Horam Parish Council

Chairman’s Report 2016/2017

Another busy year behind us, and yet a busier one ahead. This would be an opportunity to thank my fellow councillors and our new Clerk, Sally Blades, who is settling well into her new duties.  Janet Fairweather is still an officer of the Council in charge of Finance which is a growing role with all the checks and balances.  Also, a thank you to Peter Carter who is out in all weathers picking up litter.  The Committee who also works hard for the benefit of the Village are the independent Village Hall Committee and all the user groups that make full use of the recreation ground and hall.

The Fun Day Committee is another that should have special mention for the sterling work and event they put on every year.  The Parish Council is proud to be one of the sponsors of this ever increasing popular event in the year of the Village.

The village held a successful Street Party to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday.  In the autumn the Parish Council arranged a water station for the London to Eastbourne cycle ride, our section was on the cuckoo line. We will be involved again this year.  Each year we host the MacMillan Coffee morning in the Horam Centre in September, so look out for that.

I have lost count of the number of meetings and discussions with Wealden District Council (WDC) and East Sussex County Council (ESCC) highways over the year to try and keep our village a village.  With the numbers of dwellings proposed for Horam this is proving a difficult task.

Planning

The Wealden Local Plan was published in March 2017 for consultation. This new document had some surprises, namely the number of homes to be built in Wealden.  The number dropped from 20,000ish to 11,456, this was a result of the work carried out on the Ashdown Forest, which showed the nitrates were a bigger problem than was first thought, although, I thought it had been a problem for years?  This has made a difference for many parishes except Horam which the Parish Council and others believes it has had a disproportionate hit.  With the small decrease in numbers, plus the crematorium, Horam, still has major challenges ahead.

It has been a busy year for the Planning Committee, sadly still dealing with a percentage of retrospective applications and there is also a rise in enforcement matters.  So please if you are planning changes to your property then a phone call to WDC will help everyone.

Last year, 2016, the Parish Council found itself in an unenviable position of having to comment on a planning application for WDC, for a crematorium, the first and only one in Wealden.  This was outside of the normal planning applications that we would usually discuss.  A far cry from a porch, plus, we had some rather contentious applications for major developments.  Some we liked, most we did not.

Merrydown (Beech Homes) is slowly progressing and will have some families moving in soon.  Finally, the Horam Inn has started its new life as a Co-Op and should be open for business by the end of the year, 2017.

Litter

I mention this each year, and it still remains a problem.  Horam has many bins and we employ someone to pick up litter.  Sadly, I believe a lot of it is dropped from passing cars. That shouldn’t prevent us from picking it up and placing in the bins, “THEY” aren’t always around to do it

Dog mess continues to be an issue, mainly in the summer when more people are out, plus the longer days make it more visible. If we don’t care about out little bit of England then it is hard to see how “THEY” will care either.  The bags that hang from trees is always a mystery to me!

“They”

Often I hear the words “THEY” should do something about it. I believe that is all of us, we have a duty towards our neighbours and family and should be aware of any issues.  See below.

Scams

This is becoming more of a problem.  Many vulnerable residents are prone to mail and telephone scams, others are liable to internet scams.  We need to be aware and take care of ourselves, family and friends. “THEY” can only do so much.

Trading standards have a project running called “Friends Against Scams”.  This initiative is designed to be more proactive in preventing a number of scams each year.  This could total between 5-10 billion pounds.  Make sure it isn’t your pound!  For information go to friendsagainstscams.org.uk

Speed watch

The Parish Council owns it’s own Speed monitor and it is used as often as possible, sadly, with these things, they start off well and volunteers fade away with pressures of life.  We are always looking for fresh faces so please contact the Clerk for details

Crossing in Horam 

The Parish Council has been trying hard to get a crossing near Cherry Tree Court for many years.  We tried again recently, ESCC decided that it wouldn’t be practical, sadly it has been shelved again.  Too many junctions, bus stops and the bridge plus funding are the usual reasons.

Footpaths and Potholes

This is a perennial problem.  We have regular meetings with the Highways Steward to highlight areas of most concern.

The one footpath that has comes up many times is from the bottom of the Village to Maynard’s Green School.  We have had many officials involved, including the County Councillor.  Sadly this isn’t high on ESCC’s agenda.

Michael J. Cousins,

Chairman of Horam Parish Council. 25th April 2017