A warm welcome to David Hoare, who has been co-opted onto the Council to fill the big space that will be left by Fiona Harrison’s departure at the end of April (more of which in next month’s column). David has recently moved to Kingston, but has many local connections, having been brought up in nearby Mile Oak, and educated at Plumpton Agricultural College. He has valuable professional experience in land-based industries, including nature conservation, so is familiar with many of the issues facing the village.
The call from the Council last month for new volunteers, for various roles in village organisations, has borne fruit. The Community Pavilion Committee has ratified the introduction of three new members. Harvey Martin is the new Secretary, assisted by Shelaine Siepel and Tracey Szekely. Many thanks to Bob Buchart, outgoing Secretary, who has dedicated countless hours to the cause over many years. The building is open for bookings, and there are three new groups which have started up since it reopened in the autumn, singing on a Thursday, yoga on a Friday and a parents and kids drop-in on a Saturday. The Tuesday morning coffee morning, however, has not (yet) returned. More information on its website (kingstonpavilion.org).
Parish Hall volunteers, and a bit of history
The Parish Hall, too, has three new volunteers for the committee, who will be formally appointed in the next few weeks. The hall, of course, is home to Kingston Pre-school and many other groups – keep fit, table tennis etc – and is available for further bookings (on kingstonparishhall.org.uk). It was purpose built in 1914, and has been used for a wide variety of purposes. In June 1953, for example, the Parish Council rented a black and white TV, and parishioners crowded in to watch the Queen’s Coronation. I personally remember some smashing village discos there in the late seventies. And some of you will have witnessed the remarkable performance of punk-tinged legend Wreckless Eric on the hall’s stage in 2013.
The Parish Hall is the venue for the annual Village Meeting on May 20th (starts 7pm), so please make a note in your diary. Chris Paterson, the Communities Lead at the South Downs National Park Authority, will be giving a talk on Neighbourhood Planning. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic refreshments and nibbles will be provided, so the evening will double up as a village social event. The meeting provides a great chance to do a bit of networking, then, and so is especially recommended for recently arrived residents.
LDC energy rebate
Lewes District Council residents whose properties are in council tax bands A-D are entitled to a £150 rebate on their 2022/23 tax bill. If you pay by direct debit this should be automatically taken off the bill, so do check this happens. Otherwise you need to sign up on their website. More information at lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk.
Kingston Action Group
The village would be a very different place without the hard work of this volunteer group, and – while they work hard all through the year – the springtime is when their many efforts are most appreciated, with all the bulbs planted in the autumn blooming so spectacularly on our verges. We would also like to point out that it is the KAG which organises regular litter pick-ups, which enormously improves the look of the village. Take a bow.
We are busy helping to bring to life the various projects which, after months of deliberation, have been allocated funds from the Saxondown windfall. These include various new leisure and fitness facilities, money set aside for traffic calming implementations, money for replacement windows and solar panels at the Parish Hall, and a donation to the Kingston Action Group to help them continue their invaluable efforts. Rest assured a good deal of work is going on behind the scenes to enable the eventual fruition of these projects. Watch this space for more news.
What do we do?
We often get asked that question, so we have prepared a mission statement to answer the questions succinctly, which has been added to the portal page of our website (Kingston-pc.org.uk). We aim: ‘To make Kingston-near-Lewes a great place to live, work and visit. Our priorities for 2022/23 include: traffic calming; re-naturing/biodiversity; community engagement; neighbourhood planning; footpaths/cycleways.’ So there you have it.
Do join us!
The next Kingston Parish Council Meeting will take place at 7pm on Wednesday May 11th, in the Community Pavilion. Residents are welcome to attend; you can find the items on the agenda (as well as minutes from previous meetings) on our website, kingston-pc.org.uk. Hope to see you there.
Kingston News Jan 2022
Go wild in the country
Earlier this winter, the South Downs National Park Authority issued a call for ‘nature sites’, to be included in their Nature Recovery Programme. Kingston Parish Council has responded, proposing that Kingston Parish might participate in the programme, and highlighting some of the areas which would benefit. The parish is larger than you might imagine – it stretches from The Rise Farm near Lewes to the outskirts of Bevendean – and so there are a variety of pertinent sites that could be involved in different forms of nature recovery. The SDNPA is currently assessing our application, and is aiming to discuss matters with us further in the spring. Watch this space.
Anybody who walks or cycles after dark will be well aware that, while car drivers are used to dipping their headlights when another car approaches, they don’t always apply the same courtesy to pedestrians on the pavement, or cyclists. I’ve found this to be a particular problem this winter on Kingston Road and Wellgreen Lane. If you are a motorist, and this applies to you, please be aware that dazzling the more vulnerable passengers on the road puts them in danger, as they are rendered temporarily unable to see the path or road in front of them. Harrumph!
