Part-Time Parish Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer
Westmeston Parish Council has a vacancy for a part-time clerk to help and guide the Chairman and councillors of this small rural parish.
We are looking for an experienced clerk who is happy to work from home and prepared to attend evening meetings which are held every second month at our local parish hall. Candidate should have their own transport as we are not on a bus or rail link.
Councillors are pro-active and the website and social media are run by the members so this will not be a requirement.
The role is approximately 5 hours a week and salary will be in accordance with Local Council Scale SCP 15 to 21.
If you would like to find out more please contact our Chairman, Rob Mills on 01273 843936 who will be very happy to provide further details or email us email@example.com
Annual Plumpton Pleasure Ride Sunday 21st July
Contact in an emergency: Jenny Newman 07711 015 773
Christine Swan MBE
Christine became our Clerk in 2003. This was truly our good fortune because we acquired the queen of clerks. I have been told that many times over the years by councillors from all over the county. Having retired as Director of the Sussex Association of Local Councils and receiving the MBE for services to local government and to the community of Sussex, she chose to join little Westmeston.
We have been looked after and advised by an expert for the last 16 years. She helped me to survive my two sessions as Chairman and for that I will always be grateful.
Christine will be retiring this month after 16 years’ service. Of course, we will all be sorry to see her go but pleased that she can concentrate on not working and enjoy time with her family, husband John, three sons and six grandchildren.
Rob Mills - May 2019
A large group of residents met again on 1st April and we formed three groups and cleared Spatham Lane and Lewes Road up to Church Corner. Once again Tessa did the stretch down to the Parish Hall. Thanks to everyone who helped, it was fun and very constructive. Thanks also to Lewes DC for supplying grabbers bags and gloves. We meet again in May. Cathy Mills. April 2019
Monday 4th March saw the first organised litter pick by residents. We all do our bit but coming together as a group felt so much safer and fun. We worked Spatham Lane this time and I have to say that with one or two exceptions drivers were very considerate. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of all the rubbish we picked up but it was a considerable amount and included an old chair frame, metal sign frames and of course cans and fast food wrappings. So many thanks to Rod, Mark, Rob, Joyce, Marilyn, Susie, Tessa, Fred and Marieanne. We are meeting again on Monday 1st April at 11.00 at South Fields Farm, we will finish the Lane and then come down and work alone Lewes Road to the Church. Anyone who can join us would be more than welcome. Cathy Mills. 01273 843936
Lewes District Council - Chinese Lantern Ban
Chinese lanterns spread litter, can cause fires, injure animals and can even be mistaken for flares by the coastguard. To help reduce these environmental risks Lewes District Council have agreed to prohibit the release of Chinese lanterns and helium filled balloons on council-owned land and are encouraging others to do the same. Please share to help spread the word. More information can be found here: https://www.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/lewes-district-council-news/council-to-curb-use-of-chinese-lanterns/
Westmeston Parish Council and Westmeston Parish Hall Trust fully support this and the Parish Hall terms of hire prohibit the use of Chinese lanterns and the release of helium balloons
SPATHAM LANE SPEED LIMIT.
Residents and users of the lane will be pleased to know that the East Sussex Community Highways Feasibility Study, commissioned by the Beacon Parishes Traffic Group, has supported the reduction of the speed limit from 60mph to 40 mph.
Extract from the appraisal, “A scheme of measures to introduce a 40mph speed limit is therefore recommended, including new ‘40’ roundels, repeater signs and possible coloured surfacing.”
This has been the concentrated aim of the Beacon Parishes Traffic Group, as the initial stage of making the lane a safer place for all to use and to reclaim the quality of life reasonably expected by residents.
The Group’s work is far from done, as we now have to find funding of £35,000.
If you ask me right now “How and when?” “Don’t know”, is the answer.
We have started on the task and hope to report back to you soon. Just don’t be wondering where the speed signs are just yet. It isn’t that simple.
Thank you to all our supporters helping us to make it this far.
Rob Mills. Ch. Westmeston Parish Council,
Representing Beacon Parishes Traffic Group.
Jubilee Pathway Extension
Your support is needed
As you may know we are part of a group involved in trying to make our Lanes safer for all users, this may take some time but one thing we can do is extend the Jubilee Pathway so that all users of Spatham Lane are safe. This is going to be a massive undertaking by a small charity but with local support we can convince Highways to give us permission for the undertaking.
The new extension will have to be done in stages as we raise money for each section. Starting with a new link running north on the lane from Lewes Road (B2116), this will connect the existing Jubilee Pathway from Ditchling and Westmeston with Hayleigh Farm Road and the path from the recreation ground, creating a safe passage for the many Ditchling and Westmeston residents who make use of these paths and beyond.
Area marked in red.
The Trustees of the Jubilee Pathway will be looking for sources of funding but need your support to put the case for the work to East Sussex Highways.
If you agree that this pathway will benefit all local residents can we ask you to sign the petition which will be available at Hooks Acre and the post office in Ditchling. If you would like an email version please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the contact page.
Rob Mills – Chairman of Trustees
WESTMESTON JUBILEE PATHWAY TRUST
Registered Charity number: 1095561
The Herbert Protocol Launch
A new scheme to help find vulnerable missing people with dementia and related conditions is being adopted across Sussex.
During Dementia Action Week, which starts on Monday (21 May), Sussex Police and partner agencies are formally adopting the 'Herbert Protocol', giving carers, relatives or friends the ability to prepare, in advance, information that police will need quickly if ever their loved one goes missing.
With more than 850,000 people affected by dementia in the UK and numbers set to rise, Sussex Police have worked in partnership with the Alzheimers Society and Sussex Search and Rescue (SusSAR) to plan this scheme.
The Protocol, already adopted by several forces across the UK, is named after George Herbert from Norfolk, a veteran of the Normandy landings, who lived with dementia and repeatedly went missing from his care home.
It consists of a form that can be completed by relatives, friends or carers of those affected by dementia, recording vital information about the person including their regular medication, previous addresses and daily routines. Should the person they care for go missing, the form can be handed straight to the attending police officers, with a photograph.
This will help provide officers with the most up to date information about the vulnerable missing person, helping to accurately guide their search, and also avoid further unnecessary questions for families at what can be an extremely distressing time.
Chief Superintendent Lisa Bell said: "When a vulnerable person is reported missing it can be deeply distressing for their family and friends. Finding them quickly before they come to harm is critical. We know that people may find it difficult to recall information when they are worried and distressed, and having vital information to hand about regular routines and previous addresses, will help officers to act fast to locate the missing person, returning them home safely.
"This will be an extra resource for our priority task of safeguarding and protecting those most vulnerable in our communities."
The form once completed should be regularly updated and kept in a safe place, with a photo, where it can be easily located and handed to the attending officers should the person you care for go missing. To get the form and find out more, just visit here.
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: "With an ageing population increasing across our county, the need for the 'Herbert Protocol' has never been greater.
"As people live longer, they may also become increasingly vulnerable and this is no doubt made worse when they suffer from a debilitating disease like dementia.
"I am really pleased that Sussex Police have adopted this protocol as it will help everyone from the police to families and carers to be best prepared for an unanticipated emergency and help protect the more vulnerable in our society.“
If you are concerned for the whereabouts of a friend or relative, please dial 101. If you feel the person may be in immediate danger, please call 999 as soon as possible.
Beacon Parishes Traffic Plan.
On September 29th 2017 a dangerous driving incident in Spatham Lane resulted in serious injury to a resident and the tragic death of her much loved horse. It is not possible to express the extent of pain and trauma experienced by Beverley and her family.
