NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: Last week I praised the youths of Heathfield for their community understanding and making the area safe to live in. Well it does seem I spoke too soon. In Cross-in-Hand we had nightly mild vandalism in Jubilee Park. Neighbours’ bins knocked over and contents strewn across the road; rubbish left around the park; shouting until the small hours and, more seriously, the window at Dominos in the High Street smashed. This act of wanton vandalism should not go unpunished. Clear images of the culprits were recorded on CCTV and I dare-say the same group were responsible for the anti social behaviour in Jubilee Park and Sheepsetting Lane. The police were informed of the problems in Jubilee Park and Sheepsetting Lane via the Operation Blitz weekend hotline phone number. A message was left on the hotline answer phone at 11.30pm to date a return call has not been received by the caller. Add to that a slew of horrendous parking across double yellow lines and even double parking in the High Street. I’m sure that’s down to the complete lack of visible policing in the town, we used to respect and admire our PCSOs whose very presence seemed to keep a lid on the worst of it. What’s more, we knew them by name. Thumbs down to our police and crime commissioner who opted to remove them from the streets in towns and villages (not only ours, Uckfield and Crowborough are also suffering) and relocate them to a central hub in Hailsham. By the time they can get to us the damage has been done. Unintelligent decision making. The talking now has to stop and urgent action is needed.
KEEP SAFE ONLINE: These days it’s not a matter of what you can connect to the internet, but what you can’t. What was considered futuristic ten years ago is now commonplace technology in many homes and offices. Lighting, heating, security systems, audio systems even refrigerators and your children’s toys can all be monitored and controlled remotely via apps on your mobile device, whilst smart TVs are also connected via your Wi-Fi. This means that they all transmit data, which could be of use to criminals in disabling your intruder alarm, infecting your Wi-Fi network with malware, or obtaining sensitive data from the apps associated with anything from your security system to your kid’s smart tablets and dolls. But please don’t panic, there are some simple, practical steps you can take to ensure that everything’s connected safely. A few simple steps to protect your connected homes. For devices for which you need a password (as well as your Wi-Fi password) to connect, replace factory-set passwords with secure ones you create yourself. This is because a lot of default administrator passwords are common to every device shipped, and potentially insecure. If in doubt, check manufacturers’ instructions on how to change passwords. Don’t use the same password for more than one connected device, nor share passwords with those you already use for other online accounts. Make sure your Wi-Fi network is secure, see the advice page on Wireless Networks and Hotspots at www.getsafeonline.org Make sure that all your computers and mobile devices are fitted with updated internet security software /app, and also that access to these devices is protected with a PIN or passcode. Check the apps associated with your connected devices, and install updates as soon as prompted. If you can, disable remote-management access and other powerful network tools if they won’t be used. Consider whether buying well-known, reputable brands means that more care has probably been taken in securing the products – and you and your family’s security. For everything you need to know about securing your connected home please visit: www.getsafeonline .org/connectedhome
WEALDEN ALERTS: International Compost Awareness week (May 6 to 12) is the perfect time to start home composting. Home composting is an easy and effective way to divert garden waste and uncooked fruit and vegetable waste from disposal, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and providing gardeners with a free supply of nutrient-rich soil improver. Although the benefits are seen in your own garden, you’ll be part of an international movement that began in Canada in 1995 aiming to raise global awareness of the benefits of recycling organics. You may be surprised at how much organic waste you create at home which can be composted. This includes fruit and vegetable peelings, garden waste, cut grass, coffee grounds, tea leaves, eggshells, hair, wood, cardboard, paper and vegetarian pet bedding. To encourage residents to get involved, Wealden District Council has some fantastic offers in partnership with East Sussex County Council. Discounted home composters can be purchased by Wealden residents for as little as £17.98 for a 220 litre bin and £19.98 for the 330 litre bin. In addition, residents can take advantage of the Buy One Get One Half Price offers to make further savings. Residents can also purchase food waste digesters. For full details on these offers or to order, visit www.escc.get composting.com or call Straight Plc on 0844 5714444.
The garden waste from the Council’s brown bin collections is taken to Veolia’s Woodlands In-Vessel Composting Facility in Whitesmith to be turned into soil conditioner. The large scale site enables faster composting by utilising higher temperatures. The compost is used to create soil enhancer which can be purchased from Household Waste Recycling Sites across East Sussex or is available in bulk from www.pro-grow.com. For further information on recycling, including tips on composting, and how to reduce the amount of waste you produce, visit www.wealden.gov.uk. Alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Waste Management Team on 01323 443322.
CROSS IN HAND: Isenhurst Junction. No reported incidents last week.
HIGH STREET: It is good to see the old bric-a-brac shop has been renovated inside and out. If any readers have information to what is going into the premises please contact me. It would be good to give the new business a good start.
AMENITIES SOCIETY: Founded in 1970, the objectives of the Cross-in-Hand Amenities Society are to protect the historically important lands and buildings in Cross-in-Hand which involves offering support to residents on local causes. These days the Society’s main focus is managing and maintaining the 40 acre Darch’s Wood which was bequeathed to the Society in 1976 for the benefit and enjoyment of the community. The woodland is freely accessible to the public, and can be accessed via the gates behind St Bartholomew’s Church on Little London Road, and entrances on New Pond Hill and Back Lane. Well done to John Plant and all his team for all the hard work they have done in clearing the area around the pond in Darch’s Wood if you do have any spare time to help out please give John a call on: 01435 862449.
PRIMARY SCHOOL: The Cross in Hand Primary School Tag Rugby team went off to represent Heathfield at the North Wealden finals last Wednesday. They were up against some fierce competition but they finished the event in joint third place in their pool. Well done to all of the children who played and thank you to Nick Hayes and all of the other parents who went along to transport/support the children.
