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 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.