Boundary consultation 2016

At the moment, when we vote in local elections, we are part of “Darwell ward” for elections to Rother District Council, and we are part of “Rother North-West” for elections to East Sussex County Council

As far as Brightling is concerned, the local government boundary commission is proposing to change the arrangements at Rother District Council level but to leave things as they are at County Council level.

You can view the Commission’s draft recommendations at:

They are now consulting on their proposed arrangements, and any member of the public may make comments on the proposals.

Follow the above links to have your say.  They have some very nice and informative interactive maps.

Broadly speaking, at the Rother District Council level, our existing “Darwell” ward would be replaced by a new ward called “Burwash and the Weald”, which is similar to the existing Darwell ward but with Netherfield moving in with Battle to create a new ward called Battle, Netherfield and Whatlington.

Brightling Parish Council will be condering these proposed changes at the annual meeting on 9th May, and may decide to make comments.

The closing date for comments is 16 June 2016.  The final decisions will be published in September.

This has nothing to do with the boundaries for parliamentary constituencies, which are handled by a separate commission.

Brightling Village Market 2016

The monthly market is back this Saturday 26th March …. so come along to Brightling Village Hall from 10am to 12 noon. Buy your food for the week ahead, have a coffee, cake and a chat with friends, and soak up the lovely, friendly, village atmosphere.

We’ve made a few changes this year and will be concentrating on food, flowers, and plants. There will be no crafts other than cards.

This month we have the following stallholders:

Meat:   Jo – Homestead Farm
Vegetables:   Gussy – Mountfield Walled Garden
Cheese:  Gussy, for Browns Farm Shop
Bread:  Rachel – Lighthouse Bakery
Cakes & Fruit Tarts:  Judy – Asselton Cakes
Meat Pies & Sausage Rolls:  Stella & Chris – The Pie Pantry
Plants & Cards:   Siew Lee
From the Cafe:   Bottles of Ringden Farm Apple Juice
Sale of Secondhand Cookbooks at very reasonable prices.

Plan ahead for the Brightling Flower Show on 23rd July.  Victoria will be at the market with everything you need to enter the Tallest Sunflower class.  So drop in to collect pots, compost and seeds for you, your children or grandchildren and let’s make the competition fierce this year!

Brightling Market needs your help!

We need volunteers to help set up the tables and run the cafe.  If you can spare a few hours just once a year to help out at the market, please email



The stuff of life

SouthEastWaterLogoQuestion: if South East Water has 14,500 km of water mains and they renew 50km every year, how many years will it take to renew all the pipes? (The answer is at the end of the column.) This is the question that popped into my mind at the beginning of the presentation by Chris Love, Delivery Manager for South East Water, who very kindly came over from Margate to attend our parish council meeting on 15th March. He gave us a very informative presentation on the pipe replacement program and responded to questions from members of the public who attended the meeting.

There is a programme of pipe replacement for Brightling. We are just starting year 2 of their current 5-year programme, with Brightling scheduled to receive its pipe replacements in the year commencing April 2017 (Battle Road), year commencing April 2018 (Brightling Road) and year commencing April 2019 (Holingrove). As readers will already have spotted, some of these dates have gone back since I previously reported (in the February messenger). We were specifically promised that they cannot go back any further, because the programme has to be completed within the 5-year investment cycle. However, the dates could be brought forward again: the schedule is to some extent driven by the level of leaks; the more leaks reported, the sooner we will get our investment. This year, real soon, there will be a new pressure-reducing valve somewhere between Battle Road and Kent Lane and there will then be some experimenting with getting the pressure right to get a balance between avoiding leaks while still maintaining adequate pressure for everyone.

One thing that emerged during the meeting is that leaks are getting much more attention than discolouration and contamination, which continue to be real problems for people.

What can we do? Firstly it will definitely help if each person who experiences a problem makes a point of contacting South East Water each time. The sheer weight of calls will raise our profile and make action more likely.

Secondly, keep a diary. Note each time that there is a problem: what was the nature of the problem, when did it start, and how long did it go on for? If we can amass some specific factual history we can collate this and go back to South East Water and demand further action. Facts and figures are much more persuasive than a vague feeling that we’re always getting problems. Alternatively, just drop me an email at with details each time you get a problem. I won’t necessarily respond to individual emails, but if I get enough I will be able to collate them to present an overall picture. The same applies to electricity.

Thirdly, if you are on a meter, and you are told to run your water until it goes clear, you can demand compensation for the wasted water. If your taps suffer damage as a result of grit in the water, you can get compensation from South East Water – just ask. Paying out compensation will definitely sharpen their attention.

