Fencing public consultations completed

P1010458smallThe last of the two public consultation events related to the fencing of Bicton Common was completed at Four Firs car park on the 28th August 2013. Over 30 members of the public attended the sessions and a varied range of opinions were expressed. Although most were cautiously in support of the plans to expand conservation grazing on Bicton Common and were happy with the suggested planning amendment to the existing consented fencing plans, it was clear that the plans were seen as the 'lesser of two evils' (as one attendee put it). Most people were wary about the erection of permanent fencing around the periphery of the Common, but were happy to support it if it would help ensure the health of the heath. Concerns expressed ranged from the impact of the fence line on landscape aesthetics to the suitability of bridleway gates to ensure safe passage of horses close to road junctions. Concerns about the potential snagging of deer on barbed wire and access restriction were also raised. Dr. Sam Bridgwater (Conservation Manager), Paul Swain (Commons Warden) and Dr. John Day (Footprint Ecology Ltd) were on hand to present and discuss the plans and all who attended were encouraged to officially record their views. Those who attended heard about the event from a range of sources including signs on paths around Bicton Common, the Exmouth Journal, Woodbury News and the Otter Valley Association newsletter.

Bicton CommonThe next steps are to collate the formal responses from local and national organisations together with those of the public and to submit a minor planning amendment to the existing and consented fencing plans to the Planning Inspectorate in the autumn of 2013. Assuming approval from the Planning Inspectorate it is anctipated that fencing works will start between January and March 2013, with cattle grazing being introduced from 2015. 


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