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Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Writing Room - City Hall, College Green, Bristol, BS1 5TR. View directions

Contact: Jeremy Livitt 

No. Item


Welcome and Introductions


The Chair welcomed all parties to this meeting, including those Merchant Venturers who had recently been elected to replace those who had recently retired.


The Committee also noted with sadness that Councillor Mike Langley had passed away since the last meeting and had been replaced by Councillor Barry Clark on this Committee.


Apologies for absence


Apologies for Absence were received from Simon Cooper, Peter Rilett and Councillor Donald Alexander.


Membership for 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 51 KB


RESOLVED – that the following membership of the Downs Committee for 2019/20 be noted.



Lord Mayor – Councillor Jos Clark

Councillor Peter Abraham

Councillor Donald Alexander

Councillor Barry Clark

Councillor Chris Davies

Councillor Kye Dudd

Councillor Paula O’Rourke


Merchant Venturers

Ross Ancell – Master

Jonathon Baker

Gillian Camm

Simon Cooper

Mary Prior

Peter Rilett

Tim Ross


Chairing Arrangements pdf icon PDF 49 KB


The Committee noted the following arrangements for chairing meetings for 2019/20:


Councillor Jos Clark will Chair the Downs Committee  in her capacity as Lord Mayor until the Annual General Meeting of Full Council in May 2020.


It was noted that, at t their Charter Day Elections on 9th November 2019, the Merchant Venturers appointed Ross Ancell as the Master of the Downs

Committee for 2019/20.


RESOLVED: that the above appointments be noted.


Retiring Members pdf icon PDF 45 KB


The Committee noted the retiring Merchant Venturer members of the

Committee: Tony Kenny and Francis Greenacre.


RESOLVED:  that the retirement of Merchant Venturer members

of the Committee be noted and a letter thanking them for past

services to the Downs Committee be sent.


Action: Jeremy Livitt



Dates and Times of Upcoming Meetings pdf icon PDF 46 KB


The Committee noted the following proposed times for 2020 meetings of the Downs Committee:


Monday 27 January 2020 at 2.00pm

Monday 30 March 2020 at 2.00pm

Monday 29 June 2020 at 11.00am (Merchants Hall)

Monday 21 September 2020 at 2.00 pm

Monday 16 November 2020 at 2.00 pm (AGM)


It was noted that some Merchant Venturer representatives had indicated they might find the 30th March 2020 meeting difficult to attend and that this date might subsequently be altered.


Resolved: that the Downs Committee meets on the above dates and times subject to any potential change of date for the meeting on 30th March 2020.


Delegations pdf icon PDF 55 KB


Following some discussion, it was agreed that future meetings of the Movement and Place Sub-Group should have a permanent chair to be elected as the first 2020 meeting of the Movement and Place Sub-Group.


Resolved – that the membership of the Events and Finance Sub-Group and Movement and Place Sub-Group is noted and also the above arrangements for chairing for future M and P Sub Group meetings.


Minutes of last Meeting - 23rd September 2019 pdf icon PDF 200 KB

The Committee is requested to approve the minutes of the last meeting held on Monday 23rd September 2019.


Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project


Following questioning, it was confirmed that the commitment to enable an application for a £250,000 grant for a three-year expansion of the project

through the National Lottery Heritage Fund would be made via the release of £30,000.



It was agreed that an Action Sheet would be produced for all future meetings. Action: Jeremy Livitt


Resolved – that the minutes of the above meeting be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair. Action: Jeremy Livitt


Declarations of interest

To note and Declarations of Interest raised by Councillors.


There were no declarations of interest made.


Public Forum pdf icon PDF 34 KB

To consider items of Public Forum sent to the Downs Committee. Interested parties can submit a written statement of approximately one side A4 to the Downs Committee by sending it to Democratic Services by no later than 12pm on Friday 15th November 2019.


A statement from the Friends of the Downs and Avon Gorge is attached.


