Rodmell and Southease

FILM NIGHT: Rodmell’s first Film Night was a great success and hopefully means we will have more. The film was The Grand Budapest Hotel and was somewhat ‘zany’. It was humorous and had some wonderful scenery, but like a lot of films, plays etc, these days had an element of swearing in it, which was not really needed but, no doubt, was used for effect. Congratulations to all who organised this great evening, and the choc-ices, popcorn, drinks and cushions were well received by all. It’s probably going to be a challenge to suit all tastes in the future, so good luck with that one.

SAD NEWS: Sadly we have lost yet another connection with our pub. Mike Harman and wife Ruth were owners of our pub for several years in the nineties and were responsible for establishing excellent beers, especially Harveys. I hope we don’t hear of any more with connections to our pub ‘popping off’ as Dave Moss, who also managed the pub at one time, died recently. Mike’s funeral is at Eastbourne Crematorium Main Chapel, on Wednesday May 2 at 12.15pm. A hint of blue to be worn please. Family flowers only and donations to be made if desired for Cancer Research UK, c/o Seaford and Newhaven Funeral Service, 22 Sutton Road, Seaford BN25 1RU. Tel: 01323 893889.

DVLA: I recently received forms to be medically checked by DVLA as I’m over 70 and have sight problems. It happens every three years, and I’m in favour of it, as I know several people who drive with sight problems, who if they were tested may find they need to wear spectacles. The last time I had a DVLA sight test, I was told that my sight was better than some HGV drivers who were tested, food for thought. What really annoyed me was the fact that I needed to ask a question, as I had a query about one of the questions on the form, but there was no telephone number anywhere on the correspondence. As my cousin said, when she checked on her phone to get me a number: ‘If they are sending these forms to people over 70, don’t they realise that many of this age group don’t own, don’t have, don’t use mobile phones or computers, so need a phone number’. I have a mobile phone, but it’s only basic and I hardly use it. Very few people have my number, as I don’t want to be one of those people harnessed to their phone. I think I put £10 a year on my phone.

CONCERT: Anna MacLeod of Swanborough wrote me an amusing letter, which made me chuckle. She asked me if I would mention that on Friday June 8 at 7pm, in St Nicholas Church, Iford there is a concert of Midsummer Chamber Music, performed by local Duncan Cummin and fellow Royal College musicians. Tickets are £12 to include refreshments. Tickets available by phoning 07976 254316. Anna is on the Fundraising Committee for St Nicholas Church, in Iford.

ANNUAL PARISH ASSEMBLY: As I was not sure if I could get to the Annual Parish Assembly, Clare Gillies has done the write-up for me. Thanks Clare. I did make it after all, and it was attended. Clare Gillies writes: Rodmell Parish Assembly, 20 April 2018. Last Friday around fifty residents came to the village hall for the annual parish assembly, an event at which they learn about what the council has been up to for the last twelve months. All present were delighted that the MP for Lewes, Maria Caulfield, came to the meeting. The chairman introduced the councillors and described the skills they brought to their work for the council. He stated that elections for the parish council would be held in 2019 and that some council members would probably not wish to be re-elected. He urged residents to reflect on whether they could put their names forward for election.

The first speaker was Joe Attwood, a business consultant and strategist who has joined forces with Lewes Councillor Vic Ient and the Association of the Parishes of the Lower Ouse (POLO). He is trying to find a solution to residents’ concerns about the C7 by putting the area’s ecological needs first. Along with other Ouse villages, Rodmell residents complain that the road is very busy and dangerous with an increasing number of cars (10,000 per hour in the rush hour), many of which drive too fast. Joe observed that East Sussex County Council (ESCC) does not see safety on the C7 as a priority but refers to the road as an accepted commuter route and an emergency evacuation one as well. Meanwhile, the South Downs National Park (SDNP) describes the C7 as a rural route. Joe is determined to develop the road as an asset for the Ouse villages by working with POLO and SDNP to slow the traffic down naturally by ‘passive engineering’. This might include changing drivers’ respect for the road by having a notice saying: ‘You are entering the South Downs National Park’ or minor alterations to the appearance of the verges. Joe is attempting to find funds to hire a traffic consultant to advise on suggested changes and was keen to get the support of Rodmell Parish. When identified, changes would be introduced over a number of years.

Simon Kiley spoke about Action in Rural Sussex. This organisation offers support for local businesses by bringing them together to network, and by providing free advice through ‘Let’s do Business’. EU funds are available to be spent within four clusters in the Lewes area: POLO (including Rodmell), Ditchling, Chailey and Ringmer. Simon pointed out the increasing number of small, self-employed traders to be found in these four clusters. Now Rodmell has fast broadband, Simon’s access to business support could nurture a growth in these small local businesses in the village. Simon is making a similar, more detailed, presentation in Iford on 09 May 2018.

Two council members made a short presentation about what will happen when the primary school closes in August 2018. Charity Act requirements mean that the Chichester Diocesan Board of Finance (DBF) has to sell the school buildings at full market value and use the money to fund its other schools. The eventual use is most likely to be residential. Maps showing Rodmell’s playground, owned by the Parish Council, were shown: access to the playground is currently across the school land and right-of-way issues are not straightforward. Redevelopment of the school area could provide the Parish Council with an opportunity to raise money by selling all or part of the playground site and using the proceeds either to provide a new and improved playground on the remaining part of the present site, or to move it elsewhere – or indeed to use the funds for some other village improvement. Rodmell residents were asked to consider all options, including whether the village needs to have a playground in the future and, if it does, where it should be. It is planned to consult residents further in the next couple of months.

The new chair of the village hall committee shared some of his ideas to keep the hall at the heart of village life. The first film evening (the day after the after the parish assembly) was attended by over thirty people with popcorn, choc ices and drinks on sale. Ideas for other village hall activities in the future include table tennis.

The contribution of Monk’s House to village life was discussed and all present were delighted when Alli Pritchard offered to host another evening at the house for villagers.

A governor of Northease School shared the outcome of the two Ofsted inspections in March 2018. The residential provision was good in all elements with ‘outstanding effectiveness of leaders and managers’. All aspects of the school’s work were good. There were many wonderful observations, for example, ‘Pupils’ behaviour is often truly impressive and is outstanding overall’.

Finally, those named as recipients of the Rodmell resident of the year were announced and a new board was unveiled with their names and those of all who had been honoured since the award scheme started in 1991.

ACCIDENTS: We seem to have had several accidents in this area of late. It always seems to happen when we get good weather and the temperature goes up. I try not to go to Seaford in the rush hour times, as I get fed up with getting held up on the coast road and at Newhaven Bridge. Why don’t more people use the A26?

WI: Report on Rodmell and Southease WI. Talk Tuesday 17/04/2018 (Lindy Smart).

This week the Rodmell and Southease WI had John Davey come to speak to us about the Lost Industries of Lewes. We had a good turnout of members and three visitors and one dog attended also. The talk was really interesting with lots of detail. Lewes being on the tidal River Ouse was well situated to support shipbuilding, brewing, papermaking and printing. There was an Iron foundry and a Cement Works. There were 60 plus racing stables. We learnt that the hypodermic needle was invented at the Needlemakers Factory. The original Baxters Printers was where full colour printing was first developed. Sussex Sloops plied the river, their wide beam and shallow draught ideal for taking goods to the port of Newhaven. John Davey was easy to listen to and the hour slipped by fast. The evening was all topped off by excellent home-made refreshments.