Cooksbridge, Offham & Hamsey

CHURCH SERVICES: Sunday, First Sunday of Advent, also Sunday December 6, 13 and 20 St Peter’s Church 8am Holy Communion, 10.15am Sunday School in the hall, 10.30am Parish Communion followed by coffee in the hall. On December 20 the Sunday School children and Toddler Tunes will perform their Nativity Play during the 10.30am Parish Communion service. On Christmas Eve Midnight Mass is at 11.30pm. On Christmas Day, 8am Holy Communion, 9.45am Family Communion.

CPRE: Countryside land ‘is unnecessarily’ being approved for development because councils set house-building targets based on ‘made-up numbers’, a report has concluded. The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has called for an overhaul in how councils decide how many houses to build, amid claims that targets are being based on raw population and economic growth estimates rather than consultations with residents. There are concerns that the Government’s house-building drive and loosening of planning laws will lead to the English countryside increasingly being used for new housing. A review commissioned by the CPRE said housing targets were inflated. Housebuilders simply build houses as they always have, but with increased housing targets now have more sites to choose from in the countryside, where profits are larger, leaving brownfield sites that could provide one million homes standing idle, the report said. A spokesman for the Department of Communities and Local Government said, ‘These claims are completely untrue. We have abolished top-down targets and our planning reforms mean local people decide where housing should and shouldn’t go.’

WAR MEMORIES: With the recent Remembrance services commemorating the two world wars, I was looking through some of the old Courthouse photograph albums and found two black and white snaps of Derek, both taken before he was posted to North Africa. One is of him in uniform in an armoured vehicle in the drive here with his father in the background. The other is when he must have come home on leave and he is in another military vehicle on one of the high verges looking up to Mount Harry. Although he fought in the battle of Alamein he was one of the lucky ones to return home safely. I also found one of the boat that took his regiment to N Africa and it shows children climbing up the sides trying to sell bananas to the troops.

PARISH COUNCIL: When East Chiltington PC met recently there were several items of interest reported. The East Chiltington Trust reported that the allotments re now fenced. The orchard is doing well and the apple pressing day and barn dance were a great success. There will be an opportunity to meet up for a pre-Christmas drink at the Jolly Sportsman on Tuesday, December 15 and the annual quiz is on February 15. TECT are considering putting a wildlife pond on the site. There was no update on use of the church for meetings etc., which will involve replacing some pews and chairs. Cllr Israel said he will speak to the church wardens. Cllr Fleming reported that the new Trustee for the Springett and Campion Trust seemed very good and two grants had been awarded this year. Update on Hollycroft land and registration of the land as a Village green. Not all the information requested has been supplied so this is now with a legal advisor. Council asked District Cllr Osborne if she was able to get details of the five initial bids put the LDC before two were chosen, but they no longer have any record of these. Cllr Osborne suggested the PC put their request to Cllr Andy Smith. The clerk suggested that the PC also ask for sight of the LDC document retention policy. Cllr Funnell had circulated what information she had regarding noise, odour and vibration. There is likely to be an exclusion zone of 50m around the treatment plant. The treatment works at Hollycroft, Highbridge and Barcombe are all at capacity already.

The clerk had contacted Teresa Ford, ESCC Highways. There had been nothing to change the opinion of ESCC over the unsuitability of Novington Lane to take extra traffic and the poor visibility of the junction with the B2116, since the LDC application for 11 traveller pitches on Hollycroft failed on Highway grounds in 2011. She said a transport study looking at capacity, safety, access to schools, services and public transport would be needed to support any planning application. The East Chiltington Action Group have a copy of such a study and may consider carrying this out.

MONDAY CLUB: The Monday Afternoon Club meet on December 14 for their Christmas Lunch at the earlier time of 12.30pm in St Peter’s Church Hall. If you require a lift contact Judith 01273 474356 or Caroline 01273 477151.

CHRISTMAS FAYRE: St Peter’s Christmas Fayre is on Saturday December 12 at St Thomas Hall in Clife High Street. Please contact Chris Glover, the organiser, for more details and if you have items to collect on 01273 400981.

CAROLS IN CHURCH: There will be Carols in Hamsey Church on Sunday December 13 at 3pm. Make sure you wrap up warm and take a candle. There will be Nine Lessons and Carols in St Peter’s Church on Sunday December 20 at 6.30pm.

CONCERT: Tonight, Friday, Fleur De Paris in St Peter’s Church Hall at 7pm. Tickets £10 available from the Rectory 01273 474356. Free drinks to anyone in French costume. All profits will go to the Offham Church Repair Fund.

NEW YEAR’S EVE: Buffet lunch in St Peter’s Church Hall at 12.30pm. For details ring Judith on 01273 474356.

BRADNESS GALLERY: From Friday December 4 to Sunday December 13, exhibition of new paintings by Michael Cruickshank and Emma Burnett and a range of small items and cards for Christmas. Join Michael and Emma for mulled wine and Christmas cheer.

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