News from our Chairman

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The vacancy on the Parish Council has been quickly filled, following standard procedures, through the co-option of Nick Griffin. We welcome Nick to the Parish Council; he will remain a member to the end of its current term in May 2024.

Our long serving and long suffering Parish Clerk, Helen Schofield, is retiring at the end of December. It is such a shame that we shall not be able to give her the send off she rightly deserves. There are rumours of alternative arrangements having been made but I know nothing. Helen has worked devotedly serving the Parish for twelve years and knows just about everything there is to know about our four settlements. The same observation probably applies to her knowledge of all past and current Parish Councillors so we will continue to tread with care. We all wish Helen a long and happy retirement.

Leanne Andrews will take over as Parish Clerk from the start of 2021 having already been Assistant Parish Clerk since the Summer. We are fortunate that Leanne will inherit a Council with extraordinary experience amongst its members, in particular from two former Chairmen both of whom have invaluable recall of actions and decisions going back many years. We all wish Leanne every success and happiness in post.

The Parish Council continues to engage with residents and the Highways Authority, WestSussex County Council, over the C319. The C319 is never off the agenda and will be considered throughout the year, firstly with regard to issues at Tyes Cross where residents have at last managed to engage with the neighbouring Highways Authority at East Sussex County Council and secondly, traffic calming on the whole stretch from the junction at Selsfield Common to Tyes Cross, especially the 30mph section through the housed area. Please will all residents who observe accidents, antisocial and dangerous driving please use Operation Crackdown and remember to take photographs and/or get as much detail as possible for the Sussex Police.

West Sussex County Council has made a policy change with regard to verges; if any resident has suggestions for verges that may be seeded with wildflowers please let the Parish Council Office know.

I am pleased to report that the Bluebell Wood Working Group has met and had its recommended Management Plan adopted by the Parish Council. The Working Group consists of Parish Councillors and a representative of the Bluebell Lane Residents Association, in the person of Euan Campbell to whom our thanks are given for his participation. The Parish Council budgeted for works during the current year and will do so again in the forthcoming year so as to ensure that the wood is cleared of debris and a start can be made on tree management and development of pathways.

Following receipt of the Covid 19 related Mid Sussex District Council grant of £10,000, the Management Committee of the Village Hall has been able to revisit its programme of refurbishment and improvement. A reduction in the grant requested from the Parish Council was accepted in principle by the Parish Council and a consultation will now be undertaken with residents on the issue of a Public Works Loan Board loan to enable the Parish Council to fund the grant. The Parish Council already has a reserve in place for loan repayments and this will be considered again after the consultation. The Finance Committee has made its recommendations for the Parish Council budget 2021-2022 and this will be considered for final approval at forthcoming meetings of the Parish Council.

The Community Orchard has become a reality. A weekend of preparation work in October was followed by a weekend of planting in early December. Our thanks to Chris McClellan for his origination of the idea and leadership of the project, to Courtlands Nursery and to all the volunteers who turned out to both prepare and plant the Orchard.

A Winter Management Plan is in place with support from local stakeholders in the event of very cold weather; this includes road clearance, provision of grit bins and help for housebound and less mobile residents. If support is needed urgently and the office is closed please contact any Parish Councillor; phone numbers and addresses are on the website.

Season's Greetings and a hope that 2021 will see an end to the pandemic and its associated suffering.

Douglas Denham St Pinnock
Chairman of West Hoathly Parish Council

Posted: Mon, 21 Dec 2020 21:23 by Claire Hilton

Tags: Community, News