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Salt Way Activity Group

1. Name

The name of the group shall be the Salt Way Activity Group, which may be abbreviated to SWAG. It is herein referred to as ‘The Group’.

2. Background

Banbury stands at the junction of two ancient roads: Salt Way, is still used as a bridle path to the west and south of the town, this led from Droitwich, Worcestershire to London and the south east of England, its primary use being the transportation of salt; and Banbury Lane, which began near Northampton, fairly closely follows the modern 22-mile-long road before running through Banbury's High Street and on towards the Fosse Way at Stow-on-the-Wold. 

It is in Banbury Town and Bodicote Parish with some existing housing on the North side and much proposed new development on the south side.

The route is a bridleway, Sustrans Cycle way and has numerous local public rights of way joining and crossing it and is some 3.3km long.  In the past it has been a barrier to development out of Banbury Town.

It has been a Site of Nature conservation in the past and the White Hairstreak butterfly was present in recent history – this relies on the Elm tree as a host plant.

There will be a great deal of extra pressure on the route with the new developments and the site which comprises some woodland, hedges, a pond and some open areas which would benefit from sympathetic management.  The County Council Highways department is responsible for maintenance of the Salt Way rather than the footpaths section, but there are some areas adjacent to the route outside their responsibility.  Currently resources are tight and it is unlikely that they will be pro-active in its management and seek to enhance the area.   A local activity group carrying out these and wider functions on other adjacent areas requiring input would be better placed to improve it for access, wildlife and flora. This group is to be managed by local people, providing a green gym, to enhance the area for recreation and conservation purposes through suitable management of the water features, wooded and grassland areas.  It could also be an educational resource.

3. Aims

The aims of The Group are to:

  1. Primarily provide management of the rights of way and adjacent areas.
  2. To offer labour for managing additional local areas of conservation or public interest as resources allow.
  3. To encourage local people to become involved in its management through membership of the group.
  4. To get local schools involved – student representation on the committee?
  5. To record the flora and fauna at regular intervals
  6. To draw up an initial record and compile a management plan for an agreed area.
  7. To make a historical record of the route and identify an areas of especial interest.
  8. To liaise with other local interests – highways, butterfly conservation, BTO, RSPB, local bat group etc

4. Membership

Membership shall be open to all interested individuals and groups, and all applications for memberships shall be in writing or online via the official application form. The committee shall have the absolute discretion to accept or reject such applications, or withdraw membership. The committee need not give a reason for the refusal of membership.

Members are expected to follow all statutory requirements in respect of rights of way, health and safety and the Countryside Code when engaged in Group activity.

5. Subscription

The annual subscription rates shall be such sums as may be agreed by the annual General

Meeting (AGM). Subscriptions shall become due on an annual basis on April 1st, members whose subscriptions are three months in arrears shall be automatically excluded from membership. 

It was agreed at the inaugural meeting (5 October 2017) that no subscription would be payable.

6. Committee

The management of The Group shall be by a committee of officers, consisting of the following roles: Chair; Vice Chair; Secretary; Treasurer; Surveys Officer; Publicity Officer; Events Officer; and Website and Records Officer, Schools representative.  

The committee shall be elected by the membership at the AGM and shall hold office for a period of one year. The committee can co-opt additional members for ratification at the AGM. Further named posts may be elected at the discretion of the Committee.

The committee shall meet at such times and places as they deem fit, but not less than four times a year. A quorum at committee meetings shall be six members, which must include one of the officers. 

In the absence of the Chair, the Vice Chair shall take the chair for the meeting, however those present may elect a Chairman for the meeting from those present if neither the Chair nor Vice Chair are available or feel able to chair. 

Minutes shall be taken of all the committee proceedings and these minutes shall be open to inspection by any member of the group who applies to the secretary to do so. Minutes should be a true record of the meeting(s) held. 

Subcommittees may be formed as required.

7. Authority

No person, other than authorised officers of The Group shall use the name, or purport to act on behalf of or to represent The Group unless the committee has first granted him or her specific authority to act on behalf of The Group.

8. General Meetings

The Annual General Meeting of The Group, of which at least thirty days’ notice shall be given to all members by the secretary, shall be held each March, or within 13 months of the previous AGM and within one month of the issue of year end accounts.

The business of the Annual General meeting shall be to receive report from officers on the activities of the past year, to receive annual accounts, to appoint an auditor who is not a member of the committee, to plan activities for the future, to agree annual subscription rates for the following year and to consider any proposal which has been distributed with the notice of the meeting.

The committee may at any time, and within thirty days after receiving a request in writing from any ten members summon an Extraordinary General Meeting, of which not less than thirty days’ notice shall be given by the secretary to each member, specifying the business to be transacted.

At the Annual General Meeting and any Extraordinary General Meeting, each member, including the Chair, shall have one vote, and all resolutions shall be decided by a show of hands. In case of an equality of votes the Chair shall have the casting vote. The quorum at the AGM and any EGM will be one eighth of the paid up membership.

9. Committee Powers and Duties

The committee shall have the general management and direction of the funds of The Group, and in particular (but without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing):-

  • May nominate any member to serve another body and represent the interests of The Group therein;
  • May pay the whole or part of any expenses of any member in or about the execution of any of his/her functions and duties on behalf of The group;
  • May make, and from time to time vary, rules with this constitution subject to ratification at the next AGM;
  • May fill casual vacancies from time to time in its membership;
  • May appoint representatives from other organisations.

10. Activities

a) Prepare and update Records & Mapping:

1) Records of land ownership and occupation

2) Records of biodiversity to be tied to a map

3) Soil types and changes logged.

4) Plant types:

  1. Ground flora – historically ancient woodland indicator species present
  2. Shrubs – varieties and ages
  3. Trees – varieties, ages and groupings

5)Wildlife:

  1. Birds
  2. Mammals, including hedgehogs
  3. Reptiles
  4. Bats
  5. Insects

6) Prepare a management plan running for 5 years, obtain approval for its execution and implement the plan.  In year 3 prepare the next 5 year plan.

7) Planning – seek to influence development in terms of retaining and developing wildlife corridors and existing public rights of way

11. Services crossing the area:

Obtain details of these where they could be damaged or be a hazard to members working on the area shown in the management plan.

12 Other matters

  1. Management: to be in accordance with the approved plan. Risk assessments to be drawn up for each stage of the work prior to its commencement.
  2. Finance
  3. Equipment
  4. Training
  5. Health and Safety
  6. Statutory responsibilities:
    1. Rights of way – Highways and Footpaths sections of County Council
    2. Seek to enhance area when adjacent land is developed.
  7. Liaison:
    1. All works will require authority from the Highways Authority, other Landowners, Banbury Town Council, Bodicote Parish Council,
  8. Publicity: to establish a Facebook page to inform members or SWAG’s activities and progress.