GREETINGS: I had expected to find Cumbria very wintry and dreary when I was there last week. Not a bit of it. Cold certainly but so many flowers ! The soil obviously suits them because there were carpets of snowdrops in gardens and all along the roadside verges. And many more daffodils than even we have. The hills in the far distance were snow-capped and the sky was blue. It was beautiful.
CHURCH NEWS: The 9.30am service on Sunday will be Parish Eucharist led by Rev. Malcolm Pickering. This is the Sunday next before Lent. On Wednesday 1st March, Ash Wednesday, there will be a service at 2 pm at St. Thomas, Winchelsea when Rev. David Page will lead a service of Communion with the Imposition of Ashes. During Lent there will be a study group with discussions for five weeks on Wednesdays at Five Villages House at 6.30 pm beginning on 8th March. If you are interested, please could you let Michael McFadyean know so that he can order the booklets. Next Friday is the Women’s World Day of Prayer at Rye Baptist Church at 10.30 am.
EASTER LILIES: As Easter approaches, the church is once again inviting you to donate a lily in memory of a loved one. The lilies, along with the list of those remembered, will be used to decorate the church at this special time.. These lilies, as last year, will cost £2 for each individual name remembered. Should you wish to donate a lily please contact Janet Pegg at any church service or event. Envelopes will also be available for the names and donations at the back of the church and in the Memorial Hall.
WEATHER: Well, a bit warmer at the moment. I have yellow crocuses - croci? - wide open in the bright light. It is not quite full sunshine, but very nearly. A count of flowers would include daffodils, snowdrops, camellias, viburnam and a dandelion.
QUEEN’S HEAD: The live music on Sunday will be played by Wasted, the legend that Is ... They will be playing from 4 - 6 pm.
QUIZ: 15 teams entered the February Quiz, the Stoolball group were the hosts and the money raised was donated to the New Pavilion Fund. This was £316 an excellent effort by all concerned. The Quiz was fairly competitive but very friendly. Many teams held the lead after several of the rounds but it came down to a group of 7 in the final stages. Staylybridge Celtic (7), Mabel’s Table (6), One Out All Out , 30 Somethings (5), Nobby’s Nuts (4), Empty Heads and Casualties (3),. The eventual winners were Empty Heads beating One Out All Out by 2 points. The next Quiz will be on 18th March, again raising funds for the New Pavilion. Thanks to Tracey, Hannah, John, Alan, Marc and Sean for their help and thanks to all of you who donated raffle prizes.
VERY IMPORTANT OPEN MEETING: The Icklesham Trust Committee invites villagers to an Open Meeting on FRIDAY 24TH FEBRUARY at 7.30 pm in Icklesham Memorial Hall to receive an update on progress, to provide an opportunity to view the architect’s plans and to ask questions about the project. It is a good opportunity to meet the Chairman, Tony Thorne and the Trust Committee. Tea and coffee will be served from 7 pm. The Pavilion Lottery Draw will take place and there will be a chance for new members to join for £1 per month. Thanks to the volunteers who delivered approximately 400 flyers around the village.
ICKLESHAM PARISHCOMMUNITY LAND TRUST: This has recently been set up and is now incorporated as a Community Benefit Society. The initial purpose of IPCLT is to provide affordable housing for local people who might otherwise have to move away from the parish due to the high cost of renting or buying locally. The aim is to enable local families and individuals to be able to continue to afford to live in the Parish in which they grew up, and thus help maintain the character, balance and vibrancy of the local community. The prime reason that a CLT is driving this project is that the control of housing remains with the community, and can’t be sold off. A PUBLIC MEETING to launch IPCLT to the community and invite local people to become members, will be held on FRIDAY 3rd MARCH at the Memorial Hall at 7.30 pm.
ICKLESHAM CASUALS: The football Club is 80 years old in the 2016 - 17 season. As part of the celebrations members of the club are organising their own European Golf Tour and attempting the ambitious challenge of playing 80 holes in five different countries in less than two days. The charity challenge will be taking place on 25 - 26th June with the first ball being struck in England at around 6 am and the final putt sunk 40 hours later in Germany. Along the way they will have played in France, Belgium and Holland. Money raised from the challenge will be shared between the Alzheimer’s Society and the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Donations can also be made to fund the new community sports pavilion at Icklesham Recreation ground. To find out more about the challenge please visit the club’s website - www.icfc.co.uk or if you would like to make a donation to either charity in support of the challenge please go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/IckleshamCasualsFootballClub The second X1 won a place in the semi-final of the Lower Divisions Cup. They have a home draw on Saturday 4th March 1.30 pm K. O. Let’s see if we can have plenty of village support.