For many years there has been public awareness of the effect of rising traffic volumes and higher speeds, increasing risks to users of our road network, damaging residents’ quality of life.
This incident created much concern and motivation to bring about change.
On 13th October a meeting of interested parties was called to determine what action could be taken. Initially the delegates were Councillors from the Parishes of Westmeston and Ditchling, the Chairman of Streat Meeting and our District and County Councillors. In addition representatives of Neighbourhood Plan, Neighbourhood Watch (Speed Watch) and Ditchling Society were in attendance. We were pleased to have the presence of Lewes M.P. Maria Caulfield.
Early discussions and meetings of this working party produced our Purpose and Structure, as follows;
“The improvement of traffic matters within the Parishes with the immediate aim of improving road safety for all road users. The Parish Councils (this is defined as including Streat Meeting) will be responsible for initiating and managing action through the authorities including District and County Councils as required.”
The consensus of members’ experiences indicated years of frustration when trying to bring about change, despite comprehensive traffic studies and representations to the Traffic Authority. We were always aware that we could not take action in one location in isolation. Surrounding roads and traffic systems have to be considered as factors affecting our parishes. Previous wide ranging plans, whilst necessary, in practice proved impossible to achieve because of sheer size and cost. In current financial circumstances almost any change, no matter how important it seems to us, is likely to be sidelined by ESCC Highways on cost reasons alone. We have found when discussing self-funding, or even “match funding” the response improves.
Realising that we can only achieve “a bit at a time”, Westmeston and Ditchling Parish Councils have set aside modest funding to improve safety on Spatham Lane. This does not mean we are excluding the other locations.
We have been working with Highways to make minor improvements such as new signage (Horses –warning signs), repainting of road markings and repairs to road surfaces. A speed and volume traffic survey has taken place, giving us firm figures that together with gathered information about lane usage, will be used when applying to have a speed limit applied to the lane. Our M.P. Maria Caulfield has presented a Petition to the House of Commons to make changes to speeds limits and road classifications and we are awaiting progress.
County Councillors and Maria are also looking at tighter controls over HGVs on rural lanes together with amendments to commercial SATNAVs.
The group is looking at funding derived from levies on developments near our northern and western boundaries. Traffic improvement comes under the heading of infrastructure and it is hoped that such money will come our way.
Another line of action is the possible employment of a professional traffic consultant for some or all of our emerging schemes. This would be linked to the aspirations regarding traffic and transport as set out in the Beacons Parishes Neigbourhood Development Plan which goes to referendum on 19th April.
We will keep in touch with parishioners through Parish websites and Facebook.
Ch. Westmeston Parish Council
Beacon Parishes Traffic Meeting
Minutes of the Beacon Parishes Traffic Plan meeting held on 16th March 2018 in Ditchling P C Office at 9am.
Attendance and apologies
Councillor Rob Mills Westmeston P C; Councillor Robin Orme Ditchling P C; Councillor Cathy Mills Westmeston P C; Councillor Tom Jones Lewes D C for Ditchling & Westmeston; Shirley Crowther Ditchling Society; Paul Farrands Ditchling P C; Richard Speller WSCC Highways; Derek Blackhall Deputy Parish Clerk Ditchling
Councillor Don McBeth Ditchling P C; Councillor Tony Gedge Streat P C; ESC Councillor Sarah Osborne; ESC Councillor Nick Bennett; WSC Councillor Bob Lanzer; Lewes MP Maria Caulfield; Councillor Catharine Robinson Ditchling P C; Philip Homan Spatham Lane Neighbourhood Watch
Ditchling Magazine Article: Work in progress
Contact details for Ditchling Speed watch co-ordinator: Work in progress
Speed watch officer to be invited to the next meeting: Work in progress
Report on progress with Sussex Neighbourhood Watch
Advice from Speed watch officer regarding lobbying for commercial SATNAV tracking: Work in progress
Spatham Lane Traffic Survey: Rob felt this was more comprehensive than the previous survey and showed higher volumes and speeds, the results need to be combined with other factors, it needs to be on the highways meeting agenda, discussed with the correct contacts, and linked to the petition which is the favoured approach to raising the profile. Robin noted the ’85 percentiles’ speeds were in fact down and the average speed indicated a reduction, and so further analysis was required as this appeared contrary to the other statistics quoted. It was agreed the shared use of Spatham lane data was important; and that the County Council Planning and Transport functions were ‘out of sink’ with each other. Richard reminded the meeting that there must be reasonable and relevant grounds to object to planning issues; that a speed limit of itself does not influence driver behaviour, although it would allow the development of ‘pinch points’; and recommended viewing the Clayton initiative of gates at each end of Underhill Lane. Rob felt that it comes down to speed limits or a trade-off if no speed limit reduction. It was agreed measures need developing which do influence driver behaviour-one example might be signage reminders to drivers that they were entering the National Park. The next action is to meet with Sarah as the local County Councillor and then to arrange a meeting with highways officers to discuss the survey data.
S106 funds for roads/traffic in Ditchling. Tom reported that S106 money may be available from developments in Burgess Hill which contributed to traffic issues in the Beacon Parishes. His LDC research to date indicates using own local funds (for example through the precept); S106 money accrued from own and neighbouring developments which can only be used for specific types of projects (E G highways); and/or a CIL district wide fund; and that County/District/Communities can or may contribute to road improvements. He pointed out Ditchling have got some CIL funds, and that applications can be made for additional CIL funds via business cases originating in Parishes-which may include district preparation advice. It was agreed the sequence needs to be to agree with ESCC what initiatives to pursue (Cathy wondered about an extension to the Jubilee Pathway as one possibility), then find the funds. It was noted the SDNPA may have a different set of funding processes.
Traffic calming for rural lanes.
‘Toolkit’ report and sources of funding. Robin reported we need a toolkit report for Spatham Lane prepared by an experienced highway consultant which would include general proposals based on previous experiences; and Spatham Lane specific ideas. It was agreed that it would be better to draw up a brief specific to the Beacon Parishes. Richard pointed out an independent report always helps the business case forS106 funds; and agreed to supply contact details for local Parishes who had already got traffic study reports.
Highways consultants with appropriate experience need to be identified.
Developing a brief for consultants. This is an important prerequisite. The neighbourhood Plan needs to be converted to specific items for the Parishes as a whole, and also for Spatham Lane.
Any other Business. There is a need for consultant marketing material.
Next meeting. Friday, 13th April at 9am in the Ditchling Parish office.
Beacon Parishes Traffic Meeting
Minutes of the Beacon Parishes Traffic Plan meeting held on 16th February 2018 in Ditchling P C Office at 9am.
Councillor Rob Mills Westmeston P C; Councillor Robin Orme Ditchling P C, Lewes MP Maria Caulfield; Councillor Catherine Robinson Ditchling P C; Councillor Cathy Mills Westmeston P C; Shirley Crowther Ditchling Society; Paul Farrands Ditchling P C; Derek Blackhall Deputy Parish Clerk Ditchling; Philip Homan, Spatham Lane Neighbourhood Watch
Councillor Don McBeth Ditchling P C; Councillor Tom Jones Lewes D C for Ditchling & Westmeston; Councillor Tony Gedge Streat P C; ESC Councillor Sarah Osborne; ESC Councillor Nick Bennett; WSC Councillor Bob Lanzer; Richard Speller
The following points were discussed:
The meeting was chaired and introduced by Rob Mills on this occasion.
