Gardens & wildlife

RHS Minutes 2021-11-03 AGM

Minutes of the Round Hill Society's Annual Meeting, 3rd November 2021, Richmond House 7.30pm.

25 Round Hill residents attended (9 being current committee members) as well as Cllr Pete West and PC Chris Winrow.

We worked through the business of the meeting quickly, agreeing the minutes of last November's (Zoom) Annual Meeting and approving the summary of the accounts presented by Andrew Partington, Treasurer.

Two committee members are stepping down (Andrew and Kate Rice), no new folk volunteered to join and the remaining 8 (Summer Dean, Gary Jenkins, Jo Alexander, Kate Wolstenholme, Stefania Rosso, Eva Wendler, Jamie Aitchison and Rob Stephenson) were elected as a group to form the committee, Gary Jenkins agreeing to become Treasurer, Rob Stephenson staying as Secretary.

The meeting also agreed, by a show of hands, to allow Rob Stephenson to represent the Society on the B&H Commemorative Plaque Panel.

Traffic calming on Round Hill: We turned to the main discussions of the evening, first on Traffic Calming/greening following a recent accident where a young girl was hit by a car (shaken, bruised and grazed, but not badly hurt) on Princes Crescent. The history of traffic calming on Round Hill was outlined by Dominic Furlong who is speaking to the Environment, Transport and Sustainability committee on 16th November, urging them to act to reduce rat-running through the area.

We can put up Sussex Safer Streets 20mph reminder signs, and still have some, we may be able to have use of a device which displays an illuminated speed limit when approaching vehicles are going too fast. Other possible solutions may be one-waying Wakefield Rd and speed humps. PC Chris said he would speak to a sergeant who could enable the illuminated sign (speed board) but Cllr Pete noted that a dangerous speed on twisting narrow roads could be below the legal limit.

The recent increase in cars rat-running through Wakefield Rd and Princes Crescent was said to be linked to longer wait times at the junction of Ditchling Rd and Upper Lewes Rd since the light controlled pedestrian crossing phases have been introduced. There was no consensus about whether more traffic goes up or down Wakefield Rd, but the up traffic seems to drive faster, and road rage incidents are common. It was suggested that only a physical barrier would stop rat-running, as the barrier by the junction of Mayo and Richmond road has done so effectively - but where? Half roadwidth build-outs with 'give way to oncoming traffic' signs might slow cars.

The link between our stalled Greening plans (at the Ditchling Rd bus stop space and at the S end of Crescent Rd) , and the link to the Hanover 'Livable Neighbourhood' scheme, was discussed as part of a broader traffic calming programme. Pete said he would raise the lack of greening plans progress at the next ETS meeting, after Dominic had spoken. The presence or absence of clear 'no left turn' signage on the Lewes Rd (out of town) and Upper Lewes Rd junction was raised, as a vehicle was seen making that illegal turn and knocking a cyclist off her bike recently.

Drug dealing and use on and around the Catcreep: Eva Wendler explained that syringes and needles were found during the Catcreep cut back of XS vegetation a few weeks earlier, and there has been an increase in suspicious meetings and gatherings on the steps since. A man who lives beside the catcreep has found syringes in his garden and more plus other drug-taking kit on the steps three to four times a week, and has regularly encountered intimidating groups of people on the steps. A resident near the top of Wakefield Rd has seen people clearly under the influence of drugs, one was trying every car door as he walked down the street. He thinks there must be a nearby place where drugs are being bought, others described the arrival of a person on bike or scooter and the exchange of small items in a drug buying arrangement.

PC Chris urged people to report every drugs related siting, most easily on the sussex police website online 101 system, as it is the building of patterns which help guide police resources, he also said we now have patrols by a PCSO, Ilysha Shorten. PC Chris also thought it would be reasonable to use 999 if a drug taking or dealing action was actually happening at the time.

The quality of the lighting on the catcreep was discussed. Dominic told us that the update from low pressure sodium vapour lights to LEDs will be speeded up, following his conversation about drug taking on the catcreep with acting head of street lighting, but that we cannot expect more lighting to be installed. It was suggested that the new LED lamps might be chosen to give a better spread of light up and down the steps.

Pete West encouraged a Round Hill response to the Walking and Cycling Strategy document out for consultation, in which we can raise the lighting of the catcreep - it was agreed the committee would do this.

Fires at the Veolia Waste Transfer Station: A third fire occurred at the WTS in September this year. After the first fire in 2019 a petition was arranged for the ETS committee and Dominic agreed to speak at the committee meeting about getting improvements to the WTS. They agreed to conduct a review on the suitability of the site, as well as seeking sprinklers and other fire safety measures, all to be done at Veolia's cost.

After the 2nd fire just over a year later, Dominic wrote asking if the report was ready yet, and received no reply.

After the 3rd fire in Sept 2021 Dominic wrote to Rachel Chassaud and got a reply, saying she had meetings planned on the matter and would come back to him soon.

Pete West said that the site was not fit for purpose, but we cannot expect any real change until there is a serious change in circumstances, and the Govt's plans to make all LAs to collect and process food waste separately could be the event. It will require a different location, which should be further away from homes. Meanwhile some residents continue to submit phone call reports of foul smells to the Environment Agency, with no expectations of action.

Pete also thought that Round Hill was the ideal community to develop plans for a Zero Waste scheme, taking a much broader view than collecting a bigger range of plastics (many of which cannot be recycled) and separate waste food treatment.

Any Other Business: Eva Wendler suggested that the number of bins for dog faeces might be increased. Jan Curry said that there are 4 on Round Hill, and she had long ago asked the Council to consider a fifth at the N end of Mayo Rd. Kate Rice said that most dog owners know the location of the bins.

Pete West made a plea for people to make use of the newly located Wood Store, which sells second hand timber of all kinds, and a range of products made from them. It is on Edward Street, just east of Egremont Place.

The meeting closed at 9.15pm

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This page was last updated by Ted on 11-Nov-2021
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