Cross in Hand, Horam, Blackboys & Five Ashes

NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: Council tax in credit scam. Wealden have had a number of calls from members of the public who have received an email from an ‘Andrew Walsh, Head of Digital Communication Services’ advising them that their council tax account is in credit and please click on the link…Please ignore the email. In cases where council tax is in credit Wealden would send written notification and a revised council tax statement. Other reports are of an email asking for payments because of council tax arrears. Wealden District Council will never make an unarranged phone call to ask for your bank details. Please never give out information about your bank account over the phone unless you are absolutely sure who you are talking to. If you have any concerns, please contact Wealden on 01323 443322. Further helpful information is available from: Friends Against Scams

BT Scam. Another scam doing the rounds at the moment, if you are a BT customer you may get a call from an operator saying your BT account is frozen and you are about to be cut off. Beware this is a scam, do not engage in a conversation and put the phone down. If you have a caller display on your phone the number is 0191 2465061.

MODERN SLAVERY IN SUSSEX: Police say a new campaign has been launched to raise awareness of the signs of modern slavery in Sussex. The campaign started on Monday,January 21 and will run for three weeks. Modern Slavery is a crime hidden in plain sight involving the criminal exploitation of people who are often forced to work in horrendous conditions, live in cramped and often overcrowded accommodation and are at risk of violence and sexual exploitation. Signs of modern slavery aren’t easy to spot and we’re asking our communities in Sussex to take a closer look, it’s closer than you think. Police are asking people within our communities to be aware of the symptoms and behaviours attributed to victims of modern slavery as described and to report something thought to be suspicious. Modern slavery is a hidden crime and by raising awareness we are hoping to uncover this crime in our communities to catch the perpetrators and prevent further harm to vulnerable victims. Richard Lancashire is the force’s Modern Slavery Manager. His post is funded by Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne, and he is responsible for coordinating the continuing training of our officers and staff and raising awareness with partners and the public of modern slavery. He will be delivering talks at two church conferences in mid-January to engage with communities about the impact of modern slavery. Police investigate reports of modern slavery and equally importantly help to identify and safeguard vulnerable people, whether from with the UK or overseas, who are at risk of becoming victims to it. In the six months to the end of September 2018, Sussex Police had identified more 80 cases of potential victims of modern slavery, involving people originating from both the UK and overseas. Over the same periods more than 30 arrests had been made on suspicion of offences potentially linked to modern slavery.

Help us keep Sussex safe. Seen something suspicious or have information about a crime or incident? Please contact us online, email us at or call 101. Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or online at

WEALDEN ALERTS: New council housing schemes in Wealden villages including Cross in Hand. Two new council housing schemes have come on line providing affordable rented accommodation in the villages of East Dean and Cross-in-Hand. The properties will provide 11 new homes. They have been purchased by Wealden District Council from new developments taking place locally. The Council took possession of both developments at the start of the year and letting is progressing well.

The East Dean development at Gilbert Drive consists of 2 one bedroom flats, a two bedroom house and a three bedroom house. The Cross-in-Hand development at Windmill Place consists of 4 one bedroom flats, 2 two bedroom houses and a three bedroom house. Further information about how to apply for social housing and joining the Wealden Housing Register can be found on the Wealden website at: http://www.wealden. and_Advice/Housing/Housing _Options_Advice_and_Homelessness/HousingOptions /Housing_Applying_For_Social_ Housing.aspx. The East Dean and Cross in Hand properties represent a £1.9 million investment in affordable rental housing by the Council.

HAILSHAM: Once in a lifetime opportunity for Hailsham. Wealden District Council has unveiled ambitious plans to revitalise Hailsham town centre with a fresh mix of retail, leisure and nightlife opportunities and provide new homes for younger people. The plans would see new a new development across both the Vicarage Field shopping area, which the Council purchased in 2017 for £12.35 million, and also the land on the other side of Vicarage Lane, which currently includes the Council Offices, the Leisure Centre and the car park. The site redevelopment will include modern apartments and town houses to make Hailsham a place where people want to live as well as visit. It will also capitalise on the success of the Council’s own Vicarage Lane offices in providing office and public access to other public services and volunteer groups, putting support at the heart of the community. By consolidating the existing car parking spaces into a new multi-storey car park, the project can make much better use of the land to reconfigure the existing shopping centre. This will provide new retail outlets and restaurants drawing in people from the high street. It will take advantage of the gradient on the site to blend the car park in with the existing townscape while opening new vistas across the centre of Hailsham. The Council is also proposing to reconfigure and re-provide the existing Leisure Centre, Charles Hunt Centre and Hailsham Club. This will help enhance existing leisure and social activities which will be essential for a vibrant town centre at a time when traditional retail faces fierce competition from the internet. The initial proposals are being discussed by Wealden’s Cabinet on 30 January. The Council is looking to apply to the Government’s Future High Street Fund for funding support with the exploratory stages. Last month the Government announced it was make £675 million available to support the transformation of Britain’s high streets to enable wider economic growth. A key part of any final proposal will be a green energy strategy. This will use Combined Heat and Power technology to provide electricity and heating for site occupants and a series of Electric Vehicle charging outlets. Details about the public participation in the Vicarage Field development plans will be announced in February.

