Latest News of Local Interest

Mayfield lawfare resumes

Mayfield claimed housing shortfall
The Mid Sussex Times reports:

Mayfield has stated that Horsham District Council (HDC) ‘does not have a full and proper understanding of the full objectively assessed need of the Housing Market Area’. Concern was raised by Mayfield about HDC’s ‘compliance with the legal test for the Duty to Co-operate’. The report states: ‘There is no publicly available evidence base which shows how meaningful engagement has taken place with neighbouring authorities in a continuous fashion prior to submission of the report.’ In addition, Mayfield raises issues with HDC, claiming it has ‘failed to calculate housing requirements’, ‘failed to allocate sufficient housing land’, ‘failed to allocate sufficient employment land’ and ‘absence of an effective Environmental Capacity Assessment’.

Mile Oak Farm Open Day

Mile Oak Farm
Saturday 26th July, 10:00am onwards, free admission, proceeds to local charities.
Trailer rides, traction engines, vintage tractors, farm animals, donkey rides, ferret racing, dog scurry racing, airgun target shooting, archery, barbecue, ginger wine, and real ale.

The farm is due south of Perching Manor and you can walk there from Fulking without crossing a single public road. There are two quite different routes so you can make an interesting circular walk out of a visit. A copy of OS Explorer 122 will prove useful if you haven’t done it before.

Ask for a 4×4

West Sussex Fire and Rescue 4x4
At the recent public meeting about the fire service someone asked how the fire brigade gets to difficult-to-reach areas. West Sussex Fire & Rescue has responded as follows:

In response to your question on access to ‘difficult to reach’ areas I would reassure the Parish Council that most buildings or structures (which could involve a potential life risk) are generally accessible by road or hard-standing track so we should be able to get a fire engine to the scene. However we also have a number of 4×4 vehicles which are designed for off-road capability. These carry a small water tank and have a crew cab that can carry five firefighters. We can also utilise the space in the rear compartment to transport additional equipment if needed and a standard fire engine is unable to get there. These vehicles are particularly useful in rural areas, or in times of inclement weather such as flooding, snow or ice. We are however currently reviewing the capability of these 4x4s and looking to improve their operational use and capability still further.

The Parish Council would advise anybody who is concerned that a regular emergency vehicle will not be able to access your property, please try to mention this when making your 999 call and ask for a vehicle suitable for rural areas.

Andrea Dickson, Clerk to Fulking Parish Council
01444 451 060 /

A sermon on Tottington Mount

Tottington Mount versus the Rampion trench
Readers of the Yr Arolygiaeth Gynllunio report [PDF] cannot help but notice that the inspectors were much exercised by Tottington Mount. It is discussed or referenced on no fewer than 32 pages. By contrast, there isn’t a single reference to Truleigh Hill anywhere.

Tottington Mount lies between the Truleigh Hill Youth Hostel and Tottington Manor Farm. There is a public footpath opposite the farm that will take you up and across the mount. It is extremely steep for much of the route. Apart from the splendid view to the north, there’s not much to see. You will pass a long low earthwork as you near the summit. The mount itself just looks like canonical downland to an inexpert eye. As the map above indicates, the trench will bisect the mount.

Tottington Mount is a virgin patch of Downs that has never been ploughed. As a consequence, it hosts noteworthy plant species (page 57). The works area for the trench is to narrow from 30-40 metres to 20-30 metres as it cuts across the area (page 94). E.ON will be spending £330K on bog matting and other mitigation expenses on this small section of the trench (page 38). Some details of the mitigation plans, and the SDNPA’s scepticism about them, can be found on pages 57-58. The inspectors think that these mitigation efforts may well fail (page 41). The trench will skirt the Beeding Hill to Newtimber Hill SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) with a margin of about 50 yards at Tottington Mount. Disturbance to the chalk grassland species living within the SSSI will be ‘negligible’, apparently. Indeed, these species are set to benefit significantly from all the environmental monitoring that will be happening at Tottington Mount as part of the mitigation exercise (pages 52-53). However, Adonis Blue caterpillars may not share this upbeat view — they risk losing their lunch (pages 67-68).

The earthwork is a Bronze Age cross dyke and is listed as an ancient monument. The trench will go right through it (click the map above to see the detail of this), something that English Heritage refers to as a “substantial harmful effect” (page 178). The good news is that archaeologists will be funded to root around in the rubble — “appropriate archaeological supervision” (page 179, pages 398-399) — and English Heritage felt able to rule that “the harm is necessary in order to deliver substantial public benefits that outweigh the harm” (page 178). In turn, the inspectors concluded that there will be “be no loss of significance of any designated or undesignated heritage asset” (page 182) notwithstanding the “risk of adverse effects upon heritage assets, including the Tottington Mount Scheduled Ancient Monument” (page 227).


Not on the buses

Not on the buses
A recent press release from the SDNPA claims that “additional funding for 2015/16 will deliver a series of innovative new initiatives such as .. Wi-Fi on rural bus services”.

What more justification could you need for the purchase of a shiny new 17″ laptop to perch on your knee as you travel to Horsham on the No 17? Answer: a lot.

Wi-Fi-on-rural-bus-services is crazy talk and it isn’t going to happen. If you need convincing, read on.