Completion of Cowfold Church Marks Restoration Project

Cowfold Village History Society (CVHS) held a celebration to mark the completion of the project to restore the fence in the Churchyard of St Peter’s Church, known as the “Church Marks”, on Saturday 13 October 2018.

The lovely weather enabled fifty people, including generous sponsors, CVHS members and members of St Peter’s congregation to enjoy refreshments (served by Mary Wilson) and witness Father Martin bless the magnificently restored fence, as well as the restored footpath lighting (enabled by the Co-op Community Development Fund).

The Church was also open for people to see the Godman Book, the Nelond brass and the “There but Not There” perspex figure sited at the front of the nave, which is representative of every name on local World War One war memorials around the country and donated by the Society from proceeds of the last Village History Day, held in 2014.

Today, church marks are exceptionally rare and the restoration was essential if this historical fence was to survive through the 21st century as a historical record for future generations.

The origin of the Church Marks fence dates back at least three hundred and thirty years, quite possibly longer, and is thought to be found in an old Sussex Saxon custom to mark the boundary of a churchyard with fencing by farms and houses in the parish. The first mention of such a fence in Cowfold is found in the Parish Register for 1682. This historical entry records each landholder, their property and the footage they were responsible for by maintaining one panel of oak fencing on which the name of the farm or house was deeply incised on the post.

The Society is most grateful to Barry Sowton for leading the Church Marks restoration project (with Sue Crofts’ valuable help) in such a short time span.

A local artist, Penny Hopkins, has painted a map of the fence to be displayed in the Church Lych Gate so that the posts can be located.

Improving Air Quality in Cowfold — Nick Herbert

In the House of Commons debate on improving air quality that took place on Thursday 28 June 2018, our local Member of Parliament, Nick Herbert, put forward a strong case for addressing the longstanding problems in Cowfold and Storrington.

The debate was televised and you can watch his speech online at:

The Parish Council is pleased that its efforts to highlight the issue have had a positive impact and hope that the increased awareness will now lead to the implementation of practical measures to improve air quality in the village.

airAlert (Sussex): Air Quality Early Warning Service

What is airAlert?

  • airAlert is a service, provided by the Sussex Air Quality Partnership (Sussex-air) that sends free messages direct to vulnerable people informing them about air pollution levels in their area.
  • airAlert is targeted at people with respiratory health problems who may be affected by air pollution.
  • airAlert warns people the day before or on the day that elevated air pollution is expected to occur.
  • airAlert sends a voice or text message direct to you (via your mobile or home telephone, email or via webpages or RSS on your PC)
  • People can register for free, then login for updates, changes, suspend/go on holiday or cancel the service.

Click here for more information.

Parish Council Lobbies For Action on Air Pollution

Nitrogen Dioxide – A Major Health Risk

A number of studies have shown that diesel engines produce high levels of nitrogen oxides and dioxides, together called NOx. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is particularly harmful – studies have shown it can cause or exacerbate a number of health conditions, such as inflammation of the lungs, which can trigger asthma and bronchitis, and increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Recently, the number of premature deaths in the UK attributed specifically to NO2 stood at 23,500; the number of people generally affected by health problems will, of course, be much greater.

Although the UK, along with other European countries, was required to reduce NO2 levels to below a maximum annual mean concentration of 40 μgm-3, it has recently been given a “final warning” by the European Commission over its failure to address the problem of harmful levels of toxic air.

The Problem in Cowfold

Cowfold is suffering from increasingly high levels of Nitrogen Dioxide gases emitted from vehicles travelling through the village. The measurement of NOx levels at various roadside locations and subsequent results from a continuous monitoring station situated in the middle of the village (next to the village hall) show pollution levels increasing each year and in excess of both the EU and WHO maximum levels of 40 μgm-3, concentrations considered harmful to health.

