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Withyham Parish Council (WPC) met on Monday 14TH October 2019 at The Old Station, Groombridge

Action from the last meeting is on our website www.withyhamparishcouncil.org.uk and Facebook on www.facebook.com/WithyhamParishCouncil.  Minutes can also be obtained from the Clerks at the Old Station, Groombridge.  

PUBLIC CONTRIBUTIONS: Four members of the public attended our Council meeting, with concerns about WPC’s planned removal of the chain link fence on Station Road Groombridge. It was explained that this is part of a three year plan to replace the existing unsightly chain link fence with a hedge of hornbeam which has now been growing for nearly three years to provide a more attractive barrier. Due to the age of the chain link fence, it now needs constant checking to ensure it’s not coming away from the concrete posts and snagging people’s ankles and cars. Residents in attendance requested that WPC reconsidered its plans and repaired or replaced the existing fence. 172 signatures had been gathered in support of this request. However, as names and addresses had not been given, this could not be treated as a valid petition. Nevertheless, it was agreed to ask the Finance and Admin Committee to review their decision in the light of residents’ concerns raised. It was also agreed that hedge layers would be contacted to assess the hornbeam hedge for suitability for hedge laying in the future, which could be an alternative safe and more attractive solution than a chainlink fence.   

REPORT FROM COUNTY AND DISTRICT COUNCILLORS: County Councillor Whetstone explained that ESCC continues to make cuts to services to ease budget pressures, including to Crowborough Children’s Centre which will leave the north of the county without any Children’s Centres at all.    

District Councillor Obbard reported that Wealden District Council’s community grants scheme closes on 30th November. He had shadowed an Ashdown Forest Ranger over a large area as there are only 4 Rangers to cover the whole of the forest.

District Councillor Hardy reported that the Ashdown Forest Foundation now has charitable status so is able to fundraise.


GROOMBRIDGE WARD: Vacancy: If you would like to be involved in making a difference in Groombridge ward, which now encompasses Withyham and Blackham, please contact us as we have a vacancy.

A meeting had been held at Groombridge Village Hall regarding the expansion of Gatwick It was quite well attended but we felt it was shame that our own Air Traffic Committee had not been invited to give a presentation.

WITHYHAM/BLACKHAM: The grass cutting contractors had not been able to access the Ball’s Green Community area due to a car parked in the access drive, We have tried to enlist the support of residents to keep this access clear during weekdays and the Community Warden has delivered polite letters to residents with this request. However, as yet again the contractor has had to turn away from cutting the grass (which is a cost to us all), it was agreed to invest in a barrier across the access drive for which the contractor will have a key.

A resident had requested advice on fund raising for a defibrillator at Withyham Kings Hall or the Dorset Arms. Due to the nature of the configuration of Withyham and the various locations of population in this area, it isn’t easy to decide where a defibrillator is best placed. However, it was agreed that the Parish Council would ask the Finance and Admin Committee to consider part funding from alternative budgets or general reserves if the resident could supply more detailed information including a specification, cost and possible locations.  

MARDEN’S HILL WARD: The Highways Co Ordinator would be receiving a report about a road traffic accident at the bottom of Summersales Hill probably caused by flooding due to blocked drains.

GROOMBRIDGE MEN’S SHEDS: At an earlier meeting, amendments to the proposed design to erect a large shed on Groombridge Recreation Ground, had been discussed with the architect, chair of the Groombridge Men’s Sheds (GMS) committee and councillors. It was reiterated that there was universal support for the project but as custodians of the Recreation Ground, WPC needed reassurance that the design and location were suitable for a project that would be central to the village. Models of the proposed site and design of the building were considered. It was proposed that the conditions for proceeding with the erection of a shed that were agreed at that meeting were put to full council which followed later that evening.  We are pleased to say that these recommendations were accepted and will now be incorporated into the design and resubmitted to the November Council meeting. It is hoped that once the design is approved at Council, GMS can progress a planning application.      

NEWSLETTER:  By the time you read this, we will be delivering our Newsletter which is full of useful tips, contact numbers and news about who we are, what we do and where we could do with your help!

If you would be happy to deliver some of these newsletters in your area, we would love to hear from you!  We also have a great group of Newsletter folders who join us for tea, cake and gossip whilst they fold the A3 newsletter. If you would like to join the ‘posties’ or the ‘folders’ please contact Stephanie, our new Administrative Assistant, who would love to hear from you.  

LEASE EXTENSION UPDATE: We are fortunate to be based at The Old Station in Groombridge and would wish to continue on that site, so we have requested an extension to our existing lease which our landlords have been very willing to provide as we have an excellent relationship with them. Although we have a full repairing lease, the landlords have often contributed to the maintenance and upkeep of Groombridge Old Station. The clerks have done a great job in developing the parish office as a hub of the parish. If you haven’t been able to pop in to see our hive of activity, do please consider yourselves most welcome!  

Next Parish Council Meeting: Monday 11th November 2019 at 7.30pm.  All are welcome               

Diana Kelly: Chair.

Clerks at 01892 864557/ clerk@withyhamparishcouncil.org.uk



Withyham Parish Council (WPC) met on Monday 9TH September 2019 at The Old Station, Groombridge

Action from the last meeting is on our website www.withyhamparishcouncil.org.uk and Facebook on www.facebook.com/WithyhamParishCouncil.  Minutes can also be obtained from the Clerks at the Old Station, Groombridge.  

PUBLIC CONTRIBUTIONS: The Chair of Men’s Sheds, and the architect with whom they are working, gave a short presentation to councillors to outline the proposed design and location of the ‘shed’ which they hoped to erect near the Recreation Ground in Groombridge. Having received background papers and drawings beforehand, councillors appreciated the opportunity to ask questions before discussing this as an agenda item.

Three Blackham residents also used the ten minutes available to the public, to address the Council about their wish to adopt a small grass area on the north corner of Ironchurch Lane and Willets Lane. They wish to place the commemorative WW1 ‘Tommy’, some planters and a bench there but would need the dog waste bin to be moved. They requested that the parish council considered organizing and funding this whilst they funded all the other installations. This was considered at agenda item 5 and agreed by Council.  

REPORT FROM COUNTY AND DISTRICT COUNCILLORS: County Councillor Whetstone observed that local councils are expected to meet any shortfall in budget from Business rates. East Sussex struggles to do this as it is an uncommercialized and unindustrialised county with many small businesses that are exempt.   

District Councillor Obbard reported that Wealden District Council has a page on Brexit preparations and an officer who can assist with enquiries. The WDC ‘My Alerts’ weekly e-newsletter is available to anyone who wishes to sign up. Amongst other things, it gives details of planning applications and which bin collection is taking place that week.  WDC made a declaration of climate emergency at their July meeting and are formulating a climate plan.  


