Visit to Warnham Nature Reserve

We’re planning a fairly short notice visit to Warnham Nature Reserve nr Horsham, and this will be on Tuesday 18 January – meeting in the car park there at 10am when it opens for the day. This is a “get yourself there” visit and the reserve is easy to find, being just off the main A24 in Warnham Road (post code RH12 2RA) and about 30 mins from the Ferring area.

There is a new Discovery Hub and Hide for us to enjoy – entry fee to the reserve for the day is £3 per person. Hot drinks and limited refreshments are available, but you can take your own if you wish. Due to the time of year, we suggest warm clothing and bring binoculars and cameras for some hopefully close up views of wildlife. Masks are required for indoor areas.

If there is any doubt about weather condtions on the day, please check this website for updates.

Village Green bulb planting update

Earlier this week, we had an excellent turn out at the Village Green on a pleasant morning, and duly planted 250 Narcissi bulbs across the frontage opposite the shops and under the trees. Thank you to all those who helped out and we hope to see a great display each Spring to complement the bulbs already in situ.

To correct something we said before, although the bulbs were supplied by Arun DC, they were actually paid for by our Parish Council as part of the ongoing improvements there, which will also include the bed leading towards the toilet block as well as the area under the trees. In addition, we at FCG have tidied up the boat and put in some Winter plants and more bulbs.

Persimmon planning application refused

We’re very pleased that tonight (Weds 10/3) the Worthing Borough Council Planning Committee unanimously refused Persimmon Homes planning application to build 475 houses on the North Goring Gap.

Thank you to those who spoke so well at the meeting, those who worked hard to campaign against it and the many hundreds of people who sent in their individual objections. This is a good day for Ferring, Goring and all of our local area, and shows just how much we value our remaining green spaces.

David Bettiss – Chairman, FCG

Nestbox Survey

Recently, committee member Graham Tuppen and Chairman, David Bettiss carried out our annual survey and cleaning of the various bird nest boxes around the public places in the village. These are situated at Little Twitten, the Village Green and Glebelands, as well as the Ferring Country Centre. It was really pleasing to report that all bar one of the boxes had been used by birds during the past Summer, with nests present in them.

The nests were made up of different materials, with the most common being mosses and feathers, while on the Village Green, one had a large amount of hair, with the Country Centre ones unsurprisingly having a lot of straw and hay present. In one box, there were a number of abandoned eggs (probably Blue Tits), in one a dead Great Tit, in another a couple of very young dead Blue Tits, and finally one had a large circular hole drilled into the front of the box right next to the official hole which had been protected by a metal plate. This was presumably done by a Woodpecker, and could even have been used by them as their own nest.

We hope that all the remaining boxes had raised at least one or maybe more successful broods, and even those above would have raised some chicks. Anyway all of them are now clean and ready to welcome new occupants in the Spring of 2021.

Future meetings and activities

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation, we have had to cancel the planned beach clean on Saturday 16 May and the next members’ meeting on Friday 29 May. We continue to keep our future meetings and activities under regular review, but will of course abide by Government regulations and advice. Any updates on our activities will be posted here as well as in our regular e mails to members.

Cancellation of Members Meetings

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation, we are cancelling the next two members meetings in March and April. We’ll be reviewing the situation after that, and hope to be resuming the meetings once things have improved.

 

Group Visit to Pagham Harbour

A small group of members made their Spring visit to the North Wall at Pagham Harbour, ably led by our local birdwatching expert Clive Hope. It was a windy and pretty chilly day, but this didn’t seem to put off the birds. Luckily we managed to avoid the threatened showers, but the wet winter meant that the nearby fields were generally flooded. This though did seem to attract many birds in good numbers, with an excellent total of 37 different species seen.

The highlights of the day were a large group of up to 16 Cattle Egrets which were showing well, alongside a healthy population of Grey Herons who were probably breeding in the nearby trees. It would be great if the Egrets follow suit and start breeding there. There were also in the region of 400 or so Black-Tailed Godwits – an impressive sight whenever they took to the air, something in the region of 40-50 Curlew with their haunting winter calls, and scores of Dark-Bellied Brent Geese flying overhead to the nearby fields when the tide was rising in the harbour.

All in all, it was a most enjoyable birdwatching visit to a wonderful location which is only about half an hour away from us, and was capped off with a visit to the nearby cafe in Pagham village for lunch before returning home.

The Wadars planning application

Please see below the information handout from Wadars relating to their recent planning application to develop their site to improve the animal wefare facilities there. It clearly outlines the benefits of the scheme and lays to rest the negative comments made by some. Ferring Conservation Group supports the application – the reference number is FG/6/20.

Wadars Rescue and Rehoming Centre, Ferring
Response to concerns raised on the planning portal.
Rewilding As a past livery yard, the property as it stands is almost entirely of concrete and therefore, encourages no natural wildlife beyond vermin and feral cats. We do attract swallows, which continue to nest in our permanent stables. Wadars specialises in the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife. Our development plans support our work and include creating green spaces throughout the old stable yard, both natural meadow and landscaped, and increasing the number of trees. This is needed both for the improvement of the natural environment and for natural scent and sight barriers between species.
Building design & sustainability The only UPVC structures are those in the further development of the cattery. These are fully insulated units and provide the best possible environment for cats and kittens in a rescue environment. All other construction, including the kennels, are from robust traditional build materials, fully insulated, and include the use of photovoltaic panels for sustainable energy generation. Units are low impact and finished in brickwork and wood fibre cladding, giving a natural, virtually maintenance free finish.
Economic Development Since taking on the property in Hangleton Lane, Wadars has already provided an additional 10 jobs and more than 100 volunteering opportunities. This will increase further as the centre develops. ln additional, we are now providing valuable work experience for students involved in animals welfare and environmental courses at local colleges.
Kennels We have been transparent with our intentions for the property since purchasing in January 2014. When granting ‘change of use’ permission, Arun District Council placed caveats on the positioning and number of kennel units. This has been followed. We are below the capped number of runs and have placed the kennels facing east, at the eastern end of the property, as stipulated by Arun. These kennels are situated at least 100m from any existing residential property.
Barking dogs Dogs in kennels generally only bark when there are people around or they see another animal, they do not bark24/7. Kennels have been designed so that dogs do not face each other; they are separated into three individual blocks so they cannot set each other off. The outdoor exercise runs will be fully fenced with solid fencing so that dogs cannot see dogs in the next run or other animals such as horses. The fence running along the boundary between our kennel area and the neighbouring sand school will also be solid. lt is noted that the livery stables allow client dogs to roam loose and therefore, dogs are already interacting with their horses.

Development There were originally 86 stables on our property. The proposed footprint of the animal rescue and rehoming centre is less that the overall combined footprint of the original stables. The traffic generated by those original 86 stables is more than four times that of our proposed centre.
Staff accommodation The existing flint barn already has lapsed planning permission for conversion to residential. Our plan for the flint barn is purely for staff accommodation to ensure out of hours care for animals in need. The footprint of the barn remains unchanged. There are historic clauses on the property which prevents any owner from selling the barn separately and therefore, it cannot become general housing.
Surface water Considerable investigation has been put into the best drainage systems for surface water across the property. This has included specialist infiltration tests and the development of a drainage plan by specialist engineers, including direction of flood waters to a natural swale. This will also encourage more natural wildlife to the area.
Other centres owned by Wadars Wadars has no other property or centre(s), and never has had. The facility which we use in Lancing is a commercial boarding kennels and costs the charity more than f30,000 in kennelling charges every year
Other benefits
Wadars rehoming centre will allow our specialist animal welfare team to work on any behavioural or socialising needs that dogs and puppies might have before finding new forever homes for them. A dual purpose Training and Education centre will enable us to train and socialise dogs and puppies in our care; we can also invite the local community, especially localyouth groups and other community organi5ations, to learn about responsible pet ownership and wildlife awareness. A purpose built wildlife facility will allow us to expand the work of our Animal Rescue Officers in your community; it will also enable us to reduce stress for more wildlife casualties by caring for them here in Ferring, their natural environment, rather than having to transport them to other centres; journeys that often result in premature and unnecessary deaths of wildlife. Education is a key theme running throughout our proposals and providing placements for local college students studying for roles within the animal care sector is something that we have already begun to do, but which will feature heavily in our plans going forward.

No March work party

Please note that there will be no work party this coming Tuesday – 3 March.

But please don’t forget the Rife Clean on Saturday 21 March starting at the far end of the Bluebird Cafe cafe cark by the toilets at 11am. Pickers, bags, high vis jackets and gloves are provided, and suggest that you wear wellies as likely to still be wet and muddy. Quite a lot of rubbish has been washed downstream during the floods and is sitting in the vegetation so we hope to see you there to help clear it up.