In respect of the Parliamentary Petition, Quiet Lanes, and speed limits, Maria reported she had met with ESCC leaders, and that enforcement was an issue. Beverly supports the Petition and Quiet Lanes initiatives. Wet Signature returns were required by the end of February 2018 for Parliamentary submission. Rob confirmed there is a speed/volume survey next week, covering 7 days using 3 highways road traffic team monitors and the result should be available by the end of the month, showing speed/time/vehicle length, which should provide further support and backup data. Maria said that ESCC are looking at how Quiet Lanes and other measures might work in practice.
Rob will write a Ditchling Magazine article for edition 3 (copy required in March) Action Rob
Rob reported back on the recent joint SLR meeting held with ESCC highways; the discussion included reference to the previous survey being out of date,; edges and ruts issues can have serious effects for drivers but these were not formally reported and the ESCC position was that these were not too bad and not requiring their attention; the problem of vehicles turning into Spatham Lane then parking up just around the corner on the Ditchling side was causing a dangerous situation for other traffic in both directions-it was agreed bollards would assist and the Parishes would pay but a contractor was required for installation. It was felt locally that there are 3 hazard warnings in the wrong place-ESCC did not agree, but did agree to repaint them. Another set of horse warning signs is required.
Rob considered that a lower speed limit is key to any or all possible initiatives going forward.
In respect of Speed watch Phil reported the local officer (Steve) was very helpful and will confirm his contact details. There is only one Speed watch local resident co-ordinator allowed per village and there is such a person active in Ditchling-details also to follow Action Phil. It appears Steve will supply an additional speed monitor which is to be placed at an agreed accident blackspot in Spatham lane; and he advises there is a lot which can be done via signage initiatives-Phil is to follow up these other ideas with Steve and invite him to the next meeting. Action Phil
Phil reported there is a Sussex Neighbourhood Watch Federation MOU yet to be signed with Sussex Police which may help improve matters via joint action which will follow up. Action Phil
Rob reported the SATNAV/HGV initiative from Sarah Osborne was voted out by ESCC. Maria said enforcement was difficult, and the commercial SATNAV tracking would help but it is not yet mandatory although it would help the police as evidence gathering is hard to come by without it, it needs legislation to enact it; and would ask Steve for advice on effective local lobbying. Action Maria. There is also a new Transport Group South East which ESCC are leading on which Maria is tracking; it is however known that the Freight Transport Association oppose it.
Robin reported back on other publications, and said that the ‘Roads in the South Downs document did not address the speeding issues, but there was a ROSPA 2010 document which was more helpful as recommended reading. Robin felt the group may need to appoint its own consultant to advise on credible alternative options which could then be used to canvas ESCC support-especially if we made a case for consideration. It was agreed it would be even more useful if any such initiatives could be rolled out countrywide. Maria is looking for hard evidence to package up to then look at the various funding ’pots’ which may be available.
It was felt that further ‘Park Entry’ signs may be worth looking at-although funding may be an issue.
Next meeting is on 16th March at 9am with Robin in the Chair.
Household Waste Recycling Survey
From: Rupert Clubb, Director, Communities, Economy & Transport
I am writing to let you know that our 12-week consultation on our Household Waste Recycling Site Service has now started and ends at midnight on 15 May. The online survey is now live on the Consultation Hub.
A link to the survey, as well as FAQs and the full Service Review are available here on our website.
We are consulting on these proposals:
The introduction of charging for certain waste types that are not ‘household waste’ (i.e. rubble, soil, plasterboard, tyres and asbestos) at the Household Waste Recycling Sites
The possible closure of the part-time recycling sites at Forest Row and Wadhurst
A review of recycling site opening hours against demand for the service
We would like to hear from anyone in East Sussex with an interest in the recycling sites, particularly if they feel they would be affected by our proposals.
After the consultation period has ended, the views people share with us will be analysed and presented to East Sussex County Council’s Cabinet later this year to help the Members make a final decision on what happens to the service.
If you have any questions, please let me know.
Communities, Economy & Transport
Broadband Spatham Lane
I can confirm that the cabinet/DSLAM in Spatham lane is live and accepting orders, I can also confirm that some residents are receiving superfast broadband as they have ordered a fibre service.
I am sorry residents in Underhill Lane, Lewes Road and Middleton are still suffering slow speeds but we are pushing hard to get this changed.
2nd January 2018
15th December 2017
Beacon Parishes Traffic Meeting
The parish councils and our County Councillor Sarah Osborne have consulted East Sussex County Council Highways Road Safety Officers and taken advice on setting a speed limit on the lane.
Ditchling and Westmeston Councils have previously worked together with a view to reducing the limit on the lane from 60mph to 40 mph. The results of a traffic survey carried out in 2013 and other factors at that time meant that we were unable to proceed.
We believe that a comprehensive survey of current conditions will establish data on which to build our case. This is the first stage of any feasibility study and therefore we have decided to commission the speed monitoring. Ditchling and Westmeston have set aside funding for this initial work and possibly further stages. We understand that nothing can be achieved without funding from the parishes because of the cut backs in government grants to county councils.
While the limit is at the National Speed Limit of 60mph we are prohibited from making any changes in the form of traffic calming.
We are aware that a speed limit reduction alone will not be a total answer but once a lower limit is set other provisions can be made to improve safety and quality of life on the lane.
Progress will be notified through our parish websites and Westmeston has a Facebook account.
Rob Mills. Ch. Westmeston Parish Council.
The Footpaths Conservation Society
For Ditchling, Westmeston, Streat and neighbouring villages
The Footpath Conservation Society of Ditchling, Westmeston and Streat has been protecting the footpaths and bridleways that crisscross the three parishes since 1962. These old trackways and drove routes have linked the parishes and farms since before the turnpike system and have been kept open by centuries of boots and hoove and more recently, the work of the Society and its members. Working groups regularly clear undergrowth or overhanging branches, repair and maintain stiles and erect or replace footpath signs in practical efforts to ensure the network of paths survive. Others have tirelessly campaigned and fought battles in the courtroom and elsewhere to keep these paths open and to encourage walkers to use and enjoy this heritage. Currently, following the resignation of the person who has been chairing the society for 55 years, we have formed a working group to see how the society can move more firmly into the 21st century before our AGM in March 2018. If any current members, ex-members or newly-interested people would like to contribute in this working group, your ideas and energies would be much appreciated. If you would like to hear more about the work of the Society please contact:
Westmeston Christmas Tea
Westmeston Parish Hall
Lewes Road, Westmeston BN6 8RL
Saturday 9th December 2017
3.00 – 5.00pm
Thank you to everyone who came along to the tea, it was a lovely afternoon and we would like to say a special thank you to Father Christmas who interupted his very busy schedule to join us.
Proceeds to Westmeston Parish Room Trust (Charity No 1016350)
Beacon Parishes Traffic Meeting (2) 10th November 2017 Ditchling P.C. Office
Report on the meeting and up-date on members’ actions.
Attendance: Representatives from 3 parishes, Lewes District and East Sussex County Council, West Sussex Council, MP for Lewes, Maria Caulfield. Authors Traffic & Transport Neighbourhood Plan.
The tone of the meeting was positive and upbeat, with all parties working towards shared goals both in the short term and the longer term future.
We are fortunate to have the support of Maria Caulfield who is involved at parliamentary level with enforcement of HGV restrictions, and East Sussex County Councillor for our ward, Sarah Osborne ,is also involved with this and Satnav systems for HGVs. She is our main contact with the lead member for transport and environment, and officers for road safety.
Members will be exploring all known funding sources in the expectation of match funding being required.
