Cross in Hand, Horam, Blackboys & Five Ashes

HEATHFIELD ABOUT TOWN: Well the road works are continuing and I understand, if social media is to be believed, they are already behind schedule. Apparently phase 1 of the works is held up because BT has not turned up to carry out essential work. It has also been announced by Stagecoach buses going to and from Tunbridge Wells will now be using Waldron Thorns from November 21 as part of their route until the road works are finished. Residents of Waldron Thorns have taken to social media complaining that the route now goes along a road where residents have no alternative parking but on the road. Other than the announcement on social media and no parking cones put out, one can understand they are not very happy. With the pick up and drop off for buses going to Tunbridge Wells and Eastbourne outside Cross in Hand School will and, is already, causing mayhem. I am sorry this whole exercise smacks of last minute arrangements, no planning, no communication (other than residents reporting on social media) and meanwhile our High Street traders are losing out on vital Christmas trading. Two weeks into the road works, the parish council have decided to issue a statement informing residents the works have been held up due to a water leak being found and the recent bad weather (what did they expect in November? Blazing sunshine and wildebeest sweeping majestically across the road outside Heathfield Ironmongers?) Not rocket science in my book. I thought a comprehensive survey was carried out prior to the works commencing. The main reason for the road works was that the road was collapsing or was it the water leak? I am surprised the bookmakers in the High Street is not being proactive and taking bets as to when the road works will finish and the High Street re-opens. I have got to say this smacks of the fiasco we had with the Post Office opening. Also were we not told that the road works could not begin earlier in the year because of essential utilities’ work?

TALKING OF POST OFFICES: This might be out of my area, but I think the shocking destruction of more than 100 mature trees in Crowborough indicates the power of developers set against the ability of councils to enforce their own conditions? The Mead car park site, sold by Wealden to Abbey Homes for the construction of new houses, including much-needed affordable ones, might have the ring of inevitability about it. The car park spaces were needed, Crowborough Community Association and local residents roundly opposed the plan but ultimately developers won the day.

Wealden demanded an ecological study. What kind of ecological study results in every single tree being axed, roots dug out and ground excavated? There is not one left. If planning conditions are breached why do developers not receive a hefty fine? It makes one worry for the potential schemes coming down the track to us in the Wealden Local Plan. Another worry is the way developers can suddenly discover geological or geographical elements that make it ‘impossible’ for them to turn a profit on a site, so any affordable element must therefore be excluded. So sorry. An example is the Beehive site on Mutton Hall Hill. There is not just a legal loophole, it’s a gaping wide tunnel entrance which should be boarded up and sealed by Government. While we’re on the subject, why don’t we don yellow jackets and follow the Gilets Jaunes from across the Channel?

When the French don’t like something, they generally let perpetrators know about it. A while ago, in the Cevennes, it was ruled that a village post office should be closed. Local people took the postman hostage (treated him well, two hours for lunch, comfy bed, decent wine) and in the end the post office was re-opened. I’m not talking about a Winter of Discontent here, merely a little more rabble-rousing and bloody mindedness from those of us who feel strongly about such things. To the barricades, mes amis. Many people think we live in a democratic society. What is currently going on in Parliament and events reported above just goes to prove local people no longer have a voice. I am sorry to say we are now in a dictatorial society.

HIGHWAYS CUSTOMER PANEL: East Sussex Highways Customer Panel. This should be good for Heathfield Residents with what is going on at present. East Sussex Highways is looking for residents to join their Highways Customer Panel. A survey, which will be sent via email twice a year, will ask for your views on the service that they provide and will help them make improvements based on the feedback given. If you are interested in joining then please sign-up: http://eepurl.com/dtHTXr. You can unsubscribe from the panel at any time. More information on the Highways Customer Panel can be found at: https://www.eastsussexhighways.com/highways-customer-panel.

NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: Well it has happened. Other than the usual BT, Microsoft scam telephone calls, a couple of scams have actually been received in our household. The first was from our bank requesting I reset my passwords and all the usual stuff connected with passwords. I must say it did look all very authentic, even down to a detailed Code of Conduct booklet. On contacting our bank, suffice to say it was a scam. The second was when our son had an email saying he was due a refund from the Student Loan Company. The email was followed up by a letter. The refund was not a great sum, but this is the way the scammers work before stripping out the victim’s bank account. Again all the correspondence looked very authentic. The two flaws were spotted by eagle eyed Mrs PP. There was a spelling mistake and the reference number did not match the original loan document. Writing this column for more than two years now and featuring Neighbourhood Watch and Wealden Alerts, I have become very wary of the potential scams out there. I must say it does seem the scammers have significantly upped their game with very authentic and convincing letterheads, addresses etc. My main concern is that the elderly and young are easy targets. So if you have an elderly parent or friend, please make them aware that there are a lot of unscrupulous people out there.

POWER CUTS: Full support is available in a power cut if you act now. Power cuts don’t happen very often these days, but if there’s a power cut, have you ever wondered how some people would cope? By registering with UK Power Networks’ Priority Services Register you will be given a priority 24-hour phone number for communication, receive extra information and regular updates during any power cut. In the event of a longer power cut you could receive hot food, hot drinks and hot water, mobile phone charging and more. Those who rely on power to run medical equipment, such as dialysis or breathing apparatus, would also receive additional help. More information can be found online at: www.ukpower networks.co.uk/power-cut/priority -services-register. It’s quick and free to register by completing a short questionnaire. If you have family or friends who meet the criteria you can register on their behalf if they are happy for you to do so. Please note that the majority of the company’s members live in the area served by UK Power Networks. However, a few do not, and it will be made clear to you in the on-line registration process if this is the case, and a link will be given to who your regional network operator is, so you can apply to join their Priority Service Register.

MOTORWAY: M23 Alerts. Full closure of the M23 December 2018. There will be a full overnight weekend closure on Friday to Sunday, December 7 to 9, between 9pm and 6am (5am Mon December 10). There is a full diversion route in place.

CROSS IN HAND: Isenhurst Junction. The junction saw two accidents over the weekend. One car was still there Monday morning. The battle still goes on the have something done about the junction.

AMENITIES SOCIETY: Darches Wood. Well done to John Plant and his team. The area around the pond now looks pristine and a pleasure to walk around. I would suggest that at the next round of the local Aviva Community Fundraising the Society puts together a plan to keep these wonderful woods a joy to walk in.

SCHOOL NEWS: Cross in Hand Primary School. Letter from head teacher Mrs Massheder: Thank you, thank you, thank you. I love it when I can start the Friday Special with a big thank you and today I get to do it three times. Firstly, thank you for your sensible and pragmatic approach to getting the children to school on time amid all of the parking restrictions while the High Street is closed. We have seen no real impact on the number of children coming in late, which is testament to our fantastic parents and carers. Well done (and keep it up). Secondly, the school raised a very impressive £283.24 for the Poppy Appeal, thank you on their behalf. Thirdly, we have just received a lovely certificate from the Children with Cancer Fund (CWCF) acknowledging our most recent donation of £815.83. This means that last year you raised £1365 in memory of our lovely Sruti Saha. Thank you so much everyone, I am so proud of this school.

Remember that you will need to get your Parent Pay account activated by Monday, December 3 in order to pay for school dinners. We are still having children bringing food containing nuts in their lunch boxes. Please be extra vigilant - we have severe nut allergies in school. Due to the Christmas Fair and the last day of term, there will be no After School Club on Friday, December 7 or Wednesday, December 19.

Great opportunity for our oldest children David Law is the Prevent Project Officer for the Safer East Sussex Team. He will be running a series of four Think, Protect, Connect workshops with our Y5 and Y6 children. These give the children the chance to discuss Community Safety issues including personal identity, bullying, keeping yourself safe, the values that Britain supports, the problem of racism, hate crime and the development of extreme views, how to say no when you need to and online issues with consideration of video gaming and scams. David will talk to the children about building resilience with these issues. Lucky Y5 and Y6, I wish they’d had this when I was at school. Yet more amazing and wonderful children. This group of Year 6 children came to see me at the beginning of term saying ‘We love maths, and we’d like to help children in Year 3 or 4 who might be stuck on their work. Can we run a Y3/4 Maths Club once a week on Tuesday lunch times?’ Well, who could say no to that? We were lucky enough to be asked to take part in the Waldron Parish Council’s part of the Battle’s Over national tribute to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War. We were given a blank sheet and Mrs Bailey, our art lead teacher, arranged for every child in our school to sign their name and draw a peace symbol in the red and blue parts of a Union Jack flag. The finished article looked fantastic, and the Parish Council was thrilled with it. We received a thank you certificate from the Chair of the Parish Council this week, which we will display in school. What a great way for our children to show their respect and commemorate all of those killed or injured so long ago. Well done, everyone.