We would welcome feedback about our Noticeboards which are placed across the parish to display notices about our meetings and activities. Whilst we also use social media, we feel there is still a place for these noticeboards but would like your views please. We will also be undertaking an audit of their current positions.   

GROOMBRIDGE WARD: Whilst we are on the subject of ‘feedback’, it was very heartening to receive a note from a Groombridge resident thanking us for arranging the repainting of cast iron lighting columns in Groombridge. We are responsible for lighting columns and have to budget for maintenance and replacement. This is why a consultation has taken place regarding the replacement of the column and lantern at the corner of Corseley Road and Meadow Road. Residents were asked if they wish to have an LED light (all new lights are now LED) which will be much brighter, or no light at all to reduce light pollution. It would mean we need to carry torches like the ‘olden’ days! A site meeting took place in August with representatives of the parish, district and county council to assess the garden and hedge debris and overgrown hedges in Back Lane. A letter has now gone to all residents whose house adjoins the byway and ESCC will undertake some clearance later in the autumn.

Vacancy: If you would like to be involved in making a difference in Groombridge ward, which now encompasses Withyham and Blackham, please contact us as we have a vacancy.

WITHYHAM/BLACKHAM: Those of you using social media will have seen the incident where a resident challenged a driver of a vehicle who was fly tipping near the Forest Way crossing in Withyham. Unfortunately, with some recycling depots closing and others charging, fly tipping may increase, but we urge you to contact the district council should you witness this as they have a team who will trace the origin of the rubbish.

VOLUNTEERS UPDATE: Having received guidance from ES Highways on what volunteers can do within a metre of the highway, it is clear that their requirements are not feasible, which sadly means we cannot organise anymore litter picks across the parish. However, we are still able to focus on projects away from the highway and would welcome your suggestions as to where volunteers might make a difference.  

CARBON FOOTPRINT: We are currently auditing our actions we are taking to reduce our carbon footprint and will be including an article on this in our next Newsletter.

NEWSLETTER: The next edition will be printed and available for delivery from 23rd October. As you know, this is hand delivered wherever possible across the parish (it is second class posted only where it is unsafe to hand deliver). This means we are reliant on our stalwart volunteers who each take on different roads to risk various letter box designs!  If you like a walk and can spare some time, our Admin. Assistant, Stephanie, would love to hear from you as she will be co-ordinating the delivery this year.

COMMUNITY WARDEN: Chris Harrison reports that pavement parking is reducing in the areas of the parish where we have had concerns about obstruction for pedestrians. Thank you to those who have changed their parking habits!

MARDENS HILL WARD: We have had a change of wards imposed on us – in that the parish remains the same but for local government purposes is not identified in the same way. Hence Withyham and Blackham now come into Groombridge Ward and St Johns comes under Mardens Hill Ward. It means that we need a councillor to represent Mardens Hill ward. Those of you living in that area will shortly be receiving a letter from the two councillors already representing you, inviting you to join them.  We would be delighted to hear from you if you are interested in becoming a councillor.   

Next Parish Council Meeting: Monday 14th October 2019 at 7.30pm.  All are welcome               

Diana Kelly: Chair

Clerks at 01892 864557/ clerk@withyhamparishcouncil.org.uk



Withyham Parish Council  WPC) met on Monday 20th May and Monday 10th June 2019 at the Old Station, Groombridge.

ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN AND VICE CHAIRMAN : At the May meeting, Mrs Diana Kelly was duly returned as Chairman and Mr Paul Watkins as Vice Chairman. In accepting the position, Cllr. D.Kelly thanked all the councillors recently elected and welcomed Richard Thirkell to the Council.  We are also delighted that Giny Best and Gwen Butcher have since been co- opted. It’s at this time that the Council check the successes of the previous year. We have achieved many targets, but in particular are pleased to have developed a Community area at Balls Green; worked with ESCC to establish a 40 mph speed reduction on the A 264 at Blackham; appointed a volunteer Highways Co Ordinator; developed the role of the Community Warden and continued to support local groups and activities through the WPC grants system. Targets for 2019/2020 can be found on our website. Many of you will know, from your visits to the parish office, how much we depend on the efficiency and commitment of the Clerk and Assistant Clerk.

REPORTS FROM DISTRICT AND COUNTY COUNCILLORS: Cllr Keith Obbard was welcomed as District Councillor for the district ward of Withyham and will now be ‘twin hatted’ as he continues to be a parish councillor.

RAILWAYS UPDATE: The representative from Uckfield Railway Line Parishes Committee (URLPC) notified Council that following timetable disruptions in 2018, Southern Railway was fined £20m and the intention was to share this money amongst all stations, amounting to around £30,000 each. Eridge Station is well used but has a particular issue with disabled access and it has been suggested that those stations in lesser need could contribute their money to Eridge station to install better access. WPC agreed to draft a letter to URLPC in support of this proposal.


GROOMBRIDGE WARD: Speedwatch is due to operate again. If you are concerned about speeding vehicles through the village and would like to help us to encourage drivers to conform to the speed limit, do please contact the parish office where we would be delighted to take you through the way in which Speedwatch operates and the training involved. The more of us that participate the fewer times we need to go out on the road!

Cycle racing is becoming an issue for other road users and reports have come through of marshals stopping traffic to enable timed trials etc to take place – which they have no powers to do. The clerk will be raising this again with ESCC.  

Groombridge Playground: A Planning application is nearing completion and will soon be submitted to the District Council. Tender documents are being finalised ready for Playground providers to consider and submit quotes. Now the hard work begins to raise funds to cover this great project but the Playground group are full of enthusiasm and determined to achieve what is required.

WITHYHAM /BLACKHAM: The tables in the Balls Green Community Area will be placed in their final position and fixed. It is hoped that residents will enjoy the custom- built BBQ as soon as good weather arrives!

MARDEN’S HILL WARD: Due to the re drawing of the boundaries (as part of a national action) we now have two wards in our parish covering the same area. Despite the misleading names (Withyham and Blackham now come under Groombridge Ward) we will continue to represent your needs to the best of our ability. However, we would like to co- opt a councillor to join our two existing councillors in Marden’s Hill ward. If you would like to know what this would entail then do please contact our clerks. 

COUNCILLOR INVOLVEMENT: We are constantly looking at how we can increase our lines of communication with you and this involves us communicating with each other as effectively as possible. We have established the publication of Newsletters; a Bulletin; a website; notices on notice boards; attendance at the Community cafes; Amblers; Blackham Village market; contributions to parish magazines and social media. We would love to hear from you with other suggestions about ways in which we can offer support.  For instance, our Highways Co Ordinator has produced a crib sheet to follow for those who wish to report a Highway Defect.



