Gatwick – decision expected this year

PlaneLanding-AirQualityLetter received from the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (of which Brightling Parish Council is a member).  The attachments that he refers to can be viewed on the GACC website (specifically the letter and press release).

From the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign

To all member councils

We are expecting the Government decision on where a new runway should be built to be announced either in the session of Parliament from 5-15 September or in the session that starts on 10 October.

You may like to see the attached letter we have written to the Transport Secretary warning him that, if the Government were to choose Gatwick without a cast-iron case we would consider seeking judicial review.  Also attached is our press release which lists some of the potential grounds for judicial review which we have discussed with our QC.

You may also be interested to see the attached draft brief on ‘The Case against a Gatwick runway restated.’   We will be sending this to all 650 MPs in early September.   Comments welcome.

Wide membership

I am pleased to report that we now have over 50 district, town and parish councils as paid-up members.

You cover a wide area around Gatwick, from Guildford to Hastings, and from Pulborough to Tonbridge.  Your support enables us to speak to Government and to Gatwick Airport with authority as the only Gatwick environmental organisation representing the whole area around the airport.   And as the only environmental representative on the Gatwick Airport Consultative Committee (GATCOM) we regularly raise issues on your behalf.

Thank you for your support.


Brendon Sewill
Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign
Stan Hill, Charlwood, Surrey. RH6 0EP
01293 863 369

Flower show meeting about the Barn Dance – Tuesday 23 August 2016

BarnDance2016PosterAll helpers / organizers / volunteers for the Barn Dance please note: the planning meeting will be at 7:00pm (till approximately 8:00 pm) at Banks Farm Mountfield TN32 5JY on Tuesday 23 August 2016.

Please note the venue; it will not be in the Village Hall.

Has anyone seen our bunting?

Message from Vanessa

About half of the original quantity is missing and we need it all for the Barn Dance.

The bunting was made by a group of villagers  who met on several Saturday mornings  in the Village Hall and made over 400 metres of it  for the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. I would be good to have the complete set back together again.

Probably someone has it in safe keeping somewhere.  Do contact Vanessa on 838402 if you know where it is.

Barn Dance – Saturday 10th September 2016

BarnDance2016PosterIt’s here again.  So exciting that we can only have one every other year (it takes us more than a year to recover), yes it’s the Biennial Barn Dance.

It starts at 7:00 pm, in the Ox Lodge barn.  Saturday 10th September 2016

Bar and barbecue

Music from Catsfield Streamers

Tickets £10 in advance (£12 at the door).  Children 14 and under half price

Tickets available from Victoria Fraser (01580 880500) or Vanessa Everett (01424 838402)

In aid of Brightling Flower Show Society.

You can print off a poster here.

Arts & Music Review: In an English Country Walled Rock Garden

Today’s blog post is by A Brightling Local Wannabe Again Glam Rocker of 1 Twelve Oaks Cottages

StageAtNight“HellOOO Brightling !! ” proclaimed ‘Freddy Mercury’ in his Wembley 1986 yellow military style leather jacket from Queen’s Magic Tour (as I’m reliably informed). Not something I ever thought I’d ever witness, but which pricked a quiet sense of pride in this beautiful and wonderful community of small hamlets and village.

The walled garden within Brightling Park, is just a wonderful venue. The beautiful old red brick chalky with age walls provide the audience with the shelter that historically would have been that of home grown carrots and turnips. As the sunset, the stage was framed with the moon rising etherealy on the left and the beautiful woodlands behind the walls glow green in the spotlights on the right. It was just simply great.

The natural slope of the land down towards the high tech stage gives a lovely gentle ‘country amphitheatre’ feel allowing everyone in their foldable camping chairs to get a great view. I’m glad the organisers haven’t completely packed the place and while there was room for more, one of the nice things was not being on top of each other.

StageByDay“Are you local?” I was asked chatting to a wonderful jewellery maker from Hawkhurst manning her stall. “A few fields away” I mumbled. “Lordy you really are local!” and indeed it is true, we can hear the music from our home. Frankly however, the bees are making such a racket enjoying my enthusiastic planting of bee attracting plants, that I can’t really hear it. Still, I can understand residents nearer may well find the noise intrusive, and I hope this review will thank them for their patience in accepting the festival once a year, because we had a ball.

I can’t claim to be a ‘music festival officianado’. In fact, it’s true to say, eh-hem, this was my first foray into the genre. I’ve done lovely classical evenings at Leeds Castle and the such, but not a ‘festival’ with all it’s preconceived perceptions I have.

Self-proclaimed to be ‘targeted at the over 30s’, this is probably being a bit generous to the age of the audience. The audience vibe on Friday night was more punks from the 70s and Saturday night one for the glam rockers. When I say ‘punks’ and ‘glam rockers’ I perhaps should write ‘wanna-be-again’, rather like my other half in his chino shorts and polo shirt…. reliving his teenage years.

Stage2The result was the most polite but immensely enthusiastic crowd. I say polite, having watched a very cheery young bin collector be charged down by a ton of audience members to hand over their litter.

Now the enthusiastic bit I will come to, but as promised a quick view of the music. While we may not have ‘done festivals’, we have ‘done band concerts’ including trekking to Coldplay this year, for the band to be less than 0.5cm high. It was an amazing concert don’t get me wrong, but one thing we discovered over the festival is that Tribute Bands don’t have to ‘look fresh and thinking on the next hit’ in the way that their ‘parental bands’ do. No, tribute bands just knock out the best old favourites and if they do it well, it’s a recipe for much singing and dancing.

