FRANCE V ENGLAND MUSINGS: No this is not about the current football World Cup in Russia where England are doing very well. I have just returned from a 1,600 mile trip from the Cevennes region of France and Mrs PP and I have noticed the vast difference in infrastructure between the two countries. Firstly the road infrastructure in France: Autoroutes, A and D roads are in superb condition and we only saw two potholes during the whole trip. Our aged satnav took us off-piste on a single mountain track. Yes, you have guessed it, the road surface was perfect with no potholes. All the roads in France are devoid of rubbish, including industrial waste that has spilled from skip lorries. The verges, roundabouts and the general up-keeping of villages and towns has to be admired. Most small towns have a post office, a library, police station, a Mayor and a bank. Their roundabouts and public plantings are a delight. Our DFDS ferry which left Dieppe at 18.00hrs Sunday evening and was due to arrive at Newhaven at approx 21.00 got as far as Seaford Bay when it turned around and returned to Dieppe because of a vehicle ramp malfunction at Newhaven. The ship’s purser and crew were superb, allocating cabins free of charge to families with children and communication was very good considering the crew were both French and Italian. Suffice to say, after disembarkation at Dieppe and a hundred mile dash to Calais, Mrs PP and myself arrived back in Heathfield at 6.30am on Monday morning. I suppose what I am going to say next is no surprise and I apologise for going on about it. There is just no comparison with the road infrastructure in cities, villages or out in the open country. Ours still suffer from potholes, rubbish and the swathes of industrial waste which still litter our motorways and verges. Local clean-up groups do a great job, but is this role really down to them? And they cannot patrol our major through-routes. Newhaven needs to smarten up its act and make itself more attractive to our foreign visitors. This latest port debacle will not help. Perhaps the talked-about Enterprise Scheme will address a number of the town’s problems. I do feel sorry for Newhaven. It’s full of great people but seems to get ‘dumped upon’ with major developments like the incinerator and forthcoming asphalt plant that no-one else in Sussex wants. Can I suggest that if a member of the ESCC executive is reading this column, please send a delegation (with capped expenses) to France to see first-hand how to run a rural community. Please.
NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: Update on last weekend’s Operation Blitz activity. Last Friday the police were made aware of a few school proms taking place in Wealden. Hopefully all the leavers had a nice evening. They did confiscate a nice bottle of brandy from some underage party goers in Little Horsted, however only very few incidents were reported. There were also a couple of calls made to the Op Blitz phone; one regarding nuisance youths in Grovelands Park, Hailsham and another reporting youths in a vehicle smoking cannabis in Broad Oak, Heathfield.
FARM WATCH: ESF&R attended a barn fire in Marklye Lane, Heathfield on June 25 and after carrying out a level 1 fire investigation confirmed that the cause was deliberate. CCTV shows a known suspect who it is believed was responsible. If you have any further information please call 101 quoting reference number 0051
WEALDEN LOCAL PLAN: Draft Proposed Submission Document. Protecting the District’s ecology and environment. The Local Plan Proposed Submission Document allows growth to proceed without infringing the Council’s legal duties to protect Wealden’s environment. Increased emissions from vehicles travelling in and around the District threaten to worsen the degraded ecology of Ashdown Forest heathland. Emissions also threaten the chalk grassland of the Lewes Downs Special Area of Conservation, even though it is not in the District. Air quality mitigation measures are necessary for identified development within the Plan to take place if they lead to an increase in local traffic movements. These include both a financial contribution and a range of over 11 other measures including appropriate electric vehicle charging infrastructure, guaranteed high speed broadband connections and the provision of electric public transport, cycling and walking schemes to reduce the use of petrol and diesel vehicles. The Council will also work with Natural England, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and neighbouring authorities to jointly progress a Site Nitrogen Action Plan (SNAP) which will proactively seek to further reduce levels of nitrogen deposition over the longer term. The protected bird species of Ashdown Forest is also threatened by increased visitor numbers connected to new housing. To avoid and mitigate this, the Local Plan has a three tiered approach: Residential development will not be permitted with 400 metres of Ashdown Forest Special Protection Area (SPA) unless there are exceptional circumstances. Development within 7kms of Ashdown Forest SPA will required a financial contribution toward the provision and maintenance of Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspaces (SANGS) and the Strategic Access Management and Monitoring Strategy (SAMMS). Large Development schemes, close to but beyond the 7km boundary, may, after assessment, be required to implement mitigation measures to ensure there is no detrimental impact on the SPA.
