A packed hall welcomed Michael Blencowe who gave an interesting and highly entertaining presentation on ‘Butterflies and Moths of Sussex’. Michael represents the Sussex branch of Butterfly Conservation which is a registered charity dedicated to the conservation of butterflies and moths. The branch holds regular outdoor events across the county and manages the Butterfly Conservation Reserve at Park Corner Heath. It advises landowners how to conserve and protect butterflies and moths and it also collects and compiles records of sightings in Sussex.
Michael explained there are some 2,480 species of butterflies and moths in the UK although some are migratory. The Privet Hawk is one of the largest moths with dark brown and cream wings, and a pink and black-banded body. The Hawk-moths are recognisable by their large, torpedo-shaped bodies. The Silver Spotted Skipper butterfly is often seen locally around Long Furlong and it is one of the few species that is increasing in numbers.
Michael has appeared on the BBC’s Springwatch programme with Chris Packham and (to his delight) Michaela Strachan, as an authority on moths and butterflies.
Ed Miller gave an update on local planning issues. The Hangleton Nursery application has been re-submitted with additional information. The proposal is to create a large car park for 100 vehicles on land currently designated as agricultural with frequent deliveries by huge transporters. There is no news on the Goring Gap issue but the Ferring Neighbourhood Plan is going to referendum on 10th December.
Tricia Hall concluded the meeting by informing us that a Peacock butterfly was seen in the village that day
Since 2001, Ferring Conservation Group has opposed every planning application for additional houses in Ferring. So why are we supporting a Neighbourhood Plan that promises more house building?
It’s because Arun District Council’s new Local Plan calls for 50 additional dwellings in Ferring over the next 15 years and there is simply no way the village can escape that requirement. What matters now is what sort of dwellings and where they will be built. If there is no Neighbourhood Plan to set out what our residents want, the decision will be left to the developers, Arun’s Development Control Committee and the Planning Inspectors.
This Neighbourhood Plan keeps the development within the existing built-up area. Half the housing will be developed by the community and for the community on sites in the village centre, catering for residents who want to ‘downsize’ but stay in the village. The other half will come from planning applications in the normal way (and the Plan points to the builders’ merchants and vehicle workshop off Ferringham Lane as one site that could be redeveloped to accommodate them all). The Plan rules out any development behind Green Park or on the Goring Gap in south Ferring.
The really good thing about the Plan is that it also provides the basis for a new Village Hall and Community Centre, and a bigger and better allotment site. The new Hall would come about by rebuilding the Glebelands Centre on a larger scale and negotiations are under way for a new allotment area. Once these new facilities are up and running, the existing Village Hall and allotments sites will be the sites for the ‘downsize’ housing and the money that comes from this housing will fund the two new projects.
We all like the old Village Hall of course, but it is an old building with many problems. When it was built in 1924 it was never expected to last 100 years. It needs replacing. At the same time, we have to cope with a demand for more housing sites, and we know there is a need for smaller houses for people who want to stay in the village. This Plan deals with both issues.
So the threat of unsuitable development has been turned into an opportunity and it is an opportunity that we should grab – by voting ‘Yes’ in the Referendum on 10 December; ‘Yes’ to the Neighbourhood Plan and ‘Yes’ to the three ‘Community Right to Build Orders’ for the new Community Centre at Glebelands and the two small housing sites in the village centre.
Ferring Conservation Group
Following on from the recent practical clearance work at Warren Pond in South Ferring carried out by Ferring Conservation Group volunteers in partnership with Ferring Parish Council, the latest improvement was the installation of a Tawny Owl nestbox on a Lime tree adjacent to the pond.
The box was donated by a local resident, and was installed by local tree surgeons, Bushwackers. We now await the arrival of a resident Tawny Owl (!) – at least one has been heard in the immediate vicinity, so we are keeping our fingers crossed.
The next move for the ongoing restoration of the pond is a proper professional survey which is being arranged jointly by the Parish Council and the Group to take place in the next week. A management plan will then be drawn up to restore the pond over a number of years to a valuable wildlife habitat.
On 21st October, a working party of Ferring Conservation Group members met on the Village Green at Ferring to carry out some bulb planting in partnership with Arun District Council. Hundreds of bulbs including some native daffodils, various varieties of tulips, as well as crocus were planted in the bed on the north side of the green adjacent to Ferring Street by the path that leads to the public toilets.
Keep your eyes open from next Spring and hopefully every year after that to see the fruits of our Group’s labours.