CALL ON 0345 6080193 OR www.eastsussexhighways.com


Pick a category; Put a pin on the map; Fill ALL boxes including the privacy policy box at the  end.


If you cannot find a category or description that fits the defect, use the ‘other queries’ which only needs you to describe the fault.


When you receive the auto reply or any other correspondence with Ref No 00 please send to hc@withyhamparishcouncil.org,uk

It will be recorded on the Parish Highways Issues sheet



MEN IN SHEDS: Groombridge ward had a site meeting with the Vice Chair of the project to establish where it was proposed to place the shed and recommendations were discussed at Council. We have since met with the architect who will be bringing a design to the July or September council meeting.

Next Parish Council Meeting: Monday 8th July 2019 at 7.30pm. All are welcome.

Diana Kelly: Chair

Clerks: 01892 864557  clerk@withyhamparishcouncil.org.uk



Withyham Parish Council (WPC) met on Monday 8 April 2019 at the Parish Office, Old Station, Groombridge  

Action from the last meeting is on our website www.withyhamparishcouncil.org.uk and Facebook on www.facebook.com/WithyhamParishCouncil.  Minutes can also be obtained from the Clerks at the Old Station, Groombridge.  


Members of the public are encouraged to come to Council meetings and have a ten-minute opportunity at the start of the meeting to address the Council. We were therefore delighted to welcome two residents at our April Council meeting to update the Council on the initiative Men in Sheds. There has been an inaugural meeting with twelve men in attendance and five apologies, although further men have said they would like to be involved. The lead for Tunbridge Wells Men in Sheds made a presentation at this meeting and has offered to advise and support the Groombridge project.   

Should WPC agree to the proposal, the Groombridge project would work closely with the Parish Council to ensure that all requirements were met. Approval would enable fund raising to start. Local organisations, societies and individuals have confirmed they would have projects for Men in Sheds to undertake.   

The two members of the public remained to listen to council discussion and resolution regarding Men in Sheds, agenda item 10 .

REPORT FROM COUNTY AND DISTRICT COUNCILLORS: Central government is undertaking four consultations on waste recycling relating to plastics, the results of which are likely to impact on council tax. Cllr Rutherford confirmed that WDC has one of the highest recycling rates in the country, but some waste will continue to be incinerated. Where smaller collection vehicles are used for smaller roads, recycling is mixed as they don’t have the capacity to segregate items - which is why some residents will see the contents of caddies that they have so carefully separated, being tipped in together. These items are segregated later.    

The new Wealden Crematorium is offering visits by appointment to members of the public. WDC has been asked to arrange visits for Parish Councillors.     


GROOMBRIDGE WARD: WPC were pleased to agree to Groombridge  Preschool using the Recreation ground for a family fundraiser on 18th May and to St Thomas Church using it to organise a family fun day on 9 June.

The Community Warden will be issuing notices to people who park dangerously or illegally. We are conscious of the issues regarding parking that residents in Corseley Road experience, but hope that many will choose to use the Groombridge car park to avoid pavement parking.  

Residents have been shocked to learn that Burrswood is due to close at the end of June. It has been such an integral part of Groombridge life, providing employment and resources. It is understood that consultations are being undertaken with employees.

I am sure I speak on behalf of residents when I say how sorry we were to hear of the raid on the post office on 2 April and how pleased we are that neither of our two post office employees were hurt – what presence of mind they both had in summoning help. We understand that Kent Police have already charged a man with attempted robbery and arrested another on suspicion of the offence.    

ST JOHN’S WARD: Cllr Clare and our Admin Assistant organised a very successful Litter Pick on Saturday 6 April with twelve adults and three children collecting thirteen sacks of rubbish in the St John’s area. Thank you to all those volunteers. You make such a difference.


The following are such good examples of how volunteers, working with the parish council, can make a difference to the quality of life in our parish.

  1. Badminton and Table Tennis: Cllr Anderson reported that the Badminton and Table Tennis club is going from strength to strength and thanked WPC for its initial start up funding. A new table tennis table has been bought from subs and the old one donated to a charity. New members from across the parish are always welcome on Sundays at 7.30 pm at Groombridge Village Hall.
  2. Groombridge Play area: A planning application is being drawn up by our local architect who is giving his services for free, and tender documents are now being written with the Clerk’s support.
  3. Men in Sheds: It was confirmed that the Rosemary Newton Trust has given permission for this to take place on Groombridge Recreation Ground subject to the site and design, sublease, planning permission and funding being agreed with the parish council.  Councillors agreed that this project allows men to socialise, to gain new skills and to work on community projects and therefore supports it. Next steps – a meeting with the organisers after 20th May.
  4. Annual Parish Assembly: Over 200 people joined us to enjoy the showcasing of our local clubs, organisations and societies and to hear from the Chief Constable of Sussex over a cup of tea /coffee/ a bacon roll and cake organised by the parish council.
  5. Crisp packet recycling: We’ll supply the collection point at the parish office if you supply the empty crisp packets for recycling as part of the Terracycle crisp packet recycling scheme!

    THE PARISH OFFICE.  The damp works and decoration are complete! Pop in and see the difference. Meeting Rooms are also available for local residents.
    Next Parish Council Meeting Monday 20th May 7.30pm   
    Diana Kelly: Chair 
    Clerks 01892 864557 clerk@withyhamparishcouncil.org.uk



Withyham Parish Council (WPC) met on Monday 11th February 2019 at Groombridge Village Hall.

Action from the last meeting is on our website (withyhamparishcouncil.org.uk) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/WithyhamParishCouncil).  Minutes can also be obtained from the Clerks at the Old Station, Groombridge. 

SAVE THE DATE – 23 MARCH 2019 10AM-12.30PM – GROOMBRIDGE VILLAGE HALL: This year our Annual Parish Assembly will include the community café, many of our wonderful clubs and societies to tell you more about what is on offer in the parish, and Sussex police – the Chief Constable and the mobile police unit. See you there!

REPORT FROM COUNTY AND DISTRICT COUNCILLORS: District Cllr. Howell updated the meeting on a recent planning application on Cherry Gardens Hill. She also highlighted ‘Our Health Our Future’, an online discussion on the future for health and care services. Find out more via EHSCCG.YourSay@nhs.net.