WEALDEN ENERGY DESK: Help to save you money. The Wealden Energy Desk opens at the end of January and will be available at set dates during February. Home Energy Efficiency Officer, Justin Bailey, will be on hand to give advice and support to those who may be struggling to pay their fuel bills. The first drop-in session ran from 2pm to 4pm on Wednesday, January 30 in the public access area of Wealden’s office in Hailsham. Cllr Graham Wells, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Benefits said: ‘Some people find this particular time of year a struggle for various reasons. We don’t want worrying about paying your energy bills to be one of them. That’s why we’re pleased to open the Energy Desk to all Wealden residents. As well as the opportunity to save yourself some money, any reduction in energy consumption you make also helps the environment. Just remember to bring your most recent utility bills for us to check on the day.’ By checking your utility bill, we can ensure you are getting the best rate from your energy supplier, and review your current payment methods. We can also help by making your home more energy efficient. That way you’ll be saving yourself money, and doing your bit for the environment. We have plenty of hints and tips on offer. We can also check eligibility for Warm Home Discount, and provide access to other services including the Priority Services Register. The Wealden Energy Desk will be open on the following dates/times (no need to book, just drop-in): Wednesday, February 13, 10am to noon; Wednesday, February 20, 10am to noon Further information about energy efficiency in the home can be found on our website.

NEXT PHASE OF LOCAL PLAN PROCESS: Wealden District Council has completed the next phase of its Local Plan process. This is the submission of the Wealden Local Plan to the Planning Inspectorate. The Planning Inspectorate are appointed by the Secretary of State to examine the Local Plan in public, which is likely to take place later this year. Also submitted are all consultation responses received including the 2,043 representations received from 372 members of the public and organisations giving their views about the soundness of the plan and on the process followed, as well as responses received from the previous consultation that took place in 2015. These will be looked at by the independent planning inspector when appointed. Printed copies of the Submission Wealden Local Plan, Sustainability Appraisal, Habitats Regulations Assessment, Proposals Maps and Consultation Statement will be available for inspection at deposit points across the District from January 25. Following advice from Natural England, the Council has updated various aspects of the Plan’s Habitat Regulation Assessment. This includes information on the air quality impacts on the Pevensey Levels Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Ramsar Site. So far as the Pevensey Levels SAC and Ramsar Site are concerned, the submission version of the Habitat Regulations Assessment concludes that there is no adverse effect from air quality impacts of the Wealden Local Plan alone and in combination with other plans and projects (without the need for mitigation). This marks a change from the proposed submission version of the Habitat Regulations Assessment, which concluded that mitigation was required. As a result certain modifications to the Plan have been submitted for consideration by the Inspector. The conclusion regarding Ashdown Forest SAC and Lewes Downs SAC has not changed as a result of the further consideration of the advice. The Council has also updated the mitigation tariff associated with Ashdown Forest SAC and Lewes Downs SAC to incorporate employment development in line with policies contained within the Wealden Local Plan. This has resulted in a reduction of the tariff per dwelling from £3,100 to £2,697. Approved new homes which are not replacing any previous dwellings in the District are expected to pay the tariff. This is to help implement measures to avoid and mitigate the effect increased vehicle emissions will have on the Ashdown Forest and Lewes Downs Special Areas of Conservation.

HEATHFIELD ABOUT TOWN: Carey’s Cakes. We loved her choccy Christmas cake in the shape of a reindeer, complete with antlers, so it’s not surprising that brilliant baker Charlie Carey from Cross in Hand has been asked to create cakes for two new businesses, Cafe Style in the former Post Office building opposite Sainsbury’s Heathfield and Teapodz , another new cafe in Wessons, Horam. Both are set to open at the start of February and both are in brilliant spots to do business. It’s high time we had something good to visit in that nice little arcade next to Sainsbury’s when we want a break from food shopping. And Wessons rides high on the reputation of its famous predecessor, formerly known nationwide to the biking fraternity and many more folk besides. Mum of two Charlie said: ‘I’ve taken on quite a lot but I know I can handle it all. It’s my passion anyway and I love what I do.’ She’ll be baking full-size cakes and pastries that can be divided into portions such as lemon cake and Victoria sponge, plus brownies and lots of tray bakes. She’s also doing a couple of wedding cake consultations and several birthday cakes for clients too. But if our Christmas cake is anything to go by, they’ll all be thrilled when they take that first bite. It is very good to know all the ingredients are sourced locally.

AGE UK: East Sussex’s new Information and Advice Resource Vehicle will be visiting Mill Road Car Park, Heathfield, Tuesdays 10.30am to 2.30pm, from January 8 to March 26 (weather permitting).The new fully accessible vehicle can provide information and advice on a range of subjects that affect people in later life including benefit and pension information, wills and estate planning, carer’s assessments, accessing services and much more. If you would like more information please contact 01273 476704 and ask for Information and Advice. Age UK East Sussex is a registered charity.

HEATHFIELD TAVERN: After closing abruptly, it is very good news the Heathfield Tavern will be re-opening shortly under new ownership. I understand the new owners run two very successful similar businesses in Uckfield. We wish them well and success in this new venture.

