• Etchingham Parish Council – History

    The Local Government Act of 1894 created the most local of government units – the Parish Councils. Etchingham can be proud to have been part of this Local Government structure ever since its first Parish Council was elected at a Parish Meeting in December 1894.

    The Parish Meeting was convened by the Overseers and held in the Etchingham Schoolhouse on Tuesday December 4th 1894 at 7 o’clock. There was a large attendance and Thomas Russell of Haremere was called upon to preside. A quarter of an hour was given for the nomination papers of those wishing to be Parish Councìllors, to be received. Fourteen Nomination Papers were handed in but as the number of Councillors was limited to seven, the Chairman asked for a show of hands for the support for each candidate. A Poll was then demanded and the election was arranged for Monday l7th December.

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    The ñrst meeting of the Council took place on Saturday January 5th 1895 at 6 o’clock p.m. All seven elected Councillors were present. Mr. G.F.Gregory, Dr. Eley, Mr. W.C.Russell, and Messrs Cox, Sands, Ellis and Chandler.

    The frst business was to elect a Provisional Chaírman. Dr Eley was proposed and seconded and he then Chaired the meeting , to elect the Chairman. Mr Gregory was proposed and seconded and duly elected as the first Chairman of Etchingham Parish Council. Mr Cox was elected as Clerk to the Council.

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    During its long history the Parish Council has discussed very wide rangíng issues. In its first meeting the problem of cess-pool discharge, the request for a second Rural District Councillor, and the payment of three shillings (15p today!) for the use of the Schoolroom for their meetings.

    Over the years immediate problems related to the roads and the footpaths, and the railway, have all featured in the Council’s agenda. At the present time the Council is still very much concerned with problems related to the Highway, footpaths and planning issues for it keeps a careful check on the state of footpaths and stiles and tries to introduce measures to stap traffic from speedìng through the village and other aspects of road safety. It looks at all planning applications and sends its comments to the District Council. It is linked with other local councils through the Rother Association of Local Councils and is a member of the Sussex Association of Local Councils, which is, in turn linked to the National Association of Local Councils.

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    After a village meeting in 1996 an Advisory Committee was set up to explore the feasibility of building a new Village Hall. On receiving its Report, a Questionnaire/Referendum was delivered to every household in the Parish in June 1998. Of 575 voting forms distributed, 391 were returned, and of these 89% voted that a new hall should be built and 77% that it should be on the Willows site. The Etchingham Trust for Sports & Recreation has now bcen set up with Charity status being gained in Summer 1999. It is hoped the building will be completed sometime in 2001. The names of the Trustees can be obtained if required, from the Parish Clerk, Mr K.M.Thomas at The Etchingham Stores 01580 819289 or 819657.