Herald Column August 10th 2017

Rain may have almost stopped play last week but it certainly did not dull spirits. I arrived at the National Playday event on Monks Rec in Lancing last week just in time to see everyone running for cover from a sudden monsoon. This was the annual event organised by young mum Kayleigh Woodison and I had offered to appear in the stocks along with local councillors all in a good cause of course.

As it was those people throwing sponges would probably have got wetter than those of us on the receiving end so we escaped our fate but well done to all the volunteers who did such a good job of entertaining a lot of local kids at least until the heavens opened. We need to celebrate play opportunities for our children more often especially if it replaces electronic devices with some good old rough and tumble and physical exercise.

What about a regular programme of street closures in residential streets across Adur and Worthing backed by the councils to bring the community outdoors together more? We don’t need to wait until the next Jubilee or royal wedding to make it happen.

Another reason to take back control of our play areas in Lancing in particular is the current spate of vandalism by a small group of individuals who seem to think that smashing windows at the Lancing Tab and destroying the play area at Monk’s Rec is good sport rather than the mindless destruction that it is.

I attended a meeting of the ‘Keep Lancing Safe’ group with local community leaders, councillors and police last week where this was discussed. Volunteers have been doing a good job of clearing up some of the more dangerous rubbish left behind but the police are also going to step up their presence in the village and some prosecutions are pending. The lesson from the highly successful skateboard park in Shoreham and hopefully to be emulated by the latest addition to Lancing Beach Green is where play areas are well used and overlooked by lots of passers-by they tend to flourish, young people take ownership and wreckers are deterred. We need to adopt the same approach to Monks Rec.

Thank you to all those who have been sending me their comments on the New Monks Farm proposals and please make sure you send them to the Planning Department as part of the consultation first. The survey on my website about NMF is now live and I would be really grateful for your feedback. Hard copies will also be delivered around the village shortly and I have arranged a public meeting to discuss this, the A27 and other topical issues on Monday September 4th, 7pm at Lancing Parish Hall.