catchment Sub Committee meeting on 3 June 2014:

Three amendments to item 9

  1. Item 3: Brent rhyne outfall, EA offering £10k and handover maintenance to the board.
  2. Item 4: Walpol Landfill/Viridor £5k total refurbishment costs of £15k.
  3. Item 11: title should read Viewed Rhynes not ordinary watercourses.

With the three amendments the minutes were signed by the Chairman as a true and correct record of the meeting held.

  1. Matters arising:

Item 11:3 Bleadon Sluice: nothing further to report at this time.

11:7 Brean Path Project: The tender has been awarded and awaiting contractors to start.  Health & Safety work receives 45% grant in aid.  Brent Knoll Parish Council applied for a grant from the County Council for flood relief work which was unsuccessful; MSW advised that Wessex Water has offered £50k towards work to be carried out at the end of Church Lane which abuts Brent Street.

Brent Rhyne: MSW is awaiting an estimate from the Highways Dept. for increasing an underground culvert from a 600m pipe to a 900m pipe.  The Highways Dept. will undertake the project; however the Board may contribute to the additional costs, estimated to be in the region of £1,500 – £1,800; this is an ideal opportunity to provide an upgrade which would have a life expectancy of 25-50 years.

W Welland proposed, Cllr N Jones seconded ‘that the Coastal Catchment underwrites increased costs associated with upgrading a culvert at Brent Rhyne from 600mm to 900mm to an upper limit of £2,500.’ Vote: unanimous RESOLUTION 1

Holimarine, Burnham on Sea:  MSW advised that he is awaiting details of proposed work to complete a consent application from Bourne Leisure.  The applicants are seeking to connect into the Apex by replacing twin pipes, providing an arrangement for weed screening and to improve natural drainage.  Initial work has resulted in less flooding during heavy rainfall in the Maple Drive area. Riparian work is essential for urban drainage, for Wessex Water outfall water to drain into.  Contributions from the board will be in the form of time and management. MSW advised that this matter is being pursued through enforcement, with reasonable cooperation from Holimarine and he is confident that we will achieve what is required by working with them.

Burton Row Scheme: some ditching has been undertaken; however this may be as a result of a submitted planning application which has received objections.  Objections may be lifted if the work is completed to a satisfactory standard; inspection of completed works has yet to be carried out.

  1. Finance: overview of expenditure to year end 31 March 2014: members were advised:

West Huntspill improvement – now subject to grant aid of 45%.

The Chairman was advised that media reports state the Government is reviewing fencing along railways and culverts.  MSW advised that Network Rail is experiencing problems with some landowners for entry/permission to enter adjacent land to inspect/undertake work. Culverts are to be jetted and cleaned; it is recommenced that landowners allow Network Rail to carry out this work for the benefit of the area.

Drainage Rates: C-A Porter (C-AP) advised that there is currently £12k outstanding across the Axe Brue board (the same position as this time 2013).  A list of outstanding rate payers can be provided to Board members. C-AP advised that a claim may be made against an estate for insolvent rate payers once the name of the official receiver has been established.

  1. Maintenance Programme

Burnham Lower Rhyne works have commenced.

West Huntspill: maintenance is due to commence shortly.

Members were asked to check and sign off maintenance works carried out by contractors as soon as possible, to alleviate the claims of late payments by contractors.

W Welland advised that she had been challenged when entering land (urban land with horses) due to having an old ID card.  C-AP advised that new ID cards were being processed by Administration staff for members who enter land on Board business. Members were invited to remain after the meeting for new photographs to be taken.

Rhyne cleaning was discussed as to whether some areas would benefit from having a second cut carried out later in the year.  MSW advised that where necessary, some areas received 3 cuts a year.  Re-tendering will take place this year; it was agreed that extra cuts, where required, will be included. Extra works at present are not budgeted for and consideration would depend on the winter, re-growth and silt build-up.

