Cooksbridge, Offham & Hamsey

Cooksbridge, Offham & Hamsey news
Cooksbridge, Offham & Hamsey news

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 met last month council considered co-option to fill a council vacancy which had been advertised and were pleased that Mary Symes had stepped forward. Mary had been a Parish Cllr previously. It was proposed and seconded that she should be co-opted. Mary then signed the acceptance of office and joined the council.

QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC: Everyone attending was there in regard to planning application LW/16/1045 The Old Forge, East Chiltington. The tenant of the new forge building felt that the development would diminish the viability of the site as a whole. The old forge is one of the few assets in East Chiltington and was still in use in 2015. A comment was made that the application states the forge has not been in use since 2005 but the applicant explained this was a typing error.

The present tenant said the forge has not been offered for rent or offered for his use and that it was not true that there was no demand for it. Also, he felt the parking proposed was shown blocking access to his unit and this would cause problems with his deliveries etc. A resident explained that he was the son of a blacksmith and his father knew Roland Emmett whose work was made at East Chiltington Forge. He said the forge had operated for hundreds of years.

One resident had studied the industries of the Weald, she was concerned about dust, noise, fumes and deliveries from the existing forge if the old forge was redeveloped as a residence. Another resident was concerned about the loss of the old forge,, but also the difficulties it would case for the new forge and wanted to know if there would be further development on the site. Someone pointed out that East Chiltington is recognised as not suitable for new housing as not sustainable, so it is wrong to remove employment to provide a house which is not needed. Another resident suggested a house could be built to the rear of the old forge.

The developer’s agent said they had looked at the rights of access and felt parking problems could be solved. The tenant explained he has weekly deliveries of steel on large lorries and has had no discussion with the new landowner about parking. The developer said the building was redundant and that use as office space was not viable.

Contamination in the building would need to be dealt with. Converting the old forge to residential was not viable so rebuilding on the site is the most viable option. As far as he was aware the applicant is not planning to get rid of the existing blacksmiths. The tenant said his surveyor felt the costs had been exaggerated and the building is still usable as a forge. He only felt it was not viable because the developers motive is profit. The clerk asked council to note that her husband would be making a comment on this application.

Cllr Fleming explained that many see the old forge as being of historical interest and want to see it remain. Any application has to stand on planning law only and not what might happen in the future. The main objection would be the loss of B2 status and accompanying rural employment.

He acknowledged the building may need some work but the parish council had been assured by the present blacksmith and in a letter from a lecturer in blacksmithing at Plumpton College that there is demand for forges.

All councillors showed concern about this application and Cllr Fleming is going to circulate the parish councils response and will ask the clerk to inform LDC.

OTHER MATTERS: The village litter pick will be on Sunday March 5, starting from the Rotunda. Council agreed to spend up to £50 to provide refreshments for volunteers on the day. Cllr Funnell has been dealing with reports of a padlocked gate on footpath 37a. ESCC informed the PC that the landowners are installing a kissing gate. Cllr Funnell has carried out a survey of the parish and found that all verges had been cut at least 1m width. No more to be done. Community Care: There had been little enthusiasm for a Christmas meal for the elderly and maybe there was more demand for a social group. The PC should not make assumptions about what people want, so it is necessary to do some research. It was suggested that a good neighbours scheme should be investigated.

The next meeting of East Chiltington PC will be on Thursday March 2 in the village hall, Beechwood Lane at 7pm. I am sure there will be plenty to discuss following the last meeting.

VILLAGE PLAQUE: I was asked some years ago if I knew what had happened to the plaque that was in the recreation ground naming McBeans as one of the donors of the ground given to the village. I do remember it very well. It was removed when the renovations of the present village was completed. I did write about it in this column but at the time was ticked off by the person who had removed it and asked not to mention it. I was told that it was in their garage for safety, but as the person involved has now moved from the village I am being asked if it has been passed to the parish council as it belongs in the village and should not have been taken down. If it has been given to somebody else for safe keeping, I have been asked to say that it should be replaced as it is, or was, part of the parish history.

ASH WEDNESDAY: The first day of Lent (March 1) at St Peter’s Church, there will be Holy Communion at noon. A simple meal of home-made soup, bread rolls, cheese, quiches, fruit and coffee will be served in the church hall from 12.30pm to 2pm. £6 per head. Profits will be given to Christian Aid. This is of course open to all. If you would like to attend, please let Judith know on 01273 474356 so that she will know hoe may to cater for. An excellent way to begin Lent.

PAROCHIAL CHURCH COUNCIL: There will be a short meeting of the PCC in church immediately after the 10.30am service on Sunday, to receive the church accounts for 2016.

ELECTORAL ROLL: The church electoral roll, effectively the church membership roll, is reviewed each spring. Anyone over the age of 16 years is entitled to join the electoral roll and forms are available at the back of the church.

ADVANCE NOTICE: Judith reports that they are absolutely delighted that Fleur de Paris duo, can fit in another gig for them at 7.30pm on Friday March 24. Lo and Nigel live in Offham and are much in demand all over the country and abroad. Their previous concerts of French chansons in the church hall have been packed. Book your ticket from Judith (01273 474356) as soon as possible. Tickets £11 to include light refreshments and a glass of wine.

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