Fairlight

Church matters: This Sunday, November 9, is Remembrance Sunday. Services in our village start with an 8 am service of Communion at St Peter’s. Then, at St Andrew’s at 10.30 am, there will be Morning Worship with Act of Remembrance. Those with a particular interest in the Royal British Legion should note that, concurrent with the service at St Andrew’s, St Mary & St Peter in Pett will be home for the Area British Legion Remembrance Service.

Players to go: Fairlight Players opened their November production last night, but that still leaves you with three more chances to see some very good acting in Terence Rattigan’s Separate Tables in two plays, both set in a smallish Bournemouth hotel on the 1950’s. Tonight and tomorrow the curtain rises (or more correctly, goes sideways) at 7.30 pm, and these performances have the benefit of a licensed bar. There is also a Saturday Matinée at 2.30 pm, for which there is no bar as the sun, if it deigns to appear at all, will certainly not be over the yardarm. The play has been directed by David Burchell, a first for him in Fairlight, and introduces Ian Saxton, Yvonne Cotterill and David Shortman to our village audiences. Tickets, which are £6, are available from the Post Office.

Meeting their responsibilities: The Parish Council met ten days ago, as is their wont. 17 members of the public were present. After the meeting was opened, Chairman Cllr Andrew Mier suspended Standing Orders so that Heather Black, inspiration behind the idea to run our Post Office and General Store within the community, could give the council all the details in her comprehensive presentation. For many, hearing facets of the scheme in greater depth than hitherto, it was an appetite whetting display. More detail, and answers to questions will be available the meeting on Saturday week, as outlined in the next article below.

Grit bins: Back on the agenda, we heard that the grit bins are closer to resolution, but no cigar as yet. County are prepared to pay for two new bins, and it is primarily now a matter of sorting out who can lay the bases. In the case of the dog waste bins, which will cost £150 each, two are essential pronto for Wood Field, and the others are only slightly less urgent.

Neighbourhood Plan: Cllr Stephen Leadbetter reported on planning matters, and gave a Neighbourhood Plan update, for which he said a £7,000 grant was technically available for the initial stages of work on the plan, but that this particular fund is exhausted. When further monies will come on line is not entirely clear. It was confirmed that the footpath enquiry had not resulted in the hoped-for outcome, and the day had been lost. This means that, if you are walking through Knowle Wood, you may unwittingly be trespassing on someone else’s land.

Council staff cuts: It was pointed out that 92 full-time staff of Rother District Council, over all levels, had been cut, an enormous 27%.

Keeping our buses running: That our 344 service is still running is down to the excellent negotiating skills of council staff, plus some very strong public supplications, including 13 petitions, one of which contained more than 5,000 signatures, a figure that triggered a full Council debate, which will come up on December 2. We should be grateful that their hard work has led to a satisfactory conclusion.

No through way: In the Open Forum, a report from a local resident whose new property is high up on Commanders Walk. On more than one occasion during the summer, she has had walkers attempting to cross her property to reach the Firehills, and people attempting to drive that way, too. It appears to be because many maps, including those of the Ordnance Survey, show a New Road running in a broadly south-easterly direction from a point on Warren Road until it ends well before the top of Commanders Walk. On no maps do the two roads meet. New Road was apparently made up so that munitions could be transported onto the Firehills. Its use formally ceased in 1960. The Warren Road access is gated. Our resident has been soundly abused by people claiming their ‘rights’ to cross her property. Perhaps, as an alternative, they would like to walk the entire length of Sea Road, where the east and west branches appear on maps as much closer than the ends of New Road and Commanders Walk. Very probably no one and nothing will get in their way.

