Crowhurst Road to Nowhere Meeting Notes 23rd May 15.doc

Road to Nowhere Meeting 26th April 2014

Present: Ann, Andrea, Martin, Willy, Bill C, Dave, Paul B,
Penny, Tim, Alan, May, Sue, Will K, Richard, Christina, Sonia, Sarah B, Diane.    Apologies: Cliff D

May reported back on the bats and her attempts to track down
who held licences for inspecting different species. Also on Cliff’s summary of
birds seen on Marsh and a format for recording them on Crowhurst Eye

Andrea explained scenes of devastation and extensive tree
cutting at Sidley (in the middle of nesting season). Andrea had questioned them
and construction reps their ecologist had claimed only 2 nests which they had
left undisturbed. Andrea had put out a press release on the subject which had
been taken up by the local Observer. Andrea doubted there had been full
checking by their ecologist.

Will reported he had seen boys throwing stones at marsh
frogs, he reported this and wanted to know if they were a protected species.

Sarah B reported on developments at Upper Wilting
Farm........

Martin W reported on recent developments with the Archaeology.
Nick had “Dowsers” back searching, they had found bricks around Blacklands and
thought there were two voids under the Manor site, one to the East of the
house, one in middle of the precinct. Want to put in an--- in a few months.
Watch this space..... Martin reported that after no other scientific analysis
Michael Bernard’s application for the Battlefield to be redesignated had been
formally rejected by English Heritage, on the grounds of lack of evidence,
although there wording was more cautious this time.

Martin W reported back on a possible renewable energy
project for Crowhurst. Martin had been talking with Adam Diment about a large
dam past the disused railway bridge- you follow embankment from end of Craig
Close and you come to a dam and drain. There is a possibility that there might
be a potential for Hydro power there and elsewhere- grants for such green
developments were available.

Notice was given of a presentation on the Tuesday in Sidley
by the contractors, but the sole focus was on the severe disruption to people
and businesses in that area.

Sarah explained the current situation at Upper Wilting Farm
where a Wind Farm had been proposed by Hastings Council. There had been little
advance publicity without careful scrutiny of detailed plans online, Sarah had
come across these proposals after such scrutiny. The proposal was to site a
wind farm  just below Markham Woods over
a site of 12 acres. This would mean they could situate 2 per acre i.e.24
turbines in the Valley. One development Sarah pointed too was that the
Government had very recently announced that they were cutting grants for such
developments. Sarah pointed out how environmentally sensitive this sit was,
lying directly within a few metres of an SSSI designated area. She mentioned
the rare birds who habitually nested there with recent successful hatchings of
Barn Owls.

A general discussion followed in which it emerged that
Crowhurst PC hadn’t been informed as proposed site is just in the Hastings BC
area. Willy and Ann reported that they had alerted people to what was going on
at the Combe Valley meeting, and people there hadn’t any knowledge of this
including the Hastings councillor who sits on the Combe Valley Committee who
denied it was happening!

There had been an interesting programme on Wind Farms on
Radio 4. Sarah also mentioned the relevant Feasibility Study by Hastings which
apparently costs £37, and the meeting agreed that The Road To Nowhere Group
would pay Sarah for this if she applied for it. It was suggested that Crowhurst
PC should pay for one, and the view was expressed that Crowhurst should have
been included in all consultations as we were so close and are “In the
vicinity” definitely in terms of who needs to be involved. There were important
issues here that had been ignored and Crowhurst PC were urged to involve
themselves. Apparently Councillor Kathryn Field was not aware and Cllr Angharad
Davies had made a strong objection on behalf of her constituents.

Alan C said he felt there was a need to protest re not
getting this information, it concerns us we need to know, we would expect the
Parish Council to find out, there is a need for much more accountability.

Andrea said she thought the wind farm proposal had been in
the Hastings plan, and then out (green washing). With the resubmitting of the
road plan was when it came in. Andrea added that ESCC and Hastings Borough
Council don’t communicate well with each other.

Ann asked for a question 
for the Parish Council: “why didn’t they know and why is this slipping
through?”

General discussion then re why Parish Council isn’t being
told, (not within Crowhurst boundary), and why aren’t the PC asking? Sarah
pointed out that in fact at Upper Wilting Farm she has to pay tax to Rother as
they are in the Parish of Crowhurst. Makes the general point even stronger.
According to law we should have been informed if they were intending to put up
more than 2 wind turbines. Dave said this should also be put to PC, Chloe was
falling down in her task of communicating with “stakeholders”.

Sarah was concerned about security issues in general and was
living right in the centre of the construction operation. One night the horses
had got out and she had to use the emergency phone number the Construction
Project had given her, this went to answer phone and she had to go out and
round to their compound to alert them. This lack of security made her feel more
vulnerable especially as equipment  was
being stolen or broken on a regular basis.

It was agreed that we should work out some questions to put
to Chloe and Sarah would brief us on the details and examples.

Alan reported on our website the Crowhurst Eye, we were
trying to make sure it stayed fresh One part of this was to make links with
other groups in different geographical areas who faced similar problems, for
instance we were now affiliated to SKATE concerned with transport  issues all along the South Coast, we are in
touch with Mayfield who are facing a huge housing development, and we will soon
try to establish relations with the Robertsbridge  group who are very concerned about the number
of houses the “Inspector” requires to be built there. Another area of strong
interest has been our participation in the proposed new Combe Valley Country
Park where we hope to secure a better treatment for the Valley than it has had
thus far.

In the discussion that followed Martin emphasized that he
felt that people in the Village had shown a lot of interest in different issues
that affected them, they wanted a reliable source of what was going on, whether
it was new proposed housing or Archaeology.