Since the meeting it has been confirmed by senior officer level at ESCC that the Traffic Authority has no policy in respect of quiet lanes. Even if such a policy existed, it is clear from the criteria in use by other traffic authorities that there are no roads within Beacon Parishes that could qualify for this status.
This further emphasises the need to concentrate initially on the most urgent and publicly beneficial task of making Spatham Lane a safer place and provide a better quality of life for residents of both Ditchling and Westmeston, and of course, all users of the lane. In this particular situation the main benefits will be experienced by residents and it would seem inequitable to expect Streat Meeting to contribute financially.
To this end Parish Councillors have been in discussion with ESCC Highways about reviewing their previous application to set a lower speed limit on the lane. They are awaiting notification of the authority’s requirements such as the need for an updated speed survey. This will also indicate current volumes of traffic which are expected to show an increase over the last 4 years. An indicated cost of installing a speed limit was given as £10,000.00. This is likely to be a “match funding” process and both Parishes have made provision for their respective share.
Should this project be successful it could open the way to other “traffic calming” measures which currently cannot be applied in the current National speed limit Speed zone. For the short term Phil Homan, Regional Chairman of Neighbourhood Watch, is researching and taking advice from Police sources on devices and activity designed to influence driver behaviour.
Chairman Westmeston Parish Council, Rob Mills, is carrying out a survey on the lane, collating information on usage and hazards. He will be noting all properties business and private, their exposure of residents to dangers on the lane. Such information as the number and type of vehicles in use on the lane. Things like horse boxes, the number of horses and livestock, gateways and drives, footpaths and bridleways served by the road. Sighting on bends, pinch points, lack of safe passage for walkers and so on. If possible he may contact residents by phone or in some cases calling personally. It is hoped that residents will co-operate in this project of building up a picture of the effects of heavy fast moving traffic. To our knowledge this type of survey has never before been put to the highway authority.
Beacon Parishes Traffic Meeting 12th October 2-17 at Ditchling P.C. office.
The meeting was called in response to reaction and concern after one of our residents sustained serious multiple injuries when she and her horse were struck by a car being driven at high speed on Spatham Lane on Thursday 28th September. The horse, a cherished part of the family had to be destroyed as a result of grievous injury. Two days later a vehicle left the road and overturned north of the crossing and was damaged beyond repair. No injuries sustained but it is safe to assume that the car was being driven recklessly. This was just one of the many incidents occurring along the lane, mostly unreported and obviously caused by dangerous driving. Users of the lane frequently witness or experience “near misses” emanating from driver attitudes.
Councillors from the three Parishes, District and County Councils, Member of Parliament, leading representatives from Neighbourhood Watch, Ditchling Society and Neigbourhood Plan were present at the meeting.
The meeting agreed that there were many traffic and road safety issues that had been well documented in various surveys over many years, most recently in detail as published in the emerging Neighbourhood Plan, and that risks to the public and detrimental effects on our quality of life were becoming worse. It was accepted that any changes should be fairly and equitably applied as needed to all areas of the Beacon Parishes and that this could also have effects beyond our boundaries.
So far nothing measurable in terms of improvement has occurred over the last two decades with the reason given by the Traffic Authority being lack of funding.
The meeting agreed that to deal with a universal traffic and transport agenda would take much time and funding, but it was important to start some action now on what is seen as desperately needed improvement and to follow on with projects considered as priorities.
Therefore Spatham Lane is the immediate focus of attention, with Streat Lane to follow.
Speed limits were discussed and historically we have been told that the lane could not have any other speed control except the National Speed Limit of 60mph. Simple arithmetic indicates that a legal “closing speed” could be 120mph! Much more could be achieved with road engineering if a lower limit could be set e.g. traffic calming.
Councillors will work with the Traffic Authority to establish what can be done, including if required another speed survey. A survey of the hazards, i.e. road narrows, sight lines, property entrances, volume of horse traffic, numbers of equestrian establishments will be made. This has never featured in previous campaigns. Local residents will be looking at ways to create their own measures to alert drivers to the dangers. SDNP, Police and Crime Commissioner and Neighbourhood Watch could help with posters and publicity.
Methods of raising money such as Community Infrastructure Levy, increasing Parish precepts were discussed. Parishes are the only councils with the power to raise rates which in turn attract government grant. The spirit of the meeting was “start the job and worry about the money later”. This seems to work well for community projects.
Next meeting 10/11/2017
UK Power Networks is working with the other Electricity Distribution Networks and our trade body, Energy Networks Association, on a new national campaign called Be Winter Ready.
Be Winter Ready aims to encourage people to prepare in case they experience a power cut or gas emergency this winter.
We’re contacting all of our stakeholders to make you aware of the campaign and to ask if you could help share this important information.
In recent years the chances of unscheduled problems with electricity and gas supply have dropped dramatically. Since 1990, network companies have invested £80bn in improving the reliability of local energy networks in the UK. As a result, on average, electricity customers have a power cut just once every two years and gas distribution customers will have their gas supply interrupted without advance notice just once every 40 years.
Whilst the UK’s gas and electricity supply is very reliable, bad winter weather can cause damage and disruption.
Steps you can take to ‘Be Winter Ready’:
Know your free emergency numbers: In a power cut dial 105 or, for a gas emergency, dial 0800 111999.
Prepare your home: Keep a torch handy and get your appliances serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
Register as a vulnerable customer: Vulnerable households can get extra support by signing up to the Priority Services Register. Click here to find out more about the Priority Services Register in London, the South and East of England or to sign up.
Keep your eyes open: Keep an eye on the weather forecast and, if you have a power cut or a gas emergency, check on your neighbours.
The way you recycle is changing
Lewes District Council is making it easier for all residents to recycle by introducing a single wheelie bin for the paper, cans, plastics, cardboard and glass that people currently sort into two plastic boxes and two bags.
Their weekly refuse and fortnightly recycling collection days will remain the same when the new service is introduced and the council teams will continue to collect food waste and garden waste as they currently do.
The new service will be introduced in stages, starting in East Saltdean, Telscombe and Peacehaven from November. The service will then be introduced across the rest of the district by July 2018.
What to do with your old recycling containers
Keep putting out your current recycling containers. The council teams will take these away on your usual recycling collection day when they deliver your new wheelie bin.
Residents who are unable to accommodate a full sized wheelie bin should visit the council’s website to find out what different options are available.
To find out more visit www.lewes.gov.uk/recycling
Wheelie bin delivery timetable
•November 2017 East Saltdean, Telscombe, Peacehaven
•Jan / Feb 2018 Newhaven, Denton South , Heighton and Seaford
•March 2018 Piddinghoe, Southease, Northease, Rodmell, Iford, Swanborough, Kingston & other villages south of the A27
•April 2018 Lewes and Ringmer
•By July 2018 All other areas
Harvest Festival at St Martins
So do drop in and have a look at the decorations celebrating the Harvest. The church will be decorated on Saturday 30th September. On Sunday 1st October there will be a Harvest Festival and Holy Communion Service at 9:45am
Westmeston Summer Fayre 29th July at Westmeston Parish Hall.
Despite the onset of torrential rain we are pleased to say that we still had good attendance and would like to thank the following for their incredible support.
The tea helpers; Kevin & Michael for braving the rain; Todd for looking after the bouncy castle; the cake bakers; the bottle donators; Beacon Commodities; Bedlam Brewery, Albourne; Black Dog Hill Vineyard, Westmeston; the Classic Cars and Petrol Heads; Norman Baker; Court Gardens Vineyard, Ditchling; Harveys’ Brewery Lewes; Paul and his cakes; Tesco Lewes; Mike and Sue and their beautiful Model T Ford; Westmeston Parish Council and Westmeston Parish Hall Trustees and everyone who helped to set up for their hard work.
