Agenda and minutes

Commons Advisory Panel
Monday, 3rd December 2018 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Rooms 1-2, City Hall. View directions

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 were received.


Confirmation of Minutes - 17 September 2018 pdf icon PDF 73 KB


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 17 September 2018 be confirmed.


Change to Order of Business


RESOLVED that the order of business be amended to allow the report entitled ‘Legal Views on New Benches, Feeding Stations and Fencing’, to be considered as the next agenda item.


Legal Views on New Benches, Feeding Stations and Fencing pdf icon PDF 53 KB

Additional documents:


Caroline Bird, Community Services Manager:


a.    provided an update to Commons Advisory Panel (CAP) on legal advice sought following discussions regarding the installation of benches, feeding stations and additional fencing at September CAP


b.    reported on recent requests/suggestions received from CAP members for benches (in particular on the Viking Way footpath), feeding stations and a fence extension on West Common


c.    advised that each of these issues was included in the work programme put to September CAP, but with the caveat that legal advice would be sought on whether such works would be in accordance with the relevant legislation


d.    highlighted that legal advice given stated that the benches, feeding stations and fence extension should not be installed, however, it was acknowledged that it may sometimes be appropriate to consider other factors such as public health and safety and physical access, and to balance the risks on either side, e.g. the scale of any potential encroachment could be argued, and/or that certain actions were necessary under the council’s duties to the health and safety of the public


e.    sought further input from CAP members on the content of the report.


Sally Davies, representing South Park Residents Association, asked whether the existence of benches on the South Common previously, (now rotted away) set a precedent for additional ones to be established.


John Cunliffe, Solicitor, offered the following legal guidance:


·         Benches had been present on the Commons previously, although this did not set a legal precedent.

·         The Commons Act 1985 stated that the Council should keep the Commons free from encroachment save for permanent structures in place when the Act came into force.

·         He had not been able to trace any maps showing benches on the Commons.

·         He didn’t see why the benches could not be replaced in the interests of preserving the openness of the Common.

·         A common sense attitude must prevail keeping within the spirit of the Act.

·         Any addition of benches, feeding stations and fence extensions would be at risk of challenge via judicial review, however, the primary duty of the Council was to manage the Commons including provision of permitted activities such as sports and games including walking.

·         If the Council was to preserve the amenity of the Commons for everyone to enjoy, the legal view was that the installation of benches was a sensible approach to allow people to take a rest, as long as this view was judged without prejudice.


Both elected members and outside members of Commons Advisory Panel agreed generally that this advice was a common sense viewpoint being mindful that no precedent had been set.


The following comments emerged from discussion held:


·         The addition of benches, feeding areas and extended fencing was supported for the benefit of common users. It was important to move with the times to encourage other people to use the Commons and to make them accessible for all.

·         Benches should be installed away from perimeter fencing to avoid horses from getting trapped or using them as spring boards to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 58.


Matters Arising


Minute No 55: Carholme Golf Club-Additional Signage


Sally Davies, representing South Park Residents Association disputed the need to put golf signage on the Common.


Councillor Neil Murray, Chair echoed the spirit of maintaining common sense in what we were trying to achieve for the City Commons. This matter would be looked into first.


Minute No 54 Management Plan Update


Caroline Steel requested confirmation of mapping area for cutting weeds this year.


Caroline Bird, Community Services Manager noted this request.


Work Priorities-Use of Car Parking Income pdf icon PDF 53 KB

Additional documents:


Caroline Bird, Community Services Manager:


a.    presented a report to provide an update to Commons Advisory Panel (CAP) on the work priorities agreed at September CAP for use of car parking income, now that a legal view had been obtained


b.    reported on a balance at the end of the last football season of £26, 652 from car parking income, with an additional £3,006 so far collected in the 2018/19 season


c.    highlighted that it had been agreed by CAP that the remaining priorities be considered by CAP at future meetings with updates to timelines, depending on the budget remaining, additional income from the current season, and the outcomes of the revised management plan


d.    referred to Appendix A summarising the work list priority, together with draft signage proposed for the City Commons, following a public consultation exercise


e.    requested CAP views on the work list priority together with alternative wording suggested for West Common signage.


Panel members discussed the content of the report in further detail.


The following individual comments were received in relation to signage:


West Common




·         Long Leys Residents Association was opposed to the erection of any signage on the West Common to ban or restrict cycling. There had never been any signage before and this would create controversy for no reason. Any restriction would be difficult to enforce.

·         There was no problem with cycling on the West Common as long as people were sensible. It formed part of the Lincoln Cycle Way.

·         Cycling on the West Common should be allowed on the tarmac path only.

·         The entrance to the Golf Club was not designated as a cycle path although it was hard ground/grass and people did cycle there.

·         Cycling should be permitted on the tarmac path only which ran straight through the middle and had been used as such for many years.

·         Some cycling could cause damage to wildlife allowing gullies to be formed through the turf, although it could be argued that horses could also cause the same harm.

·         Hard surfaces were not part of the sward and would not be subject to damage in any way.

·         West End Residents Association felt that common sense should prevail as per the current position.


The Chair urged the need to arrive at a majority view on how to address this matter going forward.


Caroline Bird, Community Services Manager, highlighted her understanding under the Lincoln City Council Act 1985 that cycling on the Commons was restricted unless designated as such and therefore signage was required to this effect.


