Minutes of an Emergency meeting of the Parrett Internal Drainage Board Management Committee held at 1 Church Street, Highbridge on Thursday 14 August 2014, at 4.50pm

Chairman: Mr P Maltby

An emergency meeting of the Management meeting had been called to discuss the mechanism for commuted sums regarding North East Bridgwater.

  1. Attendance and apologies: as register appended. I Sturdy and P Ham.
  2. Commuted sums re North East Bridgwater: N Stevens (NWS) briefed members on the mechanism for commuted sums with Hallam Land Management (HLM). A full discussion was held, the following list is not exhaustive:
  • HLM undertook the development north of the railway line, however north and south developments should be considered as a whole for land drainage purposes.
  • The IDB was not included within the Section 106 planning consent agreement
  • A Land Drainage Consent Agreement is in place between the IDB, the developer and the Agency regarding the Kings Sedgemoor Drain outfall (KSD) that states HLM would upgrade the structure whilst the ownership of the land on which the outfall is constructed will be transferred from the Agency to the IDB and that the IDB would then manage and operate the improved outfall.
  • An agreement for maintenance arrangements of the new ditches and weirs on site was included in the KSD agreement, as old ditches were filled in with new rhynes cut across the site adjacent the highway and the railway line. A mechanism was put into the agreement for calculating a commuted sum; however, HLM did not allow the agreement to include that future maintenance should be carried out by the IDB.
  • The IDB has not undertaken any maintenance, other than the KSD outfall, as the site has not been completed.
  • HLM representative, Mr N Duckworth, has met board officers and has stated that a commuted sum will not be forthcoming; however an annual payment has been offered outside of the commuted sum agreement.
  • HLM would also not agree to pass maintenance to the Board unless the Board accepted the transfer of title to the land on which the new channel and maintenance strip sits, however the IDB is not a land manager, it is a water level management body.
  • The developer’s proposal for the site is to hand over responsibility for all public open space to a Management Company, such as Green Square, funded via a rent charge and covenant on all properties sold. This funding will pay for maintenance works on open channels. Any IDB maintenanceworks would be funded from this levy.
  • Negotiations are being undertaken to ascertain an appropriate annual maintenance charge.
  • Future replacement works to upgrade the KSD outfall are estimated to be circa £50k.
  • The IDB has enforcement powers, and a duty to supervise within the Land Drainage Act 1991, which may cause the IDB to be responsible if a problem arose due to maintenance works not being undertaken.
  • The IDB will also have a duty to maintain the outfall as it is the riparian owner of the structure and land on which it is constructed.
  • Members’ Recommendation: not to take responsibility of the land, to agree fixed implementation of annual maintenance charge payments (suggested increase at the sale of 400, 700 and 900 houses) and then fixed at £25k annually, index linked, thereafter.
  • IDB will provide reduced maintenance until staged payments reach £25k.

A Bradford proposed, R Coombes seconded that ’the IDB defers its decision pending consultation with Sedgemoor District Council to ascertain the details of the planning consent agreement and consideration of Ashfords Solicitors to not accept the transfer of title to the land on which the new channel and maintenance strip sits, to agree fixed implementation of annual maintenance charge payments (suggested increase at the sale of 400, 700 and 900 houses) and fixed £25k annually, index linked, thereafter.’ Vote: unanimous RESOLUTION 1

  1. Any Other Business: (1) Staff update: NWS advised that following a recruitment agency search and recent interview process Suzanna Graves will be replaced as Planning & Technical Support Officer by Ellena Fletcher, a recently qualified Geography graduate on 18 August 2014 and Carly Hughes will be replaced as Administration & Finance Support Officer by Sharon Reid, an experienced Receptionist/Administrator on 26 August 2014. Both positions will undertake a period of training prior to the departure of Suzanna and Carly on 5 September and 12 September respectively.

(2) Engine Rhyne: The Chairman was advised that withy trees overhanging Engine Rhyne in Saltmoor require pollarding along a stretch of approx 50m from the road bridge to the pumping station, as the weed cleaning could not be undertaken;

(3) Maintenance at Chedzoy: The Chairman was advised that work had been undertaken in Chedzoy for A Bradford by the Board’s in-house staff; the Clerk advised that this work would be invoiced accordingly.

(4) Rechargeable Works: landowners receiving Higher Level Stewardship payments (HLS) receive funding to undertake maintenance works, however it has been noted that works are not being undertaken. It was agreed to have an agenda item at the next Full Board meeting to consider in-house staff undertaking maintenance works for landowners receiving HLS, to be recharged as necessary.

The Chairman thanked members for their attendance, and closed the meeting at 5.45pm