Half the proceeds went to St Peter & St James Hospice and we handed a cheque to Lucy Brown at the hospice on Wednesday 2nd August.
Lucy Brown receiving the donation at St Peter & St James Hospice
The Parish Hall Trust will benefit from the other half and it will go towards the ongoing repairs and maintenance of our wonderful facility.
We hope to see you at the Christmas Tea, when Father Christmas will be popping in despite his very busy schedule.
Cathy Mills, Tessa Houghton, Brenda Hall & Kendal Golding
Saturday 29th July 2017 2pm to 5 pm at Parish Hall.
Westmeston Summer Fayre.
Cream teas, Raffles, Homemade cakes and produce, Games for all the family, Cup-Cake competition, Classic Car Show, Beer Tent, and Much More.
Adults £2.50. Children free
(This is an independent initiative from Trustees and volunteers, with proceeds to be shared by Charities, St Peter and St James Hospice, and Westmeston Parish Hall Trust.) Please note that our email address is email@example.com
We look forward to seeing you there
Cathy Mills, Tessa Houghton, Kendal Golding & Brenda Hall (in no particular order!)
Fly nuisance in Ditchling and surrounding area.
With thanks to Mike Felton for his hard work on this over the last few years.
Report of a meeting held at 96 North End with Steven Teale (Senior Environmental Health Technician, Lewes District Council) Margaret Felton, Michael Felton (Home owners), on 5th June 2017
Flies are back in Ditchling:
The purpose of the meeting was to raise our concerns over the renewed outbreak of high levels of flies that we are experiencing daily in our home, as well as those of our neighbours and to emphasise that while the daily numbers of flies may vary, what we have to cope with day-to-day is distressing and a nuisance.
Steven explained it was his responsibility to respond to reports of environmental health issues such as outbreaks of flies. Steven inspected the hanging sticky fly paper and confirmed the flies were Lesser House Flies (which are associated with breeding in poultry manure). Steven informed us he would be visiting Mac’s Farm later that week.
The evidence (numbers of flies): Ditchling has been experiencing a fly nuisance for five years now since the massive invasion of flies in 2013, with fly numbers in houses varying each year since then. This year fly numbers have been increasing at a rapid rate since mid-May and by the beginning of June, the 48 hour sticky strip in our living room was counted at 179 flies. Numbers fell away in the cold spell which followed, but are now (21th June) back at over 174 in 48 hours. The possibility that the end of May represented a ‘spike’ was considered, but the evidence since then shows that high numbers have now continued for some five weeks. It is not practical or possible to actually count the number of flies that we are living with in the rest of the house. This is a hideous number of flies to have to live with daily. So regardless of whether we are dealing with peaks or troughs the day-to-day level of fly numbers is unacceptable. (See chart below based on sticky strips hung for 48 hours, then replaced.)
We discussed the regulatory requirement for poultry farms, where they are required to monitor fly numbers using commercial fly paper – and as advised by the consultant who visited Mac’s Farm in 2013 – that this should be recorded 4 x a month. It was not clear from Steven’s response whether or not Mac’s Farm are continuing to monitor fly numbers and to the appropriate standard. Nor was it clear if this information was being made available to Steven.
Source of flies: Steven stated that it could be assumed that Mac’s Farm had made a contribution to the number of flies in houses in Ditchling, but that it was not the only source. Steven acknowledged that the lesser housefly does breed in poultry manure, but added there are other sources (such as refuse). Steven was very careful not to give the impression that is was likely that the major source was from Mac’s farm, although we asserted that common sense would suggest that it was. It is noted that the opinion of the consultant who investigated the fly problem in 2013 was that Four Fields Farm is likely to be the most important source of lesser house flies. It was pointed out to Steven, that in the thirty five or so years we have lived in Ditchling, there was no fly nuisance before the poultry farm was established.
When do fly numbers constitute a ‘Statutory Nuisance’: Steven said that this term is not easily defined in terms of numbers of flies or indeed other factors. He argued that if the local farm was taking measures to manage the fly numbers and the incidence in houses at the level occurring in early June, while unpleasant, taken together was not in his view a nuisance in the legal sense (see box below) requiring measures such as issuing an abatement order (which are within the Department’s powers).
We said our priority at this stage was for the Department to take positive action to ensure any poultry farm in the vicinity is following all necessary guidelines as advised by the Department to reduce fly numbers to a level where they do not create a nuisance and distress to residents.
When does a Statutory Nuisance occur?
Note: A document entitled ‘Fly Management: how to comply with your environmental permit’, April 2013, produced by the Environmental Agency, Bristol. On interpreting the Clean Neighbourhood and Environmental Act 2005 then:
There are no objective levels at which a statutory nuisance exists, or may be caused. In general, in domestic premises, it is likely that the threshold will be very low and control actions might be taken in cases of few house flies.
As a guideline, an occupier will normally experience some irritation if there are five or more flying house flies present in any one room at any one time on three successive days. If houseflies are monitored with baited traps, sticky ribbons, or spot cards, a collection of more than 25 in any 48 hour period may indicate grounds for distress.
In practice, there is a significant difference between something being an irritation and a situation constituting a nuisance in law.
The new normal? As we understood it Steven has concluded that all necessary action is being undertaken by Mac’s farm being the nearest and largest poultry establishment in Ditching. He said it was Mac’s plan to take the older sheds out of the production, i.e. those with earth floors and once that was done the fly numbers would be reduced further. So the point made by the Department appears to be that if residents are living with hundreds of flies on a day-to-day basis, and the local contributors are perceived to be taking all reasonable measures then the local residents are to bear the nuisance impact of an intensive egg production enterprise. For residents, this is not acceptable!
Challenges at the Department: The Environmental Department is experiencing staffing cuts and new organisational arrangements which limit the time that can be devoted to environmental health matters. The inference here is that resources are very thin on the ground in terms of being able to respond and manage the fly nuisance problem.
Action needed: It is important for all parties to maintain a body of evidence on fly numbers and sources. We agreed to keep monitoring the housefly numbers in our house as well as other houses locally. And requested that the Department ensures that Mac’s and other poultry farms also maintain records so that these can be inspected by the Department, and that they take the necessary action to ensure that poultry husbandry techniques are applied to minimise fly breeding.
Conclusion: We were left with a sense that while we were listened to very seriously, lack of resources and a sense that Mac’s farm was seen by the Department as only one of the contributors to the fly numbers, that we will not receive any information (and certainly no evidence) of what if anything is being done by either the farm or the department to reduce fly numbers.
Lesser House Fly numbers are up again as of 22nd June. We will continue to press the department to keep the monitoring of the fly nuisance in Ditchling a high priority and to keep us residents informed as to what action they are taking working with Mac’s farm to reduce fly numbers. We look forward from a response from the Department on action now being taking.
23rd June 2017
Endurance GB South East Group
Plumpton Pleasure Ride - Sunday 23rd July
This annual event starts at Plumpton Racecourse and part of the route takes the horse riders down Westmeston Bostal round Church Corner to Westmeston 11 which passes Middleton Manor to Hayleigh Farm, from there up to Streat Church and along the Ridge. Please be aware there may be horses moving quite fast if you are using the bridleways on that day. Riders will of course be taking all care and we hope everyone has an enjoyable day.
