Cooksbridge, Offham & Hamsey

CHURCH SERVICE: Sunday is harvest Festival. Sunday 10.15am Sunday School in the church hall, 10.30am Family Communion which will be a special Harvest Festival service. This will be followed by coffee in the hall.

MONDAY AFTERNOON CLUB: Will meet again on October 15 which should be a very interesting meeting with a talk and film by Ian Everest, The Women’s Land Army, in Offham Church Hall at 2pm. All meetings of the club are held in the hall and are open to retired members of the community. There is no need to commit to every meeting, feel free to turn up to those that interest you. Lifts are always available by calling Caroline on 01273 477151 or Judith on 07889 281214. Following the talk, tea is served with delicious home-made cakes.

PARISH COUNCIL: Hamsey PC met on September 13 and it seems that there was a full house as there were 15 members of the public in attendance, along with six parish councillors, Mrs J Toomey clerk to the council, and District Councillor Isabelle Linnington. The meeting opened with the council considering an application from a resident wishing to fill the vacancy on the parish council. Cllr McBrown proposed that N Kinch be co-opted, seconded by Cllr Baughan and agreed by all. Mrs Kinch signed the declaration of acceptance of office and was welcomed to the council.

QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC: All members of the public were attending regarding planning application LW/18/0394 Copyhold Farm. The chairman gave an update. Nobody contacted the parish council to show support for the development until after the PC objection was submitted. By this time the PC had experienced around nine months liaising with Lewes District Council Enforcement and Building Control and receiving complaints from concerned residents living in Hamsey who the PC were unable to reassure, as they had no information to offer. During that period they had no clue as to what was being developed or by who. Al that could be seen was the increasingly congested yard, large vehicles moving at strange times, lights on at all hours of day and night, and with no explanation as to what was happening, either from LD nor the landowner, residents described a feeling of being invaded. The whole issue took a considerable amount of time and energy from volunteers on the PC. It caused uncertainty and a sense of invasion to Hamsey and other local residents, all of which could have been avoided if LDC planning officers had been more forthcoming with information to help the PC. The PC do have sympathy with those involved in the precarious planing situation, but do need to adhere to planning guidance. They have listened to the concerns of residents who contacted them and will stand by their decision to object at this time. It is unfortunate that due process was not followed by the landowner and the PC feel it important to note that due process has been followed by the PC as a statutory consultee. The PC do feel in hindsight that the tone and language used in the comment submitted by the parish council was not correct and as such have contacted the planning officer at LDC who is dealing with this application to explain this, and they have submitted an amended comment that better reflects their understanding. The business partner of Circus Kinetica, who was present at the meeting, thanked the PC for the time they have spent dealing with this application. He felt the development at Copyhold is low key and sustainable. Problems arose when shipping containers arrived before the barn was ready as there were delays in rebuilding it due to it requiring a complete overhaul, and it needed to be rebuilt to the same dimensions. They are an art and craft production company. He invited council and residents to visit the site and was willing to take on board ideas regarding the site. Eight to ten people would work on site and they are keen to involve the community/school etc. They plan to use solar/wind power and grey water recycling. No one lives on the site. They have reduced exterior lighting in response to concern from neighbours. A resident said she represented a large group supportive of the development but felt it fitted with policies in the Hamsey Neighbourhood Plan being re-use of and redevelopment of redundant farm buildings. A resident said it had been alarming when the shipping containers arrived and residents had no idea what was going on, but now they know they feel supportive. More details have been requested by LDC and there is likely to be another consultation period. A resident said the landowner had been very engaged with the project and done a lot of clearing on the site.