Allotment News

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We last reported in the summer months and now we are into autumn.  The autumnal equinox when there are equal lengths of day and night was on 22nd September.  Now sunrises are later each day and the sunsets earlier, so we have shorter days and longer nights.  In the coming weeks there will be less and less daytime in which to work outside.

Most of us will be preparing our plots over the next five or six weeks, getting the digging and manuring done before the frosts arrive.  The allotments have clay soil and rough digging now allows the frost in to break up the soil, making it easier to cultivate in the spring.  Not many plot-holders grow over-wintering crops as several of the plots flood during very wet periods in the winter. The most commonly grown crops planted or sown in November are garlic and broad beans which can be grown together in the same ground.  The beans are picked first in the spring and the garlic left in to mature later in the summer.

This year has not been a particularly good one. Right from the start there were problems, hardly any frosts in an unusually mild winter meant more pests and diseases survived through spring. Wildly fluctuating day and night temperatures affected early crops such as onions, leeks and spring greens causing them to stop growing and produce seed instead of fully maturing. Strawberries flowered early but didn’t produce the abundant crops we are used to. The runner bean crop was good but unusually short, partly due to the strong winds blowing away flowers before beans were set and the relentless summer heat during August. Strangely no one has mentioned carrots this season! They can be difficult to grow; everything has to be right, a bit like growing parsnips.  Did they grow or fail, or did nobody sow carrot seeds this year?

Despite the problems and conditions, several crops did do well.  There was the usual forest of rhubarb and a very good crop of gooseberries. Potatoes did well though some were attacked by slugs and other pests. The French beans were very good too. There were lovely shows of flowers on several plots with M’s dahlias looking gorgeous again this year. Our flower bed by the gate, newly dug free of weeds and  replanted in the spring, was lovely, and finished the summer with a riot of marigolds which overran everything else. Sadly, our carefully groomed bed is now covered in weeds blown across from vacant plot number thirteen which is covered in weeds up to three feet high. This plot has been vacant since 1st April this year at which time it was clear of weeds. We were under the impression that allotments were in demand and there was a waiting list. Is it tenanted or is it still waiting for someone to love and cultivate it? Who is responsible for this sad state of affairs?

By M&J

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Camber has a Public Defibrillator!

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At long last, and thanks to the efforts of several groups in the village, Camber finally has a publicly accessible defibrillator.

A meeting took place in February of this year between the Camber Residents Association, the Camber Community Group, the Rye Lions, the Rother Responders and a representative from the Parish Council.  It was decided that the best site for the machine would be at the Memorial Hall.  The committee of the Memorial Hall unanimously agreed.

In September, the Defibrillator was delivered and mounted on the wall. An official handing over ceremony will take place soon.  We all hope that we never need to use such equipment but, if it is needed, it may well help to save someone’s life.  Instructions on accessing and using the machine are on the exterior of the box.

Special thanks must go to Colin Sayell and Trish Lock for their combined dedication to making this happen, and to Rye Lions and Rother Responders for providing the funding.

More Tragedy in Camber

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In our August issue, we reported on the sad death of a young man who drowned on 24th July.  As we are sure everyone in Camber is aware, there was another tragedy on 24th August. Five young men from London lost their lives whilst visiting our beautiful beach.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who died, their family and friends, to the brave Beach Team (Coastal Officers & Beach Patrol), all of the Emergency Services personnel and members of the public who tried so very hard to save the lives of these young men.  When something like this happens, it affects the whole community and this will surely be a summer season that no one in Camber will ever forget.

As the tragedy unfolded, the Press swarmed our village and there has since been a lot of misinformation banded about, not only on the television and in the papers, but across the world via the internet.  The media has reported some facts, some lies, and even made up some parts of the story [Killer jellyfish, sharks, rip tides, quicksand, etc.].  Camber has been labelled “Death Beach” and “Costa Killer” in the headlines.  Camber Beach remains one of the safest beaches in the UK but there is a nationwide deficiency in water safety awareness and education. Rather than the frenzy created by the Press, there is a need for sensitive and factual reporting in order to minimise harm and increase that awareness.

Following a stormy start to the summer, which resulted in numerous sea-related deaths around the country, the RNLI issued a warning via news channels. A spokesman for the RNLI said, ‘The sea may look appealing and the RNLI would encourage people to use it, but do so safely – it can be dangerously unpredictable.’ This warning came out just two days before the five young men drowned at Camber.  The RNLI provided Lifeguard Services on Camber Beach from the beginning of the bank holiday weekend, until the end of the school summer holiday. They advised people ‘to swim between the “safe zone” red and yellow flags’ but, sadly, many members of the public chose to ignore this advice, as anyone who visited the beach would have seen.

