Pett Parish Council Update – January

The council met in January. It was a busy meeting. Although it wasn’t on the agenda, it was noted that representatives of the council would be meeting the Guestling council subcommittee on the possible development behind the houses on Pett Road and Watermill Lane to clarify what the Guestling position is on this. The position of Pett Parish Council has not changed and no action will be taken until the draft local plan is published in a month or two. While this meeting will have taken place by the time you receive this issue of the parish news, any developments will reported next month.

A response from the district council to the letter sent to the chief executive of Rother protesting about the planned closure of the toilets had been received. The response proposes a solution within which the toilets are kept open for the summer months and the cost is shared between the district and parish councils. The council discussed this and a response is being sent. Essentially, the council will only agree to the proposal under certain conditions, the two most important being that the toilets are open all year round and that they are brought up to a full working efficiency before this arrangement comes into force. An inspection by the contractor who empties the Recreation Ground cesspit has indicated that there are several leaks into the present cesspit at Pett Level and therefore virtually clear water is being removed by the present contractor. A copy of the council response to the district council is on Pettnet.

Following the discussion on the toilets, the council considered the budget for the year 2024/25. It was agreed to increase the precept by £3000 to £26,000, which still only represents about a pound a week for a band D property. This is the first increase for several years and is well below inflation. And the figure you see on your council tax demand is not simply what the parish council decides; it depends on the number of properties in the parish and on a multiplier applied by the district council to take into account all discounts provided and non-payments.

Following a report from Chris Saint, our flood warden, at which he noted that, following research and investigations, the Environment Agency had produced a report that recommended that the culvert under Chick Hill from the reed beds should be enlarged; a meeting would be held with the county council to decide how this could be done – and funded. A long discussion followed; Councilors Andrew Dunlop and Andy Norcott disagreed with the Environment Agency solution. Their views would be passed on to those making the final decision. Andrew’s solution was included in a recent issue of the parish news.

You may have noticed that the basket is missing from the basket swing in the children’s playground. This is because the universal joint, from which the basket was suspended, had become rusty. The basket will be replaced as soon as the weather is suitable.

Two issues related to dogs have come up in the last few days. The first is the perennial problem of people not taking home their ‘poo bags’. If I have asked once for people not to litter the countryside with these bags, I have done so several times. They have even been found in the trees at the Hastings Country Park! The second issue is that it has been reported that someone was bitten by a dog in the woods. I understand that similar incidents have occurred previously, so I would just ask those who take their dogs to the woods (or anywhere) to make sure that they are under control when near to other walkers and dogs.

I have only one death to report this month, but it is particularly tragic. Last month, I reported the death of Terry Cuthbert; his wife Annie has now died. Annie was the Pilates instructor at the village hall and will be much missed. A joint funeral was held..Our sympathy goes to the Cuthbert family.

David Penfold, Chair, Pett Parish Council