Dear FRA Members
For those of you interested in the Market Garden site here are our notes from our recent meeting:
Notes of Village People meeting, Sunday 10th December 2023, Coastguards Café.
Attendees: Anna, Betty, Chetz, Heather, Jo, Paul, Wendy
Reps: Lyn – Lower Waites Lane-Fairlight Cove-Maintenance Association (LWL-FC-MA), Pathfinder
Derek and Ron – Fairlight Parish Council (FPC) Police Liaison, Neighbourhood Watch
Apologies: Jeff, Jen, Lee
Summary of meeting
A lot of people are very upset and concerned about the impact of the Market Garden site on their lives; both the construction phase, and the finished development. A feeling that women’s voices are not heard fully. Difficulties with engaging with the Developer, Sussex Police and Rother District Council. The need to keep recording and reporting issues and aligning this with the Site Construction Management Plan. This Group will enable us to support each other, and there is support from people who don’t live in the immediate vicinity of the site.
1. Notes of last meeting
There were no comments. Notes are circulated via Fairlight Residents Association (FRA) email list but can be printed for anyone that needs them. Paul to print and drop a copy to Betty. Our FRA emails are then put on www.fairlight.org.uk under the Market Garden Site button.
2. Matters arising
3. Fairlight Gardens Garages
Some residents lease garages shown within the plans for the Market Garden Site boundaries. They are trying to pay rent every year but cheques are not cashed by the Developer. There is a lot of antagonism on this issue. Residents have been advised to get a solicitor and collect invoices for damage to garages and other property.
4. Fairlight Gardens Water
Residents need to take photos with details of the date and comments on what the photos are showing. They can be sent to LWL-FC-MA email@example.com or speak to Lyn – and they will be sent on to Southern Water’s Pathfinder project.
There will be a drop-in liaison meeting with Southern Water Pathfinder Staff on Monday 18th December in the Village Hall. All welcome. (See email sent out via FRA for more information.) This is in a private quiet room and is informal.
Question: What is Pathfinder? Lyn: management of water and sewage. Chris Bunch campaigned to get Southern Water to add Fairlight to the project. Can’t make sewer bigger. Can’t put sewer pipe in stream. Sewage works towards Pett not big enough to cater for new developments. Excess water from cliffs adding to it. Water from newer parts of Fairlight going down LWL.
Anna has asked for hard copies of Pathfinder Technical Report for people without computers. Also asked for link to Pathfinder on Fairlight Focus website, so it stops being seensolely as a LWL issue and more as an important Fairlight infrastructure project. Residents have asked to see the minutes of meetings and would like to know more.
5. Bank slip stream sett
Badgers are no longer in this second sett, the works have been properly approved by the Ecologist. The stream bank has slipped and it is being worked on. The plans show this area as a car park.
6. Issues with the Market Garden site and the stream
There have been rumours that the LWL stream is to be ‘piped’ and covered by the Developers. Lyn has reported this and it won’t happen. There is no planning permission for this and it’s unlikely to be approved.
Concern expressed about the LWL stream when it’s behind gardens as flooding might cause blockages or it becomes overwhelmed. Also concerns about water running down Battery Hill due to road drains not being cleared. Warren Road used to have septic tanks but now contribute to sewer. Also concern about sewer from Market Garden Site joining LWL sewer at The Avenue and overwhelming it.
7. Noise nuisance
A lot of concern about site workers swearing with residents hearing it in their gardens, and needing to protect children. Concern about lack of Police support and action on this – need to report it to get action. We have reported it and not felt supported.
Ron has spoken to senior police officer and Police Community Support Officers (PCSO’s) about this – asked them to patrol occasionally, no one has seen any. However, PCSOs can only go where they are directed by the senior officer. So issues need to be reported to get this actioned. Reports that site workers are smoking cannabis off site.
Derek noted that when the PCSOs go to the Parish Council Drop In Social Hub (DISH) they are fully engaged with people on issues such as parking. Noted that Sussex Police gave a grant to DISH, but that villagers in employment or education can’t meet the PCSOs at this time. Also noted that when other Parish Councils such as Etchingham meet with PCSOs there is a full report, so people who can’t attend due to work/care commitments can keep up to date, but Fairlight doesn’t get this.
Chetz has reported radio and swearing issues to Rother Environmental Health but has not received a reply.
Action Anyone can send reports of nuisance noise/swearing to Chetz – include details of date and time, with photos/videos where possible.
