Policing of the Derby: Supt Bristow attended the meeting to give an account of concern about policing of the 2009 Derby. The post-Derby report to the conservators was described as ‘bland’. Supt Bristow was not responsible for the Derby, but said he had spoken to those who were. He had had no feedback to suggest the event was worse than usual. Policing during the evening was unchanged from previous years. The relocation of the fair to the Hill changed the crowd dynamics which will be noted for the plan for 2010. There was some sporadic disorder in the vicinity of the fairground during the afternoon and officers attempted to deal with it: some bottles or cans were thrown, and appropriately trained officers responded, not dressed in riot gear, but wearing ‘code 2 dress’. This means that some elements of riot gear were worn, but they were not fully kitted out. He could not explain the use of sirens, but presumed that they were being used in relation to the disruption on the Hill. Arrests were very low. Questioned whether the racecourse’s primary responsibility for stewarding within the racecourse had had an impact, Supt Bristow said that the police had not relinquished responsibility for policing within the racecourse, and the stewards had no responsibility for criminal law enforcement: there was no ‘imaginary line’ beyond which the police did not go. There was criticism that the police presence in Langley Vale evaporated in the evening (although there were traffic wardens patrolling at 20:00!), and was needed until late. Andrew Cooper from the racecourse said there were no plans to move the fair back to its previous position: its decision was criticised by another conservator (but no-one thought to press a discussion on the subject, just as there was none at all when the racecourse announced its decision to the board last year).

Training Grounds Management Board: met on 9 December. It concluded that the hatched area remained unfit for use (no surprise again). Mark Berry, head of Epsom and Ewell Borough Council addressed the Board on planning and the racing industry. The trainers had reported a very successful year: the best in a decade, with 170 winners.

Rubbing House car parking extension: the proprietors have still not responded to a request from planners for further information.

Byelaw boards: the replacement boards will be ‘basic’ in design, similar to the present ones (so presumably just as user-unfriendly). Expected to be installed sometime during 2010-11.

Making use of the Tattenham Corner equestrian crossing: the highway authority has declined to take an interest, and the conservators weren’t going to either. Discussion sort of petered out.

Hack sand track: the clerk reported that she needed to meet with Andrew Cooper from the racecourse to discuss management of the sand track. Pity that the meeting hadn’t taken place before.

Hack rides: Bob Harding reported that work had been done to clear overgrowth in Beech Wood (see blog report 14 November 2009) and Top Wood (not sure where that is, possibly east of Burgh Heath Road), and to maintain the openness of the rides on Juniper Hill.

Ebbisham Lane: Surrey highways continues to refuse to properly maintain the road, and pleads lack of funds.

Downs strategy: the clerk has reviewed the downs strategy to seek to bring it up to date, and a work plan will be prepared of actions (as has been done for Nonsuch Park).

New byelaws: the proposed byelaws for prohibiting the use of model cars on the downs and to prohibit cycling except on authorised routes was approved for consultation; in discussion of authorised routes for cycling, Simon Dow asked about use of Walton Road across Six Mile Hill, which he said was risky (but agreed could not be excluded, although alternative routes could be signposted by way of encouragement). There was no debate at all about authorising cycling on a considerable number of hack rides on the downs where use at the moment is simply tolerated or little known, despite detailed comments from the hack riders setting out our objections, and despite a board member later pointing out that the downs were unsuitable for cycling. This came about 20 minutes after the conservators had agreed that policy decisions should take account of impact on all users of the downs!

Downs leaflets: draft leaflets were presented for approval prior to publication. Despite endless comments, the leaflet for hack riders is still unsatisfactory, being presented on A5 paper, and with colouring which makes it very difficult to distinguish afternoon hack rides from all-day rides, but we’re assured that there will be further revisions.

Closure of Old London Road: was authorised on 27 June 2010 for the Cancer Research UK Race for Life (this refers to New Road Work No 2, which runs round the inside of the racecourse). Some uncertainty whether this is actually within the gift of the conservators, or whether it’s a public road.

Date of next meeting: fixed for 15 April 2010.