Cross in Hand, Horam, Blackboys & Five Ashes

NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: Drug gang exploitation of vulnerable youngsters, East Sussex hears from London ex-gang member. Police and community partners from across East Sussex are coming together to discuss ways of preventing youth exploitation, especially in relation to local ‘county lines’ drug dealing stemming from London gangs. A special one-day conference involving more than 50 people will hear from Junior Smart of the South London-based St Giles Trust. Attendees include representatives from the police, local authority children’s services, and locally based welfare support services and charities. On his release from prison, Junior set up the SOS Project at St Giles Trust which offers intensive support to young people at risk of or involved in gangs and serious violence. Gangs, youth exploitation, serious violence and ‘county line’ drugs criminality are rarely out of the news. Junior Smart will show how child grooming doesn’t just exist in children who are in care or from broken homes. More and more middle class children are being groomed in gangs across the country, including the South East. His presentation will raise the awareness of professionals who are directly involved in supervising or spending time with children, to be alert to the warning signs and understanding these areas of criminality. For advise on ways of identifying and combating child sexual exploitation see the Sussex Police website.

WEALDEN PLAN: The new Wealden Local Plan Draft Proposed Submission Document Enviromental Measures contains a range of environmental measures to ensure growth can proceed without causing irreversible damage to our regionally important ecology.

High Weald skyline ‘Our proposals are in line with the latest Government aims to meet the widespread housing need,’ said Councillor Ann Newton, Cabinet member for Planning and Development. ‘Mitigation measures and a thorough review system will ensure that the growth and prosperity needed in Wealden does not conflict with our many environmental responsibilities. These include Ashdown Forest, one of the largest stretched of lowland heath in Britain, the Lewes Chalk Downs and the Pevensey Levels. Developers will be expected to install certain infrastructure items on site and make a contribution to ensure this protection succeeds.’ The Wealden Local Plan will meet its Objectively Assessed Housing Need, and will mean 14,228 homes in total should be built across the District between 2013 and 2028. Some 7,700 dwellings are already built or have planning permission. By embracing a wider range of environmental safeguards, the Council has been able to increase housing numbers from the 2013-2028 figure of 11,456 published in March 2017.

The focus of growth remains on the south but the 2018 Plan allows for a more balanced approach to housing and economic growth across the District to reduce the need to commute. It outlines opportunities for retail and employment to support this. Smaller sites for housing allocations have been identified within sustainable settlements. The majority of these allocations are in Hailsham, Polegate and Willington, Stone Cross, Ninfield, Horam, Heathfield, Mayfield,and Wadhurst. These will account for the sites for 4,012 new homes. Windfall developments, may account for a further 2,516 dwellings. Some of these can be delivered within development boundaries and through Neighbourhood Development Plans, which allow the local community an involvement in site allocation. These also include core areas where local housing needs of a small scale can be met. The Plan identifies a windfall allowance at the following places: Arlington, Balls Green, Berwick Station, Blackboys, Broad Oak, Chelwood Common, Danehill, Framfield, Frant, Hadlow Down, Hankham, Isfield, Lower Horsebridge, Maresfield, Mark Cross, Punnetts Town, Ripe, Chalvington, Rushlake Green, Town Row, Upper Dicker and Windmill Hill. Development of single dwellings in the countryside is not ruled out, providing they conform to development plan policies, particularly those regarding property on agricultural land. Governing the progress of the Local Plan will be the Constraints and Review Mechanism. Land won’t be released without the timely provision of the infrastructure necessary to deliver housing. This includes transport improvements in the South Wealden Growth Area (SWGA), improvements to the Hailsham North and Hailsham South Waste Water Treatment Works, and mitigation measures for Ashdown Forest Special Area of Conservation. If these do not take place, it will trigger a review, in part or in whole of the Plan.

The delivery of road improvements, schools and medical provision has always been a key part of the Wealden Local Plan. Wealden will be working with key local stakeholders, strategic transport providers and developers to enable the funding and delivery of the strategic road at the earliest opportunity. The Local Plan also identifies land for up to 22,500 net additional sq. metres of employment floor space and 4,350 sq. metres net additional retail floor space over the period 2015 to 2028. The Draft of the Local Plan Proposed Submission Document takes into account the earlier Issues Options & Recommendations consultation which took place during the autumn of 2015 and resulted in 2,038 responses from 412 residents and organisations. It was presented to a meeting of Wealden District Council’s Full Council on July 18. If approved, there will be a period when the public can make representations as to the soundness of the Plan, before it is sent to an independent Planning Inspector for a final decision. The Wealden Local Plan Draft Proposed Submission document, as well as its accompanying documents, the Implementation and Monitoring Framework, the Habitats Regulations Assessment and the Sustainability Appraisal can be found on the Wealden District Council website with Local Plan Sub Committee agenda papers http://council.wealden. .aspx?CId=534&MId =4548&Ver=4