8. Market Garden Site Vehicles Parking
Planning conditions allow for six site vehicles to park on-site; no site vehicles are allowed to park on adjoining roads to the site. The on-site car park is currently being used storage. Site workers can park on Meadow Way/Commanders Walk/Fyrsway/Gorsethorn Way but the Planning Conditions state there is to be no parking on Waites Lane/Shepherds Way/Smugglers Way/Broadway. Site Access route is the main road, Bramble Way/Smugglers Way.
9. Future Public Meeting
Fairlight Parish Council have offered to pay the costs of hall hire and non-alcoholic refreshments for ‘Village People’ to hold a meeting in the Village Hall, an Offer we accepted and said thank you for. However we need to decide who we want to attend and listen to our concerns. Suggestions included: Rother Planning Officers, Police, East Sussex County Council, Highways, GemSelect, Sally-Ann Hart MP, Government Planning Inspector.
Noted that our MP has previously referred us back to Rother, but she could be asked to persuade GemSelect to attend. She previously arranged for the ‘Village People’ to have a weekly phone call with Rother Planning Team – but this was declined as our conversation could not be put on the record. We asked for brief written updates for the community or a brief monthly face-to-face meeting. Regarding the format of any public meeting, there was a preference for an ‘old fashioned’ panel style meeting where you can hear what people are saying, rather than an informal ‘drop-in’.
If it was just Cllrs Meir and Grohne who might come we wouldn’t hold a public meeting as it was felt they don’t have any authority.
10. Market Garden Site Construction Management Plan (CMP)
The Market Garden Site is an “ongoing case” that Rother Planning Team are managing, so if something untoward happens this will all contribute to evidence. Anna advised that Rother Planning Enforcement can only accept complaints about specific planning conditions contained in the Construction Management Plan. We can gather issues and Paul will allocate them to the ‘Village People’ log. We need to be clear about which dates/documents/plans we are referring to in our complaints and we need to use the correct process.People without a computer can phone Cllrs Meir or Grohne.
Action Paul to contact Architect to see if they have more helpful drawings.
Action Chetz to let Site Manager know that the Market Garden direction sign is missing from the corner of Broadway/Waites Lane next to the Village Hall. We want site traffic to use the approved Site Access Route.
Action Chetz to set up WhatsApp group so that residents can quickly report any issues with the site.
11. Market Garden Site Plans
Betty outlined issues with reversing lorries and her garden fence being damaged. The Site Manager said they will replace entire fence but didn’t give this in writing. She needs the fence to keep her dog safe. Anna to contact Cllr Meir to assist.
Jo outlined issues with the oak tree at the edge of her back garden which is at the east side of the site. it has a Tree Preservation Order. The developers had permission to remove part of a branch but they removed the whole branch. They did apologise and offered to build her a higher fence as well as plant some new tress. The mains electric cable is near the tree so care needs to be taken when planting new trees. Her house had to be built 20ft away from the tree, but the new houses are closer. She has to keep her curtains closed and the new houses block her winter sun.
Action Jo to see if she has the apology and offer of fence/new trees in writing.
Action Ron (Fairlight Parish Council tree warden) will visit Jo to look at her tree issues.
Cllrs Mier and Grohne will be able to help us, and issues of light and privacy can be followed up when houses are finished.
12/13. Neighbourhood Watch
Ron has contacted a police inspector who can be a local liaison. It is hoped a Fairlight Group will be set up in January. There was disappointment that a village Neighbourhood Watch Scheme is still not available as we’ve had to fend for ourselves for 18 months.
Action We can all sign up to Neighbourhood Watch as individuals for free – https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/joinNW. The Alerts are written by a Community Engagement Officer and are very positive about the work Sussex Police do with communities.
14. Any Other Business
A resident with building skills has made approximate measurements of the heights which suggest agreement with informal feedback from Rother that the heights of the Market Garden Site houses are correct. The Building Inspector will confirm.
Residents noted the need to get trees and roads reinstated after the build is complete. Chetz has already asked the Parish Council to remind the Developer about this. It was suggested she could do this again and Anna will try to attend Parish Council Planning Sub Committee Meetings where the Market Garden Site is a standing item on the Agenda. It would be helpful if other residents attended these meetings.
Parking issues were raised there last week and there is a Parish Council Drop-In Session on speeding issues on Tuesday 16th January.
The next ‘Village People’ meeting is on Sunday 28th January 2024, 11:00 – 12:30, Coastguard Cafe.
Please confirm you are coming either by phoning Paul (01424 812038) or emailing your RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org