Bill Coney reported from Bexhill on plans for an Enterprise
Park, though the meeting in Sidley he had attended focused pretty well entirely
on the huge disruptions to daily life that were currently hitting them.

There then followed an update for everyone on the plans for
the Combe Valley that were currently quite advanced. Briefly the financial
contributions from HSBC and Rother and the Crowhurst PC’s role in it were
discussed plus amounts of “Section 106 money”. It was suggested that Steve
Blackford should be urged to take part because of his wide knowledge and
experience of the critical issues in the area. The issue of Rachel’s access to
the marsh with her horses was raised, and will remain an issue with the
Contactors. Sarah spoke of the extra costs of insurance in changing use from
farmland to park. One good point that had emerged from Ann and Willy’s report
from The Combe Valley meeting had been that much of the land in the Valley
belonged to HBC and their Councillor had said that despite ownership the new
stewards of the land would be Ground Works and we should have some
representation within their CIC initiative. Some revenues would have to be
generated by the Combe Valley Park itself as well as the contribution from
Groundwork. We will ask them to present their plans to one of our meetings or
through the PC. Their next meeting would be 29th May at 2 30 pm-see
Crowhurst Eye for full details. Will explained that there was a plan to have a
solar farm on the landfill site.

Just as the meeting ended a point was made about making people
aware of ground nesting birds and their need for protection from people and
dogs.

Crowhurst Road to Nowhere Action Group

Village Meeting: Saturday, 30th Nov 2013 (Attendance: 23)

Sonia’s welcome and introductions.

Environmental Mitigation and Report from Site Meeting

Chloe de Renzy Martin, Environment and Ecology Officer looked at environmental mitigation and ecological measures to protect wildlife. Cliff, Paul, Alan, Dave and Andrea felt that they didn’t take on board our observations at times, particularly with regard to the damaged green fences.  However, it was helpful in understanding the complexities of the mitigation measures. 
It was agreed future meetings could be productive. Some felt it was collegiate and informative – others that the real issues weren’t dealt with.

Sonia raised issues of air, noise and light
pollution especially at Upper and Lower Wilting. The contractor had said that they were putting in green screening (except at Lower Wilting) ,but were unable to provide information on air and noise pollution as this was not their remit. May pointed out that pollution occurs especially where there is low lying water and fog.

Ombudsman Group – progress and next steps

As Leonard pointed out, we had established that this route was not open to us as its brief was more about individual appeals.  It was felt that the Public Accounts Committee under Margaret Hodge was the appropriate body to approach. Many contributions were made
including Bill Coney, Maureen, Ann, Dave and others.

Martin agreed to host the a meet of a sub group at his house who would be tasked with composing a letter to this Committee.

Construction Meeting report back and issues

In reply to questions, the contractors thought fog and floods were not going to be a problem with the road as flooding had been
modelled on a hundred year occurrence basis. No satisfactory answers were given regarding traffic control at Queensway exit of the road. Chloe de Renzy-Martin had agreed to attend a Road to Nowhere Group Meeting if required.

(There was a short Interlude with Ann giving a rendition of Stanley Holloway’s piece on 1066 which was enthusiastically received.)

Adams and Bynes Farm, Housing and Transport

It was noted that both were vulnerable to degradation and were 2 of the oldest 4 buildings in Crowhurst.  Agreed to monitor this and raise with Parish Council with possibility of reporting to English Heritage.

Archaeology Update

Bill Coney had spoken at length to Caspar Johnson (ESCC Archaeologist) who was adamant that nothing Norman had been found at
Upper Wilting though there were signs of a ‘High Mediaeval’ structure (probably Anglo Saxon).
Caspar was very excited by the Mesolithic  remains including high quality flint tools.  The Time Team report is likely to be soon.

Parish Plan

Ann reported back on the Parish Plan Meeting. She had been asked to follow up on Environment and asked for ideas and contributions to feed back. She drew attention to the issue of cars speeding through the village and the Parish Council’s rationale about why this was difficult to address.

Website – name, content and support and Facebook

Alan outlined the new Website he had created called the Crowhurst Eye (crowhursteye.btck.co.uk) using a free BT Community Kit following experimentation with word press and other options. Alan explained that the success of our website was dependent on people using it and that all areas of our Group’s activity was listed: The Link Road, Archaeology, the Environment, Events and Links.

Cliff Dean had already used it.  Photographs with captions are welcomed.


The administrators for the website are as for the Road to Nowhere Organising Group and include Alan, Dave, May, Sonia plus Ann Wilson.

Ian Spencer had also created a Face book page ‘Spotted in Crowhurst’ which is up and running addressing all things related to
Crowhurst.  Ian asked us to encourage people to put postings on this.  It is also linked to our new Website.

The Rain Dance on the Marsh on 1st January was announced along with plans to run fundraising events ‘Spooky Tales’
in Crowhurst and Hastings to raise funds for protesters on trial.  It was agreed that a donation would be made
towards the above defence from Crowhurst Road to Nowhere Group funds.

Sussex Wildlife Trust – planning for 2014 programme

Proposed events for inclusion in the SWT programme were: Cliff’s Evening Birdwalks, Green Picnic, Walk, Eat and Draw, Archaeological Walk with Casper Johnson (Cordelia had received his agreement).  Martin offered a further
tour of the Manor House and explanation of its history and Resistivity Surveys.  Finally, it was proposed that we create and update
a list of failures by ESCC eg the poor state of the newt fencing.

Cordelia understood that Oxford Archaeology were producing a monograph about their finds. They said that no bones were found, other than along the coast.

Sonia thanked Heather Kemp for her generous donation of Reflexology Sessions which raised £35 towards the costs of
protestors on trial. She also thanked Leonard and Maureen for running the raffle which raised £15.

The date of the next Road to Nowhere Meeting was announced as Saturday 18th January 2014