Further information about measures to protect the ecology and environment can be found here: http://www.wealden Council

HEATHFIELD ABOUT TOWN: Papers Delivery including the Sussex Express. Tyrrell’s News Service can deliver any publication weekly and monthly magazines, particularly the collectables like Part-Works. They also deliver week-end papers or just Saturday or just Sunday’s. The delivery charge varies pro-rata depending how far away and how many days they have a delivery. Tel 01435 863442 (leave a message) Mob: 07511108420 Email:

DANCE WEEK: AB Stage School Summer Activities Dance Week. Monday July 30 to Friday August 3. Full week of dance learning, many different styles and techniques. For more information phone: 01435 866032 or

RUGBY: Heathfield and Waldron RFC. Girls’ Rugby U18s and U 13s teams. Every Wednesday from 6pm to 7pm. Ring: 01435 868747.

FARMERS MARKET: Heathfield Farmers Market tomorrow, Saturday, Co-op car park, Heathfield. Plenty of free parking 9.30am to 12.30pm. Come along and support your local producers.

JOCALIA: It is sad to report that Jocalia, the jewellers in Heathfield High Street, will be finally close down at 2pm tomorrow, Saturday.

CROSS IN HAND: Isenhurst Junction. No reported incidents last week. I must say I was nearly a victim of an accident when heading towards Heathfield down the A267. A lady in a 4x4 pulled out from Cross in Hand High Street missing my vehicle by a whisker. Obviously on a school run. Another time, as the school bus pulled up outside the Cross-in-Hand pub, a woman and her two  children tried to cross the road towards Isenhurst Petrol station. She got half way. Traffic screamed to a halt. Pedestrian traffic Lights are needed here. Mums and dads on school runs, please allow plenty of time for your journey and do not play ‘chicken’ at the junction. Can’t be long before something even worse happens here.

DARCH’S WOOD: There is lots of work going on of late in the woods. Two new leaky water flow dams have been installed to control the water flowing into the lake/pond. New paths have been laid and the spraying of the ground to control the rhododendron growth. Well done the Amenities Society.

TRAFFIC CALMING: Ghyll Road- Sheepsetting Lane Traffic Calming Scheme. Am I right to feel just a little cynical about the proposed traffic calming scheme in Ghyll Road? A nanosecond after the maps and details of the scheme were released, we have sight of Wealden’s Draft Local Plan which includes a site for 103 new homes at the back of Jubilee Park with access coming out into, you’ve guessed it, Ghyll Road. (The Ghyll Road Traffic Calming Group have been trying for years to get speed restrictions introduced into the road). I suppose now planners can legitimately say the road is perfectly safe and can cope with the ingress and egress of traffic from the new estate. Plus of course there will be pedestrian footways into both Ghyll Road and Sheepsetting Lane. But is it safe? The Ghyll Road scheme mirrors the Tilsmore Road scheme introduced some years ago. Cars still speed along Sheepsetting Lane (ESCC are in possession of an official road traffic survey carried out in 2017 and paid for by a resident in Sheepsetting Lane). The survey confirms traffic does exceed recognised speed limits at all times of the day, making the so called speed bumps ineffective in the 20mph zone of Sheepsetting Lane. I argued at the time that these speed bumps were useless. They are ‘bolted’ to the road surface and seem to encourage drivers to speed. Many do so, straddling the bumps between tyres, resulting in the boss of a repair firm saying many of his clients come in with tyres worn on the inner rims. The only speed reduction strategies that work are the large, raised ‘tables’ (similar to those in Maresfield) or substantial humps as in the centre of Ditchling outside St Margaret’s Primary School where you simply have no option but to slow right down to walking speed. These are similar to ones you find across continental Europe at the approach to villages where, thanks to them, speeding is simply not an option. I vividly remember when I was first producing the Heathfield parish pump column for this newspaper, the Tilsmore Area Scheme was being discussed and the original cost was £150k. After years of to-ing and fro-ing, the work was done. After it was carried out the scheme was radically changed as the original one did not work. I am not aware what the final cost was. I spoke to the then chairman of the parish council and asked his views on the scheme. His reply was that ‘it was a total waste of money and not fit for purpose.’ He reiterated the quote at a full Parish Council meeting when questioned about the proposal. We are not denying new homes are needed but this site was considered - and rejected - more than 10 years ago in view of traffic density and its proximity to Cross-in-Hand Primary School. As Cllr Roger Thomas says, it’s pretty hard to get an appointment with either of the town’s GP surgeries at present so what it will be like when, say three people live in each of the new homes, making a total of 3-400 new folk in Heathfield, plus those who will be living at the rear of the police station and the astonishingly unattractive Windmill View estate in Cross-in-Hand? (locally known as the ghetto?)

