Cross in Hand, Horam, Blackboys & Five Ashes

NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: Farm Watch Coordinator’s Update. Reported cases of loose animals on the public highways this week is 205. This is made up with 201 sheep, two cows and two horses. Please, livestock owners, ensure that your field boundaries are animal proof. Please ensure that you check your road, motorway and railway sided fields at least once a day. There have been several thefts this week across both East and West Sussex, items stolen include a nail gun, two mowers, three chainsaws, a strimmer, two power saws, 20 litres of petrol, 24 cans of beer, an agricultural sat nav, a muck fork, two lead ropes, a disc cutter, a generator, a pump, two wacker plates, a motocross bike, a table top fridge and a battery charger.

Crime and incident update Wealden. 28/09/2018 two outbuildings at a farm in Boreham Street, Hailsham were broken into and two chainsaws and a Husqvana 50cc motocross bike were stolen. 29/09/2018. Case number 1041 ESFRS attended a boiler fire in a farmhouse in Mayfield. Help us keep Sussex safe. If you saw or heard anything, or have any information about any incident in this message please contact us online, email us at or call 101, quoting the reference number provided.

COUNTRYWATCH SCHEME: Sussex Countrywatch Scheme was launched at the Autumn Show and Game Fair at the South of England Showground, Ardingly last weekend. Sussex Countrywatch is a partnership initiative to help strengthen and protect our rural communities against crime by sharing information and providing practical prevention advice. We know that people in Sussex are passionate about our county’s countryside and protecting it from crime. We are reaching out to people living, working or visiting our rural areas to assist us and our partners tackle rural crime and catch those who are responsible for it. By signing up to Sussex Countrywatch, subscribers will receive regular updates straight into their email account from police and partner agencies to keep up to date with the latest rural matters. Subscribers are encouraged to report crime and recommend others to sign up, creating a network of eyes and ears in rural communities. Assistant Chief Constable Nick May, Superintendent Emma Brice and Sergeant Tom Carter will be joined by representatives from the Sussex Countrywatch partnership including West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, the National Farmers Union and the Angling Trust who will be at the event during the weekend. By signing up to our free Sussex Countrywatch scheme you’ll receive regular updates on crime, prevention advice and become eyes and ears for our rural community. Sign up through our messaging service provider In the Know, select to receive messages from ‘the police’ and tick ‘Country Watch’ as an area of interest. This will take a matter of minutes and is free.

Find out more about Rural Crime and our response to tackling rural crime on our website.

CROSS IN HAND: Dads Hill. The fence, the fence. I’m referring to the truly hideous fence now running along the front of new houses on Cross-in-Hand High Street (the development is known locally as The Ghetto and you’ve only got to take a look to see why). As if the homes fronting directly onto the main road did not have a bleak enough outlook, now a tall fence has been erected in front of them. I can only imagine this is because protective screening put up when the estate was being built was soon plastered with mud from passing vehicles. This development shames its architects, the builders, Wealden District and our own Parish Council whose members, presumably, must have consented to its design. Design is not an accurate word; it lacks any form of aesthetic appeal and looks rather like East London or Liverpool terraces demolished in the drive to provide better housing for people after World War II. It’s not impossible to provide new, inexpensive homes that look OK - on first glance the scheme at the back of the Police Station looks quite pleasant, and the houses at the Hailsham Road end of Ghyll Road have settled nicely. Remember the Malvina Reynolds song? ‘There’s a green one, and a pink one, and a blue one, and a yellow one, And they’re all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same.’ Except there’s no green, yellow or pink - sadly they are just plain brick.

I attach the wording from a letter sent to Joanna Denton from John Plant Chairman of the Cross in Hand Amenities Society, to the Wealden Enforcement Officer, concerning a breach of conditions for planning application WD/2016/2691/MRM for 26 swellings at Dads Hill. Based upon past experience Wealden will not enforce the conditions and we will be left with an even more ugly development, and one that presents serious safety issues to the poor unfortunates who end up living there.