The Committee received the following Public Forum statements:


Statement Number 1: FODAG – General Issues (Attached and also Included In Main Agenda Set)


Statement Number 2: FODAG – Woodland Planting – Relating to Agenda Item 12 – Matters Arising From the Movement and Place Sub-Group on Wednesday 6th November 2019


Statement Number 3 - Peter and Jenny Weeks – Overflow Zoo Car Parking on the Downs


Matters Arising from the Events and Finance Sub-Group - Wednesday 30th October 2019 pdf icon PDF 46 KB

The Committee is requested to note a summary of the items discussed at the 30th October 2019 meeting of the Events and Finance Sub-Group.


The Committee noted the key issues arising from the Events and Finance Sub-Group.


It was noted that the reference to “change in management” should be removed.


Matters Arising from the Movement and Place Sub-Group - Wednesday 6th November 2019 - Summary Notes, Recommendations and Reports From The Meeting pdf icon PDF 2 MB

The Committee is requested to note the summary of the discussion at the Movement and Place Sub-Group on Wednesday 6th November 2019 and recommendations arising from it. The reports to be considered alongside these recommendations are also included and listed with page numbering below:


(1) Summary of the Minutes of the Movement and Place Sub-Group – Wednesday 16th November 2019 (Pages 3 to 5)


(2) Agenda Item 3: Brief for Request for Approval of a New Copse Woodland on Cilfton and Durdham Downs – Granny Downs Section (Pages 6, 7 and 8)


(3) Agenda Item 4: Report on Cycling Provision Alongside the A4018 (Pages 9 to 13)


(4) Agenda Item 5: Leisure Loop Update Report (Pages 14 to 22)




The Committee noted the key issues raised at the Movement and Place Sub-Group.


Members discussed recommendations from each as follows:


Richard Bland Memorial


The Committee noted that the recommendation from the M and P Sub-Group was for the creation of a copse and spinney.


Resolved – that the Downs Committee approves the creation of a copse or spinney as outlined in the report.


Action: John Atkinson


Cycling Provision Alongside the A4018


The Committee noted the recommendation to refer this matter to the main Downs Committtee for decision.


The following comments were made during the debate:


·         Some members were opposed to the shared cycle and footpath usage as there would always remain the risk to toddlers and there was no means to control the speed of cyclists

·         Some members who supported the proposal stated that the proposal would ensure that the use of an unofficial cycle path would be improved. Signs would be used for cyclists and pedestrians even if it could not be policed

·         The 2016 option had been a complete holistic proposal. Two shared use paths did not seem sensible – a better approach would be for cyclists to use a gravel path and for pedestrians to use a new path

·         The creation of the path has been proposed to alleviate a traffic problem which was a separate issue. It would be easier for traffic to give way on a tarmac route

·         The proposal should not be supported but instead the Committee should request consideration of two separate paths for pedestrians and cyclists with a favoured approach for pedestrians on the path


Officers made the following comments:


·         In 2016, there had been a consensus reached that there was a need to improve the cycling and walking offer and that the current situation on the highway was not conducive to feeling safe

·         The area which would be affected by the proposal contained in the report would affect three events on the Downs and could cause future problems


The Committee voted on the proposal contained with the report and this vote was LOST (Voting – 3 for, 7 against).

Following some further discussion, it was


RESOLVED (unanimously) : that officers examine a possible segregated option for the A4018 with a separate path for pedestrians and cyclists


Action: Ed Plowden/Steven Riley



Leisure Loop Update


The Committee noted the discussion of this item at the M and P Sub Group meeting.


Following a further brief discussion, it was


RESOLVED: that a Special Committee is set up in January 2020 before the next scheduled meeting of the Downs Committee  for Richard Goldthorpe to provide a “rebrief” of the Downs Place and Movement Framework to allow members to

fully understand the original commission and the conclusions of the

associated workshop in considering the Leisure Loop proposals. It was

agreed that if possible this meeting should include details of the traffic survey

currently being carried out and that Vicky Cracknell (Cycle Sunday)

should also be invited to attend this meeting”


Action: Jeremy Livitt  ...  view the full minutes text for item 52.