A Community-run Post Office and General Stores?: Until recently, the Post Office and Stores was somewhere we all went, probably daily, for our papers, milk and, when you come to think about it, a myriad of other items, too. Ken, Pam and their staff were always on hand to attend to our needs. But news that the business is up for sale has suddenly changed everyone’s thinking about the future and, thanks to the initiative of resident Heather Black, a team has been set up to examine and pursue the possibility of the community running the shop. The inaugural Open Meeting will be held in the village hall on Saturday, November 15, which is tomorrow week, from 10 am to 12 noon. In attendance will be Rother Councillor Susan Prochak, Lib Dem leader on the District Council, who was involved in the establishment of the award-winning Hurst Green Community Shop, which is in her ward, and also Mark Mactaggart, who previously worked for Rural Action Sussex, supporting community shops and enterprises. The meeting will be your chance to share your ideas, ask questions and, maybe, commit to the team or volunteer in some other capacity. The meeting will also be discussing opportunities, funding, challenges, as well as eating cakes and drinking tea or coffee! There is a survey form which the community team would like to have filled in by as many people as possible. Blanks are available in the Post Office (!), at Wakehams and in the village hall. You could return your completed form at the meeting. Please go along and encourage others to attend, too. Ideally, the organisers would like to see as many as possible who could shape, influence or get involved in the idea.

How does your Garden site grow?: At last, the owners of the Market Garden site in Lower Waites Lane have submitted a Planning Application - for 11 houses and 9 flats. The Parish Council will be displaying the plans in the village hall on Saturday, November 15 from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm. This will be an opportunity for you to ask questions and make comments which the Parish Council Planning committee will consider before making its own comments on the application to Rother, the relevant planning authority. The event will be a drop in format so come when it suits you. It is running in parallel with the Post Office planning group meeting (above) so you can go to both events on the same morning.

A Christmas Bonanza: The Floral Club will be holding a special Christmassy event a fortnight tomorrow, on Saturday, November 22. It will be in the village hall, and a wide selection of Christmas gifts will be available. The times and other details will appear next week.

MOPPs news: As MOPPs sails serenely into its seventh year, here are the entertainment and food details for this week and next. Today, Friday, November 7 will see Annie Cryer with Tai Chi, with a lunch of beef casserole followed by meringues, while in a week’s time, on Friday, November 14, there’ll be a talk by Michael Hoad entitled ‘From Weald to Welland’, with chicken and vegetable pie plus bread and butter pudding for sweet. It’s not too late to swell the numbers at MOPPs by either joining in the fun as a member – or as a volunteer. Get in touch soon, won’t you?

Have you heard?: Not in Fairlight this time, but over the hills and not so far away in Pett, the East Sussex Hearing Resource Centre will be at Pett village hall car park in their mobile information and advice bus from 1.30 to 3.30 pm an Monday, November 24. If you are having trouble with your hearing and can’t wait until the Resource Centre’s next visit here (well into the New Year) you are welcome to go along to Pett to avail yourself of this excellent free service. They are equipped to offer demonstrations of assistive equipment and hearing screening tests (if time permits). The bus is accessible to wheelchair users and representatives from both the East Sussex Hearing Resource Centre and Adult Social Care will be available to provide individual information and advice on all aspects of hearing loss. If you would like more details, please call 01323 722505, or send an email to info@eshrc.org.uk.

A Broadway Malady: OK, we grinned ruefully and shrugged our shoulders when we read of missed bin collections early in the Kier regime. But we’re not laughing now. Monday saw a fine crop of green bins out at the edge of many a curtilage, accompanied by one (or two – we’re talking Broadway here) black or green boxes full of glass. Tuesday saw the same receptacles, unemptied, still sitting there patiently waiting, if not for Godot, at least for a bin man (or woman). How long have Kier had this waste disposal contract? Long enough, methinks, not to miss a whole street. I reported the bin status on the internet. There is a fairly lengthy questionnaire to complete, definitely written by someone’s maiden aunt, and played here by Maggie Smith. Was your bin out by 7 am? Yes, but I’m not sure why we all bothered. Have you put anything naughty or forbidden in your bin? No, but I might be tempted in future, at the bottom, to see what they do about it. If the contractor has put a black mark against you, he will NOT be back to collect your recycling. So there. If we do decide to collect your stuff, we will probably do so within the next five days. But don’t hold your breath – we cannot be held responsible for anyone who expires while waiting five days.

Keith Pollard

Brookfield, Broadway