Cooksbridge, Offham & Hamsey

CHURCH SERVICES: Sunday at 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. A reminder for all those romantics it is also Valentine’s Day.

PLANNING: When Hamsey Parish Council Planning Committee met on December 28, Bank Holiday Monday, there were several applications discussed. One was SDNP/15/06058/FUL land adjoining the Old Wheelwrights Shop, The Street, Offham. Section 73A Retrospective application showing amended height of bungalow approved under SDNP/14/04918/FUL. Which out of the plans discussed the PC objected to. On February 3 when the LDC planning committee met, it was a unanimous decision of the committee that the application be approved with voting 8-0. Common sense has prevailed.

EAST CHILTINGTON: Cllr Osborne reported on LDC’s New Homes Project saying that the project was now on pause and she felt the first wave of applications might fail as not being developable. She will lobby to get the second wave of applications, including Hollycroft, dropped Key sites are likely to fail to achieve enough funding to support some of the affordable housing planned. The PC had been told by Karis that building on Hollycroft would depend on funding provided through the sale of other sites. The LDC Legal tea, officers and leader of the council will make the decision. She told the PC that Jenny Rowlands had now left LDC and Rob Cotterill from Eastbourne Council will become the new joint Chief Executive. Cllr Osborne will be asking LDC to devolve ownership of the Hollycroft field to the parish council. An independent scrutiny committee has been set up by LD to look into the whole New Homes Project and she will let the PC have a list of the members. LDC are facing more funding cuts of around 30 percent. The housing and planning bill is going through the Lords. Council tenants with an income over £30k will face rent increases and all tenants will be means tested. Social housing in rural areas is likely to be sold off when vacant to save costs and tenancy will be limited to five years. There are major changes to the planning system proposed. Cllr Osborne would like details of broadband speeds available in the parish as there is funding available and an obligation to provide upgrades for speeds below 2mbps. Chairman, Cllr Israel, gave an update on the Plumpton rail crossing closure and told the meeting it was scheduled to re-open with new barriers from February 8. The council discussed LDC proposed changes to providing information on planning applications. It was agreed that a weekly list should go to one parish councillor for checking as well as the clerk. Cllr Tingle agreed to check the weekly lists for any application in the parish. Council will respond to the consultation to ask that paper plans for applications should still be provided if requested. Cllr Fleming asked if the clerk can request a list of all trees with TPO orders on, site within the parish.

The East Chiltington Trust annual quiz was held at the Jolly Sportsman on February 8. Events planned for 2016 include apple pressing, tree mulching and possibly digging a pond. This would depend on an inspection pit being dug to see if it would hold water before a consultation to see if the idea is popular. There are two allotments vacant. Any resident wanting an allotment should contact Jo White through the PC. There was still no progress at all regarding the use of the church as a community space. Cllr Israel has contacted the churchwarden and will follow this up. Cllr Israel has contacted ESCC about flooded cars and the depth markers have been repositioned.

Fingerpost Chapel Lane/Novington Lane junction. EC church council agreed to contribute 50 percent of the expected cost of £760 as ESCC will pay the other 50 percent. Clerk will arrange the repair and request that the finger from the post should be saved as this could raise some funds. Training to use the road speed recording system is being arranged by Steve O’Connell. Honeypot Lane: The council asked the clerk to get prices for installing a bespoke boundary sign (not a village gateway) at the Chailey/East Chiltington boundary and report back to the March meeting. The annual Litter Pick will take place on Sunday, February 28, starting for the basketball court at Hollycoft.

The next meeting of the parish council is on Wednesday March 2 in the village hall, Beechwood Lane at 7pm.

BURGLARIES: to outbuildings have been reported recently. A reminder to all residents from Sussex Police to be mindful about their security. Keep sheds and garages locked and keep valuable items secure and out of sight. Contact your local officer if you would like some free security advice, call 07912 896004 or 101 ext 563018. If you are reporting an incident all calls should go through the police switchboard. Non-emergency 101, emergency 999. You can also report crime and incidents online at Operation Crackdown has been put in place to allow members of the public to report anti-social driving or abandoned vehicles easily without having to use the switchboard. This method has proven to be very reliable with a number of drivers being dealt with accordingly, thanks to the reports made on Operation Crackdown. To make a report visit

CRAZY WEATHER: Has made so many flowers and bulbs come into bloom already, except the snowdrops have only just started to appear and there are not so many as the wonderful display that I had in the garden last year. My one camellia in a tub is already in bud and the hawthorn hedge has started to leaf. It has been heart breaking to see the daffodils that have been in bloom since early December being battered by the heavy rain and strong winds, but yesterday when the sun came out for a bit I noticed that they were still standing. It reminded me of the lovely poem ‘And then my heart with pleasure fills and dances with the daffodils’. I always wish that they had a longer season. As they were so early I think they will be all over by Easter when the churches always look so beautiful with the lovely blooms.

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