GROOMBRIDGE WARD: Following a Groombridge Ward meeting parking concerns are to be presented to Road Safety Committee for consideration. The Parish Council understands that a Definitive Map Modification Order application is likely to be submitted to Kent County Council before the end of February with more than 60 evidence forms
ST JOHN’S WARD: The clerk was asked to report further concerns about a property in Hoadley’s Lane to WDC Planning Enforcement. A litter pick at St John’s is currently being planned for 6th April, we would welcome all volunteers on the day.
WITHYHAM/BLACKHAM: Our Highways Coordinator will be asked to inspect water running across Ironchurch Lane.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO TAKE A MORE ACTIVE ROLE WITHIN YOUR COMMUNITY we would be very happy to take you through the role of a councillor and answer any questions at either our Information Evening on 26th February 8.15pm – 9pm at Groombridge Village Hall or by contacting the Clerks. ELECTIONS TAKE PLACE ON 2ND MAY 2019

PARISH VOLUNTEERS: We are arranging volunteering opportunities across the parish, please look out for further information. A litter pick at St John’s is planned for 6th April, we would welcome volunteers on the day.

DRYING OUT THE PARISH OFFICE! Works to rectify damp problems at the parish office have begun. The Parish Office remains open Mon 12-5 and Tues to Fri 9.30-12, access via the back door on the platform side of the building. Council meetings will take place in Groombridge Village Hall.

Sadly, we have said goodbye to one of our parish councillors Stephen Whittaker who is busy with other projects. We thank him for all his time and energy.

Next WPC Meeting: Monday 11th March 7.30pm in Groombridge Village Hall.
Clerks at 01892 864557/clerk@withyhamparishcouncil.org.uk



Withyham Parish Council (WPC) met on Monday 14th January 2019 at The Old Station, Groombridge.  Action from the last meeting is on our website www.withyhamparishcouncil.org.uk and Facebook on www.facebook.com/WithyhamParishCouncil.  Minutes can also be obtained from the Clerks at the Old Station, Groombridge.  



We would be very happy to take you through the role of a councillor and answer any questions you may have at any of the following venues:  

26th January : Community Café:  Groombridge Village Hall

28th January – 1st February : Drop ins at the Parish Office between 9,30 and noon

28th February : Information evening: Groombridge Village Hall 8.15pm – 9pm


Sadly, we are having to say goodbye to Gwen Butcher and Jonathan Kelly who have given freely of their time and skills to support the work of the Council but now need some time to themselves

REPORT FROM COUNTY AND DISTRICT COUNCILLORS: Cllr. Whetstone notified Council that ESCC would be considering the ‘Core Offer’ spending cuts on 15th January 2019.  District Councillor Rutherford reported that WDC would be making a 2.7% increase to Council Tax in 2019/2020.  He confirmed that Biffa had been contracted from 1 July 2019 to replace Kier for waste management. They would be deploying new vehicles with up to date technology including cameras to help monitor street cleansing. It is envisaged that recycling will operate in the same way as now except for garden waste, for which residents will be charged.    


GROOMBRIDGE WARD: Parking remains an issue on Corseley Road. There has always been an unwritten agreement between residents to only park one side of that road, but now some residents are parking on the other side as well, and having to park on the pavement to enable vehicles to drive between them. The Community Warden is monitoring this and will be taking photographs and reporting cars that are obstructing the pavement, to ‘Operation Crackdown’.  

ST JOHN’S WARD: The clerk was asked to report concerns about earth movements at a property in Hoadley’s Lane, to WDC Planning Enforcement. The Clerk will also enquire whether land adjacent to Lantern Cottage, School Lane, is common land and research the process for designation if it is not.

WITHYHAM/BLACKHAM: The tree canopy at Balls Green Community Space has been cut back. This has been undertaken with careful consideration of the dormice designation to allow the lower hedge to grow and create a better habitat. An update on the speed restriction project along the A264 between Ashurst and Blackham will be given to councillors when they meet with ESCC in two weeks time. In addition to 40mph signs, there is now red tarmac at strategic places in the relevant road locations.

BUDGET AND PRECEPT FOR 2019/2020: The Parish Council is funded by a precept, the amount householders of the parish pay as part of the Council Tax, in order to maintain facilities and to respond to the needs of the community. The budget for 2019/2020 is based on the activities and resources we know we need in order to achieve the vision in our Parish Plan that so many of you helped us to develop. This Financial year, WPC is raising its Precept to £139,306 which equates to an increase of 51p per week for a Band D property.

‘MEN’S SHEDS’: A proposal had been circulated, prior to the Council Meeting,  relating to a local Men’s Shed initiative for a shed to be erected with parking on an area of existing scrub land on Groombridge Recreation Ground. Men’s Sheds is a National Organisation originally set up by Age UK and is intended to provide a facility where men can meet regularly, talk, share practical skills in making and repairing items and also get involved in community projects. The Council noted this proposal and instructed the Clerk to seek the views of the Rosemary Newton Trust from whom the Parish Council leases the land, prior to considering their support.

DRYING OUT THE PARISH OFFICE!  Many of you will know that our fantastic ‘Old Station’ where we are based, does have a damp problem and we are now able to rectify this. From the start of February to the middle of March, all Committee and Council meetings will take place in Groombridge Village Hall. We hope you won’t be too inconvenienced by the ‘damp works’ but the results will be well worth it!   

Next Parish Council Meeting: Monday 11th February 7.30pm in Groombridge Village Hall.  All are welcome.               
Diana Kelly: Chair.
Clerks at 01892 864557/clerk@withyhamparishcouncil.org.uk



REPORT FROM COUNTY AND DISTRICT COUNCILLORS: County Councillor Whetstone reported that East Sussex Children’s Services had received an ‘Excellent’ rating.

District Councillor Howell drew our attention to a consultation on the need for electrical vehicle charge points across Wealden. Details are available at www.wealden.gov.uk/chargepoints. Closing date 18 November.  


GROOMBRIDGE WARD: No gain without pain! Hendal Hill will be closed during the next three weeks for drainage works. This long overdue maintenance work is welcomed as that section of road became lethal when heavy rain could not drain off the road and formed sheet ice in the winter months. The diversion is along the Ridge, up the B 2110 and along Ladies Mile. Work to repair the pavement along Corseley Road should be completed by the time you read this.

Such a shame that the wonderful display of scarecrows in Motts Mill should be marred by the theft of one scarecrow and damage to another. I am sure that this did not affect the enjoyment of those who followed the ‘Scarecrow Trail’. Thank you to all the residents who participated in making them.

Following a discussion about location and design with the Parish Council, Groombridge Horticultural Society is now going ahead with the purchase and placing of a seat on the Recreation Ground. How lovely to be able to sit by the tree they planted a few years ago, and enjoy the vista leading up to the large lime trees.  

ST JOHN’S WARD: Many road signs are being obscured by vegetation, but it is recognised that this is not a high priority for East Sussex Highways. Whilst it is tempting to tackle the stray branches and leaves ourselves, we are constrained by health and safety regulations,

Residents in Gillridge Lane were woken in the early hours by ‘workman’ purportedly looking for broadband cables. Open Reach had no knowledge of this and it was reported to the police. Do be aware of such suspicious activity and contact the police through 101 or by emailing 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk

A recent presentation to Planning Committee showed two trees of importance at the top of Gillridge Lane. One has since been cut down. The Clerk has reported this to WDC. If you wish to protect a tree of significant importance you can request a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) to be placed upon it by WDC.    