The letter is as follows: The developer has installed a fence on the High Street side of plot 16 that is not only contrary to the approved planning consent, but is also contrary to planning regulations for erecting fences close to a public highway. Drawing LLD1044/02, that was presumably included in the Conditional Discharge Approval given by Doug Moss on 23rd November 2017, makes no reference to fencing in this part of the development. The photograph shows that the top of the fence is at the same height as the top of the ground floor window of plot 15. I would estimate it to be nearly three metres high. This is in breach of the approved amended street scene dated 4th May 2017 which clearly shows a series of low hedges along the roadside. Once again, this developer is ignoring planning conditions. You will recall that the ancient hedgerows along the High Street were removed contrary to the planning conditions, but no action was taken because the developer assured everyone that they would be replaced, yet when the time comes the ancient hedging is to be replaced with grass verges. It is bad enough having to accept a development with a city centre density in the middle of the AONB, (37 dwellings per hectare compared to a recommended density of 30 in the 2018 Wealden Plan), but by installing fencing alongside parts of its frontage, it creates a stockade like appearance that is wholly inappropriate in a rural community. Furthermore, the installation of this fence callously presents a life-threatening hazard, as the fence effectively eliminates the sightlines for motorists passing the site, and for cyclists and pedestrians exiting the estate via the footpath between plots 15 and 16 onto the narrow footpath alongside the busy High Street. This fencing should be removed and the hedging and other landscaping set out in drawing LLD1044/02 should be installed. The block plan also shows trees and hedging behind properties 23-26, but the developer has installed a 2+ metre high fence adjacent to the highway, which also has implications for sight lines at the junction.

I refer to planning regulations which state that: ‘You will need to apply for planning permission if you wish to erect or add to a fence, wall or gate and it would be over one metre high and next to a highway used by vehicles (or the footpath of such a highway); or over two metres high elsewhere.’

I am unable to find any specific consent relating to the approval of a fence, and would question whether any such approval would meet minimum acceptable road safety standards. I note the assurance you gave to Sarah Stuart in your letter of September 18 that the fencing would be removed, but it is evident that your instructions to the developer have been ignored despite promises to the contrary. If a private individual acted in such a way the Council would jump on it very quickly. The community sincerely hopes that in you, we finally have an officer at Wealden District Council who will insist that a developer sticks to the approved planning conditions, and not allow them to put profits before public safety.

There you have it in a nutshell. Well done John, this is not a ‘Nimb’ letter. But plain and simple facts. Once again Wealden District is allowing a developer to get away with breaching planning regulations, settled at full planning consent stage. I suppose they will apply for retrospective planning at a later date?

SINGING FOR FUN: Singing for Fun for Everyone continues on Monday, from 2pm at Cross in Hand Methodist Church at the top of Firgrove Road. It continues on Mondays from now on. The car park is on the left hand side. There are favourite songs to sing and do take along songs and music for the group. Time for refreshments and a chat afterwards.

AUTUMN FAIR: Tomorrow, Saturday, Cross in Hand Methodist Church Firgrove Road. Parking arrangements as above. 11.30am to 1.30pm. Please come along there will be various stalls selling cakes plants etc. Ploughman’s lunches will be served.

PRIMARY SCHOOL: Cross in Hand Primary School. Mrs Massheder writes: Some of our parents and carers don’t manage to get into school much, so I thought that this week I would show you some of the lovely displays in and around our school. The fearsome beasts grace our entrance hall at the moment and they are huge. They were made at the end of Term 6 by Y1/2 children. They were inspired by the children’s Learning Journey on Minibeasts as well as the Roald Dahl book James and the Giant Peach.

What great relationships. I am always impressed by the mutually respectful relationships that I see around me at Cross in Hand. The children and adults all treat each other so kindly and politely that it is a true joy to see. This was illustrated perfectly this week when Mollie in Year 5 brought in a lovely little red felt heart that she had made for Mrs Jeffery, one of our Learning Support Assistants who also helps us to run Breakfast Club and After School Club. Well done to both of you. Parental Advisory Staff have raised concerns that certain types of music may be adversely influencing our children’s choice of language on the playground. We have been told by some children that they hear certain unacceptable words in songs that they listen to. Please help us and the children by being aware of what they are listening to online (or what they are downloading onto their devices) and discussing what language is used. Thank you.

NO NUTS MEANS NO NUTS: This week I received an email from a parent who had overheard a mum asking her daughter if anyone had noticed that she had Nutella in her sandwiches. The mum said ‘Just say it’s chocolate spread if anyone asks.’ Not only is this selfish but it is very dangerous. Whoever this was please do not send in Nutella, it still contains nuts and we have a child with a life threatening nut allergy.

HORRAY: The snazzy glasses have been claimed. We asked as many children as possible to take a school meal yesterday and we had 212. Thank you.

MAYFIELD AND FIVE ASHES: Local Hero. Every year Mayfield have a local hero to turn on the lights at the Late Night Shopping. They are looking for nominations for this year (Friday, November 30). Who do you want to nominate? Maybe an unsung hero who does at lot but hasn’t had the recognition they deserve? Let us know who and why. Contact Roger Stone.

