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.

RECTOR’S REPORT: At the church AGM recently two churchwardens, Roland Gough and Rachael Brown, were elected. We welcome them very warmly. At the same time we want to say a big thank you to Geoff and Pamela. Geoff was churchwarden for 13 years and Pamela for nine. We think of great things which have happened in that time in which they have been instrumental, especially the building of the church hall and the development of the Parish Giving Scheme. We think too of Geoff’s work as choir master and Pamela as sacristan and invaluable guide on legal matters. Geoff and Pamela were presented with identical rose bushes named Blessings.

HAMSEY: The Friends of Hamsey Church subcommittee of the parochial church council have now submitted a grant application under the Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Scheme. They now have to wait until June to hear if this has been successful. Don’t forget the Friends are holding an open afternoon on Saturday, June 18, at Hamsey Church with church tours, a history exhibition and most importantly lots of teas and cakes for sale from 3pm. Go along and see why this much loved church should be preserved for another 1000 years.

IMPORTANT DATE: Judith reports: We are joining in the national celebrations for Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th birthday in our own special way with a fish and chip supper in Offham Church Hall on Friday, June 10 at 7pm. Tickets £10 each available from Judith 01273 474356. Limited numbers and they are selling already.

RSPB: Some 8.2 million garden birds were counted in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch. The house sparrow was top of the tree, except in Northern Ireland where the starling beat it. The membership of the RSPB is at an all-time high of 1,187,839 having grown by 100,000 in the past three years.

FROGHOPPER: Having read the following I now know the answer to what has intrigued me for years about the white, frothy bubbles that appear during the summer on plants, flowers and bushes when gardening is due to the froghopper, familiar to many as cuckoo-spit which has delighted children throughout the ages. The common froghopper is a tiny frog-like creature that, when young, lives in a mass of white frothy bubbles. Capable of jumping nearly 80ins in the air, these nymphs start out life in green, turning gradually brown as they mature and like to feed on plant sap using their ingenious sucking mouth parts. The magnified picture of it looks like a large pale brown beetle with six legs.

FLY-TIPPING: Good news. Fixed £400 penalties came into force this week for anyone caught in the act, but it goes on to say it may not be enough to reduce a million cases a year.

HAMSEY PARISH COUNCIL: Neighbourhood Plan. Every household in the parish should have received a copy of the plan one week prior to a voting card. The Polling Station is at Hamsey CP School where voting will take place on Thursday, June 2, from 7am to 10pm.

DARK SKY RESERVE: Having written on a number of occasions about the wonderful night sky which we get here under the Downs, I was delighted to hear on Radio Sussex that the South Downs National Park has been named as the world’s newest International Dark Sky Reserve, for the quality of its starry nights. I can vouch that we get wonderful starry nights here. When Derek first brought me to meet his parents at Courthouse, the first place he wanted to take me was up to Blackcap on a very crisp and cold night with a beautiful starry sky. I still have the little book that he gave me all about the stars and planets which he had with him during the war when he was in Alamein as he told me that the desert skies at night were really beautiful and it was a reminder of home here at Courthouse. He was a great romantic and on two occasions instead of going out to dinner to celebrate our wedding anniversary, he suggested we took a picnic supper onto the Downs, waited until it was dark to watch the night sky and count the stars, which we both loved doing. I am sure his mother thought we were crazy, but I would not have missed it for the world.

VACANCY: A vacancy has come up on East Chiltington Parish Council. If you are interested in becoming a parish councillor contact the parish clerk, Mrs J Toomey, on 01273 890621 who will provide all the details.

PARISH COUNCIL: Cllr Harrison was voted in as chairman of East Chiltington PC for 2016/17 with Cllr Funnell as vice-chair. A local resident is concerned that verges in Novington Lane were deteriorating rapidly, especially where new passing places were being formed. As ESCC refuse any action, the PC agreed to form a working group to look into the practicalities of what could be realistically done. A resident who has lived in Chiltington Lane for 40 years is concerned about the proposal for a sturgeon farm. All residents attending had concerns about the application. Planning – LW/16/0180 Land south of Chiltington House Chiltington Lane. Creation of ponds (part retrospective), provision of associated buildings and a dwelling to service a fish farm. The PC had contacted the applicant’s agent but received no reply at the time of the meeting. The PC will object to the application pending sight of the information requested. There were over 40 objections on the LDC site. The application states that there are no trees or hedges on the site, but there are. Cllr Harrison has contacted LDC about the allocation of housing in the village and had been told the PC would be consulted, but the property in question was offered to a family from outside the parish, as no one with any connection to East Chiltington had come forward requesting housing. Cllr Fleming reported on the last East Chiltington Trust meeting. A bore hole will be dug in the field to see if the ground will hold water for a pond. There is a vacancy for another Trustee. Council discussed the TECT trust deed. Update on village green – In February the PC responded to further objection raised by LDC. When the time was up for LDC to reply, they proposed the PC should halt the application because possibly the land might be devolved to the parish at a later date. PC replied asking why village green status should have any bearing on devolution and asked ESCC to press forward. LDC were given until May 14 to respond. The meeting was adjourned for a resident to ask what explanation has been given by ESCC for all the delay. The chairman replied that delay has come from the response times LDC allowed. A further question was asked to who would be on the decision making panel but the PC do not have that information. Local Landscape Character Assessment – a survey sheet has been produced and as many residents as possible have been asked to follow routes suggested by LLCA team, and to complete the survey so that the team can use these as evidence for what will become a planning document. Anyone wanting to be involved should contact Steve Toomey or Jenni Toomey, clerk to the parish council.

The next meeting of the parish council is on Thursday July 7.

HAMSEY PARISH COUNCIL: The council met on May 19. Planning applications included SDNP/16/00587/CND Offham Farm, The Street, Offham. Variation of conditions 1 (plans) and 6 (materials) relating to planning approval SDNP/14/00152/FUL. Granted. SDNP/16/00484/FUL Curry Cottage, Offham Road, Offham. (Former Chalk Pit Inn) Section 73A Retrospective Application for the change of use from A4 (drinking establishment) to A3 (restaurants and cafes) and A5 (hot food takeaways). Granted.

Village Hall Trustees report. Funding of £12000 for a replacement youth shelter will be given by Tesco under their Groundwork Scheme. Quotes have been received and the contractors chosen. Work should begin before the end of May. The devolution of the Malthouse playground from LDC to Hamsey PC is nearly complete.

The next meeting of Hamsey PC is on Thursday July 14.

Perfect Location: Last week the film crew from Fox Searchlight arrived in the parish for three days to film location shots for a new version of the Daphne du Maurier classic, My Cousin Rachel, starring Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin. Most of the original novel is set in Cornwall, not East Sussex at all, and certainly not Hamsey, but they could not have chosen a more beautiful or photogenic setting for a movie. Sadly we will have to be patient and wait until spring 2017 when the finished production is due to be released. Judith is already making plans for a parish cinema trip. How lucky we are to have such a jewel with the wonderful Hamsey Church in such a perfect setting.

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