Says Adrienne Yentis
A friend of mine recently was riding on the heath
and she came across a group of cattle strung out across the bridlepath with no way through – the only way off was to turn round. Fortunately her horse
remained calm throughout. But you can imagine how a nervous horse might react ........... read more
Shortheath Common, Hampshire
Says Susanne Stoneman, Countryside Ranger
"The most popular scheme was perimeter fencing of the site, with cattle grids on the road"
Says Susan Stoneman, Countryside Ranger
It has been some time since we concluded the second phase of the consultation on the future management of Shortheath Common, so we thought it would be a good time to provide you with an update regarding the project.
As you may recall, the initial phase of the consultation work began in August 2011 and detailed the various issues affecting the management of Shortheath Common, which is a site of high importance for wildlife and as a resource for the local community. Consultees were invited to tell us what they liked and disliked about the Common, where they thought management needed changing, and to say whether they would or would not like to see various habitat management techniques being used on site.
The habitat management techniques considered included mowing, controlled burning, turf-stripping and grazing. Of these options, grazing was the most favoured form of habitat management, with 63% of respondents stating that they would like to see livestock reintroduced to the Common. Some infrastructure will be required if grazing is to be reintroduced, so respondents were also given the opportunity to state which of several fencing schemes they would prefer to see. The most popular scheme was perimeter fencing of the site, with cattle grids on the road to and from Oakhanger that bisects the Common, preferred by 59% of respondents.
A second phase of consultation was then undertaken in order to consider in more detail where infrastructure such as fences, gates and cattle grids should be located. We drafted an initial infrastructure plan, and then carried out extensive consultation with local residents and other interested parties to determine whether the proposals represented the most appropriate solution, or whether amendments were required.
On the basis of this consultation work, which included a drop-in event at Oakhanger Village Hall attended by over 60 people, we have made extensive modifications to the proposed infrastructure plan.
The next important step was to seek approval for the project from the County Councillors who guide the work of Hampshire County Council.
A paper detailing the work we have completed so far, and the proposals for future management of the site, was presented at their Decision Day on Wednesday 25 September 2013. We are pleased to announce that the project received full support at this meeting.
Says Maureen Comber
"The consultation is just not wide enough but I think I can guess why that is. "
Says Maureen Comber
Note the meeting on 25th September, which none of us knew about but Sarah discovered at the last moment on the day we went to no.10!!
Note also the full support received at that meeting. Actually if I remember rightly Sarah was the only member of the public at it, but she can confirm or otherwise. The consultation is just not wide enough but I think I can guess why that is.