Pews News: This Sunday, July 22, there will be Morning Praise at St Andrew’s at 10.30 am. There will be both the crèche and Junior Church at this service. The service for Pett Methodists will be Holy Communion, led by the Ref Ian Pruden, at 10.45 am.
MOPPs today and next Friday: Today, Friday, July 20, Sally Watson, whose highly successful fund-raiser last week is duly noted below, will be giving the members a talk. Lunch will be chicken and leek pie, followed by ice cream. As far as we know, rain is still not on the menu yet… Next Friday, July 27, the visitors will be the Cantabile Ladies Choir, who will have already performed at Guestling Church (see note below) Hearing Aid maintenance is available next Friday, too. Get yours fixed before the choir sings! Lunch next week will be ham and egg salad, with lemon meringue pie for afters. Very summery fare!
The Gardening Club Summer Show: Members are reminded that today, at the Post Office before the end of the day’s business, is the closing time and place for the registration of entries for the annual Summer Show, which is tomorrow. It has been a difficult year for gardening with a cold winter, a very wet spring and now a drought but everyone is in the same boat! The show itself will be open in the village hall for public perusal from 2 until 3.30 pm. After that comes the prizegiving which is itself followed by the renowned annual auction at 4.00 p.m. Well worth a visit to see the results of all that assiduous and recent expensive watering, which it has been hinted could soon lead to a hosepipe ban. Nonsense! When all the greedy water companies reduce the daily leaks that some have said equate in volume to the stuff that actually reaches the customers, mere gardeners might have a little sympathy with them.
The Gardening Club Summer Outing: Don’t forget the Club trip to Butler’s Farmhouse near Herstmonceux on Monday, August 6 where members will be able to enjoy an exclusive tour of the gardens, followed by tea and cakes. Cost per person is £10 and if you are interested in going, please contact Karen Draper on 814154. Karen needs to know by July 30.
‘Songs for a Summer Evening’: After a couple of puffs in this column, the musical evening ‘Songs for a Summer Evening’ will be at St Laurence Church, Guestling tomorrow, Saturday, July 21 at 7 pm. Molly Townson presents the evening’s entertainment, which features the Cantabile Ladies Choir, soprano Kate Rogers, pianist Richard Eldridge, and the St Laurence Church Choir. During the interval, there will be wine and strawberries and cream. Tickets are only £10 each, and they will be available on the door. All profits will be going to Guestling church.
Last week’s Parish Council Planning Meeting: A perfectly ordinary meeting, though with Wakehams Farm as an agenda item, higher levels of interest than is normally the case were assured. And at an agreed point, the meeting was joined by two guests, one from Strutt and Parker, acting as Planning Consultants, and the other, I believe, either from SP Broadway or Welbeck Land, PR Consultants and Land Promoters respectively. Audibility was not the strongest of their accomplishments. They gave an update following their assessment of the 106 responses their exhibition earlier in the year had provoked. Some, unquantified, number had, they said, been in favour of the development (the owners of the land, perhaps?) Anyway, it appeared that several of those on the east side of Waites Lane objected to the new houses coming immediately behind them, and affecting their view to the east. In the light of this, the plans had been amended to show 150 dwellings instead of 175, with those backing onto Waites Lane being bungalows and not houses. Residents will now be able to see over the bungalows to the second row of properties, which are houses. And, in fact, in the words of the old music hall song, they could see clearly all the way to Rye, ‘if it wasn’t for the houses in between’. As far as one could tell from the revised plans which were removed at the end of the meeting, where there had been 17 bungalows out of the 175 originally proposed properties, now the figure is 15 out of 150. Still only 10% when real Fairlight is probably 70 – 80% bungalows.
Questioned about sewage, the meeting was told that a larger pipe would be required. The treatment plant is of sufficient capacity, say Southern Water. Can we actually trust a statutory authority that regularly in the 2010’s allows raw sewage to appear in local streams and on local residential roads?
The exhibition had stated that East Sussex had approved the developers proposed assessment system for traffic impact and junction modelling, but nothing has been changed since then, and the implication was that County were in approval of what was offered so far. Anyone with half a brain can see that Fairlight Road, the narrow, pothole museum for the southern counties, is in no way adequate to accept a further 300 odd vehicles in and out each day.
Historically, residents have been irritated and frustrated at the thought of ‘between 15 and 35’ new properties on this East Field site. These were to be accessed by the purchase and demolition of a property on the east side of Waites Lane, though the current regime is not exploring this facility. This means the new site remains completely isolated from the rest of the village, a quarter to half a mile away along a main road, and where the footpath itself is discontinuous, and crosses the road.
The exhibition had introduced us all to the tempting but quite probably wholly impractical idea of a doctor’s surgery. Now the appetite whetter is the possibility of a supermarket. The village has a Post Office and General Stores, appreciated and used by most villagers. The idea that another 300 people would make Fairlight able to support a supermarket, situated on a remote piece of land, hardly seems a commercial and economic reality. Have all these gift-bearing geniuses from London not realised that there are the major outlets of Aldi, Tesco and the Co-op all within two miles in Ore, while personal choice makes short work of trips to Sainsburys, Morrisons, Asda and Lidl.
And finally, they say Rother does not have a five year land supply. I am not sure that this is, per se, sufficient reason for the wholesale defilement of a quiet rural village. It is roughly three years since the Bexhill link road was opened and, casting one’s mind back to the first time those plans saw the light of day, the road was promised to bring with it between 1200 and 2000 new houses. Where have they gone? Another lie to be conveniently forgotten when the job is finished?
Can you hear me at the bark?: The Hearing Dogs for Deaf People charity is well-loved in the village, thanks principally to the efforts of volunteer fund-raiser Sally Watson, who works tirelessly on their behalf. Established in 1982, Hearing Dogs now have some 900 trained dogs working with deaf individuals. Each dog costs £40,000 to train and support over its working life, which lasts until they retire at 11. Last week’s afternoon cream tea event was not the first Sally has organised, but the fact that some 60 people attended, and that more than £650 was raised exceeded her expectations. The current watchword for several ‘health’ charities is ‘Not every disability is visible’ which is so true. Well done indeed to Sally and her helpers – and to all those who partook of some excellent comestibles, all in a very good cause. Coincidentally, Sally will be talking to MOPPs this lunchtime.
Fairfest: Nail biting rises to fever pitch, with the excitement that is Fairfest now a mere week away. Will the weather hold? Probably. Will the bar run dry? Probably not, but it’s up to you to do your best. The best investment you can make now is in a 50p programme from Graeme and Leonie at the Post Office, and mark things you definitely don’t want to miss, and things you’re not so bothered about. The latter will give you time for the bar, BBQ and the fish and chip van!