Rather than playing the “blame game”, the Press could employ their resources more usefully in getting the message out there that the sea is powerful and changeable and get behind a campaign to bring water safely into the National Curriculum, alongside road safety and stranger danger.

In a moving tribute, one anonymous resident of Camber tied a notice and a flower to a post in Johnson’s Field, close to the footpath that accesses the beach.  The message is simple and clear… it is one of love and empathy, and hopeful advice to help keep others safe in the water.

The Dinner Party – Mike Botton

 

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Who would you invite to your dinner party?  Why not write and let us know who and why!

This from Mike Botten………

Roger Whittaker.  I have been a lifelong fan of Roger Whittaker’s music.  He’s retired now, but he performed from 1962 through to 2013.  I loved his style of folky ballads.  He wrote many of his own songs, and some are very thought-provoking.  One such song is “The Other Side”, which tells the story of a man apparently dying and being guided to “the other side” but upon reaching the entrance his guide was informed it wasn’t yet his time and she guided him back, where he awoke from his dream – interesting  I would love to talk to him about his life and much of his music.

Tony Benn.  Whilst I don’t always necessarily agree with all of his politics, I admire him because he was a principled man.  Oddly enough, it has been argued that his political views have more to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ, than Karl Marx.  Benn’s mother was a noted theologian who had had great influence on his early life, telling him bible stories about the prophets and the kings and he was persuaded that he should support the prophets, who taught righteousness over the kings, who had power.  He had his occasional ‘moments’ though, such as a time when he stated “If people don’t agree with me, I haven’t made my argument well enough”.  Fair enough, but it completely ignores that fact that he might simply be wrong!  He had a great sense of humour and I think he would be a most interesting character.

Billy Connolly.  What can I say!  Billy has been making me laugh almost to the point of bursting for many years.  His style of relating real life in a humourous way, rather than simply telling jokes, suits my sense of humour.  Billy had a very poor beginning in life.  He is a very complex character, with a great zest for life, but still carrying an enormous burden from his childhood.  When he talks to the people he meets on his filmed “world tours” he manages to convey such passion to and about them.  He can make even the most mundane people and places sound interesting.  He is a bit of a rebel and I admire that spirit within him; He is also a very fine actor (in my humble opinion) and he is the sole reason I decided to take up the Banjo.  Like him, I just like the sound it makes!  Hopefully he would bring his banjo with him and he could teach me to play better!

Tracy Edwards.  Tracy skippered the first all-female crew in the (then) Whitbread round-the-world yacht race in 1989.  She wasn’t born a sailor by any means; following the death of her father and subsequent relocation to Wales when she was young, she began to get into trouble, ending up stealing cars, and suchlike.  She was expelled from school at sixteen and decided to get away from home.  She got herself a job as a stewardess on a yacht in Greece.  Later, she was invited to form part of a small crew, sailing a yacht from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean for the winter.  On that voyage, she discovered a symmetry with the boat and the sea, which led to her love of sailing.  I met Tracy on a cruise some years ago when she was giving a series of lectures.  I was captivated by her motivational spirit and her incredible resilience.  

Brass Band Concert and Family Picnic in the Park

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On a gloriously warm and still (how lucky was that?) day in August the City of Canterbury Brass Band came to Camber and played for our village.

Around 60 or so people turned up, some with picnics, and were entertained by some authentic and great quality music.  The microphone (which was ours and used only for announcements) faltered a little, but happily, the band never missed a beat!  The bandmaster, Will, was witty and engaging, and introduced each piece of music with great enthusiasm, often with comical anecdotes.  The band, which was about 20 strong, played a variety of music, both old and new, some of which was traditional brass band music and some perhaps not so.  The wind for which Camber is so well known stayed away, thankfully, and the wind instruments of the band filled the air with some very accomplished music.  On behalf of the Camber Community Group, thank you to those who came along and enjoyed the afternoon and our thanks especially to the Band, who gave us such a pleasant afternoon’s entertainment.

In case the Children who came to the picnic with their parents/grandparents became a little bored with the music, Carol set up an Art Table. It was, of course, free and all the youngsters who came,  made full use of the collaging from pieces of pre-cut paper. Also they cut out their own fairies, boats, superstars, fish  and loads of other colourful animals and characters, sticking them on to paper to create their own picture.  Others did some colouring-in ranging from ‘easy’ to ‘very complicated’. A high Standard achieved by all and Carol (with her artist’s eye) was very impressed.

MINUTES OF A MEETING OF CAMBER PARISH COUNCIL

Held on Tuesday 21st June 2016 at 7.30pm in the Memorial Hall Camber

Those present: Cllrs Nigel Wooldridge (Chairman), David Greenfield, Richard Oirschot, Ian Hood, John Bradford and Nizam Mohammed.

