Agenda and minutes

Commons Advisory Panel
Monday, 11th December 2017 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1 and 2, City Hall

Contact: Ali Hewson , Democratic Services Officer  Tel:(01522 873370) e mail:

No. Item


Declarations of Interest

Please note that, in accordance with the Members' Code of Conduct, when declaring interests members must disclose the existence and nature of the interest, and whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) or personal and/or pecuniary.


No declarations of interest received.


Confirmation of Minutes - 18 September 2017 pdf icon PDF 84 KB


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 18 September 2017 be confirmed.


Matters Arising


Minute No 17: Tree and Scrub Works in Support of the Management Plan South Common


Caroline Steel, representing Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, referred to a large amount of saplings on the South Common which required trimming back.


Steve Bird, Assistant Director, Communities and Street Scene advised that some work had been carried out already using volunteers. He was aware of the issue which would be actioned as resources permitted.


Sally Davies, offered the help of South Park Residents Association, the organisation she represented.




1.    Dave Walker, Volunteer Coordinator would be asked to contact Sally Davies to discuss volunteering options.


2.    Dave Walker to circulate a number of handouts provided by him at the previous meeting.


Minute No 16: Western Power Distribution- Plans to Lay Underground Cables


Caroline Steel, representing Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust asked whether there had been any progress on this scheme.


Steve Bird, Assistant Director, Communities and Street Scene advised that he was not aware of any issues and assumed the work would go ahead as planned.


Minute No15: Potential Play Area- Bowling Green


Steve Bird, Assistant Director, Communities and Street Scene advised that he had met with Michael Pell, local resident in Lincoln’s West End regarding this proposal. Mr Pell had informed him that he had secured funding for the play area and was in the process of putting a project plan together.


Reports from External Members


Signage- Report from Lincoln Commons Horse Association pdf icon PDF 43 KB


Emma Langdon, Manning, report author for this item was not present at tonight’s meeting.


George Woolfenden, representing West End Residents Association requested that the telephone number of the Anti-Social Behaviour Team be included on Commons signage.


Steve Bird, Assistant Director, Communities and Street Scene, advised that Simon Lawson, Community Contracts Officer, was currently carrying out a survey of all signage with a view to potential redesign and would be presenting a comprehensive plan.


External members requested that signage be visual, readable and subtle.




Steve Bird would feed-back the comments made above together with those made within the report from Emma Langdon-Manning on this matter and any other requests from individual members for consideration for inclusion in the signage plan.


Fallow Period - Review


Caroline Bird, Community Services Manager, sought a review from the Panel as to whether or not a fallow period would be needed on the City Commons in 2018 as previously discussed at the last meeting held September 2017.


The external membership commented in relation to the West Common as follows:


·         There were more horses grazing on the West Common with up to 60 this year compared to 40 the previous year.

·         It was 8 years since a fallow period had been held.

·         The West Common was flooding more now as winters were wetter.

·         Everything was levelling down which made the area more prone to flooding.

·         Poaching was also getting worse.

·         With respect to biodiversity, the sky larks and meadow pippins had gone, weasels, stoats had not been seen and there were less butterflies and insects.

·         Dogs should be kept on leads. It was believed the council would get a positive response if asked to do this.

·         The sward needed a rest.


Vic Hughes, representing Lincoln Civic Trust highlighted that there were only 4-5 horses on the South Common which seemed to be less popular with owners.


George Woolfenden, representing West End Residents Association suggested that a fallow period be held on the West Common only and the South Common made available to horse owners as an alternative grazing ground during the fallow period in 2018.


Sally Davies, representing South Park Residents Association highlighted that the South Common was just starting to see swallows and sand martins again having less horses grazing it. If horses came from the West Common this would have a detrimental effect during the fallow period.


Caroline Bird, Community Services Manager, advised that the South Common was desperately in need of grazing. Swallows etc. would potentially benefit as they ate the flies from the horse dung. The absence of sky larks was due to the number of dogs being exercised off the lead. Signage requesting owners to keep dogs under control during the breeding season would help. Allowing horses to transfer to the South Common to facilitate a fallow period on the West Common may encourage owners to retain them longer term at the South Common. She suggested this option be trialled for a year and progress monitored.


Councillor Preston highlighted that residents in the West End would be supportive of keeping dogs on the lead on the Common during the breeding session to improve biodiversity, and signage to this effect would be helpful.


Councillor Mair suggested that similar signage to that seen in the countryside would be most likely to be observed.




1.    A fallow period be held on West Common only during the summer of 2018.


2.    Horse owners be invited to transfer their horses to the South Common during the fallow period 2018.


Standard Agenda Items


Commons Management Plan Update pdf icon PDF 43 KB

Additional documents:


Caroline Bird, Community Services Manager, presented a report which provided an update to the Commons Advisory Panel on the Commons Management Plan.


An update on Management Plan actions was appended to the report, which showed a summary of the non-routine actions delivered since the previous update, ongoing works and works planned for the coming quarters.


External members asked questions and received relevant responses from officers as follows:


·         Question: At the time Canwick Road was widened it was agreed not to dig up the daffodils as they would be replanted anyway. Had this taken place?

·         Response: Officers would check this had been actioned with the Highways Authority.

·         Question: What had happened to a defined map of the City Commons requested by Panel members?

·         Response: The current map of the Commons highlighted the boundary line in felt tip pen which was open to negotiation with each landowner. A more definitive map would require a surveyor to be employed which was very expensive, although some work had begun to investigate a potential way forward.


Councillor Neil Murray, Chair, highlighted that at the time the Highways Authority carried out project work on the South Common/Canwick Road Improvement Scheme, some land was given over to them. His view now was that the Council should be vigilant/robust saying no to any future encroachment. Attempts to introduce a definitive map were expensive as the boundaries to the Commons were massive. To adopt an approach as a default position for no encroachment/no further disposal of Common land would cost the Council nothing.


George Woolfenden, representing West End Residents Association described the definitive boundary line as where the black line met the red line on the map


Sally Davies, representing South Park Residents Association questioned who would remember the fence to the South Common had been moved to facilitate the Canwick Road Improvement Scheme 10 years down the line.


Councillor Murray referred to the diligence of Commons Advisory Panel to ensure this was never forgotten.


Caroline Steel, representing Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust requested an update on progress made by the new Volunteer Coordinator. She suggested that the volunteer form be made more user friendly.


Steve Bird, Assistant Director, Communities and Street Scene advised that momentum to recruit volunteers was picking up slowly. The application form had now been amended to tease out a lot of the long procedure. He would check it was on the website.


Colin Smith, representing Lincoln Group Ramblers Association suggested that volunteers would be insured to clear footpaths only with hand tools.


Steve Bird confirmed that the Leader for each group would be qualified to use power tools if required.


RESOLVED that a default position for no encroachment on Common Land be agreed by Commons Advisory Panel.


Draft Management Plan 2018 Onwards


Steve Bird, Assistant Director, Communities and Street Scene advised that the Council hoped to continue work with Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust to produce a Draft Commons Management Plan for 2018 and was committed to do this with help.