NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: PCSO Recruitment. A major recruitment drive to recruit PCSOs began on Monday March 11, closing on Monday March 25, thanks to increased funding to the precept from the Police and Crime Commissioner. Over the next year our local policing will be strengthened with 100 new PCSOs being recruited. Our PCSOs play a vital part in keeping Sussex safe. The PCSO role is unique. Our PCSOs are able to spend time in communities where they are needed most providing that reassurance and developing relationships to keep people safe and feeling safe. Working alongside our local policing Prevention teams, our PCSOs help tackle local issues and, where possible, prevent them happening in the first place. They are tasked with activities which are proven to reduce crime and protect the public. It’s a role that takes courage to tackle anti-social behaviour, compassion to be there for there for the vulnerable and professionalism to help with investigations. By joining as a PCSO, recruits can expect a career with variety, challenges, rewards a good starting salary, and a qualification in community policing. For more details visit: https://www.sussex.police.uk /police-forces/sussex-police/ areas/careers/jobs/pcsos/
New PCSOs being recruited this month will be among the first to gain a new qualification. As well as joining the force, the recruits will undertake a new learning and development programme the PCSO Apprenticeship that will result in a Level 4 Diploma in Community Policing Practice.
Sussex Police is among the first forces in the country to introduce this apprenticeship programme.
WEALDEN ALERTS: Wealden not Accepting Cheques. After, March 31 Wealden District Council will no longer accept cheques at the Council Offices for the payment of any bills or services. Since 2011 there has been a 65 percent reduction in the number of people paying for council services by cheque. Council bills are being redesigned to make the payment process easier. They will include a number of alternative payment options and suggest places for people to pay using a method that suits them. It’s not quite game over for the cheque though. Those still wishing to pay the council by cheque will still be able to do so via their local Post Office. The bills will have a barcode printed on them. If you prefer, a Pay Point payment card. Then it’s easy. We want to help keep Post Offices and local shops open. By taking your payment to your local Post Office or shop with a Pay Point, they get a fee for every transaction. If you want to pay by cheque then pop in and help keep them open.
LOCAL POLITICS: Do you care about where you live and your local community? Can you make a positive difference? By becoming a member of Wealden District Council, or your local town or parish council, you have a say in many policies which affect local people. If you do want to stand in this year’s Wealden District Council, Parish or Town Council elections which take place on Thursday May 2, you will need to submit a nomination form by 4pm on Wednesday April 3. You do not have to be a member of any political party. You just need to be aged 18 or over, a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of another European state, and either listed on the Register of Electors for the Wealden District or be someone who has either lived or worked in the area for 12 months before nomination. To stand as a Wealden District Councillor, you will need to be nominated by 10 local people who are already registered on the Wealden Register of Electors in the ward where you wish to stand. Following a review by the Local Government Boundary Commission, the number of seats on Wealden District Council is being reduced from 55 to 45. The decision, made in 2016, meant the average number of electors in each council ward became 2,894. You can find out more about the role of a councillor and the local political parties by visiting the Do you want to be a Councillor pages of the Wealden website.
WEALDEN CONTINUES: To ‘grow their own’. During National Apprenticeship Week (March 4 to 8) Wealden District Council announced their new cohort of apprentices for 2019, the fourth annual scheme to take place in partnership with the East Sussex College Group (formerly Sussex Downs College) since 2014. This year, Wealden has also created a number of internal apprenticeship opportunities enabling existing staff to broaden their professional and personal development. The Wealden external apprenticeship scheme is a 13 month programme which runs in collaboration with the East Sussex College Group. The apprentices carry out a diverse number of roles which highlights the variety of work undertaken by the Council. Their Level 2 qualification will give them excellent experience and transferable skills forming a launch-pad for the rest of their careers. Wealden has taken on seven external apprentices for 2019: Arek Wiederstein, Chloe Godfrey, Laurence Crane, Marigold Lawson and Patrick Smith, who are all studying for apprenticeships in Business Administration. They are working in Wealden’s Waste Management, Revenues and Benefits, Housing, Audit and Investigation, and Recovery and Enforcement teams. If you think your business has a lot to offer and might benefit from running an apprenticeship scheme, it’s easier to set up than you think. The Government’s recent ‘Fire It Up’ campaign website can show you the benefits an apprentice can bring to your organisation and gives step-by-step advice.
MAYFIELD AND FