Cross in Hand, Horam, Blackboys & Five Ashes

HEATHFIELD ABOUT TOWN: Planning. A controversial idea or two. Is planning now entirely governed by developers? Is the future of our countryside in the hands of those who stand to make money from building over it? Are councils powerless to stop a determined housing or industrial development company from doing precisely what it likes, where it likes including the AONB? Councils, using taxpayers’ money, cannot afford to indulge in costly legal counsel. or lengthy land disputes. They are hindered by inadequate financial firepower so the brick-bound property predators get away with it. I ask this because there is so little logic in the location of schemes being put forward under the terms of the Wealden Local Plan, particularly when development projects are being lodged for areas projected in the Plan, which in itself has not been ratified. What about a form of land and building nationalisation, a partition of available land into appropriate segments for building, recreation, industry, recreation, agriculture and public use? I find myself more and more drawn to some type of overarching direction in a form agreed by local and national representation and democratic vote by the families and authorities which are principally affected. Most small towns and villages could probably do with a few more extra houses, if just to keep shops, post offices and banks in business, thus a thousand? (Uckfield) or many thousand? (Hailsham). And also, why not allow residential development in empty retail premises in town centres? Across the country we see new-built retail arcades standing empty and boarded up and a proliferation of charity shops (heaven knows how many there are in Heathfield, I don’t believe local people have enough disposable clothing to fill their rails). Bringing families into town centres would enliven services such as coffee shops, pubs and cafes and restore them to living streets. Check out villages, even major cities in Europe and beyond where people actually live, work, bring up their children, shop and are entertained. Just a thought.

ROADWORKS: Heathfield High Street Roadworks. As previously reported, this ill thought through and ill-timed scheme looks as though it is going ahead. Residents of Sheepsetting Lane and Ghyll Road had a note posted through their letter boxes on Monday October 29 informing them that both roads will suffer delays due to tree cutting back. This is to allow buses to be able to travel safely as both roads will be used as a diversion route. The lateness of this notification is another indication the road works were not well planned. No consultation with residents this time no, they are just going ahead and as a result much of the elegant streetscape of these roads will be wrecked. Do the tree surgeons know the difference between their ashes and their maples? I’d be interested to find out. I am sorry to say our very hard pressed traders in Heathfield are going to find it very difficult to recover from this scheme at an important and crucial part of their trading year. I am sure this will have a knock-on effect to the Wealden/Heathfield Works scheme for youngsters. With the best will in the world, residents will find other destinations like Tunbridge Wells, Eastbourne and Brighton to start their Christmas shopping. At the time of writing this (Monday,) no-one knows where the buses will run and no-one can access an emergency timetable. Where were the parish council and our local District and County Councillors in all this? No public statements have been made on the subject, only Huw Merriman our local MP has ventured to put his head over the parapet. I do think a change of direction is desperately needed?

NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: Cyber Alerts. Cyber-criminals use weaknesses in software and apps to attack your devices and steal your identity. Software updates are designed to fix these weaknesses and installing them as soon as possible will keep your devices and data secure. Software updates don’t have to get in the way of what you’re doing. You can choose to install them at night, when your device is plugged in and connected to wi-fi. You can also configure most devices to automatically install software and app updates. For more information on how to stay secure online, visit or follow @Cyberprotectuk on Twitter.

CYCLE ADVICE: Dark night safety advice for cyclists. Stay visible while cycling at night. When the days are shorter it is more important than ever to ensure your bicycle is not only road worthy but also kitted correctly for night use. There are also several legal requirements you must adhere to when thinking about taking your bike out at night: If you are on the roads when it’s dark your bicycle is legally required to have both lights and reflectors fitted; your front light must be white and have a 110 degree visibility; your rear light must be red; front and rear lights are allowed to flash; you must also have a red rear reflector and BS6102/2 amber reflectors on the front and rear of each pedal. Although the legal requirement is for the front light to have a 110 degree visibility, in practice not many cyclists are fully aware of this. Ensure that your front facing bike light meets this requirement to help ensure you are more visible from different angles. To give you extra visibility from the side also consider spoke reflectors. It is good practice to use your rear light when cycling during the autumn and winter months as the weather can change quickly and being as visible as possible on the road should be a priority. Hi-vis clothing is also an ideal way of staying visible during dusk and dark nights. Reflective clothing is a highly effective way of being seen on the busy roads, especially when it is worn on parts of the body that move. What to consider: Hi-vis clothing is very effective at making you visible at night; add reflective items to body parts that move, i.e. shoes with reflective strips, reflective wrist bands and gloves; if wearing a back pack or rucksack ensure it has reflective strips or areas for greater visibility; wear a rear light on your back pack or your helmet for extra visibility. The additional height of the light will be at eye level for most motorists; ensure the batteries in your lights are always in full working order and not running low. Staying visible on the roads during the winter months is important; it doesn’t cost the earth and can help you have many hours of safe cycling.

WEALDEN ALERTS: Over the weekend of November 11 and 12, members of Wealden District Council will be honouring those who gave their lives in the service of their country at Remembrance Day services across the District. On November 12 Councillor Chris Hardy, Wealden District Council Chairman, will be attending the remembrance services at Hailsham and Crowborough. In the morning he will attend the Hailsham parade, starting at the Charles Hunt Centre and marching to the War Memorial. In the afternoon he will be attending the wreath laying ceremony in Crowborough at the War Memorial followed by a service at All Saints Church. At all services he will be laying a wreath on behalf of the Council. On the morning of November 11, Wealden District Council Vice Chairman Councillor Pam Doodes will be attending the Polegate Remembrance Service at Polegate Town Council’s War Memorial recreation ground and laying a wreath. Wealden District Council Deputy Leader, Councillor Claire Dowling will be attending the Uckfield Remembrance Parade and other District Councillors will be attending Remembrance Day services throughout the District.

