September updates

Sadly we’ve had to come to the inevitable decision to cancel our remaining two members’ meetings for 2020 scheduled for October and November, as we simply cannot comply with the various necessary Covid-19 conditions, and still run meaningful meetings in a confined space such as the Village Hall. We still hope that we’ll be able to resume these in early 2021, but recognise that we’re all missing the get-togethers. Having said that, we’re organising a number of outside socially distanced walks thanks to Tricia and Clive, and details of the latest of these are later in this message.

On the North Goring Gap campaign, the Action Group, of which are members, have produced 5000 leaflets which you should have seen, which thanks to our volunteers have been delivered to most houses in Ferring, as well as by the other groups across Goring and parts of Worthing. We now need to convert as many of these as possible into objections submitted to Worthing Borough Council by the closing date of 30 September. If you haven’t done so yet, please do so and nag your friends and neighbours to do likewise. It is really important that we hold the line on this one, and hopefully prevent what would be a very damaging development. We are also holding small pop up weekly demos at the site at rush hour times using our banners and placards to raise awareness to the wider travelling public, but again due to the legal restrictions on gatherings and numbers, we cannot invite everybody to take part, which is a real shame.

Finally we have a couple of practical work events coming up and we’d be grateful for any help on these, while still keeping the numbers manageable. Firstly, the annual raking of the south end of the Sea Lane grass verge will take place at 6.30pm on Tuesday 15 September (one day later than originally planned), meeting at the bottom of Sea Lane. If possible, please bring your own grass rake or similar, and gloves. We’ll be joined as last year by members of the Good Gym, and this work should improve the conditions for the wild flowers such as the Salsify to thrive. Secondly, on the following Saturday (19th) we’ll be holding the final beach clean of the year as part of the Great British Beach Clean, meeting at the east end of the Bluebird Cafe car park at 11am. Equipment is provided but again gloves are suggested. Throughout the summer, we have had a rota of volunteers cleaning the beach daily, and we’re very grateful for all their help.

David Bettiss – Chairman, FCG

Plus also see below our 2 upcoming walks:

1.Visit to Anchor Bottom on Tuesday, 8th September, meeting at 10am. Directions: turn off the A27 onto the A283 towards Steyning. Just past the old Shoreham cement works, there is a row of old workers cottages. You can park in front of them or in the car park just a short way further north on the left. Meet at the footpath entrance at the north end of the cottages. Anchor Bottom is a steep valley so be prepared for a bit of a climb and a walking pole is useful. Target species are Autumn Gentian, Autumn Lady’s-tresses, Ravens and Adonis butterflies. Camera and binoculars useful. If a sunny day, you might like to bring a picnic. Social distancing will be observed.

2. Highdown on Tuesday, 15th September, meeting at 10am in the top car park. This will be a general natural history stroll up to the top of the hill particularly looking at autumn fruits and climbing plants. Afterwards, we can have a snack at the Highdown café. Camera and binoculars advised. Social distancing observed. CANCELLED – SORRY.

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.

Saddlescombe Farm Open Days

You may be interested in some upcoming events this year at the National Trust run historic farm at Saddlescombe, near Devil’s Dyke just north of Brighton and Hove as follows:

Farm Open Day on Sunday 28 June from 1030-1530, and a Heritage Open Day on Sunday 20 September also from 1030-1530. These are both free events but there is a £5 car park charge. There is also a cafe, farmers market and guided walks. The farm is situated between Poynings and the Devil’s Dyke road and signposted from the A27. You can also catch the number 77 bus from Brighton railway station and walk there from Devil’s Dyke itself.

There are also 2 Orchid days on Sunday 7 June and Tuesday 16 June from 1030, where there will be a guided walk with a ranger to search for a variety of wild orchids. There is a cost for this and tickets have to be booked via the National Trust website. More details of all the above days can be found there as well.

 

February/ March walks and visits

Tuesday 25 February 10am – guided visit to Warnham Nature Reserve (just off A24 at Horsham). Excellent place to view birds at close quarters from the various hides. This is a “get yourselves there” visit but lifts can be arranged. Small admission fee of £2 and light refreshments are available there.

Thursday 12 March 10am  – guided birdwatching visit to Pagham Harbour (North Wall) with Clive Hope. One of the best sites locally for wading birds and others. Park on Church Lane (far end) nr Pagham village on east side of the harbour. Another “get yourselves there” visit but again lifts can be arranged. You can stay for lunch in café at Pagham if you wish.

Plus, don’t forget Rife Clean on Sat 21 March 11am

Persimmon wants to build on the Northern Gap and we want to stop them

We heard on 30 September that leaflets were being delivered to a few roads in Ferring announcing that Persimmon Homes, the developers, are preparing a planning application for an estate of 465 houses on the farmland west of Goring Street, north of the railway between the railway and the Rife. This is right on the border with Ferring, but all within Worthing Borough Council’s boundaries. There was a tear-off slip on the leaflet for recipients to write their comments and post them off. The leaflet advertised a ‘consultation event’ in Worthing  on 7 October.

Many of our members, and members of Goring & Ilex Conservation Group and Goring Residents Association went along and had their say. Many others have sent their objections by e mail to chatsmorefarm@pegasusgroup.co.uk  And on 8 October 50 of us met at Goring Station for a group photograph to illustrate the story for the Worthing Herald. is ver

It is important that we in Ferring, as well as our friends in Goring continue to show our strong objection to this proposal. It is not yet a planning application. The development would be contrary to Worthing’s Draft Local Plan and it seems very unlikely that the Council would approve such an application when it is made.  But after such a refusal Persimmon could always appeal and we cannot be sure what a Planning Inspector might allow.

It would be good to see such an outcry against this proposal that Persimmon decide to drop it.

You can see the details of the scheme on www.chatsmorefarm.co.uk

Worthing Conservation Volunteers

The above group which carries out excellent practical conservation work around the Worthing area are looking for more volunteers to help them. Their regular work parties start at 10am and end by 3.30pm on the designated day, but they welcome any help at all for however long.

The next work party is on Sunday 17 March at Cissbury Ring, where they will be working with the National Trust warden to maintain the chalk downland flora.

For further details and also to confirm venue and meeting place of each work party, please contact Jay on 01903 762064.