From the West Sussex County Times of Friday, May 17, 1985.
Mains gas supplies could soon be more than a pipedream for Rudgwick.
Segas is currently studying how much it would cost to put the village’s 480 homes on its map. Once that is complete, Segas will question residents on whether they want their homes linking up.
But residents would have to pay a proportion of the board’s outlay and that could run to over £1 million. “We are aware that the village would like a gas supply,” said a Segas spokesman. “We are a commercial company and if it is financially viable to put gas into the village we will do that.”
A Segas team is now designing the pipe network the village would need, how many miles of pipe, what diameter, what pressure and at what cost.
“When we have done that we would do a survey of the area to see how many people would take up the offer, and how much gas it is anticipated each customer would use. We would then work out the figure and ask each customer to pay a contribution towards the enormous cost.”
He said it was impossible at this stage to say what the charge was likely to be.
Plans to provide up to half a dozen homes for elderly Washington residents could be thwarted by a century old Act of Parliament.
Washington Parish Council hoped that the houses could be built on allotment land not presently in use.
Says parish council clerk Lorna Goldsmith: “They would be there for elderly people who lose their tied houses on retiring. Sometimes they end up having to leave the village they have lived in all their lives.”
But according to the National Association of Local Councils, under the terms of the 1845-82 Enclosure Act the prospective site is classified as “field and gardens” and can only be used by the parish council for allotment purposes.
To sell the site would require the go-ahead from the Secretary of State for the Environment, and the parish council would be forced by the Act to use the proceeds from any sale to buy yet more allotment land.
The Secretary of State would have the right to hold any money raised until this was done.
Parish council chairman Janet Milstead said: “The whole object is to make use of an untidy piece of land that is doing nothing. It seems silly to have to abide by something that was decided over a hundred years ago.”
Spaceman Jeff Hoffman was the super hero for hundreds of children at Billingshurst.
Jeff, who made the first unscheduled space walk in history, thrilled 800 youngsters at the Weald School with a visit and chat on Wednesday.
He recounted his exploits of just one month ago when he and another astronaut tried to revive a rogue satellite which failed after being placed in orbit by the American space shuttle.
Jeff was watched on television by millions as he attached a “fly-swatter” to the shuttle’s arm to try and switch the satellite into life.
Wednesday morning was equally foreboding because it was the largest audience he had ever addressed. But the pupils of the Weald, Billingshurst Primary and Infant, and Pulborough Primary, thought he was out of this world.
Jeff’s trip to Billingshurst was arranged by close friend Dr John Parkinson, a space scientist.
Afterwards Mr Parkinson took Jeff to the Mullard Space Science Laboratory at Holmbury St Mary for a briefing on the Spacelab 2 mission which will have major British involvement in July.
The photo was kindly submitted to Memory Lane by Mrs Constable. It was taken at Horsham Telephone Exchange in North Street in the 1940s or 1950s. Mrs Constable’s mother was a telephonist there during that period but is not in the photo.
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