Mary Reeve, Wodens Wood, Cripps Corner

My apologies to the Bowls Club for not telling everyone about last week’s coffee morning. The email arrived with a host of others and got lost. However, tomorrow (Saturday) evening there is a Race Night when the Bowls Club will be joining with the Bonfire Society to hold an evening of fun. Everyone is invited to attend the Staplecross Club (that’s the building just in front of the village hall) at 7.30pm. Supper at £3 per person with tickets available from members.

Next Friday evening (26th) the Bowls Club will be holding a New Members night at 6pm. This is an opportunity for new and prospective members to go along to the Club in Northiam Road, Staplecross. There is a good supply of woods for you to try out.

On Tuesday evening at 6.30pm April 23 it is the Ewhurst Annual Parochial Church Meeting. This takes place at St James Church, when election of churchwardens, PCC representatives, Deanery Synod representatives, appointment of sidesmen, and the appointment of the independent examiner takes place.

The church is holding a fundraising event of a Spring Fayre on Saturday May 4 at the Cross Inn garden in Staplecross. Donations and offers of help to the Churchwardens please (Lizzie Stern and John Barnes).A specific request is for the plant stall. Anyone who is able to get into their garden in the next few weeks and can pot up surplus plants as well as getting seedlings going in time for the event would be most welcome. Items for the tombola stall are also being sought. As well as a plant stall, there will be cakes for sale as well as a raffle. Your help is needed to support both our churches St Mark’s in Staplecross and St James in Ewhurst Green as like any property they need maintenance.

There will be another fundraising event on Saturday June 8 when “Preachers” reputed to be the oldest house in the parish will be opening its gates for viewers to see its attractive gardens. They will be open between 10.30am and 4.30pm when coffees teas and lunches will be available in the garden.

The Bonfire Society is changing its evening meeting day to Mondays, so members and all those wishing to join this enthusiastic band should note that the next meeting is at 8pm at The Cross Inn on Monday May 13. When it is not a Bank Holiday it will be the first Monday of the month.

There is to be a Beetle Drive at the village hall on Saturday May 11 at 7pm, organised by the Bonfire Society. This is always a popular and well attended event for grown-ups and children, at a bargain price of £2 adults, £1 children. Food will be on offer in the form of shepherd’s pie and peas. Should you want more details, Marion Brown on 01580-765764 is the contact number.

A Table Sale is planned for Saturday June 1 in the village hall. Now is an opportunity to sort out all those “come in handy” items you think you might use, have a table (£8 per 4ft table) and anyone with crafts or likes baking could also make some pin money. Setting up time for tables is 8.30am, with doors open from 10am to 2pm. Booking to Hilary on 01580-830704.

There was a large gathering in the village hall last week when the Parish Assembly took place. Many of the local clubs and societies had tables showing the many activities that take place in the parish and while residents looked round they were able to enjoy refreshments provided by the Women’s Institute before the meeting began.

Parish Council Chairman Brigitte Fifield welcomed the assembled company; unfortunately many were not able to hear, so perhaps a microphone could be arranged for next year.

Teresa Gittins, deputy CEO of Action in Rural Sussex, gave a talk on the future of sustainable 21st century villages. This was followed by Brigitte Fifield explaining how bulk domestic energy purchase operates, which drew plenty of interest for those with oil central heating. When asked whether this would apply to those with gas supplies, she said it was not so easy to start up but was possible.

Mike Riley the Ramblers Local Footpath Secretary for said that there were a number of footpaths in the parish and these were walked once a year by his organisation. He said there were only two bridle ways in the parish but as these involved crossing the busy Junction road was not regularly used. Volunteers to assist the Ramblers were always welcome and he invited anyone interested to make themselves known to him. It was noted that a replacement stile has now been erected in Ewhurst Green close to the White Dog pub.

Beverley Alexander representing Hastoe Housing explained that the company building the Affordable Homes in Northiam Road had gone into administration. Hastoe was currently re-tendering and it was anticipated the houses would reach completion in lat September/early October. Another problem was the connection between the development and the main sewer across the road. However, the landowner is said to be setting conditions and consultation is taking place.

There was concern when it was revealed that flyers had been distributed in neighbouring villages offering two of the new houses to those outside Ewhurst parish. These properties were originally said to be for anyone living, or had connections with this parish, and not for outsiders. The Chairman asked that these flyers should be distributed within our own parish.

There were reports from District Councillor Tony Ganly, who said the time was coming to look seriously at the village hall and decide at what stage it should be replaced. County Councillor Peter Jones was making his last appearance as he is retiring at next month’s election. He said that the parish had been well served by the parish council over the years. He had been Leader of East Sussex County Council and when twelve years ago it had been considered the worst, it had risen to be the best. He did not get a favourable reaction when he said how well the county highways were dealing with the many potholes that have been the blight of motorist these past bad winters.

The vexed subject of travellers was raised and whether there would be sites within the parish. Councillor Robin Redsull that Bramble Farm was agricultural land and not suitable. Peter Jones said that unless sites were allocated, residents would face illegal pitching. He recommended taking advice from Minister Eric Pickles.

Brigitte Fifield said she had enjoyed her first year in the chair for the support of the team, especially the Clerk Richard Farhall and thanked everyone for attending.