Seen on Sunday afternoon (12 May 2019) in Kent Lane, near Hunters Farm, a (male) peacock walking down the road. Didn’t manage to get a photo, unfortunately.
Does anyone else know anything about this bird?
Also raised at the recent Annual Parish Meeting was the rather high number and duration of power cuts recently. Thanks to persistent and effective enquiry by Mr Charles Everett we have subsequently learned that nearly all the recent power cuts (all bar one in fact) were caused by the same underlying fault, namely a fault in the insulators on one particular pole which was causing the network’s trip switches to trip. Each time the problem occurred they would come along and re-set the trip switches, but the underlying fault remained, so they would randomly trip again. This faulty insulators have now been replaced, so I would be hopeful we will see far fewer power cuts in future (if they do not diminish, then we can try and summon a representative from the distribution company to come to a Parish Council meeting and explain themselves).
A planned upgrade to the Netherfield phone mast is to include equipment manufactured by Huawei, the controversial Chinese Telecommunications firm.
Documents were submitted to Rother District Council on 8th March 2019 under reference RR/2019/851/TN for the installation of additional telecommunications equipment at the existing phone mast in Darwell Woods, Netherfield.
One of the submitted documents details the equipment to be installed as “Microwave only (Huawei)” and “Huawei dish link equipment”.
The full document can be viewed here (scroll to page 5)
In a covering letter, the installers, Clarke Telecom, say “In view of the minor nature of the works we would not envisage writing or consulting with the Ward Councillors or Parish/town Council in this instance.”
The phone mast carries signals on behalf of Vodafone and also Airwave, the mobile phone service for the emergency services. The new Huawei equipment will be mounted next to the Airwave equipment.
The phone mast is located in Darwell Woods, and provides mobile phone signal and 4G data to Netherfield and Brightling.
Huawei has been in the news recently since details of the National Security Council meeting in April 2019 were leaked to the Daily Telegraph. The decision taken at that meeting was to allow Huawei to suppy “non-core” components to the phone and mobile data network, but several ministers argued for a total ban on Huawei equipment, on the grounds that although it is ostensibly a private company it is in practice under the control of the Chinese authorities, and the equipment could potentially contain “back-door” vulnerabilities which could be used in a cyber-attack. In 2012, Vodafone found a number of hidden back-doors in Huawei equipment. Recently, a US official has warned that the UK’s leaked proposal to adopt Huawei technology for 5G mobile phone networks risks affecting intelligence cooperation with the US.
The results for the new ward of “Burwash and the Weald”, which includes Brightling, were as follows:
Barnes, John (Cons) – 683 elected
Kirby-Green, Eleanor (Cons) – 606 elected
Lindstrom, Laurel (Lib Dem) – 360
Varrall, Mary (Lib Dem) – 425
Wedmore, Andrew (Green) – 369
The turnout was 37.22%
The election, held on 2nd May, was for Rother District Council.
The overall result was dramatic. The Conservatives were reduced from 29 to 14 seats, losing 12 of the 13 seats that they held in Bexhill. The election also saw the first Green councillor to be elected to Rother District Council. The new make-up of Rother District Council is: 13 Independents, 14 Conservatives, 7 Liberal Democrats, 3 Labour and 1 Green.
High Weald AONB partnership announces
We are delighted that this well-respected national programme is coming to the area following our invite. It offers free business skills workshops to local family farms whose main enterprise is dairy or livestock, whether owner-occupied or tenanted.
Several local farms have expressed an interest and we’re looking for more farmers to participate.
The programme is an opportunity for families to look at the viability and long-term potential of their farms to help them make decisions for the future. The Prince’s Countryside Fund advises that:
“68% of farmers report that they are more optimistic about the future of their family farm as a result of being on the programme.”
Seven local workshops will be run between September and March for participating farms. Topics include business planning, understanding accounts and budgeting and exploring new opportunities.
We had a very useful meeting with South East Water in the Village Hall on Thursday 25th April and a lot of Brightling people turned up to hear about the new water main and associated road closures. The map below shows the extent of the new water main, and what we currently know about the dates of road closures. You can click on this map to view it full scale.
The first closure will be the bottom of Rectory Hill, between Brightling Place Cottage and Oxley’s Green. That road will be closed between 7th May and 13th May, and again from 22nd May to 5th June. The most disruptive road closure is likely to be the Brightling Road between Oxleys Green and Brightling Place Farm, particularly for rail commuters and deliveries from the A21 direction. This patch of road will be closed from 13th to 22nd May and then again for 3 days starting on 5th June.
When a road is closed it will be closed round the clock. They say that they have found that closing a road during working hours and then opening it overnight just causes massive confusion.
Your water supply may be cut off. Each property will suffer a maximum of 3 cut-offs and each cut-off will last no longer than 3 hours. You will be notified in advance by card through your door. This may specify a 6-hour window, eg “you will be cut off for a maximum of 3 hours between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm”
More detail on the exact timing of closures will emerge as the work progresses. We will endeavour to update this web site with important changes.