WITHYHAM/BLACKHAM WARD: Bin collections have been erratic in Balls Green, and residents are encouraged to report missed ones. The contract with Kier is to end next year and Wealden will have its collection services provided under a new contract which will be awarded in the New Year. This will give the new contractor 6 months to mobilise and prepare ready to start on 29 June 2019. The collection system is being simplified to accommodate a fully ‘co-mingled’ collection – that is mixed recycling all in one bin, which will be sorted at depots. More information about this can be obtained from the Joint Waste office           Tel: 01424 787234 or email: jointwaste@rother.gov.uk         

Work has begun to reduce the speed restriction from 60mph to 40mph on the A264 at Blackham. We are delighted that our years of negotiating with Highways is coming to fruition. Residents have been kept fully informed through presentations at a public meeting where Highways also took questions and a public consultation, which showed unanimous support from those who responded. Unfortunately, some people have already damaged the signs showing the speed limit and repeater signs. This has been reported to ESCC as this is an offence.   


We are about to start the process for identifying what will be required to cover the costs of the maintenance of the parish and the demands for new expenses in the year 2019/2020. Debbie, our Clerk and Responsible Finance Officer, has refined a process based on our Parish Plan, that will enable us to arrive at a figure we will request from WDC in January 2019. However, due to the reduction of the Government Revenue grant to authorities and a cap on the council tax they set, ESCC has a budget gap and needs to shed some of its costs. It is therefore in negotiation with parish and town councils over what they might be willing to take on board or to purchase from ESCC. Last year, ESCC reduced urban grass cuts from 6 per year to the statutory minimum of 2 and asked us if we would like to purchase other cuts, but we couldn’t afford it. Now we are being asked to consider this for 2019/2020.

We are looking to ways of minimising the effect on our Precept – perhaps by sharing costs with other parishes and setting up our own independent services, but there will be some tough decisions to make in the future.    


Our Autumn newsletter should be with you shortly. Thanks to our folders and our deliverers, every household in the parish will receive a copy. It’s packed with information about the people who work for you, and with us, to ensure this is a great parish in which to live. Feedback is always welcome.     

Next Parish Council Meeting: Monday 12 November at 7.30pm.  All are welcome               




AFFORDABLE WARMTH STRATEGY: Justin Bailey, Home Energy Efficiency Officer, had been invited to outline Wealden’s ‘Affordable Warmth Strategy’. Across the District, 8.5% of homes are fuel poor but in this Ward of the District, the figure is 11.7% making it the second most fuel poor district in Wealden – which was alarming news to councillors. There are various reasons for this but mainly because families and some elderly people have to decide their priority between buying food and turning on the heating (if they have heating installed). WDC offers support with cutting costs of fuel bills and identifying grants for improvements to make homes more efficient. The parish council was asked to assist in publicising WDC’s support and referral pathway for those who would benefit from advice and financial assistance.

REPORT FROM COUNTY AND DISTRICT COUNCILLORS: County Councillor Whetstone reported that the Boundary Commission parliamentary boundary proposals have been submitted, recommending a new area ‘Tunbridge Wells and Crowborough.’    

District Councillor Rutherford reported, by email, that Keir continues to miss bin collections in the parish. WDC levels a financial penalty on Kier for their under-performance but can only charge Kier for their failures if they know about them. It is very important that you inform WDC if your bin is not being emptied. Your reports can be made via the website or by telephone to WDC but MUST be made within 24 hours of the missed collection. 


GROOMBRIDGE WARD: The recycling centre in Groombridge Village Hall car park is being misused by people dumping all types of general rubbish in the entrance to the recycling bins. Missed collections by Kier of the bins dedicated to glass, paper, tins etc  have exacerbated the problem. WDC has arranged to clear this site and will be monitoring the situation. 

Groombridge Pre School has requested a small area at the edge of the Recreation Ground for the children to use during forest school activities. The Clerk and Cllr Di Kelly would be meeting a pre-school representative to consider a site and the agreement re. usage would be reviewed termly. This novel use of part of a community space by young children was warmly welcomed.

ST JOHN’S WARD: A broken down recycling lorry has caused an oil slick on School Lane. Despite WDC attempting a clean- up, there is still staining to the road. The Clerk will report this and request a top up to the grit bin, as this was used initially to cover the oil.

WPC had received a request from members of the pre-school at the Reading Room to surface the informal tracks across the Reading Room land to access the building. Site visits with councillors had taken place and consideration had been given to different types of surfacing and the natural appearance of the site. However, councillors agreed that any surfacing would alter the character of the land and that it would be much better if access to the Reading Room continued to be via the perimeter path and drive.  

WITHYHAM/BLACKHAM WARD: Councillors were concerned with the quality of mowing at Balls Green Community area and queried if a mower with a mulcher could be used. The owner of the fence that leans into the Balls Green Community area has agreed to fix it.     

COMMUNITY WARDEN REPORT: This had been circulated prior to the meeting. The Community Warden had been monitoring traffic and parking at St Michael’s school, Withyham, and reported back to the Road Safety Committee. His presence had been much appreciated by parents and the headteacher and it was agreed to undertake similar patrols outside the other two primary schools in the parish during his early shifts. 

Parking near the Victoria roundabout in Groombridge remains an issue for pedestrians and road users and councillors were pleased that this was being monitored.


The monthly Community Café continues to be a great success with organisations queueing to have their turn to host the Saturday morning. Do come along for a coffee or tea between 10 am and 12 noon when refreshments are served, and you can chat to friends. A parish councillor is also on hand to answer questions and explain our work.


We are currently looking for a volunteer co-ordinator who will work alongside the parish clerks and the leads of volunteering projects to recruit and manage volunteers. Time commitment is flexible but ideally we are looking for someone to undertake this role at least 1 day a week. If you are interested helping the parish council develop new volunteering opportunities do please contact us – our details are below.

SPEEDWATCH: Further sessions have been undertaken and more are planned. We do need more volunteers.  Online training is available.

RESIDENTS’ WELCOME PACK: Many residents moving into the area have asked where they can seek information about key contacts in the parish and so we have designed our own Residents’ pack which consists of a Welcome Card and information leaflet which we intend councillors to take with them when they greet new residents. More detailed information will be on our website. These packs will be available shortly.

Next Parish Council Meeting: Monday 8 October at 7.30pm.  All are welcome



Withyham Parish Council (WPC) met on Monday 9TH July  2018 at The Old Station, Groombridge. Action from the last meeting is on our website www.withyhamparishcouncil.org.uk and Facebook on www.facebook.com/WithyhamParishCouncil.  Minutes can also be obtained from the Clerks at the Old Station, Groombridge.  