CROSS IN HAND: Isenhurst Junction. No reported incidents last week. Due to exiting the above junction from the High Street being so dangerous It does seem more motorists are now using the Mayfield Flat Road.

MAYFIELD AND FIVE ASHES: Community Services. The Old Library has had a bit of a makeover, not major, but to make it more office like. Unfortunately it will not be able to man the new office space all the working week, but the Old Library will be manned. Do check out the A frame as it holds lots of information, not just about events, but other things happening in the villages. If you have a document you need printing or photocopying, please call in. If you put the document into PDF format, on a memory stick, it can be printed from that. Basic prices are 5p per A4 mono and 10p per A4 colour. Come and visit for more.

Ceramics Morning. The new ceramics painting session, where you can come and create your own tile take place between 10am and noon in Mayfield Scout and Guide Hall and then at the same time every second Friday in the month. This is open to absolutely everyone of all ages who wants to do something creative, whilst enjoying others’ company. Each tile will cost £5 and there will be tea and cake available. If this appeals to you, please contact Alex so we can gauge the interest in this activity.

Matinee Film Afternoons at Mayfield Memorial Hall. Please pick up a leaflet which details the six films being shown, dates, prices and venue. If you need transport by minibus to and from the film, it’s important that you need transport please make contact. If you would like to volunteer to make a cake for the film afternoons, please get in touch with us.

Knitting/sewing group. This is on Mondays from 2pm to 3.30pm in the Old Library. Do come and join in for a chat whilst you knit or sew. Complete beginners also very welcome. You can bring your own project or you can knit squares for our blankets being made for the Queen Mother’s Sewing Guild. To find out more visit: http://qmcg.

Public Use Computers. The two public computers are available in the Old Library when the MAYFACS office is open. If you were a regular user in the library, why not come and try one of these? It is planned to run another four week basic computer course on using tablets, smart phones, storing and editing photos and other topics, but we need to know what people want to know. Please do contact us and tell us. Can you offer your skills as a teacher or computer buddy occasionally? If you can please do get in touch. Computer Buddies and Computer Courses. Please ring Shirley or Alex to book a slot. Help with iPad, iPhone, Smart Phones, tablets and computers is available. Please contact us if you would welcome help in your own home from a computer buddy.

Life Stories Project This will be starting again soon with six new participants and girls from Mayfield School, but meanwhile, look out for the exhibition as you exit the Community Play. Contact details for all the above activities. Shirley Holland, Alex Firrell or Freya Huxtable most Mondays and Tuesdays, Old Library next to the Memorial Hall (look for the sign outside) Telephone: Shirley 07908 516 875 or Alex 07389 050605 Emails:, alexandra@, If you prefer to write, please leave a letter at The Shopping Basket.

BLACKBOYS: Lots going on at Blackboys Inn this Autumn. On November 6, 20 and December 4, the pub holds its hugely popular Open Mic Night, just turn up and this could be your first step to fame. On November 27 owners Jay and Natalie say they’ve polished up the toad coins, dusted off the dominoes for an evening of good, old-fashioned pub games. Then there are the much-loved and highly competitive quiz nights on November 13 and December 11. It costs just £10 for a meal, a drink and entry into the quiz, full of trivia knowledge. Just six to a team. Tell me, where can you enjoy a whole evening’s entertainment for a tenner? And there’s a cash prize so you could come away with more than you spent.

HORAM: Horam Remembrance November 11. A plaque to commemorate 100 years since the end of World War 1 is to be dedicated on the Monument in the Horam Memorial Garden by the High Street car park steps at 10.20am. The Annual Scout and Guide Parade will follow, moving off from the car park at 10.40am arriving at Christ Church in time for the laying of the wreaths and the two minutes silence, then moving into the church for the service. To commemorate the centenary of the end of World War 1 Horam will be taking part in the National Lighting of Beacons around the country; this is to take place at 7pm preceded by a small ceremony as directed by the Queen’s Pageant Master. Time table of this free event: 6pm onwards the Smoke Shack will be available for refreshments, barbecue, rolls, tea, coffee etc; 6.20pm Home Front Lindy Hop Dancers in the village hall until 6.40pm; 6.50pm Tribute to the Millions read by Vicar P.J.Guy; 6.55pm Last Post; 7pm Lighting of the Beacon; 7.05pm Remember the fallen of Horam in WW1; 7.15pm a short firework display. Donations are requested to go to the National Fund to be distributed to RAF Benevolent Fund, Royal Naval Association, the Army’s National Charity, The Merchant Navy Association; Please be generous.

DOG GOSSIP: Mrs PP tells me our German Pointer, who demands a morning walk around our local park, spends a lot of time with his nose down molehills, or generally scenting his way around. Although it delays the walk, she read somewhere that stopping or pulling him along is like someone ripping the Sunday papers from under your nose. So she allows him an extra five minutes. (He gets a good free run in the woods every afternoon so can choose his own sniffing points, usually connected with squirrels).