Cross in Hand, Horam, Blackboys & Five Ashes

PARISH ASSEMBLY: I attended the Heathfield and Waldron Parish Assembly meeting last night, April 9. A number if interesting subjects were discussed. I will give a more comprehensive account of the meeting next week. If anyone has any views from the meeting, please contact me on the email address above.

NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: News and appeals. Positive steps to quell anti-social behaviour in Uckfield. Enforcement action against youths involved in persistent anti-social behaviour around Uckfield is starting to have a positive effect, police believe. Officers dealing with problems over the past few months have collated evidence and information from within the community to identify frequent troublemakers and to take punitive action against them. Inspector Jon Gross, of the Wealden policing team, said: ‘We recognise the community is still experiencing some issues but the level of reporting has reduced in recent weeks, and certainly from its height during the February half-term.’ Insp Gross has recently met business and community representatives from the town to discuss youth provision in Uckfield and ways in which larger businesses can minimise youth-related problems at their premises. A further meeting is planned later this month. Solving Uckfield’s anti-social behaviour issues remains a priority for the Wealden policing team, which continues to monitor reporting of incidents and information on a daily basis. Insp Gross said: ‘It is therefore important that people in the community continue to report things to us so that we can maintain momentum over coming weeks.’ Officers have been deployed to patrol troublespots and told to take positive action to remove young people from any area where they are causing harassment, alarm or distress. Insp Gross added: ‘As I’ve said before, the majority of young people in Uckfield are a credit to the town. It is the behaviour of just a few individuals that has been causing issues and they will continue to be dealt with robustly each time they come to notice.’ Anyone with information for officers is asked to contact police online via https://sussex.police.uk/contact-us/report-online/ or call 101, quoting Operation Asteroid.

CRIME SUMMARY: Overnight on Sunday April 1, a quad bike was stolen from Bodle Street Green in Hailsham (ref: 0035 02/04). A chainsaw was taken from a tractor in Boreham Street in Hailsham overnight on Sunday April 1, (ref: 0251 02/04). Monday April 2 there was a break to an outbuilding in Boreham Street in Hailsham. However, nothing was taken (0651 02/04). Hankham, Pevensey, a house was broken into on Wednesday April 4 Some jewellery was taken (ref: 0861 04/04). Overnight on Wednesday April 4, 2 different sheds were broken into on Tapsells lane in Wadhurst but nothing was taken from either of them (ref: 0291 05/04 & 0324 05/04). Help us keep Sussex safe. If you saw or heard anything, or have any information about any incident in this message please contact us online, email us at 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or call 101, quoting the reference number provided. Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or online at www.crime stoppers-uk.org

ACTION FRAUD: Online Marketplace Fraud Advice For Sellers. Action Fraud has received several reports indicating that sellers of items on online marketplace websites are falling victim to fraud by bogus buyers. Typically, the bogus buyers contact the seller wanting to purchase the item for sale and advise they will be sending the requested amount via PayPal or other electronic payment method. The seller then receives a fake, but official looking email stating they have been paid more than the asking price and to send the difference back to the buyer’s bank account. In reality, no money has ever been sent to the seller; the bogus buyer has spoofed an email and purported to be an online payment company. All contact is then severed with the seller. It is important to remember that selling anything could make you a target to these fraudsters however the NFIB has identified that those offering sofas, large furniture and homeware are particularly vulnerable. Protection Advice. Don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic. Remember criminals can imitate any email address. Stay in control. Always use a trusted payment method online, such as Paypal, and have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for payment like bank transfers. Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision. Always verify that you have received payment from the buyer before completing a sale. Listen to your instincts. Criminals will try and make unusual behaviour, like overpaying, seem like a genuine mistake. Visit Take Five (takefive-stopfraud .org.uk/advice/) and Cyber Aware (cyberaware.gov.uk) for more information about how to protect yourself online. If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

CARM WATCH: Coordinator’s Update: This week police received reports of 25 loose animals on the public highways. This number was made up of 10 cows, 10 sheep and five horses. As usual please check your boundary fences and hedges at least once a day, this should include boundaries to railway lines. Due to the very wet ground following a few weeks of wet weather, extra care should be taken when checking fencing in fields where horses are kept. They can easily push posts flat when putting their heads through fences.

