As I had to miss the Parish Council meeting last Wednesday, I’m grateful to Barbara Balkham, the Parish Clerk, for letting me see her draft minutes of the meeting. Councillors had been informed that the ESCC draft schedule of road works for the next two financial years includes a repair scheme for Float Lane. Cllr Turgoose agreed to seek reassurance from ESCC that this work remains an urgent priority. Meanwhile the lane’s condition had continued to deteriorate seriously. Soon after the meeting a highways repair team did some patching of the worst stretches of the lane eastwards from Float Farm, but at the time of writing there are still over a dozen large potholes in the western half of the lane. The problem is aggravated by poor drainage of much of the lane (including at least two blocked culverts), which results in erosion of the tarmac by the constant flow of surface water.

Another transport route in very poor condition is the bridleway which continues southwards beyond the end of the tarmac near the western gate of St Mary’s Church. Cllrs Knight and Dean agreed to meet the landowner to work out a “self help” solution to the problem, as ESCC is not responsible for keeping bridleways in a fit state for motor traffic. Local residents were to be kept informed about the situation.

Councillors were told that so far four drivers had offered their services for the proposed new Volunteer Car Scheme. For a viable scheme more drivers than this are needed. So if you own a car and have not offered your services already please do consider taking part in the scheme. An article in the Council’s March Newsletter explains what being a volunteer involves: you would never be asked to offer a lift to anyone at a time inconvenient to yourself, and you would be able to recover your costs (on a mileage basis) from the Parish Council.

Also explained in the latest Newsletter is the open discussion which is to be held at the Annual Parish Meeting on May 21, about important financial decisions to be taken by your Council in the near future. These decisions will affect us all , so please make a point of keeping that evening free of other engagements if you possibly can. I will remind you of the main spending options open to your Council a little nearer the time.

You may have noticed some recent tree planting along the verge of B2089 to the East of the junction with Church Lane. There are 36 new trees in total, wild cherries, crabapples, blackthorns and a hornbeam, replacements for some of the memorial trees which have suffered wind damage in recent years. We are grateful to our new tree warden, Val Morin, and her small team of tree planters for putting this work in hand.

As this Sunday is Mothering Sunday, in St Mary’s Church in addition to Holy Communion at 8am there will be a special Family Service for All at 11.15am, to which all families are invited, whether you are usually churchgoers or not. You are also invited to refreshments in the Hall afterwards, on what should be a very pleasant social occasion.

From noon till 1.30pm next Friday, April 4, the third of the parish Lent Lunches will be held, in the Hall. This is a free soup and bread-and-cheese meal, donations being invited to the four charities supported by the Overseas Group.

Richard Holmes, Beauchamps