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.

TODDLER TUNES: Judith reports: WE never close (well hardly ever). Don’t forget that Toddler Tunes continues during the school holidays so we will be up and running, dancing and singing, through the holidays. It’s particularly nice in holiday sessions to see bigger ones returning for a nostalgic visit with their younger siblings. We look forward to seeing lots of you again during the next school holiday. Thursday mornings form 10am.

WATERAID: The Rector reports: Millions of people in the developing world have no access to clean, safe drinking water. WaterAid is a wonderful charity which helps to bring this essential resource to communities around the world. Lives can be transformed by a comparatively small amount of money. £250 will pay for a hand pump to be installed in a village, giving a lifetime of clean water to a poor community. As in previous years we shall be supporting this worthwhile appeal during Lent with empty jam jars in the church hall waiting to be filled with your lose change. Coins, notes (cheques). It’s amazing how very quickly small amounts add up.

PCC: At the recent parochial church council meeting, the church treasurer, Roland Gough, presented the church accounts for 2015. They were approved unanimously and he was thanked for his efficient detailed work on this complex task. Judith Bastide, church safeguarding officer, also presented the Parish Child Protection Statement for renewal.

HAMSEY PARISH COUNCIL: When the PC met in January at that stage the Trustees of the village hall were still looking for a new secretary. The clerk had received quotes for ground maintenance for 2016. Council agreed to continue with the current contractor. The hall Trustees had asked for PC opinion on providing a public convenience at the recreation ground, following a request from a resident. The PC discussed the possible problems with maintenance and cost and felt that a porta loo could be installed for a trail period. Cllr Dodd proposed that the PC pay for installation of the porta loo for 15 weeks at a cost of £22 per week plus insurance cover, providing the Trustees agree to fund an additional 15 weeks starting from the Easter holidays. This was seconded by Cllr Harmer and agreed by all. Clearance of the footway beside the A275 has been carried out and work to alleviate the flooding on the B2116 was planned. Cllr D’Arienzo has been attending a lot of meetings about Biosphere and found it very interesting as it covers the Downs, coast and urban areas. There are a lot of interesting projects in hand.

Cllr D’Arienzo has received a reply on traffic issues from Roger Williams, head of Highways ESCC. Whilst he supported the development of a cycleway, ESCC have no funding available not any plans for developing facilities in the parish. Cllr D’Arienzo reported that double yellow lines will be applied in Cooksbridge Station car park to prevent blocking of the pavement, when it is dry enough to carry out the work. There has been a reply from ESCC about cars parking on the side of the A257 to drop off and pick up at Hamsey School. Cars parked in that position are within a visibility splay for vehicles trying to safely exit Hamsey Lane and this is not acceptable. There was currently no headteacher in post at the school so the PC will revisit having a meeting with the school once a new headteacher is appointed.

There was a litter pick in January and nine volunteers attended with a lot of rubbish collected from around the parish. Cllrs will meet with LDC to discuss possible improvements to waste bins to encourage recycling. The next litter pick will be on April 9 which will be Clean for the Queen. Celebrations for the Queen’s 90th birthday should be an agenda item for March. Fundraising plans for Hamsey Church will also be an agenda item for March and improvements to the new Beechwood Lane pavement will be discussed. The next meeting of Hamsey parish Council will be on Thursday March 10 in the village hall at 7.30pm. Looks like it could be a lengthy and interesting meeting.

SPECIES LOSS: My South East Farmer always has some interesting articles in it and the following was reported in my January copy: Species loss will hit food production. Scientists are warning that food production is at risk because so many species which act as pollinators and natural pest control are in decline. Climate change and habitat loss have hit insects such as bees, moths and hoverflies so hard that researchers at the University of Reading and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology based in Oxfordshire are warning that farmers and growers could lose some crops. The findings are based on what is thought to be the biggest analysis of British wildlife ever conducted, with researchers looking at records covering 4,424 species, collected between 1970 and 2009. Having read the full report it certainly gives food for thought as to what is really going on in this wonderful world of ours.

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