NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: Sussex residents invited to complete the 2018 National Rural Crime Survey. It has been three years since the first National Rural Crime Survey asked the public for their views on matters relating to rural crime. This year’s survey is now live, and Sussex Police encourages those who live, work or visit rural communities in the county to respond and have their voice heard. In late 2017, the force appointed T/Supt Emma Brice and Sgt Tom Carter as dedicated leads for rural crime, to address the vulnerabilities and crime types which are specific to rural areas.
T/Supt Emma Brice said: ‘A large proportion of Sussex residents live, work in or visit rural areas regularly and we really want to hear your views on issues related to rural policing and crime. We know that there are certain types of crime and areas of vulnerability which impact rural communities and businesses differently from those in urban areas.’ Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: ‘One of the focuses of this year’s survey is whether rural crime continues to be underreported. Three years ago, one in four people who responded to the survey nationally said they didn’t report the last crime they’d been a victim of because they didn’t see the point. This is uncomfortable thing to hear, and for all those involved in protecting rural areas, so it’s important we ask these questions again and find out whether people are more willing to report crime and if they feel safer. It’s vital that the voice of rural communities is heard by those who can make a difference, from the Police to Government. I urge residents to take part in the survey and help us build a clear picture of crime and anti-social behaviour in rural Sussex and to understand the impact it has where you live or work.’ The survey is available now at www.nationalrural crimenetwork.net/survey and is open for submissions until Sunday.
POLICE CONTACT HANDLERS: The police are recruiting. Could you ask all the right questions to get vital information? Recruitment opens for contact handlers. Could you reassure people in a time of crisis or ask the right questions to gain vital information? These are two qualities which could make you ideal as a Contact Handler in Sussex Police’s contact command and control department. Chris, a newly recruited contact handler, joined the force five months ago and said he feels like he is really making a difference. The force contact command and control department is the county-wide 24 hour hub for all telephone and email contact from the public. It is an integral part of the frontline policing and is where CCTV is monitored, where police officers are assigned to incidents and where we manage the response. The number of calls to police have increased significantly in line with national demand and on average the force receives 70,000 contacts a month, an additional 32,500 more than the previous year. Chief Superintendent Jane Derrick, who is in charge of the contact centre, said: ‘Working in this environment is fast-paced with us operating 24/7. You must be able to work under pressure, communicate clearly at all times and make critical decisions. You need to be able to think on your feet, ask the right questions, listen for vital details, and log information quickly and accurately. You could take a call from someone reporting a theft or suspicious behaviour through to someone who is at their most vulnerable and needs the police urgently. You need to be able to treat each call sensitively. There are further opportunities to progress within the department becoming a controller or an investigator.’ Improving public contact and the 101 service is a priority as we seek to service the needs of the public through the recent council tax increase. To apply for the role or further information/an informal discussion about this role please contact either, Professional and Continuous Development Manager Abi Wares on 101 ext. 540837. Operations Support Manager Mark Argent on 101 ext. 545287. Communications Department Trainer Matt Hurren on 101 ext. 540591. Recruitment is open until June 17.