Downs Maintenance Update (Ben Skuse) pdf icon PDF 44 KB


The Downs Maintenance Manager introduced this report. The Committee noted the followings:


·         There is a move away from prolonged grass cutting

·         On 19th and 20th October, Bridge Valley Road had been closed to in bound traffic to allow the removal of some loose sandstone blocks. The works had overrun but officers were happy that a further rockfall risk had been removed. A further build-up of rocks would be removed in works on 25th January 2020

·         A vehicle had lost control on 9th October and had crashed into the sea walls. The costs had been subsequently recouped

·         Winter working was taking place to get the ground ready to produce a surface for next year’s events

·         The Council had decided to procure a tractor. It was noted that measures were being put in place to resolve this issue with Bristol City Council

·         Police are enforcing a requirement for parking lights on certain roads on the Downs where there were speed restrictions. It was noted that the Government had recently announced legislation to allow Police  enforcement. This has assisted parking services in their enforcement activities


Resolved – that the report be noted.


Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project Update (Mandy Leivers and Simon Garrett) pdf icon PDF 61 KB


Mandy Leivers introduced this report and made the following comments:


·         There were an estimated 594 people who had been through the education programme between September to mid-November 2019

·         Talks about fungi and the “creepy creatures” half-term event had been particularly good

·         There had been a tour of the Gorge and Downs

·         The Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project had a stall at the Freshers Fair

·         Walks were provided to help people suffering from isolation

·          A great deal of work was taking place on obtaining lottery heritage funding

·         The Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project education officer’s contract had recently come to an end and therefore Mandy Leivers would be the only person delvering this service until March 2020


RESOLVED – that the report be noted.


Events Report (Amanda Sharpe) pdf icon PDF 41 KB

This report includes the Film Report from Natalie Moore.

Additional documents:


Amanda Sharpe introduced this report and made the following comments:


·         In view of the condition of the ground at the end of its event, the Bristol University Student Union Welcome event needed to consider ground protection for any future events

·         The Circus Mystery Shopper had provided good feedback. It was noted that it had not been very full. Feedback from the Circus was still to come

·         The Ladyboys was provisionally fixed for next year

·         Pride – This event had gone well. Future dates post 2020 had been considered. They were invited to come back for 3 years with a fee to be set for each of these years

·         Downs Festival – a fees proposal was still awaited

·         Circus – 2020 would be Year 2 of the Downs Circus Tender

·         Foodies Festival – if this returned, it would be May 2020. A proposal concerning fees was awaited


RESOLVED – that the report be noted.


Action: Amanda Sharpe


Finance Update - Budget and Forecast 2019/20 (Kevin Jay) pdf icon PDF 59 KB


Kevin Jay introduced this report and drew members’ attention to the fact that income was £400,000 with a net deficit of £30,000.


It was noted that the Committee does not agree that the Council does not provide funding for the Downs Committee.


Finance Update - Budget and Forecast 2019/20 (Kevin Jay)


The Theft of Lead in Downs Historical Structures


It was noted that lead had been stolen from the Haven, Café Retreat and Water Fountain. The Downs Committee was responsible for monitoring repairs by the relevant leaseholder to buildings. The use of Smart Water would be investigated.


Football League


Councillor Kye Dudd advised the Committee that the annual meeting of the Football League would be reported to the next Downs Committee meeting.


The Committee then briefly discussed the proposed rates for 2020 Downs Football League


Resolved –(unanimously) that the rates for 2020 remain the same as for 2019.


Action: Kevin Jay/Christine Lucas/Emma Bird


Date of Next Meeting

Subject to approval earlier in the meeting, the next meeting is scheduled to be held at 2pm on Monday 27th January 2019 in a Committee Room, City Hall, College Green, Bristol.


The Committee noted that the next meeting was scheduled for 2pm on Monday 27th January 2020 in a Committee Room, City Hall, College Green, Bristol.