Cooksbridge, Offham and Hamsey

CHURCH SERVICES: Sunday, St Peter’s Church, 8am Holy Communion, 10.15am Sunday School in the church hall, 10.30am Parish Communion followed by coffee in the hall.

CHANGE OF PLAN: Novington Lane roadworks. Plans by ESCC to completely replace the surface of Novington Lane should by now have been completed, weather permitting and the work should have been finished by Thursday, August 6.

PARISH COUNCIL: When East Chiltington PC met in July 23 members of the public were present and all questions were regarding the proposed development at Hollycroft. Cllr Israel (chairman) gave details of a meeting between EC Cllrs, LDC together with Karis Developments. Residents asked what the PC hat done so far and would be doing next. No residents present were in favour of the development. The chairman reported that some documents had been requested from LDC under the Freedom of Information Act which he thought might be useful in the future. The PC thought that they may need help from a professional planning consultant. There was discussion about who the proposed houses would be for. LDC reported that they will help meet the need of some of the 173 people on the housing register anting housing in the north of the district. Cllr Harrison explained that the Village Green status application went to ESCC in 2013 but LDC had delayed the process to such an extent that notices were not posted until April 2014 and this meant a new judgement worked in favour of LDC who then objected on a technical issue. The application has still not been determined by ESCC but should be heard in October. One resident thought the field had been gifted to the parish for recreational use (at the time it would go back to Chailey Rural Council, now part of LDC). There may be an EC resident who can shed more light on this. LDC say they will not do a parish needs survey but the PC could do one. A resident suggested Tim Slaney, SDNP, would be a useful contact.

District Councillor Sarah Osborne was unable to be present but sent the following report: A petition must contain at least 1,500 signatures for it to be debated by all Cllrs as an agenda item at a full LDC meeting. It was felt that this was somewhat arbitrary threshold, discriminates against small rural communities with populations below 750 (or 1,500). For example East Chiltington and St John Without combined only has approx. 470 people. Even if 100 percent of residents of both parishes felt strongly enough to sign a petition, they could not have their concerns debated at a public meeting. Seaford would only need to gain the signatures of approximately three percent or six percent respectively of the population to be afforded the attention of Cllrs and officers at LDC. Therefore, it is suggested that the constitution be changed to read a petition must contain at least 750 signatures or 40 percent of the population (of a parish, if on a localised issue) to require the relevant senior officer to give evidence at a public meeting of the council’s Scrutiny Committee. And a petition must contain at least 1,500 signatures or 40 percent of those of the population (of a parish) is on a localised issue to be debated by all LDC Cllrs as an agenda item at a full council meeting. If there is any doubt as to whether the subject of the petition is a localised (as opposed to district wide) issue, it will be defined by the relevant service director in consultation with the chief executive.

OTHER MATTERS: Planning for 2 Keepers Cottages, Novington Lane. Single storey rear extension and associated refurbishment works. A site visit has been carried out and the PC have no objection to the application. Decisions made by LDC. Warningore House – tennis court. Granted. East Chiltington Trust have said that allotments will now need to proceed in a more low cost way as grant fund applications have been unsuccessful. The community orchard has been strimmed but the fruit trees are suffering from lack of rain. The fingerpost at Honeypot/Novington Lane junction will be repaired by the PC. A new ground sleeve will cost £125. ESCC has been informed about horse muck being spread on a footpath along with chippings. Cllr Tingle contacted RDH asking that their buses slow down. This has been successful. BIFFA say they will take action against their drivers if the registration of vehicles is given. The clerk was asked to find out who should be contacted to get the unofficial layby in Honeypot Lane reinstated as grass verge.

The next PC meeting is on Thursday September 3, 7pm in the village hall, Beechwood Lane.

BUS SERVICE: It seems there is a possible threat to the bus service again as Compass Travel will be forced to relocate if developers in Lewes go ahead. As yet they are not able to find suitable alternative premises to operate from. This has been put on the website so that residents may comment to LDC regarding the proposals.

OART: The Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust has just appointed a new member of staff. Rachel Paget is the new project and administrative co-ordinator and says that her role will be to develop, support and promote the work that project officer, Peter King and OART do and to find new ways to interest and engage more people in supporting OART’s scientific and conservation work. If any members would like to know more about how OART can assist in improving your river environment or if you’d like them to work with your school or visit your organisation to give a talk, please get in touch at Rachel.paget@oart.org.uk.

I usually get some calls after I have written about OART as people like to read about the work that is done. I try and persuade them to become a member and have the pleasure of receiving a newsletter. One person likes to read when I write what Jim Smith, the field officer, writes about in Jim’s Diary. More about this in my next column.

BRADNESS GALLERY: On Sunday, Grow Cut Flowers with Jasmine Hart. Jasmine will show how to grow flowers and foliage to cut for the house and take to friends. Everyone will go home with their own plot design taking into account their soil, aspect and space available. For further details or to join the course contact Emma or Michael on 01273 400606 or email emmaburnett16@btinternet.com. Free and easy parking. Courses can be booked online at www.bradnessgallery.com.

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