MAYFIELD AND FIVE ASHES: The Mayfield Mayfair takes place tomorrow, Saturday, between 1pm and 4pm. Please note that this means that the High Street will be closed between Mayfield Garage and the horse trough between 11am and 5pm to allow for setting up beforehand and clearing away afterwards. The normal bus service will be diverted round the A267 by-pass during this time with passengers using bus stops on the A267. There is a packed programme of events, see the Mayfield, Mayfair website for full details or the Mayfair Facebook page for the latest discussions and updates. Also make sure you stay to the end for the Big Dance. We want to beat the world record for number of dancers round a Maypole at the same time.
UPDATE: The schools have already started to practice their Maypole dancing, so we can look forward to their usual enthusiasm, skill and enjoyment which are at the heart of the Mayfair each year. Morris Men and Mummers have been booked, the shops are getting involved, there is a high demand for stalls and plans are coming together for crafts and entertainment for all the family.
Last year the Big Dance we set the record for the most number of Maypole dancers at the same time. This year we are determined to beat our own record. This year the village is hosting Know Your Village where local organisations and societies have a table to show what they have to offer.
Money raised from the Mayfair goes to support local causes. As always, some of it will be used to improve the village Christmas lights and this year they will also be supporting the Mayfield and Five Ashes Newsletter in its beautiful, smart new format and for the re-introduction of the Blacksmith’s Festival. Stall details and attractions. Blacksmith. books, barbecue, cupcakes, children’s tombola, face painting, fire engine, hog roast, home-made sweets and chocolates, jams and chutneys, Know Your Village, penalty shoot-out, Pimms, RNLI, silent auction, strawberries and cream and lots more. For the latest news and conversations about the Mayfair, please go to Facebook page. Mayfield was voted the Best Village of the Year by the Sunday Times in 2017.
PLANT SALE: Mayfield Horticultural Society are holding a plant sale in Mayfield High Street on the morning of May Fair. There will be a massive number of annuals, perennials and vegetables grown by members to be sold at very reasonable prices.
MAYFIELD ARTS TRAIL: The Mayfield Arts Trail is still running, 15 venues will be open from today until May 13. Please see www.mayfield artists.org.uk for more details.
PARISH COUNCIL NEWS: Annual Parish Meeting Reminder. This year’s Annual Parish Assembly will be held in Mayfield Memorial Hall on May 21 at 7.30pm. Please remember this is not a council meeting but a meeting of the parish electors which has to, by law, take place between March 1 and June 1 each year. All electors are invited and can contribute to the agenda and debate current issues in the community so please come along and have your say. The meeting agenda will be issued on May 9. There will be a short overview on the new General Data Protection Regulations that will hopefully prove to be informative to any village clubs or societies.
DOG POO: Another moan about dog mess. There have been more complaints from residents about dog poo not being cleared up, this time there has been a big problem on the pavements in East Street. Most dog owners are responsible and clean up after their animals but a few are letting everyone down. Dog fouling in public areas is anti-social. Dog waste is associated with a number of diseases including toxocariasis. Toxocara is a roundworm commonly found in dogs, and almost all puppies. Eggs from the roundworm are found in dog waste, where they can pose a health risk if eaten, particularly to small children. The parasite can cause stomach upsets, sore throats, asthma and in some cases blindness. The eggs remain active in the soil for years, long after any dog waste has weathered away, so the risk isn’t always obvious. If you are witnessed failing to clear up your dog’s waste, you will be offered a Fixed Penalty Notice. Similar to a speeding ticket, you have the option to accept this Notice and pay the fixed penalty of £75 within 14 days, or alternatively face prosecution in the Magistrates’ Court. The maximum penalty upon conviction is currently £1,000. Registered blind people are exempt. Not being aware that your dog, or a dog under your control, has fouled the land or not having suitable means to remove the dog’s waste are not reasonable excuses for failing to remove it. Please be prepared and always carry a poop-scoop or bag. A variety of disposable dog fouling bags and scoops are available from pet shops and other retail outlets – although a carrier bag will suffice. Ensure the dog waste is removed in its entirety and that bags are tied up before disposal. The bags can be placed in both litter and dog bins within Wealden as well as your own household waste bin. Whoever is walking the dog is held responsible to clear up immediately after the dog on all land, both public and private to which the public has access.
If you come across an area with an amount of dog waste you can contact Wealden District Council by telephoning 01323 443322 who will send a street cleansing team out to clean & disinfect the area. Please try to keep an eye on problem areas and report anyone you spot not cleaning up after their dog.
BLACKBOYS: Blackboys Church of England Primary School Charity. This term we are supporting the Evelina Hospital in London. Last week saw the first after school, pupil arranged, cake sale for this charity. The cake sale was hugely popular and raised an impressive £65. Well done to the group of girls from Year 2 and 3 who arranged this. The Evelina Hospital has been chosen as this term’s charity as Seth, the son of a former Blackboys pupil (Vicky Hart, nee Cottingham) was born with a rare muscular disease, Centronuclear Myopathy. This means his muscles are very weak, and he us unable to move like other babies of his age. Seth needs extra help with his breathing and due to his weakness is fed via a gastrostomy. Seth is now six months old and has spent four months of his life in hospital. Currently, Seth is under the care of the Evelina Hospital in London where he is having a tracheotomy fitted to help support his breathing. Seth is an alert, bright and cheerful baby and we know you will support us, as you always do, by generously donating any spare change to Thursday assemblies or the various cake sales that the pupils arrange. On Friday the Girls’ Under 9 team go to Seaford for the Albion Cup, go girls, take a tip from Chelsea’s Cup winning performance.