We will be keeping an eye on this and coming back to it as necessary.

A final thought. Who owns South East Water? Answer: it has two owners: a Canadian pension fund management company called Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec; and an Australian infrastructure investment fund called Utilities Trust of Australia. Between them they own all the shares in South-East Water. Neither of these two companies is itself listed on any stock exchange, so if you were thinking of buying a share and turning up at the AGM and asking a question about Brightling’s water – well forget it. But I am sure that the welfare of their customers in Brightling will be their top priority.

Quiz answer: 290 years.

Forthcoming events in the Village Hall

CHEESE & WINE TASTING:  Thursday 14th April 2016    7.30pm-9.30pm

Brightling Village Hall

organised for us by Eggs to Apples Farm Shop

Felix Lehman, one of the wine buyers for Borough Wines (London) will be talking us through a selection of fantastic English & European wines.  William Cohen, Master of Cheese, will guide us through a selection of cheese chosen specifically to complement each wine.

There will be 6 different wines to taste, including a fizz, white, rose & dessert wine – a range of wines to suit all tastes and pockets.

Accompanying the wines will be a range of local and continental cheese.

Tickets are £12 per person which includes generous wine and cheese tastings and a 5% discount on all purchases made on the evening, with 10% off any advance purchases of 6 bottles or more.

There are only a limited number of places so don’t miss out … book your place now.  Email or call Chris Wing on 01580 881232.


The first market of the year will be in the village hall on Saturday 26th March 2016 10am-Noon, and then on the last Saturday of every month until November.


A date for your diary …. The Pop-up Pub will be back in the village hall on the evenings of Friday 1st July & Saturday 2nd July 2016 (6pm-midnight). Licensed bar and food.  All welcome.


Jules Hammond’s Friday morning yoga class has proved very popular, as did her Saturday morning yoga class for men on 5th March. She says the village hall is perfect for yoga because it’s not too big or draughty and the wooden floor is ideal.

She plans to run an evening class from September on Tuesdays 7.00-8.30pm as well as the following one-off Yoga Days on Saturdays 10am-3pm:

2nd April 2016:  Stretch into Spring – Unfold and invigorate yourself.

2nd July 2016: Saluting the Sun – Make the most of the sunshine.

17th September 2016: Stand strong in Autumn – Standing postures and balances.

3rd December 2016: Keep calm, it’s Christmas! – Relax and release tension, a bit of ‘me time’.

Each day includes 2 x 2 hour sessions of yoga, plus vegetarian lunch and refreshments. 1 day £30, 2 days £55, 3 days £75 or all 4 for £90.

For more information, contact Jules on 07816 309739


Lynda Free’s Keep Fit classes are on Thursday evenings 6pm-6.30pm in the village hall.

This is a 30 minute drop-in class and costs £3. For more information contact Lynda on 01424 838580.

Yoga for Men – Saturday 5th March 2016 – Brightling Village Hall

Message received from the Village Hall committee:

A gentle reminder that Jules Hammond is running a Yoga for Men workshop in the village hall this Saturday 10am-Noon.
Men … don’t be shy, you won’t be alone, as 5 have already signed up, and Jules has guaranteed no whale music!
Please see details below.
Yoga for Men with Jules Hammond
Brightling Village Hall
10am – Noon  Saturday 5th March

Would you like to try Yoga? This is a two hour Introduction to Yoga for men only. Come and find out why Yoga is becoming more popular with sportsmen and athletes.
We will learn the Salute to the Sun and how breathing better can improve your life!  Guaranteed no whale music.

What to wear?  Loose, comfortable clothing, several layers. 
What to bring?  A mat, if you have one. If not, I’ll provide one. And a blanket. 
Who is it suitable for?  Everyone, no previous experience necessary.
How much?  £10.00

To book your space please email
Booking advised as spaces are limited


A visit to Whatlington organ

As you may know, there is a proposal to buy a new organ for Brightling Church.

In order to give an idea of what is available, a visit has been arranged to see and hear the organ at Whatlington Church.  This is a new organ, which was installed a few years ago after the fire there.

We will be meeting at Brightling church at around 2:00pm on Wednesday 9 March 2016.  Transport will be available to take people over to Whatlington for the “demonstration”.

Please contact either Andrew Wedmore (01424 838667) or Jenny Yeo (01424 838157) if you are interested in coming.

This is a rearrangement of the previous visit date.