MYWEALDEN: Has turned golden. MyWealden, a convenient online way to access Wealden District Council’s services, has reached a golden milestone. Over 50 council services are now available digitally from one login. The number of services available via My Wealden will continue to increase, but that’s not all. Future developments for My Wealden include being able to track the progress of your requests, receive automatic updates as tasks are completed, and easily look up your account information for services like Council Tax or Housing Rents. My Wealden has been designed specifically to be as easy to use via smart phones or other mobile devices. You can make requests on the move or at the moment when you see something that needs to be reported.
For a video guide showing a step-by-step guide of how to register for My Wealden search for Registering for My Wealden on Youtube.
HEATHFIELD ABOUT TOWN: Heathfield Farmers Market, run by local people for local people, celebrated 21 years (1997-2018). Heathfield Farmers Market is held in the Co-op car park on the third Saturday of every month. The next Market will be held on Saturday, July 21, Co-op car park, Heathfield High Street. The stall holders look forward to seeing you there. Please come along and buy good food and local arts and crafts and support your local farmers and producers.
ROAD DIVERSION: Due to water works. A road diversion will be in force when South East Water embarks on a seven week project, starting Monday, July 16, to replace an old unreliable water main in Foords Lane, Heathfield. Construction will be along Foords Lane between the river crossing and Hammers Lane. As a safety precaution for pedestrians, motorists and the contractor, Foords Lane will be closed to through traffic for the duration of the work with access to local homes and businesses being maintained throughout. There will be a diversion route clearly signposted.
HELP RAISE MONEY: For Wealden Works, Tesco Blue Token Scheme. Wealden Works has been chosen as one of the Tesco Bags of Help Grant Scheme, customers vote by the blue tokens in-store between July 1 and August 31. Please see below a list of stores taking part in the voting for Wealden Works: Heathfield Express, Station Road; Uckfield Express, Browns Lane; Uckfield Superstore. Please help raise money for this very worthwhile project which gets 16 to 24 year olds back into education, training or employment. For more information go to: www.wealdenworks.co.uk
CROSS IN HAND: Ghyll Road and Sheepsetting Lane Traffic Calming Scheme. In June and July 2017 East Sussex Highways carried out a public consultation exercise with local residents, seeking views on proposals introducing a traffic calming scheme along Ghyll Road, Heathfield. The proposals were developed in response to a petition received in May 2011 from residents requesting the introduction of speed reduction features and parking improvements along Ghyll Road. The aim of the proposed traffic calming scheme is to slow driver speeds and provide a safer environment for all road users.
Publication of Notice. The County Council will be proceeding with the publication and legal advertisement of the notice for the introduction of speed cushions along Ghyll Road and Sheepsetting Lane and raised tables along Ghyll Road and at Geers Wood Junction. A copy of the notice and the plans showing the location of the speed cushions and raised tables can be viewed. The notice was published in this newspaper on Friday, July 6 and displayed on site from then until Friday July 27. The notice and the plans showing the location of the speed cushions and raised tables may also be examined at the following locations: Reception, East Sussex County Council, County Hall, St Anne’s Crescent, Lewes BN7 1UE Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm. Heathfield Library, 21 High Street, Heathfield, East Sussex TN21 8LU Monday and Saturday 10am to 1pm, Tuesday 10am to 5pm, Thursday 2pm to 6pm, Friday 10am to 4pm. Heathfield and Waldron Parish Council Offices, 73 High Street, Heathfield, East Sussex, TN21 8HU Monday to Friday 9.30am to 3pm. Should you wish to make a representation about the proposals, you must do so in writing to Communities Economy and Transport, Parking, B Floor, East Sussex County Council, County Hall, St. Anne’s Crescent, Lewes BN7 1UE or by email TROs@eastsussex.gov.uk by Friday July 27 quoting reference HW/422.
What happens next. Subject to the outcomes of the advertisement of the notice, construction of the traffic calming scheme along Ghyll Road and Sheepsetting Lane is programmed to commence in October 2018. A personal note here I hope, if speed cushions are to be used, they are more effective than the bolt-on cushions in Sheepsetting Lane. Drivers towing trailers loaded with steel rods seem to love roaring over them at great speed. I suggest cushions like those in Maresfield or Ditchling, you cannot hurry over those.
