Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators February Update

Heathrow consultation, car parking, code of conduct and more

Rangers office - Google Streetview

Maintaining stable finances has continued to be a key WPCC Board objective. On the basis of the management accounts at 31st December 2018 considered by the Board, a small operating surplus is expected for the 2018/19 financial year (ending 31st March 2019).

The Board also approved a budget for 2019/20 incorporating an increase in the aggregate WPCC Special Levy to £1,218,268. For the average Council Tax Band D property, this represents an increase of 60 pence from £29.30 in 2018/19 to £29.90 in 2019/20.

The Board also considered a number of potential non-recurring one off costs associated with the development of WPCC’s long term strategy to be considered by the Board as part of the 2019/20 Business Plan.

Code of Conduct
The Board considered and approved an updated Code of Conduct for Conservators that sets out the conduct expected of someone in public service and incorporates procedures for managing conflicts of interest, dignity and complaints, enabling WPCC to deal with any breaches of conduct and behaviour by a Conservator.

Access Framework – Charging Principles

In September 2018 the Board agreed in principle an Access Framework as a basis for managing requests for access to the Commons, ensuring that these are considered in a manner that respects WPCC’s duties, powers and prohibitions. To support the delivery of this framework, the Board considered a proposed WPCC Charging Policy for licences, incorporating the legislative duty to obtain the best market terms as well as the contribution made by licensees to further the objects of the Charity. These documents will be independently reviewed against the requirements of the Charities Act 2011 and the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Act 1871 and considered by key stakeholders before final ratification by the Board.

Conservators remain committed to ensuring that the WPCC Byelaws are enforced. These Byelaws cover a range of measures to prevent anti-social behaviour and to ensure that all visitors are able to utilise and enjoy the Commons.

Recognising the increasing issues with appropriate and proper control of dogs, the Conservators agreed that the dog fouling byelaw applies to all of Wimbledon Common (including the Richardson Evans Memorial Playing Fields), Putney Heath and Putney Lower Common. It is a criminal offence (liable on summary conviction) for a person incharge of any dog not to pick up faeces and dispose of it in a receptacle provided on the Commons or remove it from the Commons.

Car parking was also considered and the Conservators remain committed to improving awareness and to promoting and facilitating drivers to contribute towards the voluntary donation scheme currently operating at the Windmill Car Park. All the proceeds from this voluntary donation scheme go back into managing and caring for the fabric of the Commons. Drivers can also sign up to our regular monthly or annual donation scheme and receive a car sticker demonstrating support for the Commons. More details can be found at Car Park Donation Scheme.

Drivers and visitors can also donate towards the Commons by mobile phone, more details can be found at Donate Towards the Commons.

Heathrow Consultation
In recognition of its duty to protect the Commons, the Board agreed to submit an objection in response to the Heathrow Airspace and Future Operations Consultation, recognising the potential detrimental impact that the increased numbers of flights will have on visitors’ enjoyment of the Commons as well as the harmful effect of increased pollution on the rare and statutorily protected habitats. A copy of the objection can be found here.

The Spencer

The Board approved entering into a licence with The Spencer public house for a four year period for the placement of benches from the 1st April until the 30th October each year. The licence stipulates, inter alia, that signage is to be displayed indicating that the benches are to be made available for all users of the Commons (ie, not only customers of The Spencer) and that The Spencer will assume financial responsibility for any restoration works that are necessary following the removal of the benches each year to address any wear and tear in the area.

The Resolutions of the meeting of the Board of Conservators held on the 11th February 2019 have been posted on the Wimbledon and Putney Commons website.

Simon Lee
Chief Executive of Wimbledon and Putney Commons