BARGAIN TIME AGAIN: Tomorrow (Saturday) there will be a jumble sale in the village hall with bully off at 2pm. This time it is being run by the Plumpton Support Group for St Peter and St James Hospice, so you can grab some bargains and know that at the same time you will be supporting a very worthwhile local cause. Naturally there will be stalls, cakes and tombola and some great refreshments will be available to allow you to relax after the thrill of the hunt.

BEER AND CIDER FESTIVAL: Today (Friday), tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday there will be a beer and cider festival at the Half Moon pub and lots of live music will be on hand to add to the enjoyment of sampling many fine brews. On Friday it will run from 6pm until 11pm and the other two days from noon until 11pm.

GOOD FRUIT CROP?: If you are likely to have a good crop of apples, pears or grapes and don’t want the produce to go to waste, then book the date Saturday, October 3 when you will be able to take the fruits along to the village green and turn them into delicious juice. This is an annual event instigated by the Village Action Plan and is open to all residents free of charge. It’s a great community event and who knows what those juices may be turned into next? Apart from a delicious, natural drink, cider, perry and wine spring to mind if you know how. It will all start at noon and further details will emerge later.

ROAD SURFACES: Many residents were extremely dissatisfied with the quality of the road dressing works carried out last year along Plumpton Lane and Station Road. ESCC assured the Parish Council that matters would be rectified under terms of a warranty and at no cost to Council Taxpayers. Eventually it was announced that those works would be undertaken next week, but now we are told that ESCC cannot fit them into its schedule, although it was understood that the original contractors would be remedying the defects. Mystery surrounds it all but the parish council is not letting go.

ANOTHER DELAY: For some considerable time ESCC has stated that it would be proceeding to mark out the bus stop layby near the village shop to stop people parking in it during the daytime and thus forcing buses to stop on the main highway, potentially threatening the safety of both passengers and road users at what is quite a busy spot. Regulations stipulate that notice must be given to allow any objections to be made. I gather that one solitary objection has been made (there are some 1,600 Plumpton residents) and thus the procedure is subject to delay, or even worse, whilst due procedures are complied with. What a democracy we have when the minority (one, single person) is able to dictate to such an extent and jeopardise safety. The Parish Council, East Sussex County Council and the police felt that the restriction (during daytime only) was fully warranted, yet one individual is able to scupper the whole process. School buses are already forced to stop by the village green because of congestion at the bus stop.

LEVEL CROSSING: By all accounts Lewes District Council is due to make a decision on the future of our historic level crossing gates during the coming week. We wait to learn whether conservation or devastation will be the result. Most of Network Rail’s safety problems seem to involve level crossings and I am willing to bet that such incidents involve those high tech, automatic, unmanned barriers rather than gates like the ones we have in Plumpton. However, it appears that progress involves using high technology because it must be better (whether it is or not) and making savings (aka making higher profits). Loss of jobs and lesser safety mean nothing to people hell-bent on standardisation and cost-cutting. As for the heritage, well what about it? They couldn’t care less. I recall a few years ago that NR applied for consent to place one of those dreaded, unreliable ticket machines at the station. The Parish Council did not object because it was felt that the impact would not be great. The impact on our heritage if we lose those gates will be of very high impact and irreversible. Plumpton is probably the only remaining example of such a Victorian railway complex in Sussex, so it must be worth preserving and it can be done and in a manner that is sustainable. Network Rail’s reputation is at an all time low, highlighted by the debacle at London Bridge station but hopefully its failures will not be allowed to spread to lowly Plumpton. It is worthy of mention that at some stage it was stated that if NR did not get its way the gates would fall into disrepair and that would lead to the closing of the road. Which was there first, the road or the railway?

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