Cooksbridge, Offham & Hamsey

CELEBRATION: Fish and chip supper with Prosecco tonight, Friday in Offham Church Hall to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday at 7pm. Tickets cost £10 so if you would like to join the party, ring Judith on 01273 474356 to see if there are any tickets left.

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: At the annual Parish Meeting in East Chiltington on May 4, Inspector Rob Lovell (Sussex Police) reported n changes to the local policing programme. District Cllr Osborne reported on the merging of some services between LDC and Eastbourne District Council, which will bring over £3m in savings. She said LDC had a staff shortage. The government housing bill will force LDC to sell about one third of its housing stock and to increase rents. A resident asked if stock would be sold under the right to buy scheme but the answer was no. Stock will be valued and LDC will need to sell one third of the most valuable properties. The treasury will fine them each year if they fail to meet targets set. In future tenancies will be for five years maximum. LDC will have a recruitment drive for key staff. At the annual parish council meeting which followed, Cllr Harrison was elected chairman of East Chiltington parish Council and Cllr Funnell was elected vice chairman. Cllr Israel’s report covered the proposed development at Hollycroft in which he praised the community spirit shown in the hamlet and says bears testament to what a wonderful parish it was to live in. The proposed plans were shown to be non-consultative and deeply flawed and were eventually thrown out by LDC. It may not be the end of the issue, as the PC are continuing with the application for village Green status for the Hollycroft Playing Field. LDC objected to the original application and there has since been a further exchange of evidence. More than two months passed and the PC were still waiting for a response. They are confident that they are in a strong legal position and continue to press ESCC to hold a panel to decide the application as soon as possible. Flood markers have now been placed in East Chiltington in the correct position and in the areas where the road flood. With any luck no more vehicles will be lost in the floods in future. The book swap telephone box is very popular, both with locals and from those outside of the parish and does a good amount of trade. Community use of East Chiltington Church is continuing well and a successful concert with the English electro folk group, Telling the Bees, and an inspiring theatre piece called Transit were popular. More events are planned for this year and there may be a free rehearsed reading over the next month or so. The removal of the pews has not happened yet, but the PC will continue to lobby the churchwardens to make the church more user-friendly for community events.

NOVINGTON LANE: The lane had a makeover with a new surface where they recycled the old surface and added to it. Unfortunately the verges in the lane have been torn to pieces, mostly due to the closure of the Plumpton level crossing and a very wet winter when the lane was used as a cut-through. The method of relaying the road surface seems to have increased its height and this added to the very wet verges has left some significant drops at the sides of the road. The PC has been working with ESCC highways, Network Rail and local MP Maria Caulfield to try to get these drops filled in. To date there has been no solution to the problem but the PC will continue lobbying. It should be noted that some of the verges in Novington Lane have a protection order on them following an inquiry which was held regarding a planning application for a caravan site at a property in the lane. The Inspector in her notes for refusal stated that the verges in the lane needed protection, especially the wild flower verges which are classed as some of the most beautiful in the county. ESCC know that there are protection orders on the verges and should be doing more to put the damage right.

AFTERNOON CLUB: On Monday the Monday Afternoon Club will meet at Offham Church Hall at 2pm. Unfortunately Treacle, a medical detection dog, and owner Moira Harrison are unable to attend to this meeting, but we have been very lucky to get Jane Melling who will be showing her Postcards of Yesteryear. Hopefully Treacle will be able to attend later in the year. Lifts available by ringing Judith on 01273 474356 or Caroline on 01273 477151.

POSTBOX: For quite a number of years I have been hearing how hazardous it is to stop to post a letter at the Picketts box as it on the bend. With the volume of traffic now using the B2116 it has become more of a danger to stop and post a letter there. I was asked by a staff member of Royal Mail if I would consider having the box up here on the verge. We would be happy to do that and make it safer for the postmen and members of the public. That was over a year ago and we are not sure if it is ESCC or Royal Mail who we are waiting to hear from. It could be a nasty accident waiting to happen if the box is not moved to a safer position.

LOVELY BLOSSOMS: The two red chestnut trees that Derek planted on the verge when we moved here have looked really beautiful this year, with what I call their red candles swaying in the breeze. What started out as small specimens are now very mature trees. Last week I saw someone stop their car and take a photograph of them. With the abundance of white hawthorn blossom in our field opposite, it has been a wonderful sight.

GETTING WORSE: Having already mentioned the dangers on the B2116, I have been told by several people that they avoid the road, especially on a Sunday morning as we get the ton up boys on their noisy motor bikes racing along at great speed. Every Sunday morning you can hear them coming with the screeching noise as they round the bends. I have been told that they do a circuit along the B2116 to Chailey.

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