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Westmeston Parish Council

The Queens Platinum Jubilee - Big Lunch

Westmeston Parish Hall

Sunday 5th June

In 2022, Her Majesty The Queen will become the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee after 70 years of service. To celebrate the event we would like to invite all Westmeston residents to The Big Lunch at Westmeston Parish Hall. Running from 12pm - 4.00pm we hope you will enjoy an afternoon of fun, with a bouncy castle, football darts, games and a band. Bring your own picnic, there will be plenty of parking and a subsidised beer tent, with beer, wine and lots of soft drinks.

More information about The Big Lunch 

The Trustees

 

 

Users of Wapple Way will have noticed that the fly tipping has now been removed. I would like to thank, Richard Heanley for that, but also my thanks go to Chloe Rowling, Rights of Way, the Bowden family, and Plumpton College for meeting Rob and myself so that we can resolve this problem. We hope our solution will be effctive and we don't have to be confronted with huge piles of rubbish again. 

The rangers will be working on Wapple Way to clear some of the ditches, but as they are very stretched and can only do so much we would ask for volunteers in the autumn to help us clear the rest and do a bit of remedial work.

Cathy Mills

02 May 2022


We regularly clear the litter from Lewes Road, Spatham Lane, Middleton Common Lane and Underhill Lane, how far we get depends on how many volunteers we have. But the situation has improved since we started and although it is applalling how much litter we collect, our regular litter picks have improved things a great deal. 

If you would like to help, please contact Cathy Mills for the date of the next outing! Hi-Viz is essential, but we can provide bags and a grabber. Gloves are wise, so bring along an old pair of gardening gloves for protection. 

Cathy Mills

January Litter Pick

We were a small band but cleared the Lanes and part of Middleton Common Lane. The usual haul of car parts, fast food rubbish and cans and bottles.

Many thanks as usual to those who help. 

Cathy Mills


December Litter Pick

Not a nice day for picking up litter, but thank you all for coming out. It seems we are making a difference as there wasn't so much rubbish this time. 

The next one will be in January, probably the 10th (weather permitting) but we can confirm nearer the date.

Thank you again

Cathy

06 December 2021

                                                                                 

We would like to say a huge thank you to Lee and the staff at the Mid Sussex Golf Club for the cake and refreshments this morning. It was heartwarming to see the amount of people who came along to express their support for the Speed Reduction Project and to have a lovely natter with friends and neighbours. Thank you. Rob & Cathy Mills

Spatham Lane Speed Limit – Update

As you all know, for some years we have been trying to get this project off the ground and with the full support of residents of all three parishes, our MP Maria, and County Councillor Sarah Osborne and district councillors, we have had a parliamentary petition in March 2018 which was signed by over 1,500 local people, road surveys, feasibility study, a fantastic fund raiser at the Golf Club, a local survey in support of the speed limit, which was signed by an overwhelming majority of residents and businesses in Spatham Lane and a large number of residents in the wider community. Not to mention a front-page article in the Argus newspaper and an item in the Mis-Sussex Express. We have also been contacted by Parish Councils across East Sussex and have been happy to help them as they tackle similar issues to ourselves.

We formed the Beacon Traffic Group following a resident’s awful accident, the group was made up by volunteers from all three Beacon Parishes, District and County councillors and our MP Maria Caulfield. All of this gave us the encouragement to carry on when we seemed to be in danger of getting nowhere. Then along came the pandemic and this was more or less shelved, as were many other things. However, we went ahead and applied for match funding in the hope that we would get 50% of the £35,000 quoted to implement the speed limit.

We had an understanding that the remaining 50% would be funded by Westmeston and Ditchling Parish Councils. Having been told by a Ditchling Parish Councillor that £5,000 had been allocated to the Spatham Lane Speed Limit project by Ditchling on behalf of all their residents in the Lane and all those who use it on a daily basis, we forged ahead. 

We have now been informed that together with only 2 other projects in East Sussex we have been awarded the 50% match funding we had hoped for. This was a very happy day for us and we hope you all feel as delighted as we do, as without your encouragement we could have given up some years ago.

We have informed the Chairman of Ditchling Parish council who is very supportive and hope the rest of the council will now allocate those funds we need. This amounts to £8750.00 from each council.

As mentioned above we have our share and are ready to go, Despite the huge disparity in the precept awarded to Westmeston and Ditchling, Westmeston has put aside the money for this use.

Once this part of the project is completed, we can then move on to traffic calming measures to ensure the safety and quality of life for all users of the Lane and those who live there.

Never again do we want to hear the news that a friend and neighbour has been seriously hurt and a beautiful horse has been shot at the side of the road due to injuries sustained from a speeding car.

Thank you for all your support over the last 5 years and more!

 

Rob & Cathy Mills

10th November 2021

Church Corner

Telephone Box

Added by Cathy Mills at 10:30 on 13 September 2021

Our thanks go to Colin Hall for kindly tidying up the phone box by installing shelves so that it can continue ...