MAYFIELD AND FIVE ASHES: New Year’s Eve Mayfield Charity Dinner 7.30pm Monday, December31, Mayfield Memorial Hall (licensed into the early hours). What better way to see in the New Year than celebrating with friends whilst raising money for two very worthwhile charities: Help the Heroes& Hospice in the Weald Five Ashes. The festivities take place in Mayfield’s Memorial Hall, which will be elegantly and festively transformed especially for the occasion. To get the evening off to a great start, a complimentary pre-dinner drink and canapés will be served whilst a professional quartet provides arrival music. This will be followed by a delicious two-course supper. People will be seated on round tables which comfortably take eight so that friends can socialise together. Tables must be booked by one ‘host’ person who is responsible for the booking and for their guests’ payments. For those in the mood for dancing, live music will be provided by the Mayberries who will be playing many popular numbers throughout the evening and into the New Year. But 2019 will be piped in traditional style by a live piper so be ready to sing along to auld lang syne and see in the New Year festively. All profits from ticket sales will be split between Help the Heroes and the new Cottage Hospice being built in Five Ashes. Dress code is smart/black tie (optional). Tickets cost £85 per person (contributing to the charities) and include a pre-drink, canapés, two-course meal, cheese and biscuits, coffee and mints. Tickets and further information from Mayfield Chiropody and Podiatry Clinic 873848

PHOENIX PLAYERS: Come and audition for the Mayfield Phoenix Players’ spring production of The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society’s Production of Macbeth. This hilarious play for 10 to 12 players will be performed on May 16 to 18. All are welcome to come and audition, you don’t have to be a member of the Mayfield Phoenix Players. If you don’t want to act but would like to get involved in other ways (eg costume, props or backstage), come along on the dates below to meet the team and find out more. Or you can call the Director, Kate Laird (contact details below). Join on either of the following dates to read through the play and audition. 4pm to 6pm on Sunday December 2 or 7.30pm to 9.30pm on Monday December 3 at the Mayfield Memorial Hall. To find out more about the play, see a list of characters, read the audition pieces or order your own script, go to the Phoenix website: http://www.phoenix theatrecompany.org.uk. If you cannot make it the players will be happy to audition you separately at another time. Email the Director, Kate Laird at kate_laird@outlook.com or call her on 07738 863317 to arrange an individual audition time.

COUNTY COUNCIL: Consultation on County Council’s Future Services. East Sussex County Council has opened its public conversation on the ESCC Core Offer. The Core Offer is an assessment of the services that ESCC think are most needed by residents, businesses and communities and that they should be expected to provide in a difficult financial climate, it will inform and direct their budget planning over the coming three years. They are survey seeking views of those that live and work in the county, particularly whether they agree with the approach, whether the priorities and services in the Core Offer are right, and if there are ways they can work differently with partners and communities to do more to support each other. We would encourage you all to complete the survey, Log onto https://consultation.eastsussex .gov.uk/governance-and -community-services /a-core-offer-for-east-sussex/

SKIPPERS HILL SCHOOL: Visit Skippers Hill Preparatory School, Five Ashes. To gain a true insight into school life at Skippers Hill, it is recommended you visit us so that you can sample the atmosphere and, most of all, meet our staff and pupils. Open Mornings provide prospective families with the opportunity to tour the school and see the work of children already at Skippers Hill. Forthcoming Open Morning: Monday, November 26, 9.30am to 11.30am. To book and arrange a tour contact the school office 01825 830234.

FUNDRAISING: Children at Skippers Hill School have raised over £300 for the charity All We Can as part of their annual Harvest Festival celebrations at the end of September. Pupils at the school aged 2 to 13 years, from the school’s Kindergarten to Year 8, carried out a variety of small jobs at home in order to raise money for the charity. The £300 raised will help All We Can to fund solar irrigation projects so that families living in poverty can harvest more effectively. The school were also joined by Deacon Di from St Dunstan’s in Mayfield who inspired the pupils to think about other ways in which they can try to help others.