And boy – the bands were great, so much so that my local Brian May fan rather embarrassingly mumbled that the ‘Brian May’ signature solo was “actually … possibly…. may be (see what I did there…) very slightly better than Brian May”. We didn’t see all the ‘sets’, but what we did was top quality.

Now to the ‘enthusiastic’ bit. The main joy I had was being reminded of how much I loved dancing in ‘my youth’ and how much I still do. The joy of the audience demographic was a complete evaporation of my inhibitions as I threw my wrinkles and wobbles around, like everyone else. For once, it were the few ‘beautiful people’ who looked out of place, not me.

After doing the ‘Brightling Bounce’ (oh yes, believe me it’s a toughy) for, well not long, it struck me, why don’t I do this more often? Why don’t we as a demographic do this more often?

GardenWell clearly it’s self conciseness for me and general embarrassment of the way I look today – but I used to dance for 3 hours non-stop at the ‘weekly student disco’ without a second thought. Boy, if I only did 30 mins just think how great I’d feel. I was reminded of the recent BBC series on ageing. I think it was a German experiment which pitted dancing vs spinning (cycling in a gym – yaaawn). Both sets of ‘The Third Age’ participants listened to the same music, but those that danced as randomly as they liked built better muscle structure and witnessed health improvements.

How much of this ‘inhibition dropping’ caused my unpractised hollering to the command ‘Common on Brightling I want to hear you scream’ (yet another thing I’d never have thought I’d hear) or the delicious sangria …. All I can say is sorry to my lovely neighbours and invite them to join me at future festivals to show our visitors how really to do the ‘Brightling Bounce’ and to really hear ‘Brightling Scream’.

So would I recommend the Festival. Ab so lute ly, and I would encourage the organisers to maintain their target market and keep the comfortable vibe if you can. As I watched many of our local businesses involved in the festival, there also seemed to be a positive spill out into our local economy, a connection that I would also encourage.

Brightling’s roads – the essential guide

East Sussex County Council (who are responsible for maintaining all our public roads in Brightling) have a new system for reporting problems. For all problems with potholes, drains, and verge maintenance, you can now visit and report the problem. You can also use this site to view planned works, including when they plan to do the drains and verge cutting. The system is smartphone-friendly, so if you see a problem while driving along, you can report it then and there (I feel compelled to add: stop the car first or get your passenger to do it).

Your parish council clerk has tried this system on your behalf, and we can say that it works! A problem was reported, and action was taken. What more could you want? is mobile- and tablet-friendly, and you can also subscribe for emails with updates on planned activities. They even have a Twitter feed: @esccroads, which I imagine most Brightlingers will want to follow (warning: this might tell you more about highways activity than you really want to know).

That covers physical maintenance of our roads and verges. Fly-tipping continues to be the responsibility of Rother District Council, and these problems should still be reported at, ideally with a photograph. Again, recent experience is that a problem reported through this system did result in prompt action.

We do encourage self-reporting of all problems. If you report a problem by one of these means, and nothing happens within a reasonable time, then do contact a member of the Parish Council and we will chase it up.

In the course of reporting road problems, we have also learned that all roads have numbers. Motorways, A-roads and B-roads are classified and numbered through a national numbering scheme; other roads are described as “unclassified” and here it is up to each council to assign numbers. We don’t, as far as I know, have any motorways in Brightling, or even any A-roads, and only one B road (the B2096 from Squirrel corner to Heathfield). All our other roads are unclassified. If a road is classified as unclassified, it may either be a C-road or a U-road, where “U”, presumably, stands for unclassified, and “C” stands for something else (but not classified, I assume). A couple of examples should make this clear: Kent Lane is the U6413 while Sheepshaw Lane is the C603.

I think it is fair to say that this numbering scheme is not has not really caught on with the general public; in fact even the council themselves do not seem to refer to these numbers, which makes the whole scheme satisfyingly pointless. For the purposes of identifying problems and plans, the council usually refers to roads by name: so – although the numbers may be useless – it would be useful to have some clarity, consistency and completeness regarding the names of our roads.

The Parish clerk has obtained a map which has the following names: Brickyard Lane, Brightling Road, Deer Park Road, Fontridge Lane, Kent Lane, Ludpit Lane, Observatory Road, Penhurst Lane, Sheepshaw Lane, and Willingford Lane. All these are wholly or partly within the parish. From my own knowledge I can add The Street and Hollingrove Hill, but this still leaves a few roads un-named. Is there a name for the road between Twelve Oaks and Hollingrove? What about the road from the Triangle at the Mount down to Perrymans, the road from Darwell Hole crossroads up towards Brightling Park, and the road from the Darwell Hole crossroads towards Heathfield? Is there a name for the junction at the top of Long Reach, where you can fork right up Sheepshaw Lane or left down Deer Park Road towards Woods Corner? Are there any other local names that people remember?

The official addresses from the Post Office are nearly all of the form “House name, Brightling, Robertsbridge” – they rarely use the road names round here at all. I’ve also looked at the Electoral Roll to see if this sheds any light on road names, but this seems to have so many internal inconsistencies and obvious mistakes that I don’t think that one can draw any conclusions from it. For example, Park Pale (near the reservoir dam) and all the surrounding houses are said to be on Brightling Road, which is clearly wrong.

Incidentally, in Wealden, I am told, the council provides physical road name signs for all roads. Rother obviously do not. I would hesitate to suggest adding to the signage clutter (not to mention the expense), but if there was a strong feeling that we should have signs with our road names, then this would be something that the Parish Council could consider providing.

Fortunately, you don’t need to know the number of a road, or even its name, to report a problem using the above systems; they all use interactive maps.