HARVEST FESTIVAL: Tomorrow, Saturday, St Peter’s Church will be decorated for Harvest Festival. Gifts of flowers, greenery and items suitable to be given to the foodbank will be much appreciated. If you would like to help with decorating the church for this lovely harvest season, pop along at 10am where you will be made most welcome.
CHURCH SERVICES: Sunday, St Peter’s Church, 8am Holy Communion, 10.15am Sunday School in the church hall, 10.30am Family Harvest Festival Service followed by coffee in the hall.
HAMSEY PRIMARY SCHOOL: Will have their own Harvest Festival Service in Offham Church on Monday, 1pm to 3pm.
HARVEST SUPPER: Friday October 7 in Offham Church Hall at 7pm. Contact Judith on 01273 474356 for details.
VILLAGE LOSS: I recently read rather a sad letter from someone who had moved to her home 34 years ago and lived in a village, but by a bureaucratic sweep of parish boundary she officially became a town-dweller. She remained faithful to her village church as the congregation dwindled to a few who stopped for companionable coffee at one or another’s house on the walk back from the Sunday service. The church now stands abandoned and derelict, not even given over for village use. A sad symbol that there was no fight to save it. With the loss of the church, the sense of belonging to a community is also gone; we no longer know each other, nor hear, except by chance, the events joyous or sad that would have been announced in church. Perhaps it was a heavenly sadness that caused the ceiling to suddenly fall, thus preventing the final service from taking place.
OBJECTORS: Having read the above it could never be said that the residents around here do not put up a fight and sit around and do nothing as we know that they are very protective of the lovely countryside that we all live in. Such as the proposed Fish Farm in East Chiltington concerning the environment, especially the extraction of water as well as the traffic impact which it is bound to have on a lovely country lane. It should also be pointed out that ponds have already been dug at the site retrospectively, without a full environmental survey being undertaken. The applicant has flouted the planning laws before gaining permission. The residents have really stuck together to object and have organised a very good campaign, just as they did at Hollycroft when they were faced with a lot of extra houses and just as I know they would if they were told that their village church was to close. The same with the Friends of Hamsey who were not going to sit back and see Hamsey Church abandoned. They got together to do something about it. The residents who have sadly lost their little church in West Sussex could learn a lot from our area. Never give up without a fight.
PARISH COUNCIL: When East Chiltington PC met on September 8 the first item on the agenda was the co-option to fill a council vacancy following the resignation of Cllr Israel. Notice was published of the vacancy on July 21 and as there was no request that an election be held, council agreed to co-opt Jodie Smith to fil the vacancy which was agreed by all. The chairman Cllr Harrison expressed the thanks of the council for the years of service given by Cllr Israel.
Cllrs introduced themselves to the meeting and the chairman asked if everyone was attending because of the Caviar Farm planning application, which was the case. She explained procedures and asked who wished to speak. The applicant spoke first, introducing himself, describing his background. In 2012 he set up the first caviar producing site in the UK, in Devon. It supplies top London restaurants. He bought the land in East Chiltington from his parents and plans to use it to produce caviar. If correctly managed he felt it would have no effect on the watercourse. One person spoke on behalf of a large number of residents and said that the residents of every property in Chiltington Lane were against the application. Objection 1, was the impact on the landscape due to the nature and scale of the proposal, which is on a hill, in a narrow lane, close to the SDNP and close to a grade II listed building. It involves too much land moving and is contrary to LDC core policies 10, HT1 and H2. Objection 2, was sustainability in the long term, which could be compounded due to the site and the untested procedures. It could leave the landscape permanently scarred if the enterprise should fail. Objection 3, the application does not demonstrate why a dwelling is necessary. If granted, this could create a precedent for housing outside the planning boundary. She said it was the wrong thing in the wrong place. Another resident said he felt the plan was inappropriate for the setting. It was an unproven experimental system bringing no benefit to the village, no employment or amenity value. It would destroy the countryside with massive earth moving to create the ponds. There is no evidence to show the system is sustainable and no plan or bound to ensure re-instatement should it fail. He asked the parish council to reject the application. One member of the public said that he was a consultant on aquaculture and he said hills make for good fish farms as gravity helps to circulate the water, he said that most of the surrounding fields were managed and felt it would be possible to return the land to its original state. He felt the application was the right thing for the site.
TECT: Report from the East Chiltington Trust who met on September 6. Jo White will take the chair after Christmas following the resignation of Anna Hardy. Resident Josie Peach had contacted the PC with regard to becoming a Trustee and if approved by the council would join TECT trustees. There was still no update on community use of the church. Cllr Fleming asked of the community website could be updated as it would make posting of info and pictures much quicker and easier with the public’s navigation of the site. TECT gets most of its income from the single farm payment scheme which ends in 2020 and from the annual quiz. Fundraising may have to be considered in the future. Cllr Tingle suggested that a residents Safari Supper, and a quiz at six monthly intervals instead of annually, might be considered as fundraising ideas. There will be an apple pressing and harvest supper on Saturday, October 15.
SPRINGETT AND CAMPION TRUST: Cllr Fleming said the Trust were very grateful for the grant provided by the parish council. Funds had also been raised by Cllr Fleming who completed a sponsored long distance road trip in aid of the Trust. Unfortunately the new Trustee has had to step down but another potential Trustee will be approached.
VILLAGE GREEN APPLICATION: This has now been lodged with ESCC for consideration. The PC have received a communication from LDC District Solicitor stating that LDC will not contest the outcome of the application and they would consider future devolution of the land providing it includes the football pitch and playground. There was no update on the green spaces application through SDNP.
LDC have suggested that the PC meet with Anthony Howell to look at housing needs and possible sites in the parish. Council wanted to know more about what was involved and the clerk will get more details.
PLANNING: SDNP/16/02212/FUL Unit 1, Wooton Farm. Demolition of existing agricultural building and surrender of open storage yard (B8 use) and construction of four holiday let units. After a planning meeting attended by the applicants, council objected to the application on grounds of size/mass.
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