Village Feature: Rogate

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THE parish boundary forms a rough figure six, stretching almost to Liphook in one direction and slicing though the Flying Bull pub at Liss 
in another.

It even takes in part of Hillbrow and carries on down to just short of Trotton.

At its heart is the village of Rogate itself, with its village stores run by Ann Arnold, the school and The White Horse pub.

But this huge parish also takes in the village stores at Rake and Rake Primary School as well as the Jolly Drovers and the Flying Bull pubs.

There has been a tendency to leave the outlying areas out in the cold when it comes to parish matters, but villagers hope they are now overcoming their geographical difficulties.

Elizabeth Brown, who has served on the parish council for some ten years, became chairman a few months ago.

A villager for 25 years, she put her roots down when she returned from the Far East and quickly became involved in community life. She has edited the Rogate and Terwick News for more than 20 years.

“We have now got more people representing the different areas of the parish,” she said, “and trying, with the Neighbourhood Plan, to bring new people in so that none of the parish is left out.”

A steering committee set up by the parish council and led by villager Paddy Walker has been working on the plan, which it is hoped will help shape the future of the parish.

They have taken advice from consultants and held three public meetings.

At present the group is putting together a questionnaire which will go out to all villagers, asking for people’s views on all aspects of community life.

Rogate is a parish very much looking after itself and there are a number of projects on the go, some helped by the fact parish councillors have taken the bold step of increasing their budget so they can fund projects.

The parish council, for instance, pays for a youth worker to run the club for the youngsters.

“Without the parish council, there wold be no youth club, but now we are hoping to make it possible for the club to expand,” said Mrs Brown.

The RATA traffic-calming group is looking at ways of managing the vast amount of heavy traffic which rumbles its way through Rogate along the busy A272, often damaging walls and buildings.

“We have looked at all sorts of ways of calming traffic,” said Mrs Brown. “We were galvanised into action after West Sussex County Council came up with the crossing proposal out of the blue, which none of us wanted.

“Now we are investigating this idea of looking at the roads as shared space and trying to make people driving through the village aware of where they are and wanting to look around.”

Rogate villagers are also aware they are probably sitting on pockets of shale oil and gas and with ‘fracking’ in the headlines, are arming themselves with the facts.

“We had drilling here about 20 years ago and we are trying to find out the facts. We are not anti or pro-fracking we just want to find out the reality of the situation.”

Another project under way is to make Rogate a ‘centre for dark skies’.

Villagers have joined forces with the South Downs National Park’s Dark Skies scheme and the nearby Clanfield Observatory and are holding a hot chocolate and star-gazing evening.

“We see it as a way of highlighting Rogate and making it more of a centre to come and visit.

“We have lovely walks and a beautiful area.”

Villagers completed a project to provide state-of-the-art playground equipment on the recreation ground five years ago, having gained a large lottery grant.

The recreation ground is also home to the bowling club, cricket, football and tennis.

The Rev Edward Doyle is rector of St Peter’s, the little church at Terwick, as well as St Bartholomew’s in the centre of Rogate, currently being re-roofed and where the organ is undergoing a major renovation.

And at the village hall, the management trust is chaired by Brian Allison, and a host of groups are thriving including the choral society, Rogate Society, the garden club and the popular lunch club.