SECURITY REMINDER: Following the theft of a quad bike in Rother this week and reports of other equipment thefts (below) police would like to highlight the below security advice to help prevent theft or increase the chance on items being returned to you should they be stolen. Secure and immobilise vehicles and equipment when not in use. Park vehicles in a secure building out of sight. Avoid leaving smaller vehicles like quad bikes and ATVs unattended and out in the open. Secure keys out of sight. Mark all property with the farm name and post code, use a UV pen, engraving, stamping, tagging or forensic marking. Restrict access to you land or property with locked gates. Keep a record of chassis numbers. Over the past few weeks there have been a number of reports of unknown persons driving onto property. When challenged they have enquired about buying scrap or offered goods for sale. It is thought however that this may be used as an excuse when they’ve been found on land.

OBSERVATIONS: In recent weeks police have also shared information in relation to several thefts of water tanks, specifically in the Wealden area on March 3 and 13.

CROSS IN HAND: Isenhurst Junction. No reported incidents have been reported for last week.

MAYFIELD FLAT: At Monday’s Parish Assembly, a parish councillor wrongly reported this incident had happened at Isenhurst junction. It did not. It took place at the Mayfield Flat junction with the A265. The serious accident took place on Sunday April 8 between a car and a motorbike. All the emergency services attended the scene and the air ambulance was in attendance. Unfortunately three people were seriously injured and taken to hospital. I have noticed an increase of traffic now using the junction. Is this because of the ‘dice with death’ motorists endure on exiting the High Street at the Isenhurst Junction?

AMENITIES SOCIETY: The Cross in Hand Amenities Society has recently received a grant of £10,000 from Sussex Lund, which has enabled them to continue the enormous task of clearing rhododendron ponticum in Darch’s Wood. Sussex Lund is a grants programme launched by Peter Baldwin and Lisbet Rausing in 2016 that supports small-scale practical projects that improve the ecology and landscape of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Rhododendron ponticum is a particularly invasive species that blocks out the sun, smothers other plants and trees, is toxic to wildlife and can spread sudden oak death. The High Weald AONB Unit is guiding and assisting landowners to remove this unwelcome visitor from woodlands across the region, and a representative from the Unit was particularly impressed by work carried out by the Society to improve access for visitors and enhance the natural environment for the benefit of native flora and fauna. The work was carried out by Cade Street based Agrifactors Limited, and they cleared nearly 4 acres of rhododendron in the space oftwo weeks. This winter’s work has followed up on previous large scale works to improve the woodland, which have included repairing over a mile of paths, dredging the pond for the first time in 25 years and an initial phase of rhododendron clearance in 2016 covering two acres. Further rhododendron work will be taking place in April thanks to the assistance of the Hastings based Sussex Conservation Volunteers, who supported us last year by building a new track over a bridge uncovered following the clearance of rhododendron. The society is now trying to assemble a group of volunteers who can help tidy up the debris left behind by the clearance work, and which will enable them to create new tracks through areas of the wood previously inaccessible because of the rhododendron. It is hoped that the regular dog walkers who are benefitting most from the work being done will give up a small amount of time and come along to the regular Pick up Sticks sessions that have been organised on the third Sunday of every month. Volunteers are invited to come along anytime between 11am and 4pm to lend a hand. Darch’s Wood was bequeathed to the Cross in Hand Amenities Society in 1976, by Margaret Marr Darch, a former owner of Heatherden, for the benefit and enjoyment of the community. The society and its 100 members are now responsible for managing and maintaining the woodland, with contributions from the Heathfield and Waldron Parish Council helping towards funding basic maintenance. The wood is freely open to the public at all times, and its main entrance is behind St Bartholomew’s Church on Little London Road.