The Location of Diffusion Tube Monitoring Sites in Cowfold

Reference/Location Data Capture 2009 % Annual Mean Concentration 2009 (µg/m3) Adjusted by Local Bias
Cowfold 1N – Olde House, The Street 92 49.4
Cowfold 2N – Olde House, The Street 100 49.1
Cowfold 3N – Station Road Margarets Coattages A272 92 42.5

Table: Cowfold Diffusion Tube Results 2009

The latest count shows a level of 50 μgm-3, which represents a significant increase on previous years’ figures.

The centre of Cowfold was declared an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) by Horsham District Council on 1 December 2011. This led to the preparation of a Cowfold Air Quality Action Plan by Horsham District Council in conjunction with West Sussex County Council and the setting up of a Steering Group involving all stakeholders including a representative of the Parish Council, currently Stephen Clark.

We Need Urgent Action

Although the Action Plan includes proposals for a range of solutions, no action has yet been taken. The Parish Council is becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of progress in the face of the mounting health risks to residents, from young children walking to school every day to the elderly, who are particularly susceptible to these higher levels of Nitrogen Dioxide.

As is apparent from the attached charts, HGVs make up only 4% of traffic through the village but they account for 37% of NOx emissions.

Estimated Annual Average Daily Traffic Flow (left) and Road Traffic NOx Emissions (right) by Vehicle Class, The Street Cowfold 2011
Vehicle categories:
Cars and LDV includes: cars taxis, light goods vehicles and vans
HDV includes: buses, coaches, minibuses and HGVs
TWMV: Two Wheels Motor Vehicles

In view of these results, the Parish Council has now written to our local MPs, Nick Herbert, and Sir Nicholas Soames, asking for their support in lobbying for the installation of signs on the A23 and the A24 (both northbound and southbound) to help keep HGVs on these major routes and deter them from taking detours/short cuts through Cowfold on the A272.

Support Home Start!

home-start-logoHome Start Crawley, Horsham and Mid-Sussex is a charity that does valuable work supporting vulnerable local children and families.

Families are referred to them due to issues such as financial hardship, isolation, disability, illness, bereavement or abuse. The charity offers tailored one-to-one support from trained volunteers within the family home, working to help parents give their children the best possible start in life.

The services are free to all families; however, it costs £1,300 to provide support to one family for a year.

A number of families in Cowfold have been supported by the Charity and it would be most grateful to receive donations that will allow them to continue this important work.

Check out their website here.

Changes at West Sussex Household Waste Recycling Sites from 1st October 2016

waste-siteFrom 1st October 2016, West Sussex County Council is introducing changes at the County’s 11 Household Waste Recycling Sites (HWRSs) that, it claims, will enable the Council to make critical savings while still maintaining a comprehensive service for residents.

Opening hours for all sites will be:

  • 10:00am to 5:00pm 1st October – 31st March (Winter)
  • 10:00am to 7:00pm 1st April – 30th September (Summer)

There will be no change to opening days at Crawley, Burgess Hill and Westhampnett and they will, therefore, remain open seven days a week.

The Hop Oast site at Horsham will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays but will remain open on the other five days of the week.

Charges will be introduced for the disposal of non-household waste, including:

  • car and van tyres (LGV, tractor and mobile plant tyres will no longer be accepted) and
  • waste from the construction, alteration or repair of residents’ homes and gardens, such as plasterboard, breeze blocks, bricks, rubble, soil, stones, turf (grass cuttings and gardening waste remain free of charge), ceramic bathroom fittings and tiles.

The charges are:

  • £4 per tyre, or part tyre
  • £4 per rubble bag (no bigger than 55cm x 85cm) or per item or per 2.4m x 1.2m plasterboard sheet

Payment can only be made by Visa or Mastercard debit and credit cards; cash and cheques will not be accepted.

More information can be found here.

Wanted – Photographs of Cowfold

Bus shelter croppedThe Parish Council wants to smarten up the bus shelter in Henfield Road by mounting panels containing  photographs of the village on the walls.

So, we are on the look out for high quality images which are worthy of such a prominent position. If you have any which you think may be suitable, please contact the Parish Clerk.

We will be pleased to include your name on the photograph if it is selected for the display.