Richard Holmes, Beauchamps

At the Parish Council meeting in St Mary’s Community Hall on Wednesday last week, councillors agreed to notify the County Council of two problems currently affecting Dumbwoman’s Lane: 1) The trees at present dangerously overhanging the upper section of the lane should be either felled or cut back before further falls cause the lane to be closed and expensively cleared of fallen timber (as had happened recently), and 2) A stretch of the lower section of the lane has been so tilted by subsidence that there is a risk of vehicles overturning.

Cllr Turgoose is acting as coordinator of the Udimore Community Speed Watch group. He and the only other volunteer who had been able to attend training sessions so far intended to make a start on operating the speed check. It was hoped that all the seven other volunteers would undergo training in the spring (though subsequently I heard that two further training sessions have been arranged next month). Cllr Turgoose would be glad to supply more details to anyone else who would like to consider joining the group (and lending a hand in a valuable public service): please give him a ring on 01424 882657.

Cllr Turgoose expressed his gratitude to Val Morin for agreeing to succeed Stella Knight as parish Tree Warden.

It was agreed that the bus shelter near the King’s Head isn’t used often enough to justify the cost of further repairs. It’s to be dismantled and removed.

One of the gates and part of the fence around the children’s playground has been repaired, at a cost of £80.

A donation of £50 to Rural Rother Trust was agreed, in recognition of the Trust’s valuable work in our district.

Organizers of evening events in the Hall have found it impossible to finish tidying up before the present 11 pm time limit. The management committee therefore wishes the approval of Rother District Council to be sought for a modest extension. Attending the meeting, the committee chairman made a formal request that the necessary planning application be made by the Parish Council, on behalf of the committee, at the reduced fee payable by parish councils. After lengthy discussion, it was agreed that this request be granted, once there has been a full consultation with all residents likely to be affected by the proposed extension.

Representing Rother District Council, Cllr Johnson confirmed that the new contractor for recycling and waste collection is due to take over in April. A much wider range of recyclable materials will be collected than at present.

Representing the County Council, Cllr Maynard reported that an appraisal of the condition of all roads in the county was being undertaken. He conceded that there might possibly be a case for spending more on the resurfacing of rural lanes, though he warned us that there’s “no new money”. It seemed likely, he said, that the overall level of Council Tax would rise by some 1.9% in 2014.

The next Parish Council meeting will be at 6.30 pm on Wednesday January 15, in the Hall.

All of you who are kindly donating items for sale or raffle prizes for the Grand Christmas Fayre are asked to take them along to the Hall this afternoon (Friday), between 2 and 3.45 pm, when Nan Hacking’s team of helpers will be starting to set up the stalls. Otherwise please take them along tomorrow morning.

And everyone, please do make a point of looking in at the Fayre, any time between 10am and noon tomorrow (Saturday) the earlier the better (before things begin to sell out). Come prepared for a shopping spree: Christmas garlands, gifts of all sorts, books, home-grown produce, home-made cakes, puddings and jams, and much more besides. You’ll have a chance of winning sloe gin, a Christmas hamper and many other raffle prizes. There’ll be mulled wine, mince pies and other refreshments. It’s a great social occasion too: you’ll be very glad you didn’t miss it!

Besides being the first in the month, Sunday is also the first in the Christian year, Advent Sunday. The one service in St Mary’s is the Sung Family Eucharist, starting at 9.30 am, followed by refreshments in the Hall.