WEALDEN ALERTS: Make the most of Wealden this summer. It’s time to get up and go, enjoying the free access to the wonderful countryside on our doorstep. Diplocks Wood. Walshes Park in Crowborough opened last May and is a 70 acre park with far reaching views across Wealden. It has a number of circular walks for all ages and abilities and further enhancements are being carried out this year to the site to improve access on the wetter parts of the site. There are a number of benches to allow you to sit and enjoy the view and environment, or simply explore the river bank. ‘Public access opportunities are increasing throughout the District,’ said Councillor Claire Dowling, Cabinet member for Public Health and Community Safety. ‘Through our planning policy, which aims to protect our landscape while making Wealden a great place to live, work and play; and community policies which seek to encourage healthy lifestyles, we are helping to provide everyone with the chance to enjoy exercising in the green gym that is the Wealden countryside.’ Work has started on Horsted Green Park, a 74 acre site, which when finished will provide a number of circular walks linking to existing public footpaths to the south of Uckfield. The construction will continue until late spring 2018 but progress can be seen from the public footpath which links Ridgewood to Horsted Green. Following completion, the park will become an open access area for the public including dog walkers. The Uckfield site, which will be Wealden’s second Suitable Alternative Green Space to meet the planning requirements to protect Ashdown Forest from increased visitor use, had earlier been called Owlsbury Park but the name has been changed to Horsted Green Park to better reflect its location. The landscaping work is being carried out by the Hailsham firm, Chaffin Works, and the project manager is the Uckfield firm of surveyors, Lawson Queay. Don’t forget the Cuckoo Trail, the14 mile linear path which follows the line of the old railway linking Heathfield to Polegate, where you can follow the signposted links into Eastbourne. There are a number of free car parks along the route as well as circular walks which can be taken from the trail. Further south, Diplocks Wood, which is owned by Wealden District Council, has been nominated for Local Green Space designation by the South Downs National Park. Also known as Warnock Coppice, the wood provides a natural recreational space for the people of Polegate and Willingdon. The council continues to manage the woods in an ecological-friendly way, widening some of the rides in the wood to create open glades which benefit woodland flora, insects and butterflies. Tree waste resulting from the work is used to improve the paths. A further public access benefit, enjoyed by thousands of people each year are the Birling Gap steps, which were re-sited over the winter following a period of dramatic erosion along the Seven Sisters cliffs. Now in a new anchorage closer to the cliff, thanks to Wealden District Council and the National Trust, who own the land at the top of the cliffs, the steps provide free access to some of the most famous scenery in England. More information about walking and exercise opportunities can be found on the Healthy Wealden website, www.healthywealden.co.uk .
WASTE COLLECTIONS UPDATE: Further on from my report last week more good news at last regarding our waste collections. An action plan has been agreed with Wealden’s waste collection contractor Kier to end recent failings in service. It will come into force over the coming week
The refuse vehicle will have a new livery. Extra resources will be deployed to support garden waste collections with an additional vehicle and crew, and a late crew will operate in the afternoons to help with catch-ups on all collections. Measures are also being brought in to improve resilience on staffing levels and increase efficiency when tipping garden waste. At the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on Monday, May 21 Wealden Cabinet member for Waste Management, Cllr Roy Galley, said strong action was being taken and a number of possible steps were being considered. Wealden asks residents to continue to report any missed collections online through My Wealden https://my.wealden.gov.uk/ They hope that these measures will have a positive impact and enable them to return to normal scheduled collections as soon as possible.
GENERAL: National Westminster Bank Heathfield Branch closure. Please note. The National Westminster bank in Heathfield is due to close on June 14. Heathfield Post Office. I am not too sure if the readers of my column are aware the Heathfield Post Office located 26 High Street in Unique Wines is open until 9pm on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday for a limited service only. Well done to the operators/owners for giving such good service in extending the opening hours. Please call 01435 860845 for further details.
MAYFIELD AND FIVE ASHES: The Friends of St Dunstan’s Garden Party and Open Garden will this year be held on Sunday July 8 at Clayton’s Farmhouse, Newick Lane, from noon to 2pm by kind permission of Mr and Mrs Richard Nabavi. All are welcome. Tickets are £10 at the gate and include a glass of wine, light refreshments and a walk around the garden. Annette Nabavi Chair, Friends of St Dunstan’s Parish Church 01435 873476.
BILL HUMPHREY: I’d like to take this opportunity on congratulating Bill Humphrey, in reaching his 105th birthday. He was born on May 20, 1913 at Mill Cottages, Fir Toll. At the age of 12 he moved a few yards down the road to Temple Grove which was built by his mother and father in 1925 and apart from seven years doing his bit for King and country in the Eight Army, has lived there all his life. He still is very active and often out in his garden either chopping wood or planting flowers. He also shows great interest in Mayfield and is the oldest member of Mayfield Cricket Club having played for them from a teenager, before retiring in his sixties.
