Parking in the Rother District

At the moment you can, within reason, park where you like on the roads in Battle, with little or no chance of being fined. Parking enforcement is the responsibility of the police, who make no secret of the fact that they do not have the time and will not be doing it. You will only be in trouble if you park somewhere that is actually dangerous, or on private land.

The consequences of this lack of enforcement have been an issue for many years. A working party of Rother District Council is now looking into the idea of moving to “Civil Parking Enforcement.” No decisions have yet been made, but the sort of thing that might happen is that Rother would employ parking wardens and “pay and display” machines would be installed in places such as Battle High Street.

Our own district councillor, John Barnes MBE, is a member of the working group, called the “Civil Parking Enforcement Task and Finish Group.” I have scanned the minutes of their meeting on 5th October, and salient points to emerge are that the scheme would cost £560,000 to set up and £607,000 per year to run. It would not produce a profit (“operational surplus”) until year 4 of operation.

There is to be a meeting of “stakeholders” on 29th November to discuss the ideas, but I think that stakeholders does not mean members of the public but just organizations that are deemed to have an interest. You can of course lobby John Barnes with your views. Full information can be found at www.rother.gov.uk/article/12915

Flower Show AGM 2017

Jean Wood writes:
Just a gentle reminder that we would love to see you on Thursday November 9th at 7pm for the Brightling Flower Show AGM in the village hall. Following a hugely successful show this year David [Rogers] and I are keen to keep up the momentum and would welcome your observations and suggestions for 2018. Following in Victoria’s footsteps the Chairman will provide wine and nibbles to help us get started! If there are any particular points that you would like to raise please email me with agenda items.  Email Brightlingflowershow@gmail.com  Looking forward to seeing you, please come!
The Flower Show is one of Brightling’s greatest institutions and is always looking for fresh ideas and input.  Do please show your support by coming to the AGM.

East Sussex libraries consultation – likely closure of the mobile library service

ESCC are consulting about the future of the library service. You have until 17 December to submit your views: see https://consultation.eastsussex.gov.uk/economy-transport-environment/draft-strategy/ for details of how to take part.

This includes proposals to close the mobile library service.

I fear that the mobile library service may not survive, whatever anyone says in the consultation, but there are some interesting ideas to offset the closure. For example, as a community, we could borrow a larger number of books for a longer period and then “sub-lend” them from the Village Hall.

Parliamentary boundary changes – proposals

The commission that deals with parliamentary boundaries has come up with some new proposals.  These are radically different from their previous proposals, as far as their effect on Brightling and neighbouring parishes is concerned.

The previous propsals would have meant a big change for us, but the latest proposals revert to leaving our existing constituency (Bexhill and Battle) fairly similar to how it is now.  The changes are that the area around Ticehurst would be dropped from the constituency and an area around Horam would be added.

John Barnes, MBE, who represents us on both East Sussex County Council and Rother District Council, has already written to draw attention to various problems that would be created by hiving off Ticehurst.  He puts forward some strong arguments against it.  However, looking at it from just the point of view of Brightling, the new proposals mean (in my personal opinion) that we would carry on much as we do now.

The Parish Council will be discussing these changes at our meeting on Monday 6th November 2017 (7:30 pm in the Village Hall).

You can form your own opinion – and submit your own comments – by visiting the boundary commission’s excellent website at www.bce2018.org.uk/   Once you have found the local area (by entering your postcode), you can see an interactive map.  Using the “boundary” button you can view any or all of the existing boundary; the old new proposals; and the new new proposals.  It is easier to do it than to explain it, frankly.

This is the last round of consultation.  The closing date for comments is 11 December 2017.  Once the commission has processed all the comments, it wil make its final recommendation to parliament.  Parliament can then either accept the recommendations in full or reject them entirely: they can’t fiddle with them.  From what I read in the newspapers and know of the current political situation, it is quite likely that parliament will reject the proposals, so one might feel that the exercise is pointless!  But it would be unwise to rely on that – who knows what will happen?

All the above is about the boundaries for the national parliamentary constituencies.  Boundaries for the various levels of local government are set by an entirely separate organization.

Church organ

There was a lively and well-attended meeting in the Village Hall on 10th October 2017. Mr Jeremy Meager of Viscount Organs demonstrated a Viscount Envoy organ as a possible new organ for Brightling church. Many questions were asked and answered and I think it is fair to say that people were generally reassured by what they heard, both as to the answers to the questions and as to the sound of the instrument itself (and its appearance, come to that). My only regret is that the volume was turned down a bit. Unlike Nigel of Spinal Tap, we never got to 11. But as Jeremy said: there is no such thing as a loud organ, only a loud organist. Details of the proposed organ can be seen (and heard!) on the Viscount Organs web site at viscountorgans.net and if you do go to that website, the particular model that we heard was the Envoy 23-S, with additional speakers. The website also has a truly fascinating set of videos explaining how it all works.

I have also learned a little more about Percy G Beard, the maker of the existing downstairs organ, but this seems like a bit of a red herring now that it is clear what its problems are. Also, in the course of this research, I have got distracted (as one does) by fascinating facts about Brightling’s other organ: the barrel organ. But I shall have to save these for another post.

Church organ demonstration – Tuesday 10th October at 2:00pm

There will be a live demonstration of a possible new organ for Brightling church, starting at 2:00 pm on Tuesday 10th October 2017.

This is an opportunity to hear a proposed organ, even have a go on it, and ask any questions about it.

The demonstration will be given by Mr Jeremy Meager, Managing Director of Viscount Classical Organs (www.viscountorgans.net), who is also an accomplished organist.

All welcome, to give opinions, ask questions, or just listen.