Thursday, 15 November 2012

Council Takes Action to Protect the Cows

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames has started a consultation to have dogs banned on the Petersham Meadows. Visit the council website for full detail,

people with cows and calves

Council Press Release
Dogs could be banned on Petersham Meadows, should there be no objections to a public consultation, it was agreed at last night’s Regulatory Committee.

Following an incident with a dog last year, it was agreed by residents, the National Trust and the Council that one of the improved safety measures would be that dogs would be banned from accessing the Meadows between April and November when the cows are grazing. To enable this to happen the Council must implement a Dog Exclusion Order. Although the National Trust manages the land through a lease arrangement, the Council, as the freeholder has the power to implement exclusion.

At the meeting last night Members agreed that whilst fencing is erected around the area to protect the cows from any dogs, a number of walkers are still unleashing their canines whilst out walking and they still have the potential to get into the area. In order to protect cattle from a further attack, the Committee agreed to take statutory action to ban dogs totally from the area. Those with a registered disability and use a dog for support e.g. guide dogs, are exempt from the ban.

The proposals will be now out for a 28 day official public consultation period. Following a review of all representations, the Council will decide whether or not to proceed.

Cllr Virginia Morris, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Environment, said:
“The health and safety of both meadow users, dogs and the cows is of paramount importance. This decision from the Regulatory Committee supports our work to protect the wellbeing of all those in the area. Dog owners are important users of our parks and Richmond Council promotes and encourages responsible dog ownership. Most owners are conscientious; however, a small minority are not and this spoils the enjoyment of our open spaces and parks for others. We feel that the banning of dogs totally from the Meadow, during the cattle grazing season is the best option to encourage safety.”

Hungry calf November 2012

Cows and people currently share other National Trust land in both the London and the Southeast Region and White Park Bay in Northern Ireland Electric fences are not considered necessary in either of these other location and the former National Trust Regional Director for Northern Ireland is now Regional Director for London and the Southeast.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Anne Purkiss: Local Faces (2002-2012)

Petersham Meadow’s herdsman Ian Brown is among the local faces in Anne Purkiss’s new exhibition at The Stables Gallery. The show features black and white portraits of people whose lives are connected with the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames. 

 Free admission
22 November 2012 – 3 March 2013.
The Stables Gallery, Orleans House, Riverside, Twickenham, TW1 3DJ

Monday, 15 October 2012

Ham & Petersham Magazine - Autumn 2012

Meadows update

At the Public Meeting held in Petersham Village Hall on Tuesday 29th May representatives of the National Trust, Richmond Council, Councillor Sir David Williams, and Graham Ball (chair of The Petersham Environment Trust) met to answer questions relating to the electric fence but no agreement with the National Trust was reached, writes Sylvia Peile.

The Back Story: You will recall that the Petersham Trust, having restored the meadows and farm buildings, replaced fences and built a new barn, handed over the management of Petersham Meadows to the National Trust with a large endowment in 2010. Residents of Ham and Petersham gave generously to the endowment and attended fund raising events to reach this fantastic target. It was the intention of the late Chris Brasher, who started the Petersham Trust, to protect the meadows for future generations , by placing the meadows in the care of the National Trust, ensuring public access and permit cows to graze freely for the majority of the year.

In 2011 a dog attacked some of the cows. This was a most unfortunate accident and for some time afterwards the cows were understandably edgy. The National Trust had originally considered removing the cows but were persuaded by local people not to do so. However, since then the National Trust have insisted that the cows must be separated from the public by an electric fence. Their interpretation of their own Health and Safety Guidelines do not permit free grazing.

There is no history of cows chasing people, and then only very rarely by dogs when harassed. The Council, as freeholder, have made it clear that they would like to see free grazing returned. There have been two public meetings where residents wanted, overwhelmingly, a free grazing regime restored.

It was therefore considered sensible to ban dogs from the meadows and this is having some success but there is conflicting information to owners who can walk along the public footpath with dogs on a lead to cross the meadow but are otherwise banned from the meadow.

Because of the electric fence the cattle are unable to use all the meadows so there is less grazing and there is no suitable shelter. The result is they spend more time in the barn. The herdsman has more work keeping the barn clean and there is additional expense with the cost of straw.

Our Councillors are working to arrange a meeting with Richmond Council (the freeholder of the meadows), Hugh Brasher to represent that substantial Brasher family interest, and Graham Ball (Chair of the Petersham Environment Trust), who will in turn meet with the National Trust. It is essential to find a solution to this gridlock and to keep cattle grazing on the meadows without a fence.

 Four tractors and equipement work the meadows on a Sunday morning in August