SINGING SONGS FOR EVERYONE: Continues on Monday April 23 at 2pm at Cross in Hand Methodist at the top of Firgrove Road. The car park is on the left hand side of the road. Favourite songs to sing and bring along songs and music for the group. There will be time for refreshments and a chat afterwards. The get together just covers expenses.

SOUTH EAST WATER: Road Closures. New water main installation in Warren Lane, Back Lane and Fir Grove Road, Cross in Hand As part of an ongoing programme to improve our water supply network the company will shortly be undertaking work along Warren Lane, Back Lane and Fir Grove Road in Cross in Hand, Heathfield. The £62,000 project will involve the installation of new equipment, which will help to better control the flow of water around our network of underground pipes. It will also ensure we can continue to maintain water pressure to the area as the community grows. To ensure the work is done with minimum disruption. Construction works will be carried out in stages, with each road being returned to its original state upon completion of one section before the working area moves along to the next stage. The first section will take place in Warren Lane and, as a safety precaution for pedestrians, motorists and the contractor, the road will be closed to through traffic only between the junctions of Forest Place and Warren Close. Back Lane, will also be closed south of Woodbine Farm, to through traffic only for the second section of works. Signed diversion routes, as agreed in conjunction with East Sussex County Council Highways Team, will be in place for the duration of both closures. The third section of work will be carried out under three-way traffic lights along Fir Grove Road at the junction of Browns Lane. Access to homes and businesses will be maintained at all times. Construction is planned to start on Monday, April 23 2018 and the project is expected to take approximately four weeks to complete. Work on the first section of the project will finish on Friday, May 4. It will then move onto the second section from Tuesday, May 8 to Friday, May 18. The third section of work along Fir Grove road will take place from Friday, May 4 to Thursday, May 10. Work will take place during normal office hours, although there may be some activities at weekends. All properties along the affected roads will be informed to ensure local residents and businesses are aware of the work. Details will be given of how to contact South East Water if you have any concerns.

PLANNING: Once again an issue arises which makes me think hard about exactly what is going on in our council’s planning department, and query why some decisions made seem to stray well outside the boundaries of common sense. The latest (and I expect you’ll read about in the editorial pages of this newspaper) concern a scheme for five new houses on land in Back Lane Cross in Hand. Initially the plan was for three large houses and two smaller homes. Then a further application arrived seeking enlargements to the two smaller houses (reminiscent of our former affordable homes problems). In the original application, one of the conditions was that all trees and hedgerows on site were to be retained. Then recently the applicants asked for consent to fell a number of healthy trees. These are a good distance from the houses. Surprisingly consent for the axing was given within six days, a record for a Wealden application I believe? (Others have taken weeks). The axemen are set to arrive this week. Coupled with this astonishing decision is the fact that we are now well within the bird nesting season and I believed that tree-felling or hedge cutting is not allowed from April through until the end of the summer. What is going on, and why? Once again are Wealden planners allowing developers to ride rough-shod over their planning policies?Who wins? I’d love to know.

MAYFIELD AND FIVE ASHES: The Mayfield Festival of Music and the Arts is an English Arts Festival which is primarily devoted to classical music. It is a biennial event taking place in May and is centred in the ancient and beautiful village of Mayfield in East Sussex, just south of the Spa Town of Royal Tunbridge Wells. In 2018 the Festival dates are Saturday, April 28 to Sunday, May 13. If you would like to be able to book tickets in advance of the box office opening for the 2020 Festival and would like to help support music in Mayfield please join the Friends of Music in Mayfield. Find us at www.friendsof musicinmayfield.org.

