Sticklepath Village

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Sticklepath Leat Working Party Meeting

8 October 2014 at Drakes Acre, Sticklepath

Philip Davies (Sticklepath PC)
Jackie Smith (Senior Engineer WDBC)
Wesley Key (Building Surveyor NT)
Adrian Colston (General Manager for Dartmoor NT)
Kelly Bezer (Rural Surveyor NT)
Alison Cruse (Chair Sticklepath Parish Council)
Mike Eastman (Chantry’s Cottage)
Paul Gray (Community Response Team Coordinator)
Jane Jachnik (Staplers)
Peter and Gill Williams (The Drying House)
Malcolm and Jenny Brewer (Peppercorns)
Mike Bowden (Land adjacent to Methodist Chapel)

Matters Arising from Minutes of Meeting Held 23 April 2014

  • A digital survey of the leat was commissioned by the NT and has been completed by Tor Surveys.
  • A list of deficiencies were listed as a result of the survey (those in bold are most important)
  1. a) Eroded southern bank by sluice gate, sand bags in situ.
  2. b) 8 Grove Meadow – partly collapsed section of north bank and some erosion of southern bank.
  3. c) Leat below St Mary’s Church – some erosion of southern bank.
  4. d) Hayes – partially collapsed section of northern bank.
  5. e) Leat east of small stone bridge (car park exit) northern bank belonging to ?Staplers, The Heritage and Heather Cottage – partially collapsed section of northern bank.
  6. f) Sycamore – unstable stone outbuilding on unstable / crumbling section of northern bank. Eroded collapsed / sections of southern bank.
  7. g) Brookside Cottage between Sycamore / Edgemoor House – partially collapsed section of southern bank.
  8. h) Primula House – partially collapsed section of southern bank.
  9. i) Taw Leat – stone-facing detached from part of southern bank.
  10. j) Mill House – leat in this section generally overgrown and choked with debris. Both banks in poor state of repair and culvert partially blocked with debris.
  11. k) Potential blockage problems with the wire mesh fences that cross the leat on the boundaries of St Mary’s Church and Woodlands, and Hayes and Peppercorns.

Action Agreed;-

  • Once a year in the late Autumn the General Manager for Dartmoor NT (Adrian Colston) and the Manager of Finch Foundry (Ben Shapcott) will walk the leat with a member from STOCS (Mike Watson) and a member of Sticklepath Parish Council (Phil Davies) in order to compile and prioritise a list of essential repairs and maintenance needed on the leat structure.
  • The Manager of the Finch Foundry (Ben Shapcott) will liaise with members of STOCS and residents of Sticklepath to organise a Village leat maintenance morning, in the late autumn, preferably on a Sunday to get maximum attendance.
  • Jackie Smith reiterated that flood relief funding may be available for substantial repairs from WDBC especially since Sticklepath has a Flood Relief Plan.
  • Erosion to the south bank of the leat wall close to the sluice gate, possibly associated with the newly installed fish ladders by West Country Rivers Trust.

Action Agreed and Completed;-

  • Jackie Smith had approached WCRT
  • WCRT have completed acceptable repairs to the south bank
  • There has been some planting of thorn bushes on the south bank of the river to restrict access to the fish ladder and deter pedestrian access to the private land owned by the Drying House.
  • Entry of water into the south wall of the Devonshire Inn

Action Agreed;-

  • NT is in communication with the owners of the Devonshire and repairs are To be done after Finch Foundry closed for the winter and leat can be shut down
  • Flooding of Hayes Field

Action Agreed;-

  • The situation will be monitored.
  • The positioning of low fencing over the leat that may become blocked by debris will need to be reviewed. Jackie Smith suggested using an extension to the bottom of the fence that has a swinging design so reducing the tendency towards obstructing the flow of water along the leat. It was agreed that the pre-autumn clearance inspection could be used to highlight inappropriate structures over the leat.

Matters Arising from Minutes of Meeting of Householders Living Adjacent to Finch Foundry Leat Held 17 September 2014

  • Leat wall adjacent to main sluice gate has now been repaired to everyone’s satisfaction with local stone after consent was sought from the householders present at the meeting.
  • Householders were informed of the results of the National Trust survey of the leat and the items in need of repair were brought to their attention.
  • It was brought to the attention of the meeting how the ownership of the leat was complex with multiple freehold owners.
  • Jackie Smith explained the principals of Riparian Ownership whereby the landowner adjacent to the watercourse would own and be responsible for the bank and to the middle of the watercourse. In Sticklepath since the National Trust do not have the freehold ownership for the whole of the leat they have to rely upon the other freeholders to maintain their section of the leat.
  • WDBC are the Enforcing Agency for minor waterways and land drainage – they monitor rights and responsibilities working with the Environmental Agency and Devon County Council.
  • Emergency Shutdown of the Leat
  1. For use in the event of an emergency associated with the leat a list of contact details for key employees of the National Trust was circulated;-

Ben Shapcott – Foundry Manager – 01837 840046

Wesley Key – Building Surveyor for Dartmoor – 01647 434138 or 07812974514

Adrian Colston – General Manager, Dartmoor – 01626 834748 or 07812 974501

  1. It was agreed that the householders from the Drying House and Waterside Cleave Mill should be familiar with the location of the equipment to operate the main sluice gate. The operation of the leat gate should only undertaken by somebody who is familiar with the equipment and understands the implications of their actions. This instruction process needs to be directly supervised by the NT. Serious flooding of a number of properties could occur if the flow rate was too high. The operation of the gate may be needed at times of very high river levels and could potentially be very dangerous. The owner of the Drying House, Peter Williams did not want to play any part with the operation of the sluice gate. The village needs to recruit one or two able bodied volunteers who will have had adequate instruction to operate the sluice gate in the event of an emergency.
  • Clearance Parties

The proposals for these to go ahead as previously described were confirmed. The NT are anxious to involve the community and to raise the awareness of the unique and historic nature of the leat. The maintenance programme will only be a success if we can get people working together towards a common purpose. Preferably riparian owners will be responsible for minor repairs and Jackie Smith said it may be possible to access funds from the Environmental Agency for more major works.

  • Major Works Required
  1. Silt behind main sluice gate needs to be regularly removed – WK is aware of this.
  2. The road bridge across to the Finch Foundry car park is considered too low and may be prone to blockage. No immediate remedy available here.
  3. The foot bridge to the back of Foundry Cottage is being considered for replacement subject to funding by the NT.
  4. The sluice gate at Albany House is in need of repair as water can go over the top – this is a matter for the owners of Albany House.
  5. The emergency sluice by Silverlake and channel down to the river are both in need of maintenance by the appropriate freeholders – Silverlake and Edgemoor House.
  6. Devonshire Inn south wall – water leakage into the pub is being investigated by the NT.
  7. Foundry Cottage – repair of wall adjacent to leat is to be repaired.
  • NT Caution over Parts of the Leat that do not have a Registered Freehold Owner

Mike Eastman questioned the NT’s position on this. Kelly Bezer said the NT was working to have these removed. This is to be reviewed at the next meeting.

Next Meeting to be held in April 2015

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