Angela Alexander – Clerk

District Councillor Osborne –passed on apologies from County Councillor Keith Glazier

District Councillor Sally-Ann Hart –Event to run from July 7th to 17th JAM on the Marsh to encourage tourism to the Romney Marsh.  Rother Voluntary Action working to support local groups to find new volunteers.

No public questions

  1. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies received from Cllr Rupert Cawte due to work commitments.

  1. DISCLOSURE OF INTERESTS

Councillor David Greenfield declared an interest in the agenda item relating to Flip Flops as he is Chairman of the Play Group

  1. WELCOME TO NEWLY CO-OPTED COUNCILLOR

The Chairman welcomed Cllr Nizam Mohammed to the Council. 

  1. MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL MEETING HELD ON 17th May 2016

The minutes of the Annual Meeting held on 17th May 2016 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

  1. REPORTS FROM COUNCILLORS (if meetings have been attended)
    1. Rye Partnership Cllr Wooldridge – nothing to report
    2. RALC Cllr Wooldridge/Cllr Bradford – AGM to be held on 13th July, Cllr Wooldridge will attend.
    3. Highways issues Cllr Wooldridge expressed thanks for the work on the roundabout.  The clerk advised that Gibbs had done a ‘one-off’ cut to the pathway at the side of the Memorial Hall.
    4. Memorial Hall Committee – Cllr Oirshcot reported that he had attended the AGM on 18th May with 30 + people there and 6 people stood for 4 vacancies. At the first meeting of the new Committee officers were elected and Terry Hovenden was re-elected to the role of Chairman, sub committees were formed and cheque signatories agreed.  It was discussed and agreed that the Constitution was in need of updating as it was no longer fit for purpose.  Cllr Greenfield reported that at the meeting on 6th June there had been disruption and that the Chairman had resigned.  The next meeting to be held on 27th
    5. SSALC – Cllr Wooldridge/Cllr Hood – nothing to report
    6. Website – Cllr Cawte not present at the meeting.
  1. CLERKS REPORT

The Clerk advised that the litter bins on Johnsons Field were proving problematical as the open tops were allowing rubbish to blow around or be strewn by seagulls and the issues had been reported by the Caretaker who had suggested a change of bins.  The plant troughs on the Western Gateways had deteriorated and had been removed.  The caretaker had suggested replacing with floor standing troughs in a hard plastic to avoid deterioration.  It was agreed that the bins would be replaced and the clerk to bring options to the next council meeting and also an agenda item to decide whether or not to replace the flower troughs.

  1. FINANCES
  2. The payment and income schedule for the month of June was approved
  3. The budget monitor was received noted.
  4. The bank reconciliation was received and noted
  1. BANK MANDATE FORM

The RFO had been unable to provide the bank mandate form for signing by Cllrs Oirschot, Wooldridge and Hood as approved at the May meeting for the meeting and it was agreed that this item be carried forward.

  1. SMALL GRANTS PANEL MEETING

The recommendations from the Small Grants Panel meeting held on May 17th 2016 were as follows:

  1. Camber Extend Exercise Club £250 – not approved
  2. Camber Community Group – Art in the Park day £250 – not approved
  3. Camber Community Group – Planting project £250 – not approved
  4. Camber Community Group – Camber Heritage Group £250 – not approved
  5. Camber After School Club £250 – recommended for approval
  6. Flip flops pre-school £250- recommended for approval

Councillor Oirshcot noted that capital costs are a requirement of the funding and that the Heritage Group could not be funded as not yet in existence which was part of the criteria.  Cllr Oirschot proposed and Cllr Wooldridge seconded that applications 5 and 6 be approved.

The Clerk asked what the wishes were of councillors for the remaining money in the small grants pot.  It was proposed that this be reallocated to use on the Jubilee Green project and be ring-fenced in the budget accordingly.

RESOLVED: that Camber After School Club be awarded £250 and Flip Flops pre-school be awarded £250 and that the remainder of the money in this budget head be ring-fenced for use on the Jubilee Green project.

  1. INTERNAL AUDIT REPORT

To receive the final internal audit report and update from the Clerk and consider the recommendations and review of internal financial controls.

The clerk reported that she had not been in attendance at the Internal Audit with the Internal Auditor and the RFO and that he had phoned the clerk following his visit.  Most questions had been answered but he had asked that a review be put in place as the audit of the Monthly checks carried out by Councillors could not be evidenced as whilst 2 councillors are checking invoices before signing checks they were not signing off the original invoices as they thought as the RFO was providing copy invoices only and then shredding these so the Internal Auditor wished to see a review of this process.  The clerk advised that there was no indication that there were any issues only that the audit trail did not exist.

Cllr Oirschot proposed that a rubber ink stamp be purchased to use on all invoices to ensure that the originals were seen and retained and the correct checking process was in place. The clerk advised that she had made enquiries and this would cost approx. £20 from Adams of Rye.