(Some people have asked why the rest of Brightling Road is not being upgraded, only the short stretch from Oxley’s Green to Brightling Place Farm. The answer is that the vast majority of the actual bursts have not been along this stretch; the residents have suffered the consequences of bursts elsewhere. They have sent me a map that shows quite dramatically that nearly all the bursts are along Hollingrove Hill/Lane and between Twelve Oaks and Darwell Hole).
There are 7 seats on Brightling Parish Council and 6 people stood, so we all got elected without needing a vote. On a somewhat melancholy note, I have to record that David Gasson and Chris French both decided not to stand again. David Gasson had been on the Parish Council for 40 years, he tells me, and of course he was chairman for many years – so this is literally a lifetime of service, for which the village should be extremely grateful. The same applies to Chris French, who has been on the Parish Council for some 36 years, and for many years has served as deputy chairman.. Chris’s extensive local knowledge and wise advice will be greatly missed by the council.
The first meeting of the new Parish Council will be on Monday 13th May 2019. As always, the meeting will be at 7:30 am in the Village Hall and is open to the public, who are encouraged (but not forced) to participate. This will be our AGM (Annual General Meeting), which means that we will be choosing a chairman and deputy chairman for the year, as well as other responsibilities.
The 6 parish councillors are (in alphabetical order of surname): Caroline Croft, Daniel Lambert-Gorwyn, Jane Oxenford, Judy Petty, Andrew Wedmore, Roddy Wrenn, Judy Petty is new to the Parish Council, though not new to Brightling. Welcome, and thank you for agreeing to serve.
Readers with a degree in advanced arithmetic will have noticed that with 7 seats and 6 people, there is a vacancy for one more person. We do have the ability to “co-opt” to make up the numbers, so don’t be surprised if you see press-gangs roaming the streets of Brightling, looking for “volunteers”. Seriously, if you are interested in joining the Parish Council, do make yourself known to me or any parish councillor (contact details here).
Elections to Rother District Council take place on Thursday 2 May 2019.
The polling station for the parish of Brightling is the Village Hall. It is open for voting between 7:00 am and 10:00 pm
You have two votes but you don’t have to use them both.
The full list of candidates for the “Burwash & The Weald” ward is as follows:
|BARNES John||Conservative Party Candidate|
|KIRBY-GREEN Eleanor||Conservative Party Candidate|
|LINDSTROM Laurel Louise||Liberal Democrats|
|VARRALL Mary Elizabeth||Liberal Democrats|
|WEDMORE Andrew John Michael||The Green Party Candidate|
This was held on Monday 8th April and was quite well-attended although I think numbers were down a bit on the previous year. Those who did attend got a glass or two of wine, or soft drink, some high quality nibbles to nibble, and a really good opportunity to natter to their neighbours and fellow-parishioners.
After the nibbling and nattering we had a talk from Inspector Jonny Hartley of Sussex Police and he dealt with a number of questions from his audience, particularly about the difficulties of communicating with the police. Whether one would be happy with his answers I had best leave to others to judge.
Then we had an informative talk from our tree warden, Mr Doug Edworthy, about the formation of the “Brightling Tree Group”, with the aim of properly investigating and documenting the woods and trees of the parish, and also about Poppy, the rare female black poplar, who is thriving but will soon be yearning for a mate. (Unlike the majority of tree species, the black poplar is dioeceous. meaning that individual trees are either wholly male or wholly female, and – without going into the gory details – you need one of each to get fertile seed. Fertilization is by wind, so the male needs to be within reasonable distance of the female).
The official dates for road closure are:
Will all these roads be closed for all this time? Probably not – experience shows that companies tend to “over-book” roadwork slots so as to be on the safe side – but who knows? “Access to properties will be maintained” we are told, but this means that you can access your property from one end of the road or the other but not necessarily both, so you may have to go the long way round – and it could be quite long. Take, for example, the official diversion route for the Brightling Road closure. If you want to go from (say) the Rectory to Swallowfield Farm, the official advice is that you should drive through Netherfield towards Battle, then on the outskirts of Battle, turn left and go down the A21 to Robertsbridge, and then in Robertsbridge take the Brightling Road. In case anyone thinks it’s still 1st April, you can verify this for yourself: the official diversion route can be found on-line by visiting this southeast water web page and then clicking on “Diversion route for phase 1”. It sounds very silly indeed, until you think “where else could they officially divert via?” It would be absolute chaos if they tried to send people down Brickyard Lane and Fontridge Lane.
Questions have been asked as to how far down Brightling Road the new water main will go. The map on the roadworks.org web site (whence the above information was taken) suggests that it will be just 180 metres (ie only as far as The Forge or thereabouts). The official description for this section of work is “Lay 180 metres of new drinking water main with associated services and connect to existing main – Works in conjunction with EB007-18545404/1, EB007-18545402/1 and EB007-18545401/1” Unfortunately even the world’s most powerful search engine knows nothing of these references. Therefore we don’t know to what extent, if at all, these works will benefit the rest of Brightling Road.
This was brought up at the recent Annual Parish Meeting, and we offered to try and get a representative from South East Water to come and talk to us about the work, at our meeting on 13th May (see above). At the time of writing, the parish clerk has contacted South East Water but has yet to get a reply. However I am quite hopeful that we will get someone. If a meeting is arranged it will, of course, be posted on the web site at brightling.community.