Bobservation No. 56: Elections

Elections
Local elections are upon us and on the Parish level the stepping down of Michael Trist created a vacancy which has been filled by the only villager to put their name forward, Samantha Leader. Many thanks to him for his ‘stint’ and best wishes to her. At the District Council election, being held on Next Thursday the 2nd of May, politics, fortunately absent from Parish elections, come into play but I would ask you in considering your choice of three district councillors to support the nomination of Councillor Colin Trumble who has been a very good friend to Fulking and attends our parish council meetings whenever he possibly can. Rest assured I am not recommending this because I agree with his politics, I don’t, but because I believe it is in the best interests of Fulking.

Fulking Fair Update
This year’s fair will be held without the sponsoring of the marquee by the Shepherd & Dog, because the business is up for sale and sadly we shall be losing David and Emily who have put so much work into creating such a splendid village pub. However, these things happen, and the fair will continue to be the best village fair in Sussex! Preliminary details are already on the village website. Big news is that Toby Peirce and his excellent Quaff Wine outfit will be rejoining us for the Call my Bluff on Friday 26 July.

Green bins

Green bins
If you have already subscribed then the direct debit will roll over until death. But if you are new to the village, or have finally decided that your carefully curated botanical collection (giant hogweed, Himalayan balsam, Japanese knotweed, New Zealand pigmyweed, rhododendron ponticum, spear thistle and ragwort) has become too large, then you may want to click the MSDC advert above and give them your money.

The Beige Plague

The Mayfield Plague

HDC map showing the residual Mayfield scheme after MSDC opted out

In Horsham District, the infection persists. Their Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA), January 2019, reads as follows (page 52):

This site has evolved from an area initially identified as a broad location of search following the publication of the 2010 New Market Town Study, commissioned jointly by Crawley Borough Council (CBC), Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC) and Horsham District Council (HDC). The developer has previously expressed a preferred approach for a development of up to 10,000 dwellings on land in both Horsham and Mid Sussex administrative areas. However, within HDC a development of up to 6,120 dwellings together with associated infrastructure is currently being proposed for consideration. The site falls in Woodmancote, Shermanbury and Henfield parish areas.

The site is in multiple land ownership, which may affect deliverability. Landowner interest in developing the whole site would therefore need to be carefully tested. There would also be a need for cross boundary working, with MSDC and with West Sussex County Council.

The site has a range of environmental and infrastructure constraints including an area of flood risk which would require mitigation. If developed, the site would need to create its own social, economic, transport and utilities infrastructure. Improved connectivity to the trunk road and rail network (which is some distance away) would also need to be carefully considered. Any major development would also need to take account of the retail viability of existing settlements such as Henfield. Unless allocated for development through the review of the Horsham District Planning Framework (HDPF) it is considered development would be contrary to Policies 1 to 4 and 26 of the HDPF and potentially other policies relating to the constraints of the site. It is therefore assessed as ‘Not Currently Developable’.

Bobservation 49 – Planning, Calendars & Parties

Map of Fulking with SDNPA logoParish Council Meeting
The recent Parish Council meeting gave rise to two somewhat concerning decisions. The first was an admission by one of our District Councillors that nothing could be done to prevent the demise through neglect of two or possibly three houses in Stammers Hill even though the neighbouring properties were being adversely affected. What a strange world we live in where thousands are desperately seeking a permanent home and yet existing properties are allowed to fall into disrepair. Surely simple legislation could be enacted to penalise the owner of an empty property, possibly even to the extent of compulsory purchase, to prevent this happening. Stop Press!! I am now told by a neighbour of one of the properties concerned that refurbishment of a property is under way. Let us hope it succeeds.
The second decision was a planning application to add rooms to an existing building that has only quite recently changed hands. Why cannot people buy the right size of property in the first place rather than further reducing the existing stock of village housing of smaller properties?  I thought the somewhat casual manner in which the Parish Council endorsed the application should have considered the effect these applications have on increasing the size of properties in the village and reducing the possibility of the relatively less wealthy becoming freeholders.
In addition to this the totally ineffective South Downs National Park planners have recently granted permission for a sizeable extension to another village property.

Downland Calendar 2019
By the time you read this the launch of the Downland Calendar will probably have taken place. Jen and Richard have put a great deal of time and effort into this and at £7 it is a steal. Do please buy one of these stunning calendars for as many friends and family as you can. Proceeds are towards the refurbishment of the village hall.

Christmas Party
Do make a big effort to come to this year’s Christmas party in the village hall, 6 till 8pm on Saturday December 8, and make it a big success. Children are welcome and we will be having mulled wine as well as the usual drinks. Entrance is free but please bring a plate of savoury nibbles.