South Downs National Park - Take the Lead Campaign
There have been a number of very distressing incidents of sheep being maimed and killed by dogs which have been out of their owners control. As a rural parish we are all aware and caring of our responsibilities as dog owners but we need to remain aware that others who use our beautiful area for recreation are not so careful or unaware of the risks of dogs being around sheep especially at lambing time.
This week the South Downs National Park Authority launched the next stage of the Take the Lead campaign which encourages responsible dog walking in the South Downs National Park – www.southdowns.gov.uk/takethelead
The key messages in this campaign are focused on putting dogs on the lead around livestock, picking up dog mess, being aware of sensitive wildlife such as ground nesting birds and understanding the importance of responsible dog ownership on MOD land.
Thank you for your support.
Maria’s Latest Update – Westmeston and Ditchling
From your Member of Parliament
I understand that protecting green spaces and community within our villages is vital to many of my constituents, including those within Westmeston and Ditchling.
I therefore wanted to provide you with an update on the work that I have been carrying out to strengthen neighbourhood plans. Many residents will be aware that a planning application turned down by Newick Parish Council and Lewes District Council has been overturned, despite this decision also going against the local Neighbourhood Plan. I joined residents in objecting to this obscene reality, and as a result I am working hard to legally strengthen neighbourhood plans through the current Planning Bill going through Parliament.
Myself and the Member of Parliament for Arundel and South Downs, Nick Herbert, will ensure that a Newick situation can’t happen again when it re-enters the Commons.
Be assured that I will be sure to keep local councils and my constituents up to date on this important issue.
MARIA CAULFIELD MP – SURGERY ADVICE
As your local Member of Parliament I try to be as accessible as possible to residents.
I hold regular advice surgeries across the constituency. If you would like an appointment to discuss an issue or concern please do not hesitate to contact me.
Whatever your concern, please get in touch.
Post: Unit 6, Villandry, West Quay, Newhaven, BN9 9GB
Tel: 01273 513509
Westmeston Christmas Tea 10th December 2016
Thank you to everyone who helped make this a very enjoyable afternoon. Special thanks go to Colin and Brenda Hall, Kendal Golding and Father Christmas who was a huge success, Tessa for the lovely sandwiches and all who came along for making it such fun. All the proceeds will go towards maintaining the hall.
See you all at the next get together
Update 5th October 2016
As you know I have been working on this problem and maintaining a dialogue with BT. I have had a reply now concerning the new DSLAM cabinet that is going into Spatham Lane, it will be installed by March 2017 at the latest. I know this won’t improve things for Church Corner and the surrounding area but we will keep pushing.
Spatham Lane should see a big difference in speeds by the spring.
I will keep you posted.
Meeting with Paul Biochat of BT
On Monday 18th July I met with Paul Boichat, Senior Project Manager, BDUK Delivery – East & West Sussex.
While it was helpful to explore the situation and get some facts it was in fact a disappointing meeting in that the options available are not practical.
One solution is satellite broadband which is not that reliable, a bit slow and with the time lag can lead to difficulties with virus protection software. It is also expensive.
He talked about Community Fibre Partnerships and I have attached a scanned copy to this report with some information. Personally I don’t think this is an option for us for the simple reason that it would only be a small number of people who would benefit and the cost which he estimates would be £25,000 - £50,000 (funding is available for part of the cost) would probably be waste of money as the scheme could take up to a year to fund and install and by then the chances are we will have new cabinets installed and faster broadband available.
For information, and I have mentioned this previously, a new DSLAM cabinet will be installed in Spatham Lane in the near future and this will help residents in that part of the parish to get the speeds they need for efficient broadband. There are deals to be had from BT and we have found we are paying less for faster broadband than we were before!
A new cabinet is also going in on Clayton Hill and various upgrades are happening or have happened in Ditchling so it is getting closer. We are on the border of Hassocks and Lewes exchanges so therefore at the optimum distance from the exchange. This would not be a problem if the cabinets are upgraded but at the moment it does seems to be a waiting game unless we want to raise the funds needed through the community fibre partnership scheme. Paul did tell me that part of Plumpton, about 50 odd houses did go down this route but with 50+ contributors it was probably more economical than it would be for us. They were also in one area whereas we are very spread out.
I will keeping in touch with Paul Boichat on a regular basis and he has promised to let me know as soon as there are any changes. The target that BT was given to provide faster broadband to 95% of users across the UK has been met and they are now aiming for 96.5% by next year. Unfortunately we are in the 5% !
All the best
Whistle for the Somme:
On lst July, 1916, whistles blew along the Western Front as a signal to the soldiers to go ‘over the top’ for the start of what the British called the Battle of the Somme. On the first day of the Battle 19,240 men were killed.
On Friday 1st July, 2016, at 7.30a.m. in the morning, whistles were blown in memory of the five names on the Ditchling War Memorial and Streat War Memorial, who lost their lives during the Battle of the Somme. Later that morning at 11.00 am there was a service of Remembrance led by Rev'd David Wallis when wreaths were laid. Thank you to all who joined us. We Will Remember Them.
Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 June 2016
Flower Festival at St Martin's Westmeston
The Flower Festival at the beautifully decorated St Martin's church was visited by almost 300 passers-by and parishioners, as well as about 170 who partook of tea and cakes in Westmeston Parish Hall, shuttled to and fro in a Model T Ford courtesy of Tony and Jan Snow. In the church were twenty different floral creations from sixteen different artists depicting happiness in it many forms, from the countryside (complete with blackbird song) through theatre and books to water for life, gardening and love of all. The church looked beautiful and many visitors wrote on yellow post it notes what made them personally happy. My favourite notes were "Going for a bike ride and discovering a beautiful flower festival by surprise" and "your child smiling back at you". The event was to the glory of God and the memory of Carol Franks, Doreen Kallman, Marion Martin and Jo Wratten. Doreen would have been delighted to see that her high floral standards had been maintained.
A great weekend was finished off by Songs of Praise led by Fr David with Richard Toms playing on what he says is one of his favourite organs, attended by 40 people in fine voice. The occasion raised over £1,200 for St Peter and St James Hospice and the Beacon Parish (towards the new floodlights at St Martin's) thanks to visitors and generous sponsors of the arrangements.
Sunday 26th June
If you have any honey bee swarms, can you contact www.bbka.org.uk/swarm
where you will be directed to local swarm collectors.
National Trust - Volunteers needed – get involved!
At the Parish Council meeting on Tuesday 19th January we were fortunate to have with us, Lee Walther from The National Trust. It was an informative and interesting talk about the work they do in this area particularly at the Ditchling Beacon car park which of course is in Westmeston Parish.
The trust are looking for volunteers for a number of tasks, which will include litter picking, shrub clearance, reporting any issues which may need addressing such as broken fences gates etc. If you have a few hours to spare please contact the trust using the email address below, or contact Cathy via the contact page. They would welcome your help, be it weekly, monthly or just once a year.
Cathy Mills – January 2016
Update: Defibrillators and Emergency Planning
Our plan is developing in line with the resources available within the Parish. This means that we are selective in providing the most practical and attainable skills and equipment affordable, both in terms of finance and the presence and ability of volunteers willing to react positively in an emergency.
We now have a core of 14 local volunteers, qualified in basic first aid. This meant their investment of two evenings taking a course run by the British Red Cross, funded by Parish Council. We are always ready to expand this group in the event of interest from local residents. This would not necessarily be restricted to Parishioners, and we have in mind volunteers from Streat and Ditchling.