And double harrumph. There also seems to have been a spate of inconsiderate, and in some cases illegal, parking in the village. If you see a car parked in a manner which you deem to be dangerous (ie forcing drivers onto the wrong side of the road near a junction, or on the pavement, forcing pedestrians into the road) why not let them know? We have prepared a notice you can print off from our website (see anti-social parking in the ‘Kingston news’ section) to put under their windscreen wiper.
On the verge…
One of the first signs of spring is the welcome appearance of snowdrops and crocuses forming carpets of colour on the village’s verges, banks and greens, soon followed by hosts of golden daffodils*. For this we have to thank the Kingston Action Group, who do so much work to help nature thrive in our beautiful village. They also perform the thankless task of clearing pathways, and litter-picking. Take a bow, chaps!
Your village needs you!
Are you a ‘doer’? Do you want to become more actively involved in village life? There are plenty of volunteer roles available within the different organisations that make the village tick, such as the aforementioned Kingston Action Group, the Parish Hall Committee, the School and the Pre-school. There are options to suit a variety of profiles and time constraints; even if you only have half an hour a week spare, that can be a big help. Check out our website, kingston-pc.org.uk, for more information.
Make a note in your diary to keep the evening of Friday May 20th clear, for the annual Village Meeting in the Parish Hall (starts 7pm). Chris Paterson, the Communities Lead at the South Downs National Park Authority, will be giving a talk on Neighbourhood Planning. If we do implement a plan, it will need to be supported and driven by residents… and that’s you! Alcoholic and non-alcoholic refreshments and nibbles will be provided, so the evening will double up as a village networking/social event. Especially recommended for recently arrived residents.
Do join us
The next Kingston Parish Council Meeting will take place at 7pm on March 9th, in the Community Pavilion. Residents are welcome to attend; you can find the items on the agenda (as well as minutes from previous meetings) on our website, kingston-pc.org.uk. Hope to see you there.
How many cars use Kingston as a rat run? We have been gathering data from the speed sensor installed on Wellgreen Lane in September, and discovered that no fewer than 2000 cars are entering the village from the C7 (Lewes-Newhaven road), on average, every day. Of course, this will include residents’ vehicles, but it’s still quite a figure. We will be moving the speed sensor soon to analyse the traffic flow coming into the village down Ashcombe Lane. Watch this space.
On the subject of roads, we’ve been hearing a lot of grief over potholes. The place to report potholes is the East Sussex County Council website: if you google ‘escc potholes’ you will be taken straight there. We also strongly advise, if this is a matter of concern to you, that you send a letter to our MP about the paucity of funding from central government to local councils for road repair.
Pavilion back open!
There’s an Open morning at Kingston Pavilion on Saturday December 4th so you can reacquaint (or acquaint!) yourself with our fine community asset which reopened at the end of November. The Pavilion is available for bookings, with a special rate of £9 an hour (or £45 a day) for residents. Contact booking clerk Jerry Sinclair at email@example.com.
December 4th is also the deadline for your comments – positive and negative – on the Saxondown windfall projects proposed by residents (see earlier editions of Kingston News). You can view or download the relevant document on the Parish website at kingston-pc.org.uk; please only respond to projects in Table 1; those in Table 2 have been ruled out. If you don’t have access to the internet, please ring the pub [01273 472523] to arrange to pick up a print copy.
Small Grants Fund
We are keen to support local groups! There is still £250 left in our Small Grants Fund, which must be spent by March. If any groups would like to bid for this money, please fill in the application form on the KPC website.
Nature recovery film
If you want to learn more about the environmental work that has been carried out recently by the Parish Council and the Kingston Action Group, there’s a short film embedded within the recent South Downs National Park webinar on nature recovery, featuring Christine Moulder of the KPC and Steve Berry of KAG. You can view the film following this link: https://youtu.be/OqDskPHbPlA the section on Kingston starts at around 39.40.
The council’s grant scheme is designed to support small community groups in Kingston and encourage the development of new groups.
The aim of the scheme is to promote an active community by supporting voluntary, non-profit and charitable groups within the village to help develop or improve the services and activities they provide.
The total grant fund available for any financial year is £1,000, and once those funds have been allocated to individual projects other applications will be informed and carried over for consideration in the next financial year.
Most grants will be given for a maximum of a few hundred pounds only. Download the form and submit to the council for consideration at its next meeting:
Grant application Form
Kingston Parish Council continues to follow the Government guidelines.
Repairs at the community pavilion are near completion. The pavilion committee will then consider the appropriate Government guidelines and assess these in regard to the possibility of re-opening.
Access to the tennis courts is currently not available during lockdown but will be facilitated as soon as allowed by Kingston Tennis Club in accordance with the Government and Lawn Tennis Club guidelines. Details may be obtained from Kingston Tennis Club.
The children’s play area remains open following Government guidelines and a Covid risk assessment carried out by Lewes District Council (who are contracted to carry out risk assessments for KPC on a monthly and annual basis)
The Village Green and St Pancras Green continue to be available for residents to enjoy out-door exercise but the council asks that people please follow the latest staying safe guidance and social distancing rule.