REPORT FROM COUNTY AND DISTRICT COUNCILLORS: County Councillor Whetstone outlined the budget cuts that will take place between 2019 and 2021, in response to £82m less income. £17m cuts have already been made this year with £10m achieved from adult social care by amalgamating two sites and reducing outreach activities. East Sussex has the second highest number of over 85 year olds of all counties. It is hoped that additional council tax from new builds will help but £46m of extra cuts are to be expected. Grass cutting has been reduced from 6 cuts to 2 cuts per year. ESCC is unable to provide more except at dangerous junctions. Concern was expressed about how the contractors’ equipment will cope with the length of grass when it is cut.

Councillors expressed their frustration about this and about the public consultation on the closure of recycling centres at Wadhurst and Forest Row as it was felt that the opinions expressed by the public were not taken into account.  

District Councillor Rutherford reported back on Keir and the missed bin collections in the parish. They no longer achieve the target of 100 or less missed bins – the average being 300-400 missed bins per week. Last week 1000 bins were missed due to broken down vehicles and crew absences. They were fined by Wealden District Council (WDC). We would like you to report any missed bin collections to WDC so that Keir’s performance may be monitored.


GROOMBRIDGE WARD: The May Fair has now replaced the fence post which was removed for safety reasons on the day of the May Fair. Advice is being sought on access requirements for future events. Overgrown grass and hedge at the railway bridge has been reported by the Community Warden as it completely hides a driver’s view of the Twitten gate and of exiting pedestrian who, in turn, have difficulties seeing if cars are approaching.

Groombridge Playground: The next meeting of the refurbishment group will take place on Wednesday 18th July where they will be considering a proposed action plan and looking at the next stages in the planning of the renewal. Hopefully under Sarah Cooper’s lively auspices tasks may start to be allocated to move the project forward. Lots of children are anticipating the outcome with glee!

ST JOHN’S WARD: An accident was reported on Gillridge lane bridleway where a cyclist came off his bike. ESCC had been informed of the incident and asked for clarification on its liabilities.  

WITHYHAM/BLACKHAM WARD: A car accident had occurred involving a deer on Ladies Mile due to the long grass obscuring the view – do please be alert to the possibility of deer throughout the parish who now have the added camouflage created by the long grass verges, which prevents drivers from seeing them until the last minute.  

Some graffiti has appeared on the telephone box at Balls Green which the residents had requested be purchased from BT by WPC for their adaptation to other uses such as a book exchange/ plant swap kiosk etc. A pane of glass now needs replacing.     


The WPV group has been meeting to review volunteering in the parish. It is currently looking at tasks needed to be undertaken in the parish and ways of managing those who have volunteered to commit some of their time and their skills/experience to completing these tasks. There is so much to do and there are only 13 of us on the Council so we really value offers from you to work with us. We are currently considering looking for a volunteer co-ordinator who will work alongside the parish clerks and the leads of volunteering projects to recruit and manage volunteers. Time commitment is flexible but ideally we are looking for someone to undertake this role at least 1 day a week. If you are interested helping the parish council develop new volunteering opportunities do please contact us – our details are below.    



I would like to thank fellow councillors for placing their faith in me for another term of office.

This last year has been a varied and busy one for Withyham Parish Council, with so many councillors taking on additional activities and initiatives as well as engaging in the day to day functions of the Council. The clerks have, as usual, worked hard to support and help drive through the projects and activities we have identified in our 5 Year Parish Plan and more. 

Voluntary work such as this is becoming increasingly important within the community, but at the same time extremely demanding on time and energy. I am delighted that despite increasing demands on our lives, thirteen of us have made a commitment to invest time as councillors. We welcomed our newest councillor, Linsey, last year and she is already drawing on her knowledge of voluntary working and other particular skills in support of the parish. You will have already noted the team work that is the foundation of all our activities, and this runs through the various committees headed up by Nick Anderson re. Air Traffic; Marcus Tarling re. Planning; Anne Jenkins re. Finance and Administration; and the members of the public who chair Road Safety and Rights of Way.  Voluntary work is becoming increasingly important within the community and councillors have all set a very good example of how this can benefit residents. Thank you all of you.

It is important that we review the outcome of the hard work over the year to enable us to take stock of what we have achieved, and check that we are making a difference. This should help us sustain our enthusiasm and energy for this year and into 2019!


We have:     

  • Secured the lease of the Groombridge Recreation Ground to incorporate the Guide hut and Cricket Club lease, for which they will now only be required to provide a single peppercorn each to cover the rent
  • Provided a grant to enable the Scouts to purchase a shipping container for storage on Groombridge Cricket Ground
  • Earmarked reserves to support the refurbishment of Groombridge Playground and provided councillor support at meetings
  • Invested money and a significant amount of volunteer and councillor time in developing the Balls Green Community Area which had its inauguration on Saturday in celebration of the Royal wedding
  • Supported the activities of the Road Safety Committee in identifying priorities for this year in particular 1)  a speed reduction on the A 264 2) a Road safety Campaign in conjunction with the Fire service and Crowborough Town Council 3) the establishment of a Speedwatch team and 4) exploring the role of a Highways Co-ordinator
  • Invested in a Community Warden, shared with Forest Row to undertake neighbourhood patrolling and engage in neighbourhood issues such as parking, speeding through villages and neighbourhood disputes.
  • Appointed a new Parish Maintenance person, who is already making a difference to the appearance of our roads and pavements.
  • Supported the Amblers who meet up once a month to walk the paths in the parish
  • Worked with members of the ROW Committee to plan and carry out a Boundary Walk covering 26 miles
  • Found a very successful formula for running the Annual Parish Assembly in conjunction with the Community Café
  • Established a link with Gatwick, responded to consultations and now awaiting the possibility of having an aircraft Monitor in the parish 
  • Streamlined the way in which the Planning Committee works in terms of studying all applications on line, enabling residents to contribute before meetings and getting Minutes and recommendations into WDC on time
  • Worked up a dossier on Streetlights regarding number, location and condition to enable a rota of maintenance and costings to be identified
  • Produced our 12th Issue of the WPC Newsletter
  • Produced a directory of local groups, organisations and associations
  • Supported the building of a Neighbourhood Watch network
  • Expanded the routes of communication for the pubic to use to contact WPC – improved website, social media and newsletters
  • Developed a Youth Initiative in Groombridge.

