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.
DRONES: I have now had time to read more about the government consultation on the safe use of drones in the UK and the NFU has called for more protection for landowners affected by antisocial drone use. Proposed measures include mandatory registration of new drones over 250g, a theory test for users, increased penalties for misuse of technology and potential new criminal offences to deter and address misbehaviour. Although there are developments in the pipeline for on-farm use, such as crop application which could keep British farming at the cutting edge and internationally competitive, the NFU are also very aware of instances of irresponsible use of drones by members of the public and have already seen the first instances of sheep worrying by drones. They are calling for the government to address this and are hopeful that any new legislation will introduce measures to protect farmers and landowners from this behaviour. The NFU wish to stress to drone owners the importance of not flying near livestock, who react in very unpredictable ways. There is a risk of causing distress to animals, sometimes fatal, and it could lead to trampling. These actions impact greatly on farm businesses and urge that care is taken when flying in areas of farmland in particular. ‘Any drone owner should be responsible with its use and ensure the safety of people, animals and land. Any drone owner should be familiar with the rules so they fly this machinery within the law.’
CROWS, ROOKS AND RAVENS: Attack my windows and make an awful mess, especially when the sun is out, the result being that I have had to have some new windows. It seems that I am not alone in my efforts to keep them away as I have just read a letter from someone in Ticehurst, who writes that crows constantly visited the window sills of their rural French house and attacked their reflections in the windows. In the interests of tranquillity they drew and painted various birds of prey which they cut out and stuck to the windows, but the crows loved them. Weighted flower pots on each window sill finally solved the problem. I shall have to try and see if it works around here.
WARNING: Countryside dog walkers should be made aware about the scale of sheep deaths as the practice is leading to an increasing number of attacks on sheep by dogs, whose owners are ignorant of the risk to livestock. The problem has become so serious that a farming group have commissioned a report based on police statistics to understand the scale of sheep deaths. Government officials and senior police officers were recently presented with findings indicating that around 15000 sheep were killed by loose dogs in 2016, more than 10 times higher than the number previously thought. In response, the National Police Chiefs Council has agreed to set up a group to investigate how well regional forces react to dog attacks. There will be many farmers, including myself, who will be pleased to hear that. We have had dog attacks on our sheep in the past, but I am happy to say that our local Lewes Police team were every quickly on the scene and visited the dog’s owner on two occasions. Over the years I have written about dog owners coming through the farm and up the bridleway where we usually have livestock on either side, but some dog owners take no notice, not even during lambing time, and loose their dogs off and let them run free. Once off the lead they have little or no control. Recently someone with a loose dog has been letting it off before the bridleway and allowing it to come up my drive into the garden and leave a pile of dog mess for us to clear. I have found that it is useless trying to tell them to keep their dog on a lead or to clear up the mess as anything you say gets met with abuse and in this day and age one has to be very careful about confrontation. I have the greatest sympathy for the farmers who have had their sheep savaged by thoughtless dog owners. It is not the dogs fault, it is the owner who is responsible. I hope that eventually the government will bring in a law to make all dog owners keep their dogs on a lead when walking on or through farmland.
PARISH COUNCIL: When Hamsey Parish Council met recently there were no members of the public present at the start of the meeting. Council discussed a request for a grant to cover the cost of mowing at Hamsey Church. The chairman proposed £500 which was seconded and agreed by all. Council considered a donation request from CPRE Sussex. Cllr D’Arienzo proposed £25 which was seconded and agreed by all. Council agreed to appoint Steve Brentnall as the internal auditor for 2017. Only one mowing contractor had submitted their tender for work on the recreation ground and village hall in time for the meeting. Barcombe Landscapes were chosen to mow the recreation ground for 2017. Council noted that the public convenience is now installed. It was not possible to change the unit to a free facility so there will be a 20p charge for use, this will be used to offset some of the running costs. Jim Edwards retired from the Trustees after many years of dedicated assistance to the hall and grounds. He will be greatly missed. This leaves a vacancy on the board of trustees for someone willing to offer their time to help with the running of the community hall and recreation area. Council considered whether the parish council logo needed updating. Cllr D’Arienzo said there might be a competition run to source a new design. It was agreed by all. Maria Caulfield had circulated details of funding for community defibrillators, Cllr D’Arienzo will contact her to see if one might be available for Offham.
Cllr Ginn, the chairman, met with a local landowner to discuss a possible bus waiting shelter for north bound journeys. Council agreed the shelter would be desirable but felt that a shelter with back and roof (no side panels) could go in line with the present pole (which would be removed). This would mean it was not necessary to lease or purchase any private land. Council agreed to the purchase of a two bay cantilever shelter from Shelter Solutions, with perch seat, timetable case and flag pole bracket at a cost of £2595. The chairman will speak to Compass about them providing the timetable case and will arrange a site visit with Shelter Solutions. Cllr D’Arieno is to contact local businesses to see if there are any willing to sponsor a shelter. The chairman reported that one of the hatched No Parking areas in the station car park had been removed to allow one more parking space. He was told there are no plans to introduce charging. He has spoken to representatives from Barcombe and Chailey and hope they would be joining Station Partnership.
DOG FOULING: Council felt the amount of dog mess now littering the recreation ground was worse than ever. People are letting dogs run loose on the field and are not cleaning up behind them. It was agreed that trustees of the ground would be asked to put up notices insisting all dogs should be kept on a lead in the grounds.
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