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New Parish Council minutes from 6th November and the agenda for the Meeting on 4th December are now available on the Council Meetings page.

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Latest Parish Walk Explores Surrey

Written by The Editor on .

Frensham Parish Walk

A party of nine Cocking parishioners took part in a walk in the Surrey countryside on Sunday 3rd April.  They began at Tilford by walking to the west of the Rushmoor – Farnham road, passing through woodlands and admiring the waterfowl at Frensham Little Pond and pausing soon after for their photograph. Those in the picture(s) are Stephen Barnett, Jennifer Harvey, Jean Jackson, Sheelagh Hanrahan, Jeff Mableson (who led the walk), Naomi Barnett, Philip Jackson (whose dog Louis joined in), and Phil Kingswell; not shown is Peter O’Neill who took the picture. The party continued southwards with a steep climb to the rocky ridge of the Devil’s Jumps, with an extensive panorama to the north, before descending to a good pub lunch at the Pride of the Valley.  In the afternoon, the return route to their cars lay to the east, mainly through sandy heathland but again avoiding almost all buildings so as to create the impression that Surrey is sparsely populated.  The weather remained fine, and the participants looked forward to another all-day walk in the coming weeks.

Village Hall to be used as Polling Station

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May 5th Election LogoFor the first time, Cocking's Village Hall will be used as a polling station in the forthcoming voting that takes place on 5th May.

There are two votes this time.  Firstly there is an election to Chichester District Council in the Stedham Ward of which Cocking forms a part.  Secondly there is a referendum on the voting system for UK Parliamentary elections.  It's 'First Past the Post' vs 'Single Alternative Vote'.  For more information see The Electoral Commission's website by clicking here.

Remember, polling starts at 7 a.m. and continues until 10 p.m. leaving us with plenty of time to cast our votes.

Village Meeting Debates New Housing

Written by The Editor on .

Impression of part of the proposed developmentOn the evening of 28th February, the Parish Council hosted a public meeting in the new Village Hall to debate the proposed new development of 20 dwellings in the Croft.  The Hall was packed with well over 50 people attending along with all the Cocking Parish Councillors and Mr John Cherry, Chichester District Councillor for the local Stedham Ward.

Coffee and biscuits were provided as were the plans of the proposal, which were laid out around the edge of the Hall.  When the meeting got under way, Parish Council Chair Frances Russell explained that the purpose of the event was to canvass the views of Cocking residents so that the Council could pass these on to the planning authorities.  She also pointed out that the role of the Parish Council was limited simply to being consulted on the matter and that it had no planning powers at all. The rest of the meeting was largely made up of points raised from the floor.  A range of views was expressed, but nobody appeared to be totally against the principle of providing low cost housing in the village.  Several of those present had stories of having to leave the village to start families or get work and there were even prospective residents of the new development in The Hall.

The three main issues raised were building density, parking and traffic.  There were major concerns over the safety of access to and from the A286.  Suggestions from the floor included a new road entering the A286 to the north, a roundabout, a speed camera, road narrowing and speed humps.  On the parking concerns, the main suggestions were parking at right angles rather than parallel to the green parts of The Croft and reducing the housing density to provide more parking spaces and reduce the number of extra car owners.

Other issues raised from the floor were access for emergency vehicles, the change the development would make to the appearance of Cocking when entering the village from Midhurst and disruption during the construction phase.  Councillor Cherry also reminded those present that Hyde Martlet, the developers, needed to make a profit from the scheme.

A straw poll of the gathering came out strongly in favour (about 50 votes to a handful) of a lower density development with fewer dwellings, with nobody against the fundamentals of the scheme.

It was suggested that the fate of the scheme may in fact be decided after 1st April when planning powers pass to the South Downs National Park Authority.  This point was not entirely clarified as the Council's web site states the overall closing date as 17th March, no definite date for a Planning Committee meeting and a 'target determination date of 4th May.  However, the Parish Council and Councillor Cherry sensibly urged anyone with a view, either for or against the proposal, to contact the District Council either via their website or by post.

To do so, there is a link to the planning application on Chichester DC's website (or just click here) and for reference, the planning application reference is 11/00385/FUL. You can post a comment directly on the web or write to the Council at the address below quoting the application reference.

Planning Department
Chichester District Council
East Pallant House
1 East Pallant
Chichester
West Sussex
PO19 1TY
Tel: 01243 785166
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Delayed Celebration a Great Success

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MandolinOriginally a Celebration of Christmas, but postponed because of the snows, A Christmastide and Epiphany Celebration was held tonight in St Catherine's Church, Cocking in aid of the Church Building Fund.

The Reverend Colin Bradley welcomed the audience packing the pews to a church resplendent with its crib and some beautiful floral displays.  We were treated to a feast of music and words starting with some audience participation in the form of the first of four well-known seasonal carols, accompanied on the organ by Alan Thurlow, Organist Emeritus at Chichester Cathedral.  Alan also played a number of beautiful pieces by Brahms, Corelli, Buxtehude and some lesser known composers (at least to me Ed).  He managed to squeeze a lot of fine music out of a small organ with only a single keyboard and three stops.  He explained that despite its lack of size, it has over 150 pipes and might originally have been pumped by the organist with feet freed by its lack of pedals.

The bulk of the readings that punctuated the Celebration were delivered professionally by two members of The Midhurst Players, Pat Defty and Alan Lintott.  Their texts varied from the humorous to the thought provoking, as did those delivered by Miranda Powell.  Miranda's contributions included Shakespeare's Sonnet 97 and a never to be forgotten rendering of a Christmas Cake Recipe.  As the principle ingredient of the cake was a large bottle of Vodka that clearly didn't make it to the mixing bowl, the reading became increasingly slurred and increasingly funny as the vodka was thoroughly 'tested' by the cook. (Click here for the recipe).

Steve Redshaw on mandolin and David O'Brien on guitar completed the musical element of the proceedings, entertaining the audience with lively traditional tunes from Ireland and England including two polkas that were literally in danger of encouraging dancing the aisles.

Wine and piping hot plates of good food, followed by a variety of delicious cakes completed the evening, which also provided a welcome opportunity for locals and visitors to meet and talk.  A lot of hard work had obviously gone into organising this entertaining evening, and its success could make it a regular event in the Cocking Calendar on whichever side of Christmas the weather allows in the future.

Sand Extraction Proposal Shelved

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Sand bucketReaders may remember the poster campaign last February, protesting against the possibility of sand extraction on Hawkhurst Farm (Click here for the original article).

Perhaps it had an effect because the latest news is that West Sussex County Council seem to have had a rethink and have suspended the whole of their Mineral and Waste Core Strategy. They state a number of reasons including "the implications of the new South Downs National Park"; a surprising omission for a strategy you might think.

On the face of it this sounds like good news, at least for the time being.  If you want to know more, see what  the Council are saying on their website by clicking here.

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