Banks are going, our Post Office (albeit manned by helpful people) is in an off-licence and pretty cramped and we have no active police station so the town is fast losing resources but not gaining any of the infrastructure needed to sustain it. Where do we go from here? Answers on a postcard please. By the way, Mrs PP wants to know when No 37 is having its summer clothes sale.

ACTION GROUP: Pook Reed Lane, Sheepsetting Lane Action Group. As I write an action group is is being brought together by all the residents affected by the proposed new development at the rear of Jubilee Park. I shall give an update next week. In the meantime, if anyone is interested in expressing their views, please contact me.

MAYFIELD AND FIVE ASHES: Mayfield Ironmongers. It is sad to report that Mayfield Ironmongers and Homeware will be closing down at the end of August. The owners Sam and Justin always said that would give the shop a year to pay for itself and sadly this has not happened. Sam and Justin would like to thank all their super customers for their support over the last year. Justin’s Handy Man Service will still be available. Balloons will be half price so please pop in for a bargain. Another sad ‘Use it or Lose It’ story.

DOG OWNERS: The Friends of Mayfield Churchyard would just like to remind dog walkers to keep their dogs on a lead whilst in the churchyard. It has been noticed that some owners have been using the churchyard as a play area for their dogs and this can be distressing for people visiting their loved ones’ graves. It would be very much appreciated if people could remember to treat the churchyard with respect and take their dogs to a more appropriate area to play.

ROAD CLOSURES: There are a few road closures in the pipeline that the council have been made aware of. Fir Toll Road from the junction with the A267 Mayfield Bypass to the junction with Horleigh Green Road for a distance of 1800 metres. Also, Argos Hill Road from the junction with Fir Toll Road in a north easterly direction for a distance of 430 metres. These closures are to be carried out consecutively, not concurrently, now to August 10 2018 to allow BT Openreach to carry out new connection works. Diversions will be in place and a safe route will be provided for pedestrians and vehicular access for residents to properties. Bigger disruption to more residents is the upcoming road closure of Station Road next month from the junction with Old Lane to Love Lane for a distance of 15 metres. Works are anticipated to take 10 days from August 13 to August 22 to allow SGN to carry out works to lay a new gas service. Advance warning signs will be placed on site advising of the actual date of works. Although it is useful that the road closure will be during the school summer holidays it will cause disruption to the local bus services. The diversion will be via the bypass and an enquiry concerning the bus services has been made. During the South East Water drop-in session it was revealed there are plans to close Coggins Mill Lane from the junction of Pennybridge Lane to the junction of Lake Street for a major water mains replacement some time within the next year. The works are scheduled to take about three months and there are similar plans for South Street within the year with a road closure of around 10 weeks. There has been no further information received on these works.

YOUR VILLAGE NEEDS YOU: As you all know, the post office and cash withdrawal facility are vital services to the Mayfair community and generate business for the High Street traders. Their permanent loss will be a major blow to the life of the village. Following the decision in March to end operation of the post office in the Mace store, the Mayfield Business Forum appointed a small working group (Jo Eates, Andrew and Alex Burnett, and Michael Wilford) to investigate alternative arrangements as a matter of urgency and provide advice to prospective new postmasters in respect of premises and fit-out. The group have met the Area Post Office Property Manager who has explained the physical requirements for access, counter and support areas. Their clear preference is to relocate the post office into an existing retail business in the village High Street. They have also responded to requests for updates on progress and prospective postmaster interest and applications. We understand that several parties have expressed interest over the last three months but to date a suitable arrangement has not been found. Results so far are therefore very disappointing. The community is now well aware of what it means to be without a post office following closure of the facility last month. ‘We feel passionately that a post office is a major focus of village life and are doing everything we can to encourage interested parties to contact either the Post Office or a member of our group and make a formal application for the Postmaster role’ said Michael Wilford. ‘We believe the village needs to challenge energetically any risk of further deterioration of essential community services and the consequent decline in village life’. In the absence to date of a satisfactory alternative in-store arrangement, the working group have been considering other more radical solutions which, in addition to a post office, could be combined with other currently scattered or non-existent community services into a central Hub containing for example: Tourist Office, Citizens Advice Bureau, Library, Parish Council Office, MayFacs Office, Business Centre and Courier Parcel Drop Off and Pickup. Such an arrangement could not only re-establish the post office on a more permanent basis but also enhance the profile of our wonderful village. If there is general support for such a facility the group could investigate in more detail suitable activities and accommodation in order to develop a preliminary business plan. What do you think? Any help, ideas, comments, questions and/or support for either relocating the post office into an existing retail business or the Hub idea would be most welcome. Come and join our working party. For further information contact Michael Wilford Hollybush Cottage, West Street michaelwilford 408654

HORAM: Operation Crackdown. Driver be very much aware the Horam Operation Crackdown team will be out and about to catch speeding drivers. Signs have been put up warning erring drivers that speed checks are being made. Please keep Horam Safe.