DOG POO: Would the owner of the dog who likes to leave his poo near the lake by Five Villages House please clear it up. Otherwise photographs will be taken of you and prosecutions could follow.
Council meeting report:
Allotments The Parish Council has four allotment sites in the Parish. There is a small site in Icklesham, two sites in Winchelsea and one in Rye Harbour. Three of the four sites are owned by the Council, one is leased from the National Trust. The Council has recently decided to revert to having an Allotment Committee to manage the sites. The Committee will consist of four councillors and four tenant representatives, one tenant from each of the sites.
At the February meeting the Parish Council agreed a recommendation from the councillor members that the tenant representatives should be elected at a meeting of tenants immediately following the Annual Parish Meeting. In addition they have recommended that there should be two meetings per year with all the tenants.
The Parish Council agreed to give formal notice to all tenants in order to implement the change to the tenancy year from October to March and take the opportunity to update the tenancy agreement. A minimum of 12 months’ notice has to be given under allotment legislation.
Council Budget 2017-18 The Council has agreed budget proposals for next year, which will require a precept of £106005.20. This is an increase of 2.125% on last years’ budget. This would mean the Parish element of Council Tax would be £86.76 for a Band D property (approximately three pence/week for a Band D property - 6 pence/week for Band H).
The precept does include provision for taking on more devolved assets from the District Council (public conveniences). This does not mean that this will happen but the Council does have to plan for it in its budget, as it has not yet ruled it out. Currently, our officers are still gathering information to enable the Working Group to reach a recommendation one way or the other. One big issue is the level of business rates that are charged on public conveniences. The Local Government Finance Bill currently before the House of Commons contains provisions for the Billing Authority (Rother in our case) to grant discretionary rate relief for public conveniences so we may have to wait for the Bill to pass into Statute before reaching a decision. If the provision becomes law, there is no guarantee that rate relief would be granted.
The Clerk has received dozens of emails and phone messages about the Winchelsea Beach toilets. All of these ask that the public toilets are kept open. It is important to note that the facilities in Winchelsea and Winchelsea beach are currently owned, managed and maintained by Rother District Council; we cannot close them. If the Parish Council, following public consultation, feels that the financial burden is too great to take them on, it will be up to Rother District Council to decide their future. But thank you very much to all of you who have contacted the council; please continue to contact the Clerk or your councillor to express your views. They will be helpful to the working group and subsequently the Council.
Defibrillators Our Clerk managed to obtain free defibrillators for the three village halls that wished to have them, including Icklesham Memorial Hall. This meant a saving of £4000.00 on the current year’s budget and thus helped to control our precept for next year. If they are not already in place they will shortly appear outside of the halls in question.
Playgrounds The final work on the upgrade of play equipment throughout the Parish has at last been completed. This means that the Parish Council can now apply for the release of the grant offered by Rother District Council towards the cost of the upgrade. This amounts to some £13,800.00. This brings to an end a project that started five years ago with the new playground at Icklesham and subsequently involved the playgrounds in the other three Wards.
Problems on or beside the public highway. If you notice a problem on the highway such as a pothole or illegal advertising (as recently spotted in Icklesham) this is dealt with by East Sussex County Council Highways. There is an online reporting system at www.eastsussexhighways.com that is easy to use and tracks the progress of the report. They will also advise you if they cannot deal with the matter and will pass it on to the relevant authority. It is very important to report problems and helpful if a photo or accurate description of the problem and exact location is included.
Your councillors are here to represent you and welcome your views on any matter. Please do talk to them or send your reviews/requests to the Parish Clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org or write c/o Wildgoose Cottage, Gorsethorn Way, Fairlight, East Sussex TN35 4BQ.
ANNUAL PARISH MEETING: This will take place on Monday 6th March at Rye Harbour Village Hall. This is your chance to come and question Councillors or raise any issue that is a Parish matter.
AND FINALLY: Hope you have a good couple of weeks and enjoy the warmth of the sun when it shines.
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