Neighbourhood agreement signed in Hailsham to improve quality of life

A NEW NEIGHBOURHOOD Agreement has been signed in a bid to improve life for the 800 households on Hailsham’s Town Farm Estate.

A survey organised by Wealden District Council earlier this year identified safety and security, litter and waste dumping, house conditions and lack of community spirit as the four main stumbling blocks to creating a happier community.

The Living Word Community Church has signed a ‘Neighbourhood Agreement’ with Town Farm Residents Association along with the district council, Sussex Police and East Sussex Targeted Youth Development Service to improve the estate.

Four priorities have been agreed: cleaning up the appearance of the estate, making people feel safer on Town Farm, improving the housing services and increasing the sense of community spirit.

Wealden District and town Cllr Stuart Towner, who is chairman of the Town Farm Residents Association, said: “We are already seeing the benefits of closer working with the police and Wealden District Council on the estate.

“It is beginning to make a real difference to the community and I hope more organisations will get involved.”

His Wealden colleague, Cllr Graham Wells added: “This agreement has kickstarted a good working relationship and Wealden District Council will do all it can to help residents make a real difference.”

Some improvements have already been agreed with a new recycling plant, free bulk refuse collections three times per year and an annual community clear-up led by the residents’ association, planned in the year ahead.

Police will support activities for youth such as a new skate park, the Friday Night Project and links with Arlington speedway. Anti social behaviour by young people will be dealt with by police using ‘acceptable behaviour contracts’.

Wealden’s housing officers also want to walk around the estate six times per year and report back to the residents’ association on what they see.

The residents’ association itself will hold regular open meetings in Hailsham East Community Centre at 6.30pm on the second Tuesday of each month, as well as publish a residents’ newsletter. A football team may also be organised for residents.

Weekly youth clubs are being proposed by the parner agencies, held at the Maurice Thornton Pavilion.

PC Justin Dighton, supporting the plans, said: “This is an exciting time for Town Farm and we fully support this alongside all of the partner agencies.”