HELLO: Who knew that not only could wildflower meadows and broadband fit together on an agenda but also prove so interesting! The beauty of our local area was emphasised by the fascinating presentation given by Fergus Garrett at Great Dixter. We certainly do live in an area of outstanding natural beauty and should ensure that we all get out to enjoy it – even when the weather is not at its most friendly.
PARISH COUNCIL NEWS: A very well attended meeting took place at Great Dixter organised by Huw Merriman MP with BT, EE, ESCC and the Great Dixter CEO Fergus Garrett on Friday 18 November. Councillor White and myself attended and we had a very interesting discussion about how to expand our wild flower meadows within the parishes and how even a very small area can make such a difference to the environment. There are 500,000 kilometres of road side verges in the UK and some parishes are adopting road side areas to convert to wild flower meadows. If anyone is interested in helping to maintain and improve the local environment please contact the parish website and volunteer your services.
We learnt that it is estimated that the UK has the largest digital economy in the G20 at £180 billion pa and that 38 million people log on each day in the UK with an average of 89 hours per month spent on line per person. The discussion centred around improving broadband speed and in particular looked at the problems experienced by rural parishes in East Sussex with poor broadband connectivity. Some of you in Whatlington will experience poor speed whilst other areas in the village have a superfast rate, it all largely depends on the distance from the BT box to your house or business. ESCC has been successful in winning two large EU/Govt grants and have also invested rate payers money to improve broadband speeds to meet the government target of 96% of the population to have superfast coverage by December 2017. BT has been the main, and often only, company who has tendered to become involved in the delivery of updated provision and their representative gave an interesting presentation of the progress to date. Much of the discussion centred on ensuring that we all got the best value for money and many of the parishes felt that there was not enough attention paid to the villages, where small businesses were trying to grow and support the local economy. It was recognised by all that a fast broadband speed was essential as we move into an age where more and more services such as health monitoring are being supplied digitally. One of the key themes was that there was insufficient liaison between ESCC and the rural parishes to improve broadband and for them to listen and act upon the feedback which was received from the parish councillors. Councillor Wedmore from Brightling emphasised the need for a joined up dialogue and this was supported by all the councillors at the meeting. Councillors thanked Huw Merriman for organising and coordinating the event and to the guest speakers for their presentations. The issue will be further discussed at the next parish council meeting in January.
PARISH CHURCH NEWS: Our church service at Whatlington next week will be our 9.30 am Parish Communion, taken by our Vicar, Kevin Mepham.
A MESSAGE FROM OUR NEIGHBOURS IN SEDLESCOMBE: Advent Fair on Saturday 26th November at Sedlescombe Village Hall starting at 12 noon. Many stalls including gifts, Christmas decorations, cakes and our Advent Draw with a first prize of £100 and lots of others kindly donated by the local businesses. We will be serving lunches of homemade soup and crusty bread, apple pie and cream or custard, and other refreshments. Father Christmas will also be visiting and you can have your photo taken with him. Admission is free. All proceeds towards the upkeep of St. John the Baptist Church, Sedlescombe
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