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Parish Council – Monday 5 March 2018 at 7:30 pm in the Village Hall

The next Parish Council meeting will be on Monday 5 March 2018, starting at 7:30 pm in the Village Hall. As always, members of the public are very welcome to attend, and will have an opportunity to speak. Do come along and see what we get up to. It may be worth mentioning that you don’t have to stay for the whole of the meeting: you can come, say your piece and go. In fact this is what usually happens when members of the public come.

Also, if you haven’t already done so, do put in your diary now the date for the Annual Parish Meeting: Monday 9 April 2018, starting at 7:30 pm, in the Village Hall. As in previous years, there will be refreshments. This meeting provides an opportunity to hear about what is going on in the village, to raise any issues you may have, and to socialize with your neighbours over a glass of something.

Footpath 17b – meeting on 27 February 2018

Brightling footpath 17b is the public footpath that runs up the side of Little Hollingrove Farm towards the centre of the village (or you can fork off towards the Tower). Its condition, particularly in the winter months, has been a cause of concern. We have now arranged to meet the East Sussex Rights of Way team, on site, to discuss what can be done about it. We will be meeting at 10:00 am on Tuesday 27 February, starting at the start of the path at the bottom of Little Hollingrove Farm’s drive. All welcome to join in. The last time we had such a meeting there was quite a good turn-out and I think this definitely helped to secure some action – the more that they can see that people care about this path, the more likely they are to help.

Road naming update

A partial (20% or so) victory in the road-naming campaign. Ordnance Survey have now agreed to add “Perrymans Lane” and “Battle Road” to their large-scale maps and to the February 2018 edition of their MasterMap data. I believe that this data is the underlying source of all other maps, and of the road names that pop up on Satnav, so expect to see these road names starting to appear on your smartphone in due course. Ordnance Survey have not yet accepted the other road names (Hollingrove Hill, Hollingrove Lane, Long Reach, The Street, Rectory Hill, Observatory Road, Brickyard Lane, Coombe Hill, and Deer Park Road) that I have suggested, but I am hopeful that with the support of East Sussex County Council we may get some or all of them recognized in due course.

Brightling telephone exchange takes a leap forward

Brightling’s telephone exchange is in the process of being upgraded under BT’s 21CN (21st century network) programme. Yes, we are finally moving into the 21st century (get over it). I have discovered that my own landline is to be switched over on 2nd February, but other people may get different dates – they don’t necessarily switch over all the lines at the same time. How do I know this? By entering my phone number (without spaces) into the checker at www.btwholesale.com/adslchecker/ and spotting the “availability date” for WBC ADSL 2+.

Why should I, or anyone else, care about this? The landline phone service will, hopefully, be unaffected, but there will be an effect on broadband speeds. Anyone using the old ADSL (non-fibre) broadband, known as “ADSL Max” should find that they move automatically to the ADSL 2+ service – you don’t need to sign up and your broadband router should switch of its own accord, and in most cases will probably see some improvement in speed. If you get any problems, contact your ISP!

On the subject of broadband, as far as I know Brightling is still in line to get a fibre upgrade in June or September this year – with the main beneficiaries being Brightling Road and the Hollingrove area, so if you live in one of these areas it’s probably worth waiting to see what this upgrade brings before making any new commitment to broadband services. I wish I had more specific information, but the whole East Sussex broadband programme continues to be run in the most secretive way possible, with only tiny scraps of information being released. The latest “roll-out” table issued by East Sussex seems to entirely omit the whole of Brightling Village. No doubt this is an oversight – I have enquired.

Meet the Police

Chief Constable Giles York
Chief Constable Giles York of Sussex Police

Inspector Dan Russell of Sussex Police has promised to attend and speak at the Brightling Annual Assembly, which will be on Monday 9th April 2018, starting at 7:30 pm in the Village Hall.

Sussex Police have recently announced their “new policing model” – a fundamental re-structuring of their organization to accommodate the changing nature of crime with reduced resources.  I don’t think I will attempt to summarize the new policing model, but rather refer you to Sussex Police’s own explanation at www.sussex.police.uk/about-us/priorities-and-direction/local-policing-model/.

It is not always easy to grasp the impact of such a restructuring by just reading about it, so the visit by Insp. Russell is an excellent opportunity to ask questions or put points directly to him.

Brightling’s roads – liaison meeting

On 5th December 2017, a group of parish councillors met with Ian Johnson (a manager at East Sussex Highways team) and Sean Homewood, the roads steward for our area.  It was not strictly speaking a public meeting but we did manage to sneak a couple of parishioners into the meeting (seriously, I cannot see any possible reason why these meetings need to be private). 

This meeting was part of a process called, rather grandly, Strengthening Local Relationships (if you didn’t know that Strengthening Local Relationships was about roads, what would you think it was about?) and we have agreed to meet twice a year.  There is a process for reporting road problems (see https://brightling.community/village-matters/problems-nuisances-potholes/ ); on the whole problems reported in this way do get dealt with and this should always be the first port of call if you are aware of a problem. 

However there is nothing like the occasional face-to-face meeting, and we gave them a list of issues to do with drains, verges, ditches and road markings, which we will follow up.  Due to Compulsory Competitive Tendering (outsourcing of council contracts to the private sector) there is a sometimes complicated chain of responsibilities. 

For example, regular gully cleaning is the responsibility of one team, but their apparatus can only deal with blockages at or near the gulley, and if the problem is within a culvert somewhere under the road, then a different team, with different apparatus, has to be called in.  As is only to be expected, this chain of responsibility occasionally does not work as it should. 

We also had some input from parishioners which we raised with the highways team and this will be the subject of further discussion.