MAYFIELD AND FIVE ASHES: Parish Council News July. Antisocial Parking. Another grumble about antisocial parking in Mayfield High Street that is parking on the double yellow lines, exceeding the two hour limit and blocking the entrance to Royal Oak Mews and parking on the pavements. In addition to the usual parking problems there has been an issue in front of St Dunstan’s Church, while their black cones were out along the double yellow lines and a funeral procession was in the High Street. Although disabled drivers absolutely have the right to park on double yellow lines the council politely suggest that if the cones are in situ they are not moved and that alternative parking is sought. If more able-bodied residents could refrain from parking on the yellow lines in the High Street it would make more spaces available for blue badge holders. There is often plenty of parking available at the car parks in Tunbridge Wells Road that are only two minutes away from the High Street. For those who do not mind and can manage the short incline to the High Street don’t forget the South Street car park is also very close.
NATWEST MOBILE BANK: Natwest has apologised for not being in Mayfield on Monday June 4. Their vehicle developed a serious fault the previous Tuesday following torrential rain and had to go back to Scotland for repairs. I have been informed that they did try to telephone regular customers to let them know. A replacement vehicle was collected from Bristol and arrived the following Monday however, this also developed faults and so they would only be able to offer a limited service of cheques and paying-in slips only on Monday June 18. Now that their Heathfield Branch has closed they have advised that they will be in the Co-op car park from 9.45am to 10.45am on Fridays (providing their vehicle is repaired) for anyone who is unable to visit them in Mayfield on Mondays. Apparently there are no current plans for the Mobile Bank to visit Crowborough.
PARISH OFFICE CLOSED: Wednesday July11. Due to a Wealden Clerk’s meeting the Parish Council office was closed on Wednesday July11 but opens again today (Friday at 9am).
PARISH COUNCIL GRANTS: Please note that the application deadline for Parish Council grants each year is September 30 for the following financial year. Information on how to apply and the application form can be found in the Key Documents/Finance section on the Parish Council website at www.mayfield fiveashes.org.uk. Alternatively contact the Parish Council office on 01435 873784 for a copy of the grants policy and application form.
COURSES: Computer (IT) Lessons (Basic Course). A course has started running some IT lessons for four weeks starting in July. These are for those who have little or no knowledge. They are being held in the Old Library for one hour between 1pm and 2pm on Mondays. The course finishes on July 30 and then looking at organising another set of lessons. You can bring your own phone, laptop, tablet to work on. The course covers basics such as how to use Google, emailing, maps, on-line shopping, dealing with attachments and Skype. There is a waiting list for the next course, so please do register your interest. As before, places will be limited with only four spaces available and will be on a first-come, first-served basis. To register your interest please contact Alexandra Firrell on: 07389 050605. Please provide your name and contact telephone. Please leave an answerphone message if your call cannot be taken. Or pop into the Old Library either on Mondays or Tuesdays. Once the dates have been confirmed for the next course the organisers will need you to be able to commit to all four lessons.
WATCH THIS SPACE: S and S Stationers are delighted to announce they will be opening in Mayfield in September 2018 in the old Flamingo Trends shop. They are in negotiation with the Post Office to open up a counter service soon thereafter.
HORAM: Post Office Closure. It with great sadness the Horam post office will close due to the current economic climate. The post office will be closing its doors on October 31.
Newspaper deliveries are being handed to Pipers News this weekend, July 14, and this marks the beginning of a phased closure. The shop will continue to sell newspapers and magazines until the end of August, and from this point on the shop will be reducing stock in preparation for the closure. Please note that the Post Office will remain open until the closing date in October. The owner Kirsten would like to thank everyone who has supported the shop over the sixteen years of tenure and asks all customers to be mindful of conversations with the staff at this difficult time, any queries be directed direct either via message on Facebook or email Horam.firstname.lastname@example.org
Once again this is a warning: Use it or Lose it. Any Post Office or any small business is the bastion of the local community. Will the Co-op have a small post office counter? I very much doubt it. With all the new proposed housing developments in the area our basic infrastructure is being eroded to the detriment of the community.