Cooksbridge, Offham & 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.

PARISH COUNCIL: When East Chiltington PC held their annual meeting recently there were 18 agenda items, the first being the election of chairman and vice chairman, followed by any questions from the public. Cllr Funnell has contacted ESCC about the drop off in Novington Lane and the state of the verges. ESCC have replied to say they are not prepared to carry out any repairs. Planning applications submitted are LW/16/0180 land south of Chiltington House, Chiltington Lane. Creation of ponds (part retrospective), provision of associated building and a supervisory dwelling to service a fish farm. LW/16/0255 North Hall, Novington Lane, East Chiltington. Section 73a retrospective application for the amendment of approved application reference LW/15/0808 (demolition of part existing property and construction of new ground and first floor extensions, new roof, internal alterations and external landscaping) and the demolition of existing house retaining only the south façade.

FISH FARM: There is a lot of concern about the proposed application above. Residents are not at all happy and objections have been registered with LDC planning department. One of the concerns is regarding the proposed route which is Wickham Lane where any traffic, including lorries, to the site will then turn into Chiltington Lane. This is not acceptable as once again this is a lovely country lane and we don’t want another of our pretty lanes urbanised. The concerns of residents in the lanes, many who have lived there for a number years, should be taken into account, especially those who are adjacent to the proposed site. Our precious countryside needs protection.

A NIGHTINGALE SANG: Not in Berkely Square, but just up in Chiltington Lane. A resident was so delighted to hear it that they made a recording of it. Some of the delights that you can still see and hear, which is still unspoiled. Long may it continue.

RAVENS: The ravens are still attacking my windows every day, but I am lucky compared with what I have just read. Farmers in Scotland are having a dreadful time with the newspaper heading as follows: Killed by a conspiracy of ‘evil’ ravens. Scottish sheep farmer’s lambs are being slaughtered by a bird that was once close to extinction. One farmer stands on the fresh straw inside a stone shed on the family farm, cradling a few-days old lamb in their arms. There are stab wounds across the infant’s soft white fur and a haunted look in its eyes. Where its tail should be is a bloodied stump turned dark yellow from the latest application of iodine. As the farmer’s say, it is a shocking sight but one that has become all too common for the hardy sheep farmers. A decade ago it would have been rare to see a flock of ravens and attacks were virtually unheard of in those parts. But in recent years there has been a nationwide explosion in the population of these notorious birds of darkness with the numbers increasing by 134 percent between 1994 and 2002. In 2007 the British Trust for Ornithology counted 7,000 breeding pairs across the country. We have only counted two pairs here so far and we have lost a couple of lambs, but it was the buzzards that attacked them which breed around here every year. I feel sorry for the farmers as it is not a pretty sight to find a tiny day’s old lamb which has been attacked. The trouble is that the ravens are huge birds with 4ft wingspans as I found the other day as I went to shoo one away when it was attacking one of the windows on the patio. As I went towards it I was alarmed when it turned on me with wings outstretched and flapping and I had to make a hasty retreat indoors. I have read that some farmers are backing a petition launched by a local pest control shooter calling for the Scottish Natural Heritage to add the raven to the general licence, which would permit farmers to kill any bird worrying their livestock. The present protected status for ravens means anybody who wants to shoot one has to make a special application for an individual licence which typically only allows them to kill a pair at any one time. The petition, presently, has received more than 2,300 signatures. As it is now the breeding season, I am worried as to how many will be bred here this year. They really are quite creepy birds.

HAMSEY PARISH COUNCIL: The annual parish meeting for Hamsey is on Thursday in the village hall, Beechwood Lane, at 7pm. Inspector Rob Lovell will be in attendance to discuss changes to local policing in the parish. Following on at 7.30pm is the Hamsey Annual Parish Council meeting.

REMINDER: Friday May 20, Pop-up Café Buffet Lunch in St Peter’s Church Hall from 10am to 2pm. For more details call Judith on 01273 474356.

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