SUMMER FAYRE: St Thomas of Canterbury Church Summer Fayre will take place on Saturday, July 7 from 10.30am until 2.30pm in the beautiful Convent garden of Mayfield School. Be sure to save the date and come along to this popular village event. All are welcome!
COFFEE MORNING: For Macmillan and Alzheimer’s, London House Saturday June 23, 10am to noon. Catherine Hawley and Janet Crossley invite you all to pop in for a coffee or tea and a delicious home-made cake to help raise funds for their charities. Sadly both their Mums are suffering this year, Catherine’s from Alzheimer’s and Janet’s from cancer. Both daughters are off on their walking challenges again. Catherine is aiming to walk 2,000km (that’s a mere 1,250 miles) during the year including two marathons and Janet is joining her for the Jurassic Coast one and also walking over all the Thames Bridges. So please support them if you can.
FORTHCOMING EVENTS: From The Scouts Supporters Committee. The committee wish to thank to everyone who came along and supported their Massive Jumble Sale at the end of April 2018, all the monies raised are going to help the youngsters on their summer canal trip. There are two more fundraising activities to come in the next couple of months and, as always, they would be most grateful for your support. They will be holding a Coffee Morning in London House on Saturday, June 16 from 10am to noon with wonderful home-made cakes for sale and there will also be a raffle. The main fundraising activity of the summer will be a Barbecue/Garden Party on Sunday, June 24 by kind invitation of Sue and Charles Marshall in their gardens in Five Ashes and tickets (priced £10 each or £25 for a family of four) will be on sale very soon. As well as the food there will be a programme of games for all ages, a raffle and other activities. All the profits raised from these two events will go into the funds that support the running of the Scout and Guide Hall and support the scouting groups as and when they need some extra help. The committee is always looking for members of the community to join the Supporters Committee and help give the youngsters the best opportunities. If you would like any further information on ways that you can help, please contact 01435 873054. Nicky Higgins, Secretary, Scouts Supporters Committee
BLACKBOYS: As I walked through Turnmill Wood on Monday afternoon, I was surprised to hear a loud whistle, followed by hearty clapping coming from the direction of the stile into Kiln Wood. When I got closer I could see children from Blackboys Primary School wearing hi-viz jackets doing their daily mile (it must be about a mile around the outside of the little enclosed wood). They were clearly having a great time and arrived in sequence; bigger ones first, smaller ones a short while afterwards. I think some of the tinies might have been given a slightly shorter route. As I approached they all climbed out, to cheers all round. They were under the control of a couple of teachers who were full of encouragement. I thought what a wonderful idea, so much better to exercise around a natural woodland in the fresh air rather than on a sports track, gym or round a playground. Talking of gyms, why do so many athletes drive to the gym, get their kit off, do their workout, shower, get their kit back on and drive home. Why not run there and back? I’m sure someone can give me a good reason.
CROSS IN HAND: Isenhurst Junction. No reported accidents this week.
VILLAGE HALLS FOR HIRE: Community Centre Sheepsetting Lane, Cross in Hand. To hire the hall or Ian Price Room contact Heathfield and Waldron Parish Council on 01435 865700 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Heathfield and Waldron Parish Council Offices, meeting room available to hire. Please contact Nicky Lee Marshall on 01435 865700 or email nleemarshall @hwpc.org.uk; Cross in Hand Village Hall Hire, Lewes Road, Cross in Hand. Available for events. Call Mrs Howitt 01435 865034; Heathfield Community College, Cade Street. For room hire contact Debbie Stanger, Facilities Manager, on 01435 866066 or email dstanger@ heathfieldcc.co.uk; Horam Manor Farm. Hall available for hire during the day, evenings and weekends. Prices from £12.50 per hour. Contact Rachel, website www.horam manorfarm.co.uk; Horam Village Hall. For enquiries and booking please contact Angela Wood on 01435 813295.