RESOLVED: To purchase a rubber ink stamp for use on all invoices and to review Financial Regulations prior to the end of the financial year.

  1. PLANNING MATTERS

RR/2016/1330/P Homelands Farm Lane – no comment

RR/2016/1376/P May Croft Draffin Lane – no comment

RR/2016/1337/P Sea Shells, First Avenue.  Erection of 3

dwellings to replace single dwelling.  The Chairman referred to a letter received from Blue Kestrel which had been sent to Rother District Council objecting to the proposals. Following consideration it was unanimously agreed by Councillors that objections be lodged in respect of this application being overdevelopment of site, out of character for the location and could create difficulty with access.

RESOLVED: Objections be submitted Unanimous.

  1. STREET LIGHTS

Cllr Cawte not present at the meeting to report.

  1. JUBILEE GREEN

Cllr Ian Hood had circulated information by email to Councillors and the Chairman, Cllr Nigel Wooldridge explained that the Council would now enter the formal process of inviting tenders and that these would be received by the Clerk and remain unopened which would be done in press and public excluded session as the information would be commercially sensitive.  Cllr Ian Hood to provide the clerk with the Design Brief and Specification to send to all those who had expressed an interest to date and it was requested that Growth Rings be invited to quote also.

RESOLVED: That Cllr Ian Hood email the Clerk with the Design Brief/Specification and that this be sent with an invitation to provide a fixed and final quotation to be opened and recorded at the July Meeting in press and public excluded session on the grounds of commercially sensitive information.

  1. WALKABOUT AND PONTINS MEETING

Cllr John Bradford reported on the meetings to discuss parking and traffic issues in the village and it was noted that the General Manager of Pontins had expressed his regret for the events of 14/15 May.  The event was pencilled in to take place again next year and the parking situation was to be reviewed.  Originally the organisers had planned for special train and bus services into Pontins but because of the train strikes this had been abandoned.  They had spoken to both RDC and * (other parties) regarding the use of car parking, RDC were not able to give over use of the Western Car Park  and * (other options) had proved too expensive.

The walk about meeting had been attended by Cllrs Nigel Wooldridge and John Bradford, Sgt Dave Thompson, Jon Copp and Keith Glazier.  Discussions were had around controlling the parking by including a fixed cost * to park in the event ticket price and the first arrivers going to Pontins to park with the rest receiving a permit from Pontins * (to display at another location).  Pontins will notify the Police and the Parish Council of future events so that residents have advance information.  Ideas of installing more posts to prevent parking on the verges were put forward but this was considered costly and would cause difficulties for the grass cutting and double yellow line and enforcing fines. Sgt Thompson will be taking the lead on facilitating working groups and defining a strategy in partnership with Camber Parish Council and Pontins to manage the parking issues.

Cllr Wooldridge said that Jon Copp had been very helpful in dealing with the missing posts at Farm Lane and that these would now be replaced.  Highways had carried out a survey between Rye and the Kent border regarding traffic signs and lines.  The Police expect that with the current poor state of the yellow lines if motorists appeal it is likely their tickets would be quashed as the lines do not meet the required standard.  Jon Copp had confirmed that the yellow lines would be done in this financial year and the verges would be mowed only to meet the standards for site lines. Cllr. Bradford said that in the summer there would potentially be 3 police officers in Camber, 1 based in the car park and 2 to patrol and issue fines.  At the weekend Rob Cass can phone the Police to advise on the number of parking spaces available and the Police can then put up diversion signs that Camber is closed.  There are a number of people that action the drop down signs as far as Flimwell to alert motorists.  Cllr Wooldridge said that the 3 Police Officers will have a ‘What have you done today’ sheet to complete, will work in split shifts one from 8am and 2 from 10am and their work will be results driven.  Traffic has advised that if necessary a marked police vehicle can be parked across the road to block entry into the village to prevent problems.

  1. REQUEST FOR USE OF JUBILEE GREEN FOR SUMMER FETE

The request from Flip Flops playgroup to hold a summer fete on 24th July 2016, on Jubilee Green from 12 to 4pm was approved subject to insurance documents being received.  Cllr Greenfield to make these available.

RESOLVED: that Flip Flops playgroup may have use of Jubilee Green on 24th July for a summer fete.

  1. CHAIRMANS NETWORKING DAY

Chairs Networking Day – Programme

The Felbridge Hotel & Spa, London Rd, East Grinstead, RH19 2BH

Tuesday 27th September 2016, 0930 registration for a 1000 start, finishing at 1530

Costs £65 + vat per delegate.

Chairman and Deputy Chairman not available to attend.

  1. CORRESPONDENCE

Cllr Osborne to contact Cllr Glazier regarding a press statement for the newsletter to update residents on the School Bus matters.

The meeting closed at 9.05pm

*This item has been edited to remove sensitive information.