WAITROSE: Concerned to see people wander into Waitrose Heathfield, cups at the ready, fill up, sometimes two cupfuls, of their terrific coffee and then wander out again, bold as brass, without buying anything from the store. I was shopping in East Grinstead Waitrose (huge) once and challenged someone who did this, to get the usual rollout of insults for my pains. When I’ve chatted to store managers, they all agree. This is shoplifting, pure and simple. Given that a cup of decent coffee in somewhere like Costa costs in the region of £3, it’s the equivalent of picking up a bag of fruit or a loaf from the counter, hiding it under your coat and walking off with it. Come on guys, Waitrose is kind enough to give us a great service, super produce, a café, sensible shopping hours. The least you can do is be honourable and buy, say a newspaper or a couple of pots of yoghurt to take away and pay when you are helping yourself to your coffee. Stealing it is an insult to their generosity. Worst case scenario, Waitrose managers say, is that the facility will be taken away altogether thanks to the selfish actions of a few. And don’t forget that every time someone does this, it reflects on the prices we have to pay instore.

CROSS in HAND: Another new vineyard. Great to hear about another new vineyard, this time in Cross-in-Hand. It’s about time we had our own. Enterprising and talented couple Al and Paul Pippard have founded and planted an 18 acre site in Browns Lane with Bacchus and Pinot Gris. They’ve been selling wines online and are now applying for an alcohol licence so they can introduce tours, tastings and picnics. I like the idea of the ‘adopt a vine’ scheme too where you can lease your own vine or vines and ultimately drink the wines they produce. Paul started searching for a suitable site in 2014 and the pair both fell in love with the rural peace in Brown’s Lane and the possibility of making their vineyard wildlife-friendly. Alongside the vines are indigenous local plantings which are already attracting rare birds. Should be a nice place to visit for a sunny summer outing. Paul took his winemaking course in wine production at Plumpton College - now regarded as a centre of excellence for would-be English growers (Rathfinny’s Mark Driver and Ridgeview’s Mike Roberts also studied there) and we wish the pair well. English wine is winning international awards and gone are the days when you had to be an eccentric nationalist to order any. The Queen serves it to visiting heads of state and there have been no complaints. It’s even topped French champagnes in blind taste tests.

GHYLL ROAD ROAD CLOSURE: Weather permitting. Commencing Monday, February 4, Ghyll Road will be closed for five nights from 7.30pm until 6am the following day. For residents seeking access please discuss with the works foreman, be aware delays are possible. Hopefully the traffic calming measures being put in place will slow down speeding vehicles.

BLACKBOYS: Blackboys Inn Burns Night. Family get-together at Blackboys Inn for Burns Night last Friday. With us this time were son Charlie, his new wife Stephanie and Steph’s mum, Francesca. Steph (who you might know) plays violin with Clean Bandit and also in her own group, Escala. Her younger sister Nicola is an internationally renowned classical musician who has just set up the Benedetti Foundation to encourage young people into music. On the menu was smoked salmon, Cullen Skink, haggis, neeps and tatties, cranachan and Scottish cheese. The haggis was piped in (of course) and its arrival was accompanied with a spirited rendition of Burns’ ‘Ode.’ Manager Jay (from Fife) and his dad were resplendent in kilts. Dad recited the whole of Burns’ wonderful Tam o’Shanter to a riveted restaurant audience. We can’t be sure we understood every word but the bit about the mare’s tail was clear! Then came his own composition about Brexit. If you had a strong view about this, it was probably best you went outside for a cigarette. Everyone asked if Steph had brought her violin; she hadn’t but the piper had a spare, so Steph tuned up and played a romantic Scottish air to both bars - no rehearsals, she just went for it and tears were shed. Well done Steph and well done Jay for laying on such a terrific evening. Now what about St Patrick? Mrs PP can trace her ancestry back to Irish farmers and gamekeepers and is always ready and able to don the shamrock. There are some lovely Irish dishes too, let us know if you plan one (it’s March 17 by the way) and we’ll be there.

HORAM: New Butchers. The new butchers Davies and Sons’ shop in Horam is certainly putting the village on the map. Reading the comments on social media about the quality of the meat, free range eggs and cheese on sale, it’s clear all is locally sourced. This certainly gives customers the assurance that the local economy is being supported. The quality of the photographs of the produce on sale posted on social media gives a very clear impression of the freshness and quality of the products on offer. Well done and keep up the good work.

Horam Emporium and Tea Room. The Emporium is now up and running, the coffee shop will open early February. As well as the tea room the emporium sells antiques, collectables and artisan crafts. I understand there are a few stall available to hire/rent. For further information and opening times. Please call: 01435 813999.

MAYFIELD AND FIVE ASHES: Rotherfield Lane Road Closure Information. Rotherfield lane will be closed to through traffic from the junction with Tunbridge Wells Road to the High Street for one week from Monday. This is to allow drainage repairs to be carried out. If you do need to access a property please discuss this with the team on site. They will try to give access but there may be long delays while they make the area safe. Emergency vehicles will be allowed access at all times.