New Councillor

Westmeston Parish Council are delighted to welcome Joyce Dudeney who joined us on 24th May. As a local resident with many interests and a prominant horse rider Joyce will be a welcome asset to the Council.

Rob Mills 24th May 2021

Litter Pick Monday 5th July 2021

Another pile of rubbish removed from our Lanes and the Lewes Road! We were joined by Nick Cox PCSO who helped clear the top of Spatham Lane and part of Middleton Common Lane. Thanks Nick. Hope to see you again when duties allow.

Thank you again to everyone who helped on the April litter pick, without you we would be drowning in bottles, cans and fast food containers. 

Cathy Mills

Litter Pick

Since the start of the Covid 19 pandemic we have managed to keep our lanes relatively free of rubbish, we have had three organised litter picks but local residents have been very kindly picking up rubbish whilst out walking. We have also noticed an increase in dog poo bags hanging from trees along the Jubilee Pathway and on some of the bridleways. We would just like to point out that the poo fairy is self isolating and therefore PLEASE take your bags home with you!

Cathy Mills December 2020

Help!

As you know there has been an increase in loose dogs chasing and attacking sheep. I will not call this sheep worrying because it is sheep killing and maiming! I am trying to organise a meeting with our MP and various other organisations but fear that lockdown is going to delay things.

In the meantime we will see more and more strangers coming into the area, parking on our verges, walking across farmland and private land and letting their dogs chase sheep.

I would ask all locals who walk or ride to be the ears and eyes for Stocks farm and the college and all flocks grazing on the fields round the parish and beyond. Most of the ewes are pregnant and lambing will start within weeks, it is vital that we report any incidents. However no-on should put themselves in harms way, a picture if possible but a description of the dog and person, time and place would assist greatly.

All reports can be funnelled through the contact page. 

Please help our local farmers who are under such stress at the moment and who support the local community through their hard work and dedication.

For further information about the Countryside code: 

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/897289/countryside-code-leaflet.pdf

Thank you

Cllr Cathy Mills

News Archive


Litter Pick

Since the start of the Covid 19 pandemic we have managed to keep our lanes relatively free of rubbish, we have had three organised litter picks but local residents have been very kindly picking up rubbish whilst out walking. We have also noticed an increase in dog poo bags hanging from trees along the Jubilee Pathway and on some of the bridleways. We would just like to point out that the poo fairy is self isolating and therefore PLEASE take your bags home with you!

Cathy Mills December 2020


Dog Theft

Lewes Area

*Dog Owners*
There is a huge increase in dog thefts right now! A gang has been seen in the general Lewes area, 4 of them seen so far, baseball caps and hoodies, believed to be working from a silver pick up truck and a white transit van.
They are mainly targeting lone female dog walkers, taking pictures, following well known routes.
Sussex Police are aware of the situation so please call 101 if you see these people!

Stay vigilant, let others know, spread the word, don't leave dogs alone anywhere 


Update from Maria Caulfield MP

Just an update on the local vaccination timescales as I met with local NHS vaccine team yesterday

In East Sussex

* over 70,000 people have been vaccinated now locally.

* all over 80’s will be vaccinated within the next two weeks

* all vulnerable residents with health conditions and those over 70 will be vaccinated by 15th Feb

* Front line NHS and care staff are being vaccinated now

* mobile vaccination teams are visiting all care homes and housebound patients

* Most GPs are not organising the appointments so please don’t contact them. When it comes to your turn you will be called by the vaccination hub and asked to come for your appointment.

* You are usually called one to two days before your appointment

* As the Pfizer vaccine was so difficult to give vaccination centres had to meet specific requirements and could only be given in the larger vaccination centres in places like Lewes, Brighton, Uckfield, Eastbourne and Hailsham. With the Oxford vaccine now live smaller and more local centres are opening .

* All parts of the constituency are being called forward for vaccination and East Sussex is one of the leading vaccinators areas in the South East as the data will be published later today which shows we are outperforming areas like Surrey and Kent.

* if you haven’t been contacted by the dates above and you are in those groups please contact me

maria.caulfield.mp@parliament.uk

12th January 2021


St Martin's update

The Beacon Parish would like to thank the Villagers of Westmeston for their kind and generous donations for the public footpath which runs through the churchyard at St Martin’s. We reached our target and work on the footpath has been completed. Come and have a look - the path will be safe for many years to come and access for everyone will be possible. 


Westmeston Charity 2021 Calendar

Please order yours now to avoid disappointment, only £12.00 all proceeds to Westmeston Parish Room Trust.
Thank you so much for your support at this difficult time. Please use the contact page to order or call 01273 843936. 

