Cross in Hand, Horam, Blackboys & Five Ashes

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

DOGS AND DUCKS: Statement Policy. Darch’s Wood. Darch’s Wood is owned by the Amenities Society and its members, and the conditions imposed in Mrs Darch’s bequest requires the society to maintain a natural environment for the pleasure and enjoyment of the community with limited financial resources and a handful of unpaid volunteers. Dog owners account for the overwhelming majority of people visiting the wood, and they have been exercising their pets off the lead in the wood for decades. In contrast it is less than four years since the first ducks flew in to make the pond their home. By popular demand, more ducks were introduced. The new ducks lacked the skills to evade predators, having come from secure farmyards and factory farms. The remaining duck is one of those first two to arrive, and the recent loss was the first dog attack fatality since the pond was restored the pond 18 months ago. Installing fencing around the pond to protect any ducks is not a viable solution for many reasons such as the society does not have the resources to install a fence, or to police the pondside 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and do not want to prevent people accessing the pondside. Moreover, neither the society nor any member of the public has any legal authority to take direct action against miscreants, human or animal. The dog attacks have been reported to Sussex Police and the Wealden Dog Warden but they both take the view that they would only get involved if a human being was attacked by a dog and the victim filed a complaint. They both consider dogs chasing and killing ducks in a publicly accessible area as a natural instinct which does not warrant attention. Although the duck may seem tame, he is a wild creature and mustn’t apply human thoughts and emotions to him when considering his wellbeing. The society have given careful thought to all points of view and have decided to leave him be to see out his days, which may be years or just days. The Society will not introduce any more ducks, so any new arrivals seen on the pond will be wild ducks that have flown in. Noticeboards already have notices asking dog owners to be responsible, so they will be able to exercise dogs off lead within the confines of the wood. It will be left to owners’ discretion as to when it is appropriate to put their dog on a lead, and ask them to refrain from letting their dog swim in the pond when the duck is nearby.

The Society would like to thank everyone for suggestions as to what we should do about the dogs and ducks conundrum.

HEATHFIELD ABOUT TOWN: Brexit White Paper Presentation Meeting. Thursday August 23, 7pm to 9pm, Heathfield Community Centre, Sheepsetting Lane, Cross in Hand. Leaving the EU, Public Meeting organised and Presented by Huw Merriman MP. A presentation will be made from our MP about the process of leaving the EU. The objectives of the meeting are: The process so far. Presentation on the Government White Paper proposal to the EU. Terms if a No Deal reached. Timetable between now and March 29, 2019. Q&A session. Have your say. Mr Merriman seeks to explain the options and to hear constructive views and not to argue.

SUMMER SHOW: Heathfield and District Horticultural Society’s Summer Show, 2pm to 4.30pm, Saturday August 18. Summer show being held at the Heathfield Community Centre, Sheepsetting Lane, Admission is £1 and under 16s go free. Plenty of flowers, vegetables on offer, as well as classes.

LE MARCHE: It’s almost August Bank Holiday (help, where has it gone?) and Heathfield is busy gearing up for Le Marche. Scheduled, as usual, for Bank Holiday Monday, August 27, once again French traders will be bringing their goodies to stalls in Station Road and Station Approach while their British compatriots wow us all with their equally delicious specialities. Look out for French cheeses, breads (they sell out fast so get there early,) pates, hot dishes like pancakes and paella (delicious,) fresh fruit the size of which you have never seen (unless you’ve haunted the open air markets of the South of France,) even household must-haves like Provencal fabrics, table covers and fragrant soaps plus fashion accessories - purses, bags, straw baskets and the like. If the weather stays like this you could almost imagine you are in L’Isle sur Sorgues, sipping a pastis as the crowds stroll by. But there’s more, 80 stalls in fact, so check out our wonderful Sussex cheeses, meats, local wines (I’m sure the chaps from Hidden Spring will be there) plus of course all our town organisations such as the Scouts, Guides and a few enterprising businesses. Plenty of them run tombolas or quizzes so there’s a chance to go home with more than you came with. We hope this year will prove the time that all the High Street shops open on the day. Last year most did, many with a patriotic French connection of red, white and blue, but there were a few exceptions, including one or two which grumbled about competition from the stallholders. Ladies and gentlemen, for one day most of Sussex comes to Heathfield and this is the time to show what you are made of. Many we speak to say this is their first visit but they vow to come back. There’s entertainment too, music and plenty for children. King’s Church will be offering its usual welcome. More in a couple of weeks, but in the meantime, put this date in your diary.

LADIES FASHION 37 SALE: Mrs PP is very happy 37 the ladies’ fashion shop in the High Street sale has started. I understand there are some very good bargains to be had. At present look out for pink dots (40 percent off) or orange dots (20 percent). Masai, Cut Loose, Adini plus some very nice French labels (she tells me).