  1. Development of Policies:
  2. Disposal of Arisings: Development of policy is being considered with the intention of presenting a draft policy at a future meeting.
  3. Fencing to Watercourses: C-AP advised that draft fencing policy is being considered with the intention of being presented at a future meeting. The Chairman was advised that in the Coastal Catchment the structure of banks and running sand makes banks unstable and cattle should be kept well away. The policy would need to include both agricultural fencing and urban fencing.
  4. Red Road BD09 (additional agenda item) MSW via a presentation of photographs, advised members that the structure is being wedged open, however the perpetrator it is unknown. The structure is designed to open during high flows and allow water to go back into the agricultural systems. It is a self-operating structure which is being tied back, mainly in the evenings and weekends. After further discussion it was recommended that MSW review the structure to ensure the correct mechanism is being used, monitor water levels and erect signage advising that legal action may be taken for unauthorised operation of the structure.
  5. Unauthorised work adjacent to track, Burnham (additional agenda item) photographs shown of work carried out by a contractor employed by local residents to carry out work to level a bank which has destabilised the banks/track. This is now a concrete channel and some excess material has fallen into the channel. MSW will discuss the need to stabilise banks and put marker posts along the side of the track with the contractor.
  6. Soil sampling, Brent Broad (additional agenda item). W Welland advised that a contingent of Japanese students, via University College London, visited Brent Broad to carry out soil sampling around the Axe/Brue border, to gather information on the effect of the tsunami/sea surge experienced in the area, to assist with improving the rivers following the tsunami in Japan. All samples taken will be analysed in this country to prevent contamination.  The students were advised that there would be differing results from taking soil at high tide as opposed to low tide.  The Chairman offered a contribution from the board in the form of access to maps and information; however no monetary contribution would be given.
  7. Improvements and Capital Works Programme including dredging:
  8. West Huntspill improvement scheme: Iain Sturdy (IDS) advised that the Board is looking at alternative routes as the watercourses are badly silted. Estimates received: I Group £40k and SDS Service £60k+. Once cleaned, a second cctv operation can be undertaken; if necessary jetting could take up to 10 days at a cost of 7k-8k, however there may be large items that jetting will not remove which could result in confined space entry.  It was recommended that a final meeting is called to gather the knowledge that members have; IDS to organise.
  9. Middle Street Connection Scheme IDS advised that this was linked into the bid with the Brent Knoll Parish Council which proved unsuccessful; however the Board can re-apply for funding.
  10. Staff: 2014/15 is the last year of the Favourable Conditions projects, which will be winding down over the next year. Members were advised that the project currently has one engineer.
  11. Dredging: Members were advised that there are two strands to the dredging; proposals from the Minister’s 20 year Flood Action Plan and the Bath & West Flood Relief Fund for the River Brue.  The Environment Agency (the Agency) with IDB assistance has identified 10 locations where dredging has been investigated, similar to the River Parrett. The River Brue is one of the locations identified that reaches both upstream and downstream of the Bath & West proposed dredge. North Drain Pumping Station to Highbridge is to be investigated via Hydraulic modelling.

An application for Bath & West funding of £250k has been submitted to allow the North drain to discharge up to Westhay; the outcome is expected October/November.  It is recommended that all landowners co-operate with the de-silting project.

  1. Development control – planning and consent applications. IDS discussed National Grid as general interest; the inspectorate is in consultation with registered parties that have expressed an interest/concern around the proposals. Both Consortium Boards and North Somerset Levels were registered; a consultation process will be conducted, whereby an agreement of ‘statement of common ground’ is completed prior to scrutiny of the application, to streamline the process.  The developer has asked to meet with the IDB to discuss details.

North Somerset Weston Footpath/Coastal path: North Somerset Council has applied to Sedgemoor District Council to put a coastal path from Minehead to Brean Down; the application has not been received by the Board, however details of the application published in the media indicate the application has been approved.   IDS advised that the route would need to be scrutinised for any effect it may have to the Board.

  1. Special Correspondence
    1. Planning & Technical Support Officer: Susanna Graves’ six month temporary contract ceased at the beginning of September. Ellena (Ellie) Fletcher has been appointed on a permanent basis; Ellie is settling into the role well.
    2. Administration & Finance Support Officer: Carly Hughes is due to leave her employment on 12 September to undertake a university course at Exeter; the Board extended very best wishes for Carly’s studies and future career. Sharon Reid has been appointed on a permanent basis and is settling in the role well.
    3. Somerset Rivers Board: Members were advised that a recent media report was misleading; a meeting has been held with key SRB officers to resolve the matter.

A stakeholders meeting has produced a progress report, discussion was held on re-naming the SRB the Somerset Rivers Authority.

  1. Bradbury House: A Dowden (AJD) advised that refurbishment is in week 7 which is on schedule. No major issues have arisen, and constant monitoring by the Board is being undertaken.
    1. 1 Church Street: S Gee advised that the sale of this building completed on 1 August 2014.
  2. Any Other Business
  3. Machinery: AJD Axe Brue the old Massey Ferguson has been sold and replaced with a Massey Ferguson and attachments from the Parrett IDB.
  4. Tour of the Area: W Welland expressed her gratitude to the officers for arranging an entertaining and informative tour, with delegates from North Somerset Levels to visit the Parrett IDB area; members concurred. Members were advised that correspondence had been received from NSL expressing their gratitude.
  5. Date and Venue of next meeting:

SDBC AGM                  21 October 2014, 7pm               Huntworth Suite, J24

Full Board                     11 November 2014, 10.30am      Venue to be confirmed

Coastal Catchment        09 December 2014, 10.30am      1 Church Street, Highbridge

SWADA – AGM             10 December 2014, 10.30am      Oaktree Arena, Highbridge