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’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.
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.
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.
Would you like to read a whole range of weekly magazines as soon as they come out, either in your own home or anywhere in the world, for free? Well, if you have an East Sussex Library card, you can. The range of magazines available is pretty large; much too long to list but here are a few: Amateur Gardening, Top Gear, Cosmpolitan, New Scientist, Countryfile, National Geographic, Raspi and Q Magazine. Check out The Economist, and if that leads to mental exhaustion you can relax witth Viz. If Knitting and Crochet isn’t your thing, you about Homes and Gardens?
If you have an East Sussex Library card, it takes just moments to register for the new service and you can be reading the latest issue of your favourite magazine within moments. Just visit www.rbdigital.com/eastsussex/service/magazines/landing and then “Create new account”.
There is no huge form to fill in, just your library card number. Once registered you can read all these magazines whenever or wherever you like.
These are digital magazines, or as the web site calls them: eMagazines. The reading experience is slightly different to the physical magazine; the eMagazine is less well-adapted to reading in the bath, lining the cat litter tray, or lighting the fire. On the other hand they are free, they can be read during your Australian holiday without having to lug them with you, and you can browse the back numbers without cluttering up your house with huge piles of magazines.
This is all part of the eLibrary service, and this is the other side of the coin of library closures. It is hard to imagine how reductions in the physical library service can be entirely stopped, so perhaps what we should be doing is embracing and enjoying this alternative (and in some respects better) way of accessing our reading material. Perhaps, too, we should be thinking about how best to help those who need help to shift from the physical to the digital service? Food for Thought. There is also an eBook service with over 5000 books available to “borrow” on-line.
Public space protection orders are, roughly speaking, a replacement for local by-laws, but are claimed to be more effective because they can be enforced by the police or a council officer with an on-the-spot fine (whereas by-laws required taking people to court). Rother are now consulting on introducing them. The consultation is at http://www.rother.gov.uk/article/12919/Proposed-Public-Space-Protection-Orders and is open for your responses until 12 January 2018.
My initial reaction to this was that it probably wasn’t relevant to Brightling as we don’t have much of a problem with anti-social behaviour in public places. But then I looked at the list of forms of anti-social behaviours and saw that as well as the obvious ones like “Drinking alcohol in a public place after being told not to do so,” the list does also include “Fly tipping by residents or businesses,” as well as “Sleeping or camping in vehicles on the highway overnight”.
However, having filled it in myself, I have come to the conclusion that, from the narrow point of view of the impact on Brightling, my initial reaction was right: the only place that will be affected in practice is Bexhill. But that’s just my opinion: the consultation is there if you want it. Also, note that it only affects public land.
Another year, another consultation. I think we have been here before, but here it is again: the Police & Crime Commissioner for Sussex , Katy Bourne, has launched an on-line petition at www.sussex-pcc.gov.uk/get-involved/public-consultations “Would you pay more to support policing in Sussex?”. Last year, she says, 4500 people responded to a similar petition, with 80% responding “Yes”. Whether this actually made any difference is not clear, and people may have their own views as to whether this is an effective, or a desirable, way to determine the level of spending on the police. Anyway, the petition is there if you want it, and is open until 5 January 2018,
The High Weald AONB unit has two new Land Management Officers (pictured), and they are offering free visits and advice for anyone with more than an acre of land. More details at www.highweald.org/news/2305-book-your-free-land-management-vtisit.htm
The next Parish Council meeting will be on Monday 8 January 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.
Also, 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.