The annual parish meeting 2017

The parish meeting was well-attended (about 30 people) and met the objective of having an opportunity to hear about and discuss village matters in a sociable, indeed convivial, setting.

Reports were received from 11 village organizations:

Report from Brightling Village Trust
Report from our County Councillor
Report from Brightling Cricket Club
Report from Dallington School
Report from Darwell Area Conservation Society
Report from Brightling Flower Show
Report from PCC/Churchwardens
Report from our District Councillor
Report from Stoolball Club
Report from Village Hall
Report on Village Market

There was a brief overview of what the parish council has been up to over the last year, some information on plans for reducing noise from Gatwick planes, and then an update on the Village Action Plan.

A few highlights: the village welcome packs have been issued to newcomers and are judged to have been very useful.

We have a full set of adopters for our eight repaired and refurbished signposts (I will put the list on the village website shortly).

The annual litter pick was very successful with every single road being cleared, although there is some suspicion that sometimes the bin lorries themselves allow litter to leak out.

Getting people to adopt stretches of road for the purpose of reporting blocked drains, potholes etc is work in progress. Reporting such problems, including fly-tipping: “self-help” is encouraged: the village website at brightling.community contains detailed instructions for how to report such problems in the most effective way. The website itself will get a presentational makeover within the next month or two.

Utilities such as water and electricity: we still need to collect hard data in the form of date, time, duration and description of each problem, before we can approach the companies.

Affordable housing is on the back burner for the time being.

A couple of points on the traffic calming project: firstly the data showed a pretty small number of lorries; the vast majority of the traffic is cars and vans; secondly, calming of traffic can be achieved without the introduction of potentially suburbanizing features such as bollards or more signage clutter. There were also some valid (in my opinion) concerns about data collection. These have been addressed urgently, and I have responded directly to individuals who contacted me.

Reminder on the defibrillator. The defibrillator is of course portable: you can take it out of its box and take it to the person who needs it. Don’t hesitate to go and get it if the occasion arises. It does not require training to use it: it talks to you and tells you what to do; and it cannot cause harm if used on someone who does not need it. A second defibrillator is on its way – to be installed at Darwell Hole – and once this is in place I will see if we can arrange for another demonstration during a Village Market, to draw attention to them and give people confidence to use them.

We discussed the phone box, which now belongs to the parish. An imaginative suggestion was made during the meeting: to use it as a miniature local museum. I am hoping that a specific proposal will come forward which the Parish Council can consider.

The felling of trees is not illegal or wrong provided licences have been obtained from the Forestry Commission where necessary, and the licences are then complied with. If we have firm evidence of non-compliance with this process then we can take the matter up, but equally, without that evidence we can’t.

We also discussed the planting of non-autochthonous species in ancient woodland and here we await a response from the Forestry Commission.

Extra help in power cuts

Irrespective of who you pay your electricity bill to, your power is actually supplied by UK Power Networks: they own and run the physical cables and infrastructure.

They now have a scheme where anyone who might have special difficulties during a power cut can register for priority support.  This can include elderly people, young children, someone less mobile or someone with a health condition.  Just having one person of pensionable age in your household entitles you to regster.

Once you have registered, you get a priority phone number and regular updates on the power cut.  If the power cut goes on for any length of time you could get hot food, hot drinks and hot water, mobile phone charging and more.  In fact, they say “In certain scenarios we may also offer a free hotel overnight and transport to the hotel

Those who rely on power to run medical equipment, such as dialysis or breathing apparatus, would also receive additional help.

Registration involves completing a short questionnaire. If you have family or friends, particularly those who are not online and who meet the criteria, you can register on their behalf if they are happy for you to do so.

Get more information about the priority scheme, and register online.

Dial 105 in a power cut.  This is the new national number that automatically connects you to the power company.

Finally, if you do have a power cut, do record the details (date, time, duration etc) in the “Leave a reply” box below.  This will enable the parish council to build up a picture of the level of power cuts and take action if necessary.

Keep Brightling tidy

The annual litter-pick, organized by David Gasson, will take place on Saturday, 8th April 2017.

If you would like to take part, please meet up outside the Village Hall at 9:00 am and bring black bags and gloves.

If you cannot make that day but would still like to take part, please ring David on 01424 838481 and he will allocate you an area to clear.

Annual Village Meeting

The 2017 Annual Village Assembly will be on 10th April, starting at 7:30 pm in the Village Hall.  Like last year there will be refreshments (including wine and soft drinks) and nibbles and like last year, I think we will eschew formality in favour of an open forum for discussing what’s going on in the village.  We tried this format last year and the general feedback was people liked the more informal, social tone of the meeting, while still managing to have a useful discussion.  As before, reports from Village organizations will be available as written leaflets so that people can look at the ones that interest them, and it is an opportunity for organizations to recruit volunteers/participants/players etc and generally publicize themselves.

A year ago the Action Plan committee presented the ideas for the new Village Plan.  The Annual Village meeting will be a good chance to ask ourselves how far we have got with this, and what we need to do in order to maintain momentum.

I do hope that as many Brightlingers as possible will come to this meeting.  If nothing else, it should be an opportunity to chat to your neighbours – or meet new ones – over a glass of something.  I look forward to seeing you there.