2018 FESTIVAL PROGRAMME: Saturday April 28 Kidenza: A Recipe for a Musical Feast, a concert for families; Mendelssohn’s Last Years, Sunday April 29; Frank Sinatra ‘His Way’, Monday April 30; Mayfield School Lunchtime Concert, Tuesday May 1; Armonico and Oz Clarke Drink to Music, Tuesday May 1; All the world’s a stage, Saturday May 5; Mozart and Brahms, Saturday May 5; Carols, Sunday May 6; Tunbridge Wells International Music Competition, Wednesday May 2 to Sunday May 6; Festival Mass, Sunday May 6; The Tinkers Bubble Ceilidh Band, Monday May 7; Oxford Camerata, Monday May 7; James O’Donnell, Tuesday May 8; Stephen Kovacevich in Concert, Wednesday May 9; Poems of Home and Exile, Thursday May 10; Choral Vespers by Candlelight, Thursday May 10; Film: Tales of Hoffmann (matinee performance) Friday May 11; Film: Tales of Hoffmann (evening performance) Friday May 11; Onyx Noir, Saturday May12; Grand French Farewell, Sunday May 13; The Festival Eucharist, Sunday May 13. Be quick to buy tickets for this wonderful feast of music and the arts. Some events have already sold out so be sure not to miss out. Tickets can be obtained from Rosina’s in the High St as well as on line at www.mayfield festival.co.uk and by telephone 0333 666 3366.

MAYFIELD LIBRARY: On March 6 East Sussex County Council (ESCC) voted to close Mayfield library. The parish council has been considering a number of business options to maintain a library in Mayfield. The cost of the various premises options in addition to library costs to maintain the existing service varied in the region of £17k to £20k per annum which is over 15 percent of the annual precept. Only four residents contacted the parish clerk to request that the library is maintained and the ESCC libraries consultation results were: Letter received from the public against closure; letter received from the parish council against closure; letter received from the District Council against closure, 79 out of 4,303 consultation responses identified they had used Mayfield library in the last 12 months. At the parish council meeting on March 12, having considered all the business options, issues and risks it was with a very heavy heart and great reluctance that the parish council unanimously agreed that maintaining the library is not a viable financial commitment considering that only 220 residents borrowed an item in the last year and the lack of opposition from residents to the closure. The parish council will continue to look into other possible options, for example, a community book exchange.

MAYFIELD PARISH ASSEMBLY: The Annual Parish Assembly will be held in the Memorial Hall on May 21 at 7.30pm. This is not a council meeting but a meeting of the parish residents that by law has to take place between March 1 and June 1 each year. Organisations, societies and residents can contribute to the agenda and debate current issues in the community. If your organisation or society would like to report to the meeting or if you have any current issues that you believe should be added to the agenda please contact the Parish Council office.

BLACKBOYS: Planning a function? Need a venue? Blackboys Village Hall can satisfy your requirements. Two heated rooms with a seating capacity of 100 and 50 respectively. Secure outdoor play area for toddlers. Very competitive rates for both regular and casual bookings. Contact Ann Newton on 01825 890182 for further details.

FRAMFIELD MEMORIAL HALL: Available for hire. Large hall with a capacity of 150. Very competitive rates for both regular and casual bookings. Contact Mary Short on 01825 890854 for further details. Framfield Church Hall is available for regular meetings, special occasions, parties and village events. The hall typically seats up to 60 persons. Full kitchen facilities are available. Costs, reductions for regular users and church members. Contact The Church Office for further details and bookings 01825 891090.

AFFORDABLE HOMES: Once again, I’m straying from my ‘patch,’ but to illustrate another anomaly in Wealden’s planning programme, we now find developers of 49 new homes in Frant have been allowed to cut back their quota of affordable homes by about half. The reason? They’ve discovered drainage issues resulting from the slope of the ground. Would that not have been apparent when the land was first surveyed? Or do we have another example of a leap through the Government’s affordable homes loophole. I also hear that developers are supposed to be able to make a net profit of 20 per cent. As many of our reputable local traders say, they would love to be assured of a 20 per cent net profit. Tell that to the shopkeepers, garage owners, restaurateurs in our towns and villages. A planning consultant tells me he regularly receives offers on behalf of his developer or builder clients to negotiate reductions in affordable quotas from specialists in the field.