YOUTH CENTRE: Youth Centre. Report by Noosha Robinson. Well what can I say, a thoroughly enjoyable evening had by all that attended. I would firstly like to thank the staff team past and present who were there this evening and deeply involved with the planning and preparation of the event beforehand which included Sarah Northwood, Emma Taylor, Simone Wickens, Claire Burgess and of course myself as well as the long standing senior member of staff Beata Drury whose commitment and devotion to young people will never go unnoticed. We would also like to thank so many other people who were involved in supporting this event from the beginning. To start with, a big thank you to Mr Raymond Cade and the Heathfield Street Pastors for working hard to help us achieve our aim and raising the much needed funds for the event which were used to buy meat for the barbecue kindly provided by Jones and Billings Butchers in Uckfield, all the necessary beverages and ice for the ‘Mocktail’ bar and also for items such as the cake and decorations for the building including the celebratory 60 balloons. But also thanks for working tirelessly every week supporting young people out in the community and providing much needed extra support within the centre to young people and to staff continuing to build positive relationships between each and everyone. Thank you to Councillor Rupert Simmons and Heathfield Parish Council for his backing and support to provide the event and opportunities for young people as well as supporting staff to keep going with providing help and support for the young people in our community. Thank you to Jean Lenihan from Brighter Heathfield who managed to secure a healthy donation from the Co-op which was successfully used to purchase the much needed necessities to complement the barbecue which was on offer throughout the evening during the event. A thank you to Trevor Goldsmith who along with the Rotary Club secured additional grant funds to help the event and provide for young people. ‘It was a really lovely evening and was attended by a real mixture of people, mainly young people, but families including children and those from older generations with a connection to the centre from years gone by. Young people thoroughly enjoyed having the time to relax away from the pressures of school and day-to-day life and let their hair down. They danced to a playlist of music which was specifically chosen and created by one of the young women present on the evening, a Miss Ellyn Wright and who I would also like to say thank you to Miss Sophie Jenner for their initiative and willingness to get involved and help in any way they could before the event. There was a barbecue which was cooked by very supportive members of the community and enjoyed by all young and old. Young people and children had the opportunity to get involved with playing football in the barn area as well as trying their hand at designing individual graffiti boards in a style of their choice. We had a large display of photos dating right back in time to the present day showing the spirit within the community and the love of working with young people throughout the years. What is very evident from the beginning and still very much to this day is the benefit which the youth centre has within the community and the role it plays, maybe not such a huge one but still a very important one. It was very lovely to see some old faces back within the centre enjoying looking around to see what has changed as well as a fresh face in the name of Becky Farrant, one of the local Police Community Support Officers who have been working hard to keep our community safe and help support us as a service to young people. Becky enjoyed socialising with the community and joining in the spirit of the celebration. From comments expressed during the evening and afterwards young people felt comfortable and relaxed and we feel as a staff team that some positive relationships between young people and services there to support them have been built which can only mean good things.’ Noosha Robinson.

MAYFIELD AND FIVE ASHES: Mayfield Cricket Club. I am sorry to report that Mayfield lost their semi final match to Liphook and Ripsley on Sunday August 5. At one time I thought Mayfield were in with a very good chance unfortunately it was not so. Well lads there is always next year. Good luck for the rest of the season.

PARISH COUNCIL VACANCY: During June the council was sad to accept the resignation of Cllr Elaine Wheeler from the Parish Council. The Council thanks her for her years of dedicated service to the Parish Council on behalf of the residents of Five Ashes. Wealden District Council has confirmed that the vacancy can be filled by co-option and we would like to hear from anyone who wishes to be considered to represent the ward of Five Ashes. To stand as a Parish Councillor you must: Be a UK or commonwealth citizen, or; be a citizen of the Republic of Ireland, or; be a citizen of another Member state of the European Union; be a least 18 years old. Be an elector of the parish, or; for the whole of the previous 12 months have occupied (as owner or tenant) land or other premises in the parish, or; during the previous 12 months have worked in the parish (as your principal or only place of work), or; for the whole of the previous 12 months lived in the parish or within three miles of the parish boundary. You do not have to be connected to a political party. The parish council meets once a month (for about two hours) except during the months of January and August. The meetings take place in Mayfield Memorial Hall and Five Ashes Village Hall. Its following committees carry out the detailed work of the Parish Council: Planning Executive, Finance and General Purposes Executive, Community Development Advisory, Rights of Way and Trees Advisory, Community Safety and Traffic Advisory. You would be expected to attend the meetings of any of the Committees that you become a member of. Committees are scheduled to meet four times a year with the exception of the Planning Committee that meets every three weeks.

FIVE ASHES: Be Vigilant in Play Areas. It has been reported that in June beer cans and more shockingly a razor blade was found in the play area in Five Ashes which is of great concern. Last year a drawing pin was stuck to the inside of the baby swing seat to deliberately harm a toddler. Although the play areas are checked on a weekly basis please be extra vigilant when using the equipment and please report any suspicious activity to Sussex Police by telephoning 101 or by emailing: 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk and contact the Parish Council.