LOCAL CLINIC: Mayfield Chiropody and Podiatry Clinic Sock Facts. The new cotton rich and bamboo sock ranges have arrived at Mayfield Chiropody and Podiatry Clinic in a blaze of colourful designs. There are stars, stripes and spots and a menagerie of animal designs including puffins, Scottie dogs, pugs, cats and sheep. They have introduced a new size for younger customers in sizes 12 to 3 in two fun designs to trial for the autumn. If successful they will offer a more comprehensive range for Christmas. Their Softop offer of plain socks is ideal for all wearers but particularly beneficial for those with diabetes or poor circulation problems. The range is now available in a bamboo blend and we have introduced a stripe design in the cotton blend. The new ranges in wool blends and the chunky walking socks will arrive in October along with the seasonal Christmas novelty socks, offering additional exciting and quirky gift options for all the family. Pop in for a browse. They look forward to seeing you. Mayfield Chiropody and Podiatry Clinic: 01435 873848.

LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY: The first society meeting to be held after the summer break will be held on Friday October 26, in the Scout Hall, starting at 8pm. All are welcome, existing members and new. The programme of planned talks is: Friday October 26, AGM and Mayfield in WW1 1914-1918, Carol Stilwell. Friday November 30, Rudyard Kipling and Dutch Supper, Geoff Hutchinson. Friday January 25, Jack Cade, Mayfield rebel 1450? Dr Brian O’Connor. Friday February 23, Hearth and Home, Dr Geoffrey Mead. Friday March 22, Wealden suffragettes, Frances Stenlake. For further information contact Rob Foster 01435 873215.

BLACKBOYS: Blackboys Cricket Club. Always looking for some local history in the community. Here is a brief history of Blackboys Cricket Club. Blackboys CC is a small based the village. A formal history of the club has not been established; however, it does have recorded minutes and accounts going back to 1913. There are newspaper reports (hopefully Sussex Express) of a Blackboys team playing cricket during the 1800s but quite when a club was actually formalised has, to date, not been confirmed. They first played league cricket in the Waldron & District League in 1921 and 1922. Having been founded by Mr E F Oakshott, this competition only lasted a couple of seasons before disbanding primarily due to lack of interest. Their near neighbours Framfield won this league for the two years it was played for. The league trophy was resurrected in 1947 as the Oakshott Cup, a mid-week evening knockout competition comprising eight teams, of which the club was a founding member. The late 1950s through the 1960s were a purple patch for Blackboys.  With a number of strong players, the club regularly featured in the final of the Oakshott Cup and won this competition in 1959, 1963, 1964 and 1967. Their rivals then became more dominant and following this ‘golden era’ the club only managed to win the trophy twice more in 1977 and then in 2005. Sadly after the 2010 season, due to a lack of player commitment, they had to withdraw from this competition as they were struggling to find enough Blackboys’ players to raise a team for a mid-week evening match. Certainly what has not changed much is having a drink after a match. The landlords may have changed but the Blackboys Inn hasn’t. From 1998 until 2006 they played in the Cuckmere Valley Cricket League. They enjoyed some great success during the period, winning the second division in 2000, the first division in 2001 and again in 2006. From 2007 to 2017 they played their cricket in the East Sussex Cricket League. Starting off and winning division 7. They have been as high as division 3 and at one stage we were running two teams. They are now back to one team but enjoyed further success in 2017 winning the division 6 title. The cricket leagues of Sussex amalgamated under one umbrella from 2018 and they now play in the Sussex Cricket League. Their season starts early in early March with pre-season nets and they are always on the lookout for new players to strengthen the squad. Please contact the secretary if you have any questions and/or are interested in playing in the 2018 season. Further details can be obtained by contacting the secretary at

HORAM: Hidden Spring Vinyard. Grape Picking Morning, October 13. Hidden Spring Vinyard is opening up the vineyard for you to come and help them pick grapes tomorrow, Saturday, at 10am.

They have Pinot Gris that needs harvesting and pressing and they would like to invite you to join them at 10am on Saturday to help pick those grapes. The weather’s looking dry and warm at the moment, but the ground may be damp so they recommend good shoes or walking boots, something that will be OK in damp grass. Long trousers are recommended too as there are some stinging nettles. They’ll have snips and disposable gloves for you to use and buckets for you to collect the grapes into. The plan is to start picking at 10am then load the grape press at 12.30pm so you can all see and taste the juice, then lunch will be served in the new winery overlooking the vines and then you’re done. For further details contact 01435 813078 or email: