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Gremlins struck last week and the copy for the Mountfield Village Voice never got to the Observer. The gremlin was certainly one of us and she has no doubt who the gremlin was (so apologies from him). Those apologis are particularly heartfelt as it has brought us very close to some important deadlines. Anyway, to catch up with events, we have two major items of news affecting the village.

First. we start with a reminder that the vital meeting about the future of Battle Fire Station is at the Langton Hall in Battle, on Monday April 7 at 7.30. This isn’t a going-through-the-motions meeting; it will really count as Members of the Fire Authority — who will be making the final decision — will be there.

As a recent Battle Observer made clear, there is a lot of misinformation being put out. The reason is not difficult to work out. Of the two remaining options, one saves fourteen grand and the other saves two hundred grand. The other way of putting that is that one is better able to save homes and lives across rural Rother —and that includes Mountfield and Brightling — and the other is better able to add to the existing resources serving Hastings.

Generally, we do not see the rôle of the Village Voice as a campaigning rôle — it ought to be about local news, local events, cricket scores and local people. But, just as with the closure of M&W School, once again, Mountfield — and all our neighbouring villages — are having to fight when we shouldn’t need to. We shouldn’t need to because there isn’t a single argument for the downgrading of Battle Fire Station (“Option 2b”) except to the bean counters. And homes and lives should never be left to bean counters.

If a picture is worth a thousand words (and if you have internet access), take a look at “Figure 33” in the consultation document at under “Public Consultation” at www.esfrs.org. It shows Battle Fire Station is optimally placed to serve rural Rother, and support both Hastings to the south, and support the surrounding retained fire station at Burwash and the other neighbouring retained fire stations.

The other way to get your opposition across to the voting Members, is to email them. If you want to do so, we have their contact details. Call or email us. (This is ridiculous, why are we even having this discussion? See next paragraph.)

We toddled up to Poppinghole Farm Shop the other Friday, as we always do, for our weekly bread order (from Rye Bakery, since you ask, very good, keeps well) and other bits and pieces for the weekend (details available, on request). We managed to drive along the lane (or The Course of True Love as it has come to be known), with only a mild dental rearrangement as we negotiated the potholes. We were then thrilled to see that the A21 had temporary traffic lights closing one lane on the by-pass. This was to allow the major resurfacing of the 40 yards of pavement between the cottage opposite the lay-by by the farm shop and the point where Poppinghole Lane used to start. But doesn’t any more. And hasn’t — for years. So there are probably as many as a single household whose lives have been transformed by a slightly improved pavement surface. We have no doubt that there is some reason that all that activity — and all that budget — took priority over all the areas of unclassified lanes in the countryside which are too unclassified to repair, too bad to be described as “potholes”, too bad to drive over at more than walking pace, but still too dangerous for an ambulances, a fire engine, a doctor or similar responding to an emergency call. We think the Head of Highways should be taken out and, er, resurfaced.

And now for the other major local event. We have already announced the release of Southern Water’s planning application for the sewerage system and the waste water treatment plant. Now, chairman of the parish council, Jim Ray, has called an Extraordinary Parish Council Meeting, devoted to this issue, on Tuesday, April 22, at 7.30 in Mountfield Village Hall. Please get this date into your diary; it’s too important to double-book. We will return to this proposal in future Village Voices but there are a couple of vital points to make now.

First, to access the planning application documents online, go to either www.eastsussex.gov.uk and navigate to planning application reference RR/728/CM or you can now also go to Rother District Council’s website and search under Mountfield. Some way still needs to be devised of making the plans and documents available to resident without internet access.

Secondly we repeat what we said a few weeks back. There is much to be discussed about the whole proposal but there is one thing that we should like to stress. It is our personal view that this planning proposal is not just a matter for people who will be, or could be, connected to the scheme. It is not just a matter for people who will be able to see the scheme from their homes. And it is not just a matter for those who use the football field, walk their dogs there, or include it in their jogging routine. It is a matter for everyone in Mountfield.

The Mountfield Club’s snooker team had a disappointing finish to the season losing their last two matches. First, they travelled to Staplehurst where they lost 4-1 though Sam Gray won his frame in his début match. Then the Club lost 2-3 at home to Burwash Common with Jack Hayler and Alex Gray winning the two frames giving Mountfield a mid-table finish to the season — so, a decent result overall. A reminder that the Club’ AGM is being held on Monday (April 7, 7.30) with all members welcome.

What a strange old year. A few breezes and showers to start with (!) but extraordinarily mild. The first bluebells are out and all while we’ve had a wonderful blackthorn winter lighting up our hedgerows for the last few weeks, on the by-pass in particular.

You know where we are: 880614 (evenings) and mountfieldvv@hushmail.com

Peter and Valerie Miles

mountfieldvv@hushmail.com