Rother Rural Trust

The Rother Rural Trust is a fund that can make modest grants to people with specific needs in the rural parts of Rother.

In practice, applications for funds are most likely to come, not from the actual person in need, but probably from a neighbour, friend, relation or carer. If you are aware on anyone in the village who might benefit from such a grant, do let me, or any other parish councillor, know about it. It will be completely confidential and there is no need to complete any paperwork.

Changes to bus service – November 2016

WealdLinkBus2The 255 bus service, which serves Brightling on Tuesdays and Thursdays, has been changed recently.

The service will still stop at Brightling (Village Hall) but only if requested 24 hours in advance.  If not booked, it will go the short way from Woods Corner to Netherfield.  Details of how to book, timetable etc.

Footpath near Little Hollingrove Farm

The path that runs up the hill past Little Hollingrove Farm towards the Tower is a cause of concern. It is one of our more popular footpaths and in late winter (and other times) it becomes almost impossible to use due to running water. There are still in existence many remnants of Brightling’s original water supply network prior to the arrival of mains water – an elaborate arrangement of ponds, drains, “dipping holes,” sluices and bungs – all now defunct obviously but still partly in existence and partly blocked. This can cause water to start outpouring in surprising places – the regular show of water across the road between Hollingrove Farm and Twelve Oaks may have the same explanation. This is the cause, many people believe, of the problems with this path.

The solution is not going to lie in patching up the path with a load of stone. The underlying problem needs to be solved by finding a route for the water that does not wash the path away. As a first step, we are seeing if we can get someone from the East Sussex Rights of way team to come and have a look. Until we know what that solution is, it seems to me, there is no point in speculating about how much it might cost or who might pay for it, but it does occur to me that it could be a case for a community project. If we do get a meeting with the Rights of Way team I will try and publicize it so that others can attend.

You can see a very nice map by going here and searching for “Hollingrove”.

Concentrated flight paths

PlaneLanding-AirQualityAn interesting letter just received from the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign:

Dear GACC member

Concentrated flight paths

You will be pleased to hear that the Government has promised a change of policy. This should eventually bring some relief to those of you who have suffered from the new concentrated flight paths introduced in recent years.

Because aircraft have switched to using satellite navigation (like satnavs) for departures they all tend to fly along a single narrow route which is hell for those underneath. When we have argued that the flight paths should be dispersed, in order to replicate the previous situation, we were told that concentration was in accordance with Government policy: the 2013 White Paper, Aviation Policy Framework, stated that the policy was ‘to reduce the number of people significantly affected by aircraft noise.’

A delegation from the Aviation Community Forum met the Minister for Aviation, Lord Ahmad, on 16 November. On behalf of GACC, I asked him to confirm that the new draft White Paper to be consulted on next year would amend this policy to permit dispersal or respite where local circumstances make it appropriate. He and his civil servants agreed.

We made it clear that this should only revert to the situation as before 2013 (ie within the Noise Preferential Routes for departures) and should not involve new flight paths over peaceful areas. They concurred.

They also agreed that the new White Paper would introduce a new range of metrics to measure aircraft noise. At present the authorities tend to rely on the 57 leq contour with the implication that people outside that area have no problem with noise. The new metrics will include a measurement related to the number of aircraft. Also, perhaps, a measurement related to ambient noise: that would be an important step in recognition of the disturbance caused by aircraft in the quiet rural areas and AONBs around Gatwick.

The Aviation Community Forum brings together community groups from around the UK and is organised by Charles Lloyd.   Also on the delegation were representatives from groups at Heathrow, Stansted and Edinburgh.

The Government is planning to produce two documents early next year: one the policy statement on the Heathrow runway; and the other a consultation on a new white paper on aviation policy. In addition a consultation on night flights is due this month.

The period for objections to the new Route 4 will end shortly and it is not clear whether any decision will be affected by this change in policy.

Don’t hope for too much! This change of policy will only be a consultation, and it may be some years before new routes are introduced. And even if aircraft are spread within the 3km wide Noise Preferential Route you would still be able to hear them.

We may not succeed in getting dispersal – NATS (air traffic control) say it is too difficult. But we may be offered respite, that is aircraft using different routes at different times. At our GACC annual meeting we discussed whether this should be an alternation between morning and afternoon – in a straw poll that got little support. Or the use of different routes on different days, eg Monday one route, Tuesday the other; or preferably Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday – that got almost universal support. Changing the route from week to week got virtually no support.

We passed on these results to the civil servants who are drafting the new white paper.

[signed] Brendon

Brendon Sewill


Police and Crime commissioner’s consultation

Another consultation: this time from the police, or to be precise from the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner.  It’s a very simple consultation, which I estimate will take 2 minutes to read and 1 minute to complete.  It is here.  It boils down to a simple question whether you would be prepared to spend a little bit more money (£5 per year is the suggested sum) to get another 100 officers/specialist staff.  As I may have mentioned before, these consultations get surprisingly few responses, so if you do respond, you views will carry significant weight.

Constituency Boundary Consultation

This refers to the boundaries of the UK parliamentary constituencies: the boundaries are due to be re-drawn, and the proposals are now out for consultation. They can be seen here (and once you are on that page you can use the buttons at the top left to view the existing and/or new proposed boundaries).

Any member of the public can submit feedback to the boundary commission, but hurry, the current round of consultation closes on 5th December. Brightling would be in a proposed constituency to be called simply “High Weald”. This new constituency would be if anything even more exclusively rural than the present Bexhill and Battle constituency, the largest towns in “High Weald” being Crowborough and Tenterden.

The Parish Council considered commenting on the proposals but, having no objection, decided not to.

Brightling Flower Show – AGM with wine and crisps

FlowerShowLogoMessage from Victoria Fraser

Dear All
We are holding the Flower Show AGM at Banks Farm on 8th November at 7pm (the Village Hall is occupied) PLEASE join us to review the year and think about how the Show can go forward, we need as many ideas as possible and everyone is very welcome.
I will provide a glass or two of wine and some crisps but would be grateful if you can let me know if you are coming so I can stock up.
Also if you need directions Email