Fun Friday Toddler Classes. Fun Fridays take place at Skippers Hill Kindergarten on Friday mornings between 10.30am to 11.45am during term time. Toddler sessions provide a chance for children to do all the fun and messy things they love to do that they cannot do at home. Toddlers and their parents are welcome to use our Kindergarten facilities to see what the fun is all about. The cost of each session is £3. To take part in any of these classes, please contact School Office. Refreshments are available and the sessions provide a great opportunity to meet other parents.

FIVE ASHES PRIMARY SCHOOL: Pupils from Five Ashes Primary School will be able to kick-off the new term in style, following the delivery of a free Premier League Primary Stars kit for their football team. Five Ashes was awarded the free Nike kit, consisting of 15 football shirts, shorts and socks, after Miss Suckling and Mrs Newington’s successful online application through the Premier League Primary Stars website. Premier League Primary Stars is available to primary schools across England and Wales and uses the appeal of the Premier League and professional football clubs to inspire girls and boys aged 5 to 11 years to learn and be active. Oliver B and Roman N, Oak class, Five Ashes, said: ‘The new kit is colourful and really good. It’s so comfortable and it’s got air vents which make it really cool in summer. It makes us look really good like a proper team’.

CAROL SINGING: Five Ashes Community Carol Singing. Please make a note in your diary for December 8. The Hall Committee will be holding a community carol singing event. This has now become an annual event and is much enjoyed by all those who attend. The local school children will again be leading the carols with singers from the MayZing choir and members of the community joining in with all the favourites. There will be refreshments available from the committee volunteers.

LATE NIGHT SHOPPING: Christmas late Night Shopping. Friday November 30. The High Street will be closed from the Middle House to West Street to allow more space for the singing. The local schools will be singing from 6pm and there will be a chance for everyone to join them in popular Christmas carols and songs from about 6.30pm. The switching on of the Christmas lights will be at 6.40pm. Come along and find out which Local Hero will be switching on the lights, enjoy the displays and hospitality of the shops, meet Father Christmas, enjoy the singing and join in yourself.

AGM: The Friends of St Dunstan’s Parish Church AGM will be held on Monday at 7.30pm in St Dunstan’s Church. Refreshments will be provided. The church looks forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the meeting where the committee will be available to answer questions about the work of the Friends including the work which has now been completed on the windows in the Lady Chapel and work on the South Chancel roof where further insect infestation has been found. The Friends’ remit is focused exclusively on raising funds for the preservation and maintenance of the church building and was set up as a charitable trust to enable everyone in the village and beyond to contribute towards this goal. Joining forms can be found in the back of the church. Contact Annette Nabavi, Chairman Friends of St Dunstan’s Parish Church, 01435 873476.

HORAM: Update on the New Crematorium. Below is a message from Peter Griggs, Programme Support Manager, updating residents on the New Crematorium: I am pleased to tell you that we continue to make good progress with the crematorium and that we are on course to complete the buildings, roads, car parks and landscaping by Christmas or soon after. The crematorium will be open for services early in 2019. It is planned to arrange an Open Day in the Spring 2019 to give members of the public a chance to look behind the scenes and speak to the staff who work there. Going to an Open Day at a crematorium may seem an unusual thing to do, but we have been told that this has been very well received at other crematoriums. It will provide a unique opportunity to ask questions and find out more and also to explore the many myths about cremation. We have had one or two enquiries about the drone that we fly over the site once each month. This is used to capture footage of the work as it proceeds and is then published via our webpage. We know that many local residents and others with an interest in the project find it useful to see how the work is progressing. The drone is operated in accordance with and bound by the requirements of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) permit issued under the Air Navigation Order 2016. Collection of any images of identifiable individual etc is avoided and its use is covered by the Council’s public liability insurance. As an additional precaution posting the drone footage on the crematorium’s webpage is always delayed for at least four weeks to protect the security of the site. Finally, Baxall Ltd, the main contractor, participates in ‘The Considerate Contractors’ scheme with assessments undertaken from time to time by an independent inspector. The July report records that the site has scored excellent or exceptional for all five criteria appearance, community, environment, safety and workforce. Excellent scores and a credit to the site manager and his team.