           

 


Litter Pick - February 2020

Thank you to everyone who came out to help on Monday 3rd February for our second litter pick of the year. It is astonishing that after clearing Spatham Lane and Lewes Road only a few weeks ago we picked up bags of rubbish again, mainly wing mirrors, fast food debris and drinks cans. But also worryingly wine and spirit bottles. We still had one or two drivers who think it is clever to drive at speed past us when we are on the Lane. We have our own words for them!!!

                 

Cathy Mills


Quiz Night February 21st 2020

We wanted to thank you all again for the amazing support you gave us at the Quiz night, we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. Although we still have a way to go, we raised just over £2,000 towards the speed limit implementation. That was after paying the golf club for the food etc.

They were amazing, so helpful and hopefully we will use the venue again when the current restrictions allow. 

We contacted Maria Caulfield again and had a productive meeting with her. Since then of course the Covid crisis has brought all activities to a halt, but we want to push this forward as hard as we can so we can get the limit and then move on to traffic calming measures. The last few years of battling for this has been tough but we do feel we are making progress at last and we have you and the community to thank for that.

We still have to raise further money and will keep you informed of any fund raising events we do.

It was lovely to see you and your teams and again thank you for your support, it does help to feel we are not alone in this battle.

All the best

Cathy & Rob Mills, Fred & Louise Palmer and Joyce Dudeney

February 2020 (updated November 2020)


Spatham Lane                                                                                                 

After the completion of the work at Stocks Farm and discussions between ourselves and residents, Browns agreed as a goodwill gesture to repair some of the damage to the verges north of the farm as far as Souths Field Farm. Last Saturday a group of residents took to the road and advised drivers to avoid the lane from 8am -3pm ish while this was going on to protect Browns people from being run over! Thank you again to all who helped, it was a long hot day!

Browns have made it quite clear and we have agreed that they are not the only ones who have had to use the verge to avoid collisions with drivers who do not slow down or give way! The volume and type of traffic the Lane now takes is immense, lorries, coaches, vans and cars have all done their part contributing to the damage. Since the repairs on Saturday we can already see that drivers are still using those parts of the verge that have been treated but unfortunately are not protected by cones.

Someone mentioned the north part of the lane, the damage there was caused almost entirely by Network Rail parking massive pieces of equipment on the verges at night while they worked on the tracks. At a site meeting with NetWork Rail, instigated by Westmeston Parish Council and attended by Lewes District Council, ESCC Highways, an Environmental Officer and the residents of the house at the crossing, they agreed that they would no longer use the verges and as can be seen they now use a dedicated area off the road. However, the damage was extensive and despite promising to repair this nothing has been done, except a lorry turned up and dumped some soil during a rainstorm! They also promised to landscape the area round the new red light cameras!

The residents most effected (including Stocks Farm) have done their best to protect the verges near their properties and will continue to do so using cones. This was with full agreement from highways.

Westmeston Parish Council continues to fight for road safety measures on the Lane starting with a speed limit of 40 miles an hour. This has been agreed after a long and time consuming process but a cost of £35,000 has been quoted and we are now desperately trying to find sources of funding. We may qualify for match funding but this could be anything from 5% to 50% of this amount. At the very best we could be looking for £17,500 which for a small parish like ourselves is beyond our resources. Ditchling Parish Council have indicated they will give us part of the funding (after all half of the Lane is in Ditchling!) but that still leaves a considerable sum to find. Any donations will be gratefully received by Westmeston Parish Council.

When we get the speed limit installed we will then be able to look at further road safety measures to change driver behaviour. We can do nothing about volumes unfortunately, but pinch points for instance could help to slow drivers and make the Lane a safer place for everyone, walkers, horse riders and residents leaving and entering their own properties.

Westmeston Parish Council

26th September 2019



Litter

UPDATE

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 along 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  cathy@westmeston.org.uk or through the contact page.

Rob Mills – Chairman of Trustees

WESTMESTON JUBILEE PATHWAY TRUST

Registered Charity number: 1095561


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.

Rob Mills

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

Present:

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

Apologies:

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

Matters arising

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.

Present:

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

Apologies:

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.


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.

Cathy Mills

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:

footpathconservationsociety@gmail.com


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. 

ACTION

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.

FUNDING

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


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 parishclerk@westmeston.org.uk

We look forward to seeing you there

Cathy Mills, Tessa Houghton, Kendal Golding & Brenda Hall (in no particular order!)


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.

Cathy Mills


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.

Email: maria.caulfield.mp@parliament.uk

Post: Unit 6, Villandry, West Quay, Newhaven, BN9 9GB

Tel: 01273 513509


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

Cathy Mills

Councillor


Bees

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.

blackcap@nationaltrust.org.uk

www.nationaltrust.org.uk

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.


 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.


 Update - Ditchling Post Office


Church Corner

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.

 


 JUBILEE PATHWAY  

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 


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 contact.centre@sussex.pnn.police.uk in Sussex and countrywatch@hampshire.pnn.police.uk 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.

Angela added:

“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.

 

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