Cooksbridge, Offham & Hamsey

CHURCH SERVICE: Sunday, St Peter’s Church, 10.15am Sunday School in the church hall, 10.30am Family Communion followed by coffee in the hall.

PLANNING: I recently read a very interesting letter fro a resident from Cranleigh in Surrey who was very unhappy with the planning system of district councils. He states, it has resulted in huge new housing developments being dumped in rural areas, despite the lack of road transport links, which are the province of county councils and even Whitehall. He points out that county councillors running portfolios are salaried and would be able to plan in a ore strategic way. Other residents agreed as they had witnessed the machinations of the local district joint planning committee. With a few exceptions, most councillors were happy to allow the over-development of the village if this diverted developers away from their own towns or villages. The writer says that even our own MP was unable to intervene in this flawed decision making, and would have welcomed a fairer, more objective form of planning at county level and is calling for the elimination of district councils.

OART: The Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust is holding the members 2018 AGM on Wednesday April 25 at Plumpton Green Village Hall. Members will hear operational news, receive the accounts and vote on how they operate. This year the speaker will be Kathy Hughes, WWF Freshwater Specialist for Global Rivers. OART’s Trustees and committee look forward to meeting their members.

NEWSLETTER: I always look forward to receiving my OART newsletter, and now have the March issue. I was very sad to read the obituary of Desmond Gunner, the vet, as when I was a child he was part of the Uckfield Veterinary Practice and when I was a Brownie, Desmond came to some of our meetings as I recall, to talk about animals. When I became Girl Guide Captain for the 1st Buxted Guide Company, Desmond used to come and test the Guides for their Animal Health Badge and the Guides loved every minute of his visit as he was such fun. When our new Scout and Guide Hut was opened in Buxed, thanks to Mrs Ionides from Buxted Park, Desmond was present at the opening, although not in the photograph that I have. Crouching down amongst some of the Guides, myself and my helper, was our much loved Sussex Express reporter, the late Harry Watson, who had taken some of the photographs along with the Kent and Sussex Courier and the Tunbridge Wells Advertiser. Always the gentleman, Harry did his good deed one day when the river had flooded in Uckfield and was well over the road. I was on my way back through the water, but unfortunately slipped leaving us both in the water looking like two drowned rats. My family thought it was highly amusing as someone took a photograph which neither of us wanted to own. Thank you OART for stirring up some lovely memories.

OART PROJECTS: It has been another busy start to the year for OART with lots going on and much to be looking forward to. The Lottery Heritage Fund application to restore the Broadwater Brook tributary of the Teville stream is nearing completion and following a review of the project in late February, OART are delighted that they have been given the green light to submit the application at the end of May. The three year project will see the course of the stream re-routed across Sompting Brooks and the area opened to the public for the first time via a river trail with wildlife viewing areas. Community activities and events are forging ahead with a range of activities which will enable participation in this flagship project in the South east. It is an exciting time for OART as the success of the application will provide additional staff and resources to keep them moving forward over the coming years.

OART ANGLERS: If you fish the River Ouse or Adur, OART would like to hear your views on the state of the fish populations and their habitats. To take part please paste this link into your browser https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/GYRJRG8 alternatively for a paper copy please get in touch and they will post the survey to you. Contact info@oart.org.uk. Survey closes April 31. OART is one of the 11 River Trusts piloting Your Fisheries, a new initiative which aims to produce a multi-partner perspective on the current status of fish populations and angling opportunity in the Ouse and Adur catchments, along with the key actions required to maintain or deliver improvements on the ground. Developed by the Rivers Trust in conjunction with the Environment Agency and Angling Trust. The project is funded by rod licence income and is currently being trialled in every river basin district in England.

TALES OF THE RIVERBANK: Jim’s Diary covered January and February with details of his walks and what he had seen. On Thursday February 15 the entry reads: 15ml of rain fell overnight and the river is up. Today is a planned clear up morning around the parish and we find the usual litter thrown from cars, there must be a lot of alcoholic drivers as I find wine bottles and large number of scrumpy jack cider cans. A total of 12 black sacks full was taken away. Friday February 16. Another morning collecting litter. It’s an on-going issue all over the countryside. I think the word is ignorance. I even found a microwave dumped by Beechs Farm Wood. There is no excuse as Maresfield dump is only a couple of miles away. Saturday February 17. Lots of signs of spring with early catkins on the hazel and primroses out near the village pond. Lots of light green Alexanders in the hedge bottoms, brought over by the Romans as a vegetable,but now rather invasive. Bluebells are breaking up through the leaf litter. But we have got the blackthorn winter to come and February fill dyke so more bad weather to come but hopefully the water table is coming up in the chalk block as the Lewes Winterbourne is running hard. Sunday February 18 saw the seal at Southease and several short-eared owls. I hope they were not dining on returning sea trout kelts, spawned fish on their way back to sea.