TARGETS FOR 2018/2019

  • Support the Assistant Clerk to achieve a CiLCA qualification
  • Support Groombridge Playground Refurbishment
  • Achieve and celebrate measures to reduce speed limits and installation of signage and road markings along the A 264
  • Carry out a review of the Clerks’ workload and respond to findings
  • Produce a Welcome pack for new and existing residents
  • Appoint a Tree Warden
  • Deal with the Damp in the Parish Office
  • Review what WPC currently purchases from County and District Council and consider if there are more economical and effective ways of doing this eg grass cutting
  • Consider and identify the most appropriate way of supporting the clerks during lone working eg a What’s App; panic button etc
  • Support ward chairs working with the resident who leads in Community Resilience
  • Consider the future of Groombridge Youth Project in conjunction with St Thomas church
  • Produce WPC Newsletter Issues 13 and 14
  • Continue supporting community initiatives through WPC’s grant procedure.

WPC cannot work in isolation to achieve these targets, which is why we strive to touch base regularly with the churches, schools, organisation and associations in the parish and with ESCC and WDC through their councillors –  my thanks to County Cllr Whetstone and to District Councillors William Rutherford and Johanna Howell for their advice and support.

I mentioned team work amongst councillors at the beginning of this acceptance. None of this could take place without the dedication and commitment of the team who cover the office between them every day of the week.  I would like to thank both clerks for all their hard work in dealing with not only the day to day running of the council but with all of our projects which we generate, but I know they love.  I couldn’t operate without them, and I know you have all had cause to be thankful to them for their willingness to help. We are the envy of many parish councils with whom they network through their clerks. Every penny spent on their training is so worthwhile .... we now have our Assistant Clerk undertaking her CiLCA under the guidance of our Clerk, who achieved hers last year.  

On a personal note I would like to thank Anne in her capacity as Vice Chair, for her cheerful and consistent support to me. It has been so rewarding working with her and knowing that she shares my enthusiasm for the projects WPC undertakes and for getting the processes right, so we can pride ourselves on being fair and democratic in our approach. Her move will be our loss but we wish her every happiness in her new venture.

Now I need to draw your attention to the Code of Conduct adopted by Withyham Parish Council and assure you that I will abide by it.

I would like to say that I am fully committed to continue to undertake the duties of Chairman of WPC to the very best of my ability and in accordance with the guidance given by the National Association of Local Councils on a non-political basis.

Diana Kelly


Withyham Parish Council (WPC) met on Monday 9th April  2018 at The Old Station, Groombridge

Action from the last meeting is on our website www.withyhamparishcouncil.org.uk and Facebook on www.facebook.com/WithyhamParishCouncil.  Minutes can also be obtained.

COMMUNITY CAFÉ AND ANNUAL PARISH ASSEMBLY (APA)  This was a great success. Feedback from clubs and societies who participated and those who joined us for coffee and cake and to wander around the stalls buying honey, discussing events put on by RSPB, chatting over the enjoyment of playing cricket and bowls and investing in books about the history of our parish was very positive. It has has led us to agree that this should be the format for our APA in 2019. So, we have secured the slot for the Community café and the APA next year. It gave everyone the opportunity to talk to us about issues in the parish and for us to celebrate the successes we have had with managing the parish on your behalf. Thank you to all those who provided such delicious cakes and savouries – the bacon rolls were extremely popular!  


GROOMBRIDGE WARD: The compost bins on the Recreation ground are overflowing. The Parish Maintenance man is to be asked to review the situation and make recommendations.

Speedwatch is up and running, with an initial 6 sessions having been run in March, which resulted in 10 letters being sent to drivers who were exceeding the speed limit. Further sessions have been booked (and no we’re not telling you where these will be!) Thank you to the volunteers who manned Speedwatch in Groombridge. It is intended to roll this out across the parish, but we need more residents to undertake this very important role. Training will be provided. It was agreed that Speedwatch should be a standing item on the Council agenda.       

ST JOHN’S WARD: Water continues to run from the car park at Forest Fold Baptist church onto the Highway which could cause a hazard to drivers. Clerk will advise Highways. A request was made for Ward Chairs to store some litter picking equipment at home to tackle the litter as and when required, rather than wait for the WPC annual Litterpick event!  

WITHYHAM/BLACKHAM WARD: WPC is very pleased that its efforts to secure some traffic calming along the A 264 in Blackham may be coming to fruition. We have been working closely with the Senior Road Safety officer at ESCC, and, as a result of many meetings, site meetings and discussion, we are now facilitating a meeting on April 18th 7pm in Blackham Village Hall to enable ESCC to present to residents its proposals for a speed limit reduction on the Blackham section of the A 264. A period of public consultation will follow.

A fingerpost that had been damaged in Blackham is now in the parish office occupying the large meeting room!

BALLS GREEN COMMUNITY SPACE: The picnic tables have been delivered but now require fixings to secure them to the BBQ area. Possible shelters for activities such as Bushcraft are being investigated. It was agreed to aim for the second Bank Holiday in May to complete and open the Community area. Thank you again to the few volunteers who have given up so much of their time on this project.


A draft response had been circulated prior to the meeting and, following some slight amendments with headings, it was agreed that this would be sent to ESCC. It will be available on WPC’s website.

NOISE MONITOR PROPOSAL: WPC’s Air Traffic Committee has identified two possible sites for a noise monitor and requested one from Gatwick at no cost to the community.  

OUR WATCH (COMMUNITY WARDEN) The Community Warden, Chris Harrison, is making progress working with Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinators to expand the scheme in the community. He attended the Blackham market and the Annual Parish Assembly/Community Café where he took questions from residents and offered advice. Residents can contact him on the Clerk’s email address, or on Chris’ dedicated mobile 07734 392141.  

GRANTS FROM WPC: The Council has been running a Grant scheme for some years to enable organisations in the parish to contribute to the welfare of the community. Grants do not exceed £2000 and applicants must complete a grant application and provide relevant financial information to the Finance and Administration (F and A) Committee which meets 4 times a year. Recommendations from the F and A were considered and agreed as follows:

Samaritans   £175 for Service provision

Ashdown Conservators  £1,000  towards maintenance of the East Chase

Blackham Village Hall  £1,508  - 50% of costs of replacement windows

Blackham Village Hall  £0  WPC does not support retrospective payments, and, regrettably was unable to fund £355 for a replacement fridge larder that had already been purchased and installed.

Ashurst and Blackham Sportsground Association £0 WPC was unable to support £2,500 towards play equipment

Groombridge Village Hall £ 900 towards the creation of a library

Groombridge Sportsground Association  £1,000 towards the relaying and repair of the car park at the Tanyard subject to a condition that the car park remains free to users and payment is made once partnership funding is received.

Further grants will be considered by the F and A Committee on 28 May 2018

GROOMBRIDGE PLAYGROUND RENEWAL (GPR): At the March meeting, a 3 year plan was agreed with target completion 2020 subject to fundraising and the leaseholders approval. Fund raising events to be decided at the next meeting so bring your ideas along – none too small or unusual to be considered! Anyone wishing to volunteer to help is welcome. Details of contacts are in our WPC newsletter and on the WPC website. 

GENERAL DATA PROTECTION REGULATIONS (GDPR) : The Clerk had purchased councillor email addresses. Once a policy is in place, these along with instructions will be issued to avoid councillors using their own personal email addresses. Information can be found at ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/, particularly the guide ‘12 Steps To Take Now’.

WEALDLINK: Volunteer drivers needed - if you are interested, please contact them on 4weald.co.uk/ or 01892 771332.

Next Parish Council Meeting: Monday 21st May 2018 at 7.30pm 

Diana Kelly: Chair         Anne Jenkins: Vice Chair

Clerks at 01892 864557/ clerk@withyhamparishcouncil.org.uk


Withyham Parish Council (WPC) met on Monday 12th  March  2018 at The Old Station, Groombridge

Action from the last meeting is on our website www.withyhamparishcouncil.org.uk and Facebook on www.facebook.com/WithyhamParishCouncil.  Minutes can also be obtained

COMMUNITY WARDEN: Chris Harrison, the Community Warden, provided a written report for Council to consider. He has responded to a wide variety of issues that have been concerning residents across the parish from attempted scams to parking outside schools.  He will also be working with Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinators to expand the scheme in the community. Chris’ report will be available to the public upon request. He will also be attending the Blackham market and the Annual Parish Assembly/Community Cafe. Residents can contact him on the Clerk’s email address, or on Chris’ dedicated mobile 07734 392141.


GROOMBRIDGE WARD: The street light on the Victoria roundabout has been replaced following a meeting between ESCC and WPC.  Reports were received of accidents on Hendal Hill due to frozen water on the road during the very cold weather. The Clerks had reported this issue a number of times. The Community Warden has been asked to look at the overhanging hedge and the cars parked on the pavement near the Victoria Roundabout and to refer them to Operation Crackdown. This issue had frequently been raised at Road Safety Committee, and discussed with ESCC representatives, without any satisfactory action.   

ST JOHN’S WARD: Another tree had fallen across wires in St John’s Road but had been cut, presumably by the Conservators.  School Lane had been impassable in the snow, but residents had helped vulnerable neighbours.

WITHYHAM/BLACKHAM WARD: There had been another road traffic incident accident at the junction of the A264/Ironchurch Lane. The Assistant Clerk had reported it to ES Highways and requested an update on proposals for road safety measures, but the process is likely to take time. Once agreed there will be a period of consultation, and the Road Safety Committee would meet with residents to assist them in this.

It was noted that a fingerpost had been damaged which the Clerk has reported to insurers

BALLS GREEN COMMUNITY SPACE:   The picnic tables have been ordered and will be installed when the weather allows! The final phase will include the erection of a shelter for activities such as Bushcraft.  We would welcome some help from residents in Balls Green to complete this project, so that we may join with you all for a celebration of the development of this community space. It is a real tribute to the few volunteers who have given up so much of their time on this project.


The Parish Council has agreed to respond as a body to the consultation on the future of Household Waste Recycling Sites by ESCC. The County Council is proposing

-       The introduction of charging for certain waste types that are not ‘household waste’ such as rubble, soil, tyres and asbestos  

-       The possible closure of the part-time recycling sites at Forest Row and Wadhurst

-       A review of recycling opening hours

NOISE MONITOR PROPOSAL: An opportunity has been made available by Gatwick for parish councils to request a noise monitor of overhead aircraft at no cost, within certain guidelines. WPC’s Air Traffic Committee has identified two possible sites for this monitor which have been put forward by private landowners, and could be proposed to Gatwick for their consideration. 

PARISH LITTERPICKS UPDATE: The Groombridge litterpick had to be cancelled due to snow, but it was noted that Sam, the Parish Maintenance Person had been so diligent in collecting litter that it might be more appropriate to consider that future litterpicks   expanded into ‘Village cleans‘, or planting bulbs. At Blackham, four volunteers had collected 16 bags of litter (a photograph of which had been sent to BBC South East Facebook page). Four volunteers in St Johns had collected 7 half bags. You are not too late to join us on 17th  March in Withyham for the final litterpick!   

ANNUAL PARISH ASSEMBLY: This year the Annual Parish Assembly will be combined with the Community Café and hosted by WPC on Saturday 24th March at Groombridge Village Hall. Please do come along for tea and cake and to find out more about what is happening in our great parish. Stall holders from local clubs and societies will be proudly showing their achievements and you will have an opportunity to talk to us about any issues in the parish and offer us your constructive thoughts whilst sipping coffee/tea and sampling  delicious cakes and savouries! No speakers – just a chat with us.    

URBAN GRASS CUTTING: Councillors were very concerned that, having already set our budget and precept request, ESCC had informed towns and parishes that they intend to reduce the number of cuts previously agreed from six to two from April 2018 to save £400,000 per year. However, they would be offering the cuts that have been lost, at an additional price. ESCC will only cut verges which have become a safety issue. Councillors considered whether to pay for additional urban cuts in 2018/19 and agreed that as funds are not available in the budget or precept, WPC would not be able to do so. There will, therefore, only be two urban cuts during 2018/19.  

GROOMBRIDGE PLAYAREA UPDATE: A meeting was held on 8th March at 8pm at The Junction Inn, of enthusiastic volunteers raring to get started on developing the current Groombridge Play Area. Anyone wishing to volunteer to help is welcome. Details of contacts are in our WPC newsletter and on the WPC website. 

WITHYHAM CHARITY: Canon James Campbell had written to the Clerk to confirm that they were now in a position to invite the Parish Council to appoint two Trustees to work alongside the two Churchwardens and Rector of St Michaels and All Angels for the Withyham Charity. Two councillors will be following up on this.

GENERAL DATA PROTECTION REGULATIONS (GDPR) : A paper outlining actions required for the Parish Council to comply with the new GDPR, had been circulated prior to the Council meeting. Council agreed that this would be a priority for the Clerks as the regulations are to come into effect from 25th May. The clerks and lead councillor will be undertaking training, followed by Councillors. Any local businesses, clubs and societies which hold individuals’ personal data such as contact details should also do so. Useful information can be found at ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/, particularly the guide ‘12 Steps To Take Now’.

WEALDLINK: Volunteer drivers needed - if you are interested, please contact them on 4weald.co.uk/ or 01892 771332.

Next Parish Council Meeting: Monday 9th April 2018 at 7.30pm 

Diana Kelly: Chair         Anne Jenkins: Vice Chair

Clerks at 01892 864557/ clerk@withyhamparishcouncil.org.uk