Page 22 - Forest Row Local November Edition
P. 22

 22 November 2020
• Forest Row Local
is a Grade I listed building, which was home to evacuees and troops during WWII. It also has a historic watermill and forge. I was shocked to learn about the ongoing issues with water supply to the Priory’s moat – the longest continual medieval water-filled moat in Britain.
I have serious concerns about
the lack of maintenance of two water control structures which manage the water supply to the moat, by the Environment Agency (EA). This has led to gradual silt deposition, increasing growth of invasive aquatic plants, and made the historic watermill inoperable. During the Covid-19 crisis, a facility such as this mill is absolutely vital to prevent flour shortages. The moat has to be de-silted and water has to be returned to it immediately, or it will be lost forever.
Last month, I raised the issue at an urgent debate in Parliament and demanded immediate interventions to ensure the future viability of this critical local gem. As a result, I have met with our area representatives from the EA to find a workable solution. I am pleased that they have committed to urgently review the issue and provide a tangible plan for solving the problem, and a long-term management strategy.
Our heritage sites are vital to the local economy and the cultural fabric of the area. From your correspondence, I know how passionately residents across Wealden care about Michelham Priory. It was also touching to hear your fond memories of swimming and fishing on the moat, and even offering your diggers for de-silting.
I greatly appreciate all your support, to let such a unique and culturally significant site disappear would be a devastating historical, social and economic loss for East Sussex. I am not going to let this happen on my watch.
Nus Ghani, MP for Wealden,
is delighted that as part of the Government Culture Recovery Fund, a grant has been awarded to So Sussex and Sussex Events Limited, the creators of many events in Wealden.
An investment of £257 million
has been made in 1,385 venues, theatres, museums and cultural organisations, through the first round of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund. This funding will help performances
to restart, venues to plan for reopening and to help protect jobs and create opportunities for freelancers. The awards are being made by the Arts Council England and come on top of £103 million of emergency funding that has been distributed from the Culture Recovery Fund for heritage venues and £3.5 million of emergency funding for music venues.
So Sussex are the creators of Elderflower Fields Family Festival, an independent festival which takes place in Wealden’s Pippingford Park near Uckfield. Elderflower Fields Festival provides a unique family experience that opens children and their parents’ minds to
new opportunities in sport, music, the arts, nature and food.
Sussex Events Limited provide technical support for various events across Sussex, Kent and London, including the “We Are Not a Festival”, also located at
the Pippingford Park Estate. They provide all technical elements for event production, such as lighting, sound, video, temporary electrical systems and staging.
Nus Ghani said: “I am proud that Wealden is home to many award- winning events and festivals,
and to many of the country’s best technicians. I appreciate the hardships they have faced due
to the pandemic and following conversations with many Wealden residents who work in the sector,
I have previously written to the Secretary of State, urging him
to consider further assistance
to support the industry. I am delighted that this funding will help Wealden’s event organisers back on their feet and protect our local jobs”.
The jewel in the crown of Wealden’s medieval heritage is Michelham Priory, located in the beautiful countryside of Upper Dicker. It dates back to 13th century and
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