East Chiltington Friends and Neighbours: is your internet speed too slow??
Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme - Government money to help us!
The families and businesses living in East Chiltington are in the last 5% of households in the UK who suffer very slow internet speeds. But, good news: there is now something we can do about this. A new government scheme called the Gigabit Voucher Broadband Scheme https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/rural/can help you get faster internet.
The scheme is aimed at people with download speeds of less than 30mbps - something most of us can only dream of – and offers between £500 and £1,500 per household and up to £3,500 per SME (small and medium size enterprises) towards the cost of installing superfast broadband. A gigabit connection can be as fast as 330 mbps! Yes, you did read that right! https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/home/how-fast/
If we pull together as a community, we have an excellent chance of making this happen as we can pool the value of our vouchers to fund OpenReach for the improvements. The more families and small businesses who get involved, the more vouchers the community gets, and the more money the government will give towards the project.
By getting the village together we can say bye-bye to buffering box sets, so long to stuttering streaming services and farewell to frustrating facetime calls. We will be able take advantage of fibre broadband speeds allowing faster downloads, a reliable internet supply, easier homeworking and happier families!
Step 1 – Interested? We need some basic information from everyone who is interested so Open Reach can assess the work involved. Please email the address below by 31st October to receive a simple form. At this point we will only share your address and landline(s) and whether there is a school, charity or business at your address with Openreach, and there is absolutely no obligation to proceed.
Step 2 - We will collate and send everyone’s addresses to the Openreach Community Fibre Partnership team
Step 3 - Openreach will give us an indicative cost for the scheme.
Step 4 –We will get back in touch with you and explain what happens next, maybe even getting Openreach to come to a community meeting.
If you would like to be involved, please email us at email@example.com and we will email you a form to gather the necessary information. The deadline for the return of these forms is 31st October, so please get in touch with us as soon as possible.
Buzz Harrison, Chris Farmelo, Georgie Elwes, Anna Hardy, Charlie Boulton, Amanda Inglis, Jayne Block
Apple pressing and harvest supper !!
Saturday 12th October
At a recent meeting, The Parish Council agreed to pursue devolution of the Hollycroft Field and associated areas from LDC to the PC. This follows a Parish-wide consultation in which residents voted overwhelmingly in favour of this course of action.
What happens now? The PC has notified LDC of its intention, and the offer of devolution will be formalised at an LDC Council meeting in January. The PC will then instruct a conveyancing solicitor to carry out the formalities. As this may take some time, we have suggested that, for 2019, current maintenance arrangements continue. In due course, the PC, working with TECT and in consultation with residents, will devise a maintenance and use plan for the whole area.
Devolution of the Hollycroft Field – survey results
In September, the Parish Council carried out a consultation regarding future ownership of land at Hollycroft. As residents know, Village Green Status was gained for the majority of the Hollycroft Field and this was followed by an offer from LDC to devolve this land, along with the current football pitch, the playground, and all other public areas at Hollycroft, to the ownership of the Parish Council. Although there would be zero purchase cost, there would be financial implications for maintenance and management of the land. Therefore, all residents were sent a leaflet that set out the costs and benefits of the proposal, along with a survey to find out their views. We were interested in finding out whether or not there was broad support for the proposal, along with ideas on the best way to fund it and for future use of the field. In addition, a well-attended meeting was held in the Jolly Sportsman at which these issues were discussed.
We received a response from 25% of all households. This is not especially high but quite typical (if not slightly higher) for a community survey of this type. Response rates were somewhat higher for the centre of the village than for other parts of the parish, but not markedly so. 98%of respondents felt that devolution was a good idea, with just one household feeling that the Parish Council should not accept LDC’s offer.
In terms of how the costs should be funded, of those that agreed it was a good idea, 50% felt that they should be wholly funded through an increase in the precept, 36% felt that there should be a combination of an increase in the precept and community fundraising and 14% felt that the costs should all be paid for solely through community fundraising. There were numerous ideas for future use of the field, among which an area set aside for wildflowers, a community meeting room and a BBQ area were among the more popular.
The results of the survey and next steps will be discussed by councillors at the next Parish Council meeting on November 7th.
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