It was moved by Councillor Murray, seconded by Sally Davies, representing South Park Residents Association and:


RESOLVED that the request for cycling signage not to be erected on the West Common be supported, subject to review every six months.


The following individual comments were received in relation to dog walking signage:


Dog Walking


·         Long Leys Residents Association were of the opinion that dog owners were responsible and would keep their dogs under control without the need for signage.

·         It  ...  view the full minutes text for item 60.


Fallow Period/Horse Numbers pdf icon PDF 65 KB


Caroline Bird, Community Services Manager:


a.    presented a report to provide information on horse numbers on the City Commons as requested at September Commons Advisory Panel (CAP), and also to seek further discussion on whether to hold a Fallow Period in 2019


b.    advised that under the terms of the Lincoln City Council Act 1985 the Council may require horses to be removed from Common land for a specified period in order to facilitate protection of the sward


c.    provided additional information about horse numbers as at 20 November 2018 at paragraph 3 of her report as requested at the previous meeting


d.    requested panel members’ feedback on whether a fallow period should be held on the City Commons in 2019 taking in to account the condition of the sward, horse numbers, and the potential benefits of holding a fallow period.


External members suggested that a fallow period be implemented on the West Common in 2019 and for South Common to be made available to the horses.


Sally Davies, representing South Park Residents Association asked whether having more horses on the South Common was likely to damage the sward.


Caroline Steel, representing Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust advised there was less grazing growth on the South Common due to less being eaten, therefore the more animals the better would benefit the sward.


The panel raised concern regarding unregistered horses on the City Commons.


Neil Murray, Chair agreed to ask the Licensing Team to keep an eye on this issue.




1.    A fallow period be held on West Common only during the summer of 2019.


2.    Horse owners be invited to transfer their horses to the South Common during the fallow period 2019.


3.    The Licensing Team be requested to keep an eye on issues of unregistered horses grazing on Common Land.


Signage- Carholme Golf Club


Simon Elley, representing Carholme Golf Club:


a.    advised that there were issues of people playing golf on Carholme Golf Course without paying a green fee


b.    reported that talks were ongoing with Lee George, Open Spaces Officer, regarding the erection of potential signage at strategic points on the golf course on the West Common relating to the payment of fees to play golf


c.    provided a photograph of the proposed signage (600 x 400 mm) to be positioned at a level seven feet high


d.    requested feedback from panel members on the proposals.


Sally Davies, representing South Park Residents Association, suggested that signage be installed in the clubhouse as an alternative.


Simon Elley accepted that it was important that the Commons were accessible to all, however, in the interests of protecting the financial security of Carholme Golf Club it was essential to try stop players failing to pay.


George Woolfenden, representing West End Residents Association/Open Spaces Society referred to information signage already in existence at the entrance to the Common. He was reluctant to support anything larger in size than this and suggested modest signage at the Grandstand, 1st, 2nd tee and West Common bridge.


RESOLVED that an on-site meeting be held between Councillor Neil Murray, Steve Bird, Assistant Director, Communities and Street Scene and Simon Elley, Carholme Golf Club to discuss signage options prior to referral back to Commons Advisory Panel for consideration.


Commons Management Plan Update pdf icon PDF 52 KB

Additional documents:


Caroline Bird, Community Services Manager:


a.    presented a report which provided an update to the Commons Advisory Panel on the Commons Management Plan


b.    reported that an update on Management Plan activities was appended as Appendix A to her report, which showed a summary of the non-routine actions delivered since the previous update, ongoing works and works planned for the coming quarter


c.    advised that a review of the Management Plan had commenced, and that a volunteer had contributed significant time to updating and reformatting the current version


d.    noted that at June 2018 CAP it was agreed that a sum of money from the car parking income could be used to support this work, therefore, draft aims and objectives were appended at Appendix B to her report for members consideration/prioritisation


e.    confirmed that consultations on the revised Management Plan were intended to commence in Spring 2019, along with the required ecology surveys, inviting Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust to act as a critical friend, with a view to signing off the Plan potentially later in the year


Steve Bird, Assistant Director, Communities and Street Scene reported on an enquiry received from residents living close to the West Common regarding tree growth along Long Leys Road having blocked previous good views of the Common. He requested panel views on the establishment of a fence line to prune the trees.


Caroline Steel, representing Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust advised that the management of the boundary line including that of lower vegetation should form part of the Management Plan.


Steve Bird agreed to make further investigations and report back to the next meeting of Commons Advisory Panel.


Alastair Brookes, Volunteer Coordinator, referred to litter picks conducted in the Commons area and asked whether there was any provision for litter disposal. He also asked whether daffodils could be planted at the South Common near the entrance to the Hub, to make the area look more pleasing to the eye in spring time.


Steve Bird confirmed that officers could arrange for the litter pick bags to be collected and disposed of by the council’s contractors.


Councillor Murray agreed to talk with Steve Bird regarding additional bulb planting near the entrance to the South Common.




1.    Further investigation by officers on the management of lower vegetation along the boundary to the West Common be reported back to the next meeting of Commons Advisory Panel.


2.    Discussion on volunteer work ongoing on the City Commons be included as an agenda item at the next meeting of Commons Advisory Panel.


3.    Officers be requested to arrange for future litter pick bags to be collected for disposal by the council’s waste contractors.


4.    Potential for further bulb planting near the entrance to the South Common be investigated by officers.


5.    The content of the officer’s report be noted.


Dates of Future Meetings


19 March 2019 - 6.00pm - Committee Rooms 1/2