WHISPERING SMITH: Villagers are left up the junction by wrong turn

Chris Adam Smith -- Whispering Smith
Chris Adam Smith -- Whispering Smith

TWO of the South Downs National Park Authority’s remits are to ‘conserve and enhance and to promote opportunities within the park.

A third remit is: ‘To work in partnership to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the National Park.’

So why is the SDNPA coming down like a ton of bricks on The Junction, which is already fulfilling all three? The Junction, the Clapham village shop and café (staffed by locals and selling locally produced goods) opened in 2011 and has always been a big hit with the vast majority of the local community.

Of course, there will always be a vociferous minority who seem to dislike any successful enterprise they are not directly involved in. That is a given the world over, but so be it, the majority should rule – is that not what democracy is all about?

The villagers I chatted with could not speak too highly of the venture and could not really understand why anyone should oppose it.

Pity, then, that the SDNPA has told The Junction, in no uncertain terms, no more opening on a Sunday – one of its busiest days, especially in the summer, no more Christmas carol services or poetry evenings – Hilaire Belloc must be spinning at that one – and the very popular knit and natter ladies’ evening group must cease its activities forthwith. So the knitters can, in future, only natter in the privacy of their own homes.

I don’t live in the village, but it is a popular gateway to the countryside and I, like others, do enjoy a break, a chat and a good cup of coffee on our journey across this green and pleasant land.

Come on SDNPA, read your own remit, get with the programme and think again!

RUSTINGTON historian Mary Taylor is compiling a list of service personnel from the village who died serving in the Second World War and is seeking information regarding the wartime death of RAF Sgt Ronald Smith. Nothing is known of him other than his name and rank. Anyone with information, please contact Mary via Rustington Museum

POPPED along to see Philomena at our newly opened cinema. A packed house and a brilliant film. Made me laugh and cry, such is the magic of the movies.