Public Access Defibrillator:
Defibrillators are life saving devices that can be operated by almost anyone, whether or not they have taken training. In real terms the cost of supply and fitting them is within the scope of most small business although for us to provide them represents a sizeable chunk out of our council funds. At sites such as industrial/business parks we would expect occupiers to take responsibility for providing these, much on the lines of first aid equipment. Bearing in mind the possible exposure to risk prevailing in some trades and businesses this will no doubt be something for their consideration.
Within the parish there are very few business premises and to our knowledge only one defibrillator. This is sensibly positioned at the Golf Club where the concentration of players and customers means there is a high probability of use. We understand that it has already helped to save a life. Similarly there is a machine at Ditchling village Hall.
Neither of these installations, in our view, are truly “Public Access”, as at the golf club it is quite properly intended for use on site, whilst at Ditchling, although within reach of the public, can only be accessed by phoning for a code to release the lock. In our view, in the latter case this could cost valuable time and delay the application of the device at the most critical time for the casualty.
We have weighed up the risk of theft and decided that there is a possibility, but pointless in the thief’s view because there is no re-sale value. Vandalism is a risk but this could occur even if the cabinet is locked. Experience in the Sussexarea indicates a very low level of such problems. In conclusion we are providing a Public Access Defibrillator (PADS), because it is in the public’s best interest.
The apparatus will be installed this month in the open porch at the Parish Hall and will be signposted. We believe that people will become familiar with the signs and know where to go in an emergency. This first site was chosen because it is a likely venue for an emergency due to the presence of groups and sometimes crowds of users. It is, of course, accessible to the public for emergencies such as illness/accidents in the home, road traffic incidents or possibly something we haven’t even thought of.
This is a joint enterprise between Parish Council and the Trustees of the Parish Hall, with a generous sponsorship from Burgess Hill District Lions. The cost of supply, fitting and signposting will total approx. £1700 of which about £635 is contributed from The Lions. The Parish Council’s contribution from public funds is approx. £540.
Our plans include a PADs site in the Church Corner phone box. It would be prominent with easy access and become recognisable to the public, similar to installations already existing in the county and probably further afield.
The cost will be about the same but the source of funds will have to be private and business contributions. We are quite willing for a donor to benefit from advertising as this is a reasonable arrangement and normal business practice. Private benefactors are welcome. Should anyone have any ideas how we can raise the money, we would be pleased to hear from you.
Please contact Rob Mills, Mark Clark or Cathy Mills using the contact page.
Westmeston Parish Hall on Saturday 5th December
Many Many thanks to all who helped at the Hall on Saturday, delicious sandwiches and cakes made by Kendal Golding, Tessa Haughton and Brenda Hall. The raffle run by Colin Hall was a huge success and everyone had a lovely afternoon, with good company and enjoyable food. The atmosphere was as warm as the company. If you couldn't make we wish you a very happy 2016 and look forward to next year when Santa has promised to drop in, despite his busy schedule!
All proceeds have gone to the Parish Hall Trust to help maintain our wonderful facility
County’s first Elders’ Commission makes a start
Residents aged 60 to 85 and from across the county, including our parish council Chairman Rob Mills, came together this week to participate in the first Elders’ Commission workshop ahead of a Sussex-wide consultation (the Big Conversation) with their family, friends and peers on policing and crime issues.
The 28 members, with a range of experience in the private and public sector, were greeted on Tuesday (28 April) by Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne. The workshop involved presentations from Sussex Police and partners on scamming, elder abuse and police objectives, as well as discussion groups and a Q&A session.
Commenting on the importance of the Sussex Elders’ Commission (SEC), Mrs Bourne said: “Twenty per cent of the Sussex population is aged 65 and over and the biggest population increase is in the over 85s. As PCC and the daughter of an elderly mother, I feel it is vital that we listen and act on the concerns of this section of our society. The SEC will provide a much- needed platform for older residents to inform and challenge my Police & Crime Plan and feedback on local policing in their area”.
Jonathan Hopkins, from Citadel Policy and Communications who spoke at Thursday’s event said: "I was inspired by the commitment and passion the members have to make a real difference, drawing on their extensive networks. It is by engaging directly with older people and their experiences across Sussex that issues can be evidenced and solutions found from within local communities. The members did not shy away from getting to grips with difficult issues from elder abuse to cyber-crime and the challenges for local policing. This will play a major part in shaping and influencing policies and improvements for older people living in Sussex".
Mrs Bourne continued: “It was great to meet the members again and hear why they have signed up to the SEC and what they want to get from it. Pauline Jackson from Bexhill told me that as a trustee of Age UK in East Sussex she is passionate about the elderly community, particularly those who are vulnerable and isolated. She feels that she will be able to reach out further to fellow residents and inform them of what is happening in their community and how the SEC can improve their experience with Sussex Police.
“Ray Hoare from Horsted Keynes told me he has always had a keen interest in local policing and wants to be more informed on the changes that lie ahead. He will use the SEC to feed back on how local policing is working in his community and what concerns residents have.
“Kate Davies, who chairs East Sussex Seniors Association, said she feels that older people’s fear of crime is often greater then the crime rate itself. Kate wants to enable the elderly to have a proper say on policing and make sure their voices are heard”.
Members have already identified their priorities which include financial coercion; fear of crime; local policing, isolation and road safety.
The workshop highlighted the different mechanisms and channels that members intend to use for the Big Conversation, ranging from small intimate groups to large pre-existing events, speaking opportunities as well as stints on hospital radio.
The OPCC will support the members' programme of engagement with venue, transport, surveys, and engagement tools and training.
EVERY FLOWER COUNTS – VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR
ANNUAL STOCK TAKE OF UK’s WILDFLOWERS
Making plants a priority
The new National Plant Monitoring Scheme (NPMS), launching in spring 2015, will for the first time enable scientists to take an annual stock take of the UK’s wild plants and their habitats, but to do this we need the public’s help. We are looking for volunteers to carry out surveys of wildflowers and their habitats that will provide robust evidence of which widespread plants are increasing or declining, as well as indicating the changing state of our most valued habitats such as grassland, fenland and even road verges. Plants are nature’s building blocks and this new monitoring scheme will sit alongside existing schemes for the UK’s birds and butterflies to help us understand more about how the countryside is changing.
Chris Cheffings, from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee says “Currently, information on plant species’ abundance and change is very limited, and it is difficult to gauge the condition of habitats outside protected sites. JNCC is delighted to be able to support the NPMS, which will fill this significant gap in UK biodiversity surveillance. The annual results collected by volunteers will help to identify trends in hundreds of species, allowing us to assess plant community changes.”
The search is now on to find 2000 volunteers to take part in the NPMS who will play a vital role in gathering information. Together the volunteers will monitor wild plants in 28 important habitats, ranging from hedgerows and meadows to salt marsh and scree slopes.
Hayley New, from Plantlife says “The NPMS is hugely enjoyable and over 400 volunteers have helped us set up the new scheme. It’s easy to do and everyone will receive free training and guidance plus support from the partnership for volunteers who have queries, as well as web support and illustrated guidance notes – so volunteers will have the perfect survey tool kit to get them started!”
Dr Kevin Walker, Head of Science, Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) says:
“It’s really great to finally have a national scheme that everyone can take part in. Whether you simply love wildflowers or are a budding botanist, input from volunteers will provide sound evidence on how our wild plants and habitats are changing. It’s a fantastic achievement and should mean that wild plants are at the forefront of discussions on how our environment is changing and what we should be doing about it.”
How does the NPMS work?
ï‚· Volunteers will be able to choose from three options depending on their level of expertise: recording from a short or an extended list of target species in each habitat or recording all species they find in their plots.
