There was an emergency meeting of the Events and Finance sub-group to discuss plans for the upcoming Tour of Britain. Sub-group was joined by Guy Fishbourne (BCC Sport) and Heath Harvey (Sweet Spot Chair) for a detailed presentation. Proposal was also looked at by highways to reduce disruption / road closures. A start and finish point on the Downs is desirable. Will support the Tour by waiving road closure fees and site fees, but there will be a reinstatement bond to repair any site damage. Tour wants an event village by the water tower, featuring catering, charities, etc. Plans to involve city-wide sport and work with schools in local areas. Important to manage access and lay trackways to lessen damage.
RESOLVED – Downs Committee welcomes the Tour of Britain, with a preference for a start and finish location on the Downs. The events sub-group will meet if required to handle the details.
Cycle Sunday event approved.
Avon Gorge & Downs Wildlife Project Education Programme Update
Mandy Leivers presented an update on the education programme. There is a new education officer, who is doing well. Walks and talks have experienced some disruption due to the poor weather. We are constantly trying to expand our audience to show the Downs is for everyone in the city. This includes a new project working with Syrian families (the first event will be this Sunday). We are also running a programme of walks for older people from East Bristol which is about tackling isolation and improving physical and mental wellbeing. Our first event in the Downs Challenge programme, for young people, was a great success.
Ben Skuse presented an update on maintenance. The recent poor weather, including significant snowfall has caused issues. Our team and vehicles helped to move people in snow and provide services to vulnerable people. There were problems with Funderworld setting up for an early Easter in boggy ground. My team currently covers cleaning of public toilets until the contractors take over. Happy to say that we have recruited the 5th team member vacancy, who has joined us from Sea Mills on a 3 month trial.
The Bridge Trust has requested Downs Committee approval for the toll booth construction compound. Committee stressed the importance of establishing the start and end date for the compound.
RESOLVED – Downs Committee agree the compound in principle, but recommend that Bridge Trust build in a penalty clause at the end of the contract for any overrun with a charge of £200 per week.
Review of security patrols for the Downs was discussed. This included the possibility of clamping cars illegally parked on the Downs, possible private contractors that could provide a service, or a joint venture with the University’s security patrol.
RESOLVED – security arrangements should remain in current state for this year, but Ben Skuse should negotiate for a change of service for 2019.
ACTION – OH to contact David Bunting to discuss what enforcement options the Downs Committee can employ.