Parish Council Chronicle Article - Feb/March

Exactly a year ago I see I was drawing attention to problems with South East Water (SEW) closing the C319 on three occasions in a matter of days and without notice. If we thought that was bad the almost complete loss of water across an area from Tunbridge Wells in the east to Handcross in the west for nearly 7 days from Sunday 18th December to Christmas morning, simply beggars belief. Astonishingly this was blamed on burst pipes following the thaw from a modest snowfall. The loss of supply and the staggering incompetence of the response team with a two day wait for emergency supplies and then only in two locations serving a 10-12 mile radius compounded by one location being in a country road with traffic queuing in both directions blocking fresh supplies, plus the completely flawed updates, deserves to be challenged.

SEW then had the effrontery, again without notice, to close the C319 at Broadfield on Monday 9th January. Once again the 84 bus and the Imberhorne School Bus were forced to abandon their journeys. I understand the School Bus driver escorted pupils across Finche Field and in to the village for parents to meet their children. Two further days of disruption followed with little evidence of actual work being completed. This too deserves to be challenged.

The Annual Parish Assembly is at 7.30pm on Monday 6th March in West Hoathly Village Hall and will be attended by SEW's Head of Operations Sussex and a SEW Community Engagement Officer. All are welcome. West Sussex Association of Local Councils, jointly with East Sussex Association of Local Councils, has invited SEW's CEO, David Hinton, to attend a meeting about all issues. The meeting format has yet to be decided …. assuming he accepts.

You will again expect me to comment on the biggest single development proposal for housing that the Parish has ever seen, at the closed Ibstock Brickworks. Ashill Regen are progressing their plans at some pace and the Parish Council is alert to the need to be in a position to comment on the Planning Application once it is submitted. The overall design is being submitted to a Mid Sussex District Council Architect's Design Review Panel meeting at the end of January. The matter will be on the agenda for the next Parish Council meeting, on Monday 30th January. If the Review Panel has met, a report will be given to the Council.

Earlier this year the Parish Council submitted an application for a 'Community Highways Scheme' for improvements to the crossing at the Vinols Cross/Fox. In early January we were advised that our application had been successful and will be added to Highway's "drop kerb and accessibility improvement" minor works programme. The design team will take on board concerns that the crossing point may be too far away from the current crossing point, which may be detrimental to its usage.

Over 107,800 trees have been planted in West Sussex for the Queen's Green Canopy, the vast majority by the great estates such as Cowdray, Norfolk, Leconfield, Balcombe, Wiston, Slindon and Goodwood; they have usually received some matched funding from SDNP or other grant awarding bodies. However, I am delighted to say the majority of Parish Councils in West and East Sussex have done their bit with limited resources, including West Hoathly. We plan to plant four more trees before the end of the planting season at the end of March. Most importantly we also have to budget to water and maintain the trees.

The informal group that put together the Platinum Jubilee celebrations has reconvened and has made a start on celebrations for the Coronation over the weekend surrounding the Coronation itself on 6th May. Nominations for elections to the Parish Council will close during the first week of April. Elections for the Parish Council will take place on Thursday 4th May, alongside elections for Mid Sussex District Council. Unlike the higher tier authorities, the Parish Council is non political. The Parish Council owns and controls local assets such as two of our three playgrounds, Finche Field, North Lane Rec including the Pavilion, Bluebell Woods and is trustee of the West Hoathly Village Hall. It also considers all Planning Applications and the District Council is legally obliged to take account of the Parish Council's decision if it objects. I issue an invitation to residents of all ages to put themselves forward. This includes those in Highbrook, Tyes Cross, Chilling Street, Selsfield, Vowells Lane and Tickeridge, not just Sharpthorne and West Hoathly.

Douglas Denham St Pinnock, Chairman

Posted: Thu, 26 Jan 2023 13:22 by Leanne Andrews

Tags: Chronicle, Community, Parish Council