Thank you to all those who attended our AGM via Zoom. It was a very interesting meeting, including a discussion between two supporters who have been investigating the pollution levels of the river Adur.
Two current committee members, Gerard Rosenberg and Alan Robb, are leaving the committee. Alan has moved to the Isle of Wight and Gerard has found himself busy with other commitments. We thank them for their hard work and involvement over the years. Great news – Robin Monk and Stan Park have agreed to join the committee. Robin was a Lancing councillor so his familiarity with council rules will be very useful. Stan has a keen interest in environmental issues, particularly river pollution. Welcome to them.
We reported on some of the issues we have tackled this last year: the horsey field; pollution monitoring; traffic count; cycle lane; planting around skate park; parents’ group objecting to WSCC decision for transport to Sir Robert Woodard Academy; the 4th arm; Withy Patch residents.
Some plans for the future include: tabards for use when holding banners, distributing leaflets etc; ant-idling campaign; asking Network Rail to erect a timer at the level crossings telling how long until the barriers go up, in the hope it will encourage drivers to turn off their engines.
We had a meeting with 4 of the Withy Patch residents representing 7 families and two Lancing councillors, Liz Haywood and Lee Cowen. The two West Sussex councillors who were invited, Kevin Boram and Ann Bridges did not attend, even though the Withy site is managed by West Sussex County Council.
The Withy community was moved from the site they had occupied for 40 years to make way for the new roundabout. The new site is in an exposed position, with water filled ditches on 3 sides which could make mosquitos a problem.
At the meeting the residents highlighted a list of problems; leakage of sewage from the cesspit into a dayroom and grass area; following rain, the cess pit has had to be pumped out 4 times in a day; incorrectly installed works in day room assessed as dangerous by an engineer; leaks in dayrooms; shards of glass in a soggy grassed area.
Administration of utilities has been mishandled. The residents were not given a choice of utility suppliers as agreed. In spite of signing no contracts some homes have been sent bills by EON for over £1400 for two months of electricity. Many were without phone and broadband connection. A vulnerable resident waited for 3 weeks for phone connection in spite of needing the line for a medical emergency. He has received a letter threatening bailiffs for a large unpaid electricity bill from the provider with which he has no contract.
No gas has been installed on the site in spite of it being in the original agreement. No accounts have been set up with individual households for water supply.
We feel very strongly that the Withy community has been poorly treated right from the start of the New Monks Farm proposals and have been seriously let down by the developers and West Sussex County Council. Residents have flagged up the problems repeatedly over the last 4 months and yet the issues remain. We have sent minutes of the meeting to the relevant authorities in the hope that some action will be taken as soon as possible to resolve the many problems. We are pleased to report that in the last week action has been taken and,hopefully, all the issues will finally be sorted.
As the restrictions are lifted, we will be able to get more active in the Adur community and, with your support, instigate some positive changes.
Some useful information from Friends of the Earth: Press control and click to connect to Near Me link
If the past year has shown us anything, it’s that the solutions to huge global problems often lie in local communities. When it comes to tackling climate breakdown and improving life in your neighbourhood, joining up with like-minded people is vital.
This month we’ve launched a new digital tool, called Near me, to help you make a meaningful difference where you live. It shows you what you can do in your area for the good of the planet.
You can use Near me to find out if your local authority is on track to reach its climate targets. You can see how many green jobs could be created in your area, and connect with local climate groups already taking action.
Just enter your postcode and we’ll show you how you can make your community more climate friendly.
We will be writing to Friends of the Earth to have AREA listed as a local contact group.
We welcome all ideas and initiatives. Please contact Barb via email if you want to discuss any issues.
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Many thanks from all the committee.
Chrissie, Peter, Geoff, Stan, Robin, Bill, Jenny, Barb