HORAM: Closure of the Horam Day Centre. The plot thickens. According to East Sussex County Council, they only support a couple of individuals who attend the former day centre held at Christ Church, now sadly closed, much to the unhappiness of several visitors and their families. We must now find out whether the cut is directly from Age Concern UK Sussex or filtered down from the council by means of a reduced grant to the charity. We are received more emails of concern, so we hope to bring you more news. I wish we could promise you a re-opened day centre. I suppose the only option - if this closure remains - is for some enterprising soul to start one up. I can imagine there would be several health and safety hoops to jump through, but if we can manage playgroups for toddlers, I am sure we could manage care for our older folk. Let me know what you think - about this and any other item which appears in this column.

NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: Update on last weekend’s Operation Blitz activity. There were very few issues again last weekend, possibly helped by the weather. We only received one call to the Blitz phone which was in relation to a noisy group of kids in The Diplocks late Friday evening. We also seized some alcohol which was left unattended at the Hailsham War Memorial. In Hailsham, we patrolled on foot around the High Street and church yard; The Diplocks estate and around Roebuck Park in Hellingly. Heathfield was also patrolled and a visit was made to the Skate Park in Station Approach, but no one was around. Polegate was patrolled on both evenings, but there were no issues. In the north of our district, MacDonald’s, Tesco and the local parks in Uckfield were visited by the team but no issues reported. In Crowborough, we conducted high visibility patrols around the Skate Park at Goldsmith’s, Jarvis Brook and around the train station after we’d previously received reports from the Community Warden about nuisance youths. The team is always happy to receive calls from our members, so if you’re experiencing nuisance behaviour, or have information about underage drinking or drugs, please get in touch.

SUMMER HOLIDAYS: Enjoy your summer holiday but make sure your home looks lived in whilst you’re away. Use timer switches on lights to make your home looks occupied in the evenings

If possible, leave a car in your driveway or ask a neighbour to park their car on your driveway whilst you’re away. Ask a neighbour to check on your home while you’re away and move any post out of sight. Cancel any regular delivers such as milk and newspapers. If you have a lawn, cut it before you go away and trim back any bushes or shrubs that burglars could hide behind. Lock away any valuable items such as pedal cycles, they may be safer in your home than in an outhouse or shed.

Get on your bike and make the most of the warmer weather, make sure you protect your bike. Mark the frame of you bike with your postcode and house number using a UV pen or tamperproof label. Keep details of the frame number, make, model and type of bike and also take a photograph. Register your bike on www.immobilise.com, a free online property database which the police use to check stolen property. Never leave your bike unlocked, even if you’re just popping into the newsagents for a couple of minutes. The best kind of lock is a quality solid steel D-shaped shackle lock. Always lock your bike to something solid like a lamp-post or railings, preferably in a public area. If you have a quick release wheel, take off your front wheel and local it to the frame and back wheel. If you have a pump or detachable lights, take them with you when you leave your bike. Make sure you have adequate insurance cover for your bike.

Enjoy day trips out in the warmer weather. Make sure you secure your car. Don’t leave valuables in your car, even if you know that the bag on the front seat is empty, a thief may still try their luck. Remove your sat nav and its holder from your car, don’t leave it in the glove box as this is the first place a thief will look. Remember to shut your windows and sunroof when you leave your car. Use an approved steering lock and gear clamp. Set your immobiliser and alarm if you have one fitted.

WEALDEN ALERTS: Inflatables are great fun but accidents involving broken limbs and necks are not uncommon. There have also been serious incidents where occupied inflatables have blown away due to being improperly secured in windy conditions. (Take care at the seaside too with smaller inflatables - a Radio Sussex broadcast informed us that a man aboard an inflatable unicorn was seen being blown out towards the shipping lanes). A few basic measures can make all the difference to an event. Ensure it has been built to the current British Standard (BS EN 14960) and if it has, there will be a label on it saying so. If there is no label you may be taking a risk with the safety of those using it. The label will tell you when it was made, how many people can use it and what heights they should be. Every inflatable should have at least six anchor points, though bigger ones will need more. The operator manual that should be supplied with the inflatable will tell you how many there should be. BS EN 14960 also provides more information regarding the calculations to be used to work out anchor point requirements. Annual inspection. After its first year and annually thereafter, the inflatable must be tested by a competent person to make sure it is still safe for use. A new unit should have an ‘initial test’ carried out at the point of manufacture to confirm it complies with BS EN 14960. The HSE supports annual examination by Inspectors registered with PIPA (external link) or ADIPS (external link). The controller shall ensure that an annual inspection is carried out by a competent person and any part of the inflatable and its ancillaries which may affect safe operation of the equipment should be inspected.