ï‚· Volunteers will be given a 1 km square with a grid showing up to 25 locations. Surveyors will be asked to visit three of those locations and carry out surveys in square plots and then identify two linear features such as hedgerows, rivers and road verges and survey these locations too.
ï‚· The squares have been randomly chosen, but with a focus on squares containing habitats of interest.
Oliver Pescott, from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology says “The results from this new scheme should allow us to quantify the smaller changes that are occurring within our most valuable habitats. In the past, volunteer-collected data have been able to demonstrate the results of large-scale habitat loss over the last century, now we would like to reveal even more detail about the changes within the remaining areas of these habitats in our landscape.”
For more information on the NPMS and how to take part please visit www.npms.org.uk
NOTES TO EDITORS
For enquiries and interviews please contact Hayley New on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07741 314155. We also have stunning images available.
The NPMS is a partnership of the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI), the Biological Records Centre (within the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology), Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) and Plantlife. The NPMS builds upon previous research projects funded by JNCC and Defra.
The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) is the statutory adviser to the UK Government and devolved administrations on UK and international nature conservation. Its work contributes to maintaining and enriching biological diversity, conserving geological features and sustaining natural systems.
The Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) has been promoting the study, understanding and enjoyment of British and Irish wild plants since 1836. BSBI supports and encourages research and conservation, and is one of the world's largest contributors of biological records, collected by our volunteer members - amateur and professional botanists who benefit from our research, training and outreach programmes.
The Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) is a world-class research organisation
focussing on land and freshwater ecosystems and their interaction with the
atmosphere. We are a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Research
Centre and integral to the delivery of the NERC Strategy, The Business of the
Environment, with over 425 researchers and students based at sites in England,
Scotland and Wales.
W: www.ceh.ac.uk E: email@example.com T: 01491 838800
Plantlife is the charity speaking up for the nation’s wild plants. We work hard to protect wild plants on the ground and to build understanding of the vital role they play in everyone’s lives. Plantlife carries out practical conservation work across the UK, manages nature reserves, influences policy and legislation, runs events and activities that connect people with their local wild plants and works with others to promote the conservation of wild plants for the benefit of all.
Update - Ditchling Post Office
Hopefully you will have noticed the big tidy up at Church Corner which has made a big difference to the appearance and also opened up the pathway and made it easier for walkers to use the footpath without having to dodge all the undergrowth. This was organised by the Parish Council as part of the ongoing maintenance of the Parish. All the waste will add to the enjoyment of a great Bonfire celebration on the 25th at the Parish Hall.
Award of up to £1000 for student in FE or HE
Springett and Campion Educational Trust
The Trust, also known as The Westmeston and East Chiltington Educational Charity offers a bursary award of up to £1000 to a student living in either of the two parishes who is proceeding to, or is already taking, a course of further or higher education. As directed by the Trust Deed, the student must be aged 25 or under at the date of the commencement of the award.
It should be noted that the Trust has extended its reach to include, for the first time, the Further Education sector. This means applications are eligible from students who are undertaking post-16 education (e.g. A-levels, International Baccalaureate, Higher National Diplomas, Foundation learning, apprenticeships, training courses) as well as post-18 learning that takes place at universities, colleges and institutions (e.g. undergraduate and Masters’ degrees [not PhD], professional qualifications and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) modules).
Details of the bursary, which is a usually a single competitive award, and an application form, can be obtained from the Secretary of the Trust:
Professor Phil Ashworth
2 Perry Cottages, The Ridge, Streat, East Sussex, BN6 8RT
Completed application forms must be received by the Secretary (preferably by email) by 31 August 2014. A decision will be made on the award by the Trustees in September.
Trustees - Harold Rowling, Phil Ashworth, Justin Fleming, Giles Dickins
Notice to users: Repair work has been completed.
The section of track affected runs from Hooks Acre to Wapple Way. The elevated stretch adjacent to Black Dog Hill House required extensive restoration and was closed for the duration of the works.
Some reinstatement was also required opposite Black Dog Farm entrance
Please help to preserve these repairs by using the pathway sensibly as the coffers are now empty! All donations welcome, please contact:-
Rob Mills. Chairman Trustees Westmeston Jubilee Pathway Trust. Registered Charity Number1095561
Rural Opportunities Bulletin
Green Deal Home Improvement Fund – Department of Energy & Climate Change
Households carrying out energy efficiency improvements on their home can now get more money back to offset the cost of having the work done. From June, people in England and Wales will be able to get up to £7600 back through a new Green Deal Home Improvement Fund which is intended to enable them to take control of their bills and have warmer, greener homes.
The scheme helps people to install energy efficiency measures such as solid wall insulation and new heating systems by providing them with money back on the contributions they make towards improvements.
See Engery Efficient Link - Links Page
Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive – Ofgem
The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (Domestic RHI) is a government financial incentive to promote the use of renewable heat. Switching to heating systems that use naturally replenished energy can help the UK reduce its carbon emissions. People who join the scheme and stick to its rules, receive quarterly payments for seven years for the amount of clean, green renewable heat their system produces.
The scheme is open to anyone who can meet the joining requirements. It’s for households both off and on the gas grid. People off mains gas are stated to have the most potential to save on fuel bills and reduce carbon emissions.
The Renewable Heat Incentive has two schemes - Domestic and Non-Domestic. They have separate tariffs, joining conditions, rules and application processes.
Harold Rowling MBE
As you probably know, Harold has recently stepped down from the parish council after long and very productive service to Westmeston. Before our Annual Parish meeting on 22nd April friends and family of Harold & Pam Rowling gathered in the parish hall to present Harold with a small token of appreciation for all the hard work and service he has given to Westmeston. The bench, seen below will be for the use of all parishioners for many years to come. It was a happy affair and well attended.
Once gain many thanks to Harold for all his work and support for Westmeston.
Harold Rowling and Rob Mills
Call 101 to help stop illegal off-roading in the countryside
People witnessing illegal or anti-social off-road driving on paths in the countryside are being called on to report it to the police using the new 101 phone number.
Sussex Pathwatch is a special service set up to help protect the safety of everyone using rights-of-way, fields and woodland to prevent the damage that illegal offroading can cause. A similar service called Countrywatch has been set up in Hampshire. Anyone can report an offence by calling 101 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org in Sussex and email@example.com in Hampshire.
Angela Ward, ranger for the South Downs National Park, said:
“Most people driving off-road do so legally and with consideration for other people. Unfortunately there are a small minority driving illegally. They put everyone’s safety at risk, give legal drivers a bad name and cause damage to the countryside.
“That’s why we’re working with the Police and local authorities on this scheme. If illegal off-roading isn’t reported then the police can’t take any action.”
Just one example of Pathwatch success was in a case of illegal off-road motorcycling on a Site of Special Scientific interest near Small Dole in West Sussex. The site, which holds three nationally rare habitats and supports a rich community of rare butterflies and moths, was blighted by off-road motorcyclists who had even brought in equipment to dig tracks. Following calls from the public, Sussex Police were able to catch them in the act and serve notice – meaning that if they reoffend in the next 12 months their vehicle will be impounded and possibly crushed. This led to the activity stopping.
“Off-roading can be great fun so if you want advice on how to do it legally speak to the Land Access and Recreation Association, the Trials Rider Fellowship or ask us on Twitter @SussexPathwatch or Facebook.”
Find out more about Countrywatch at www.hampshire.police.uk/internet/advice-and-information/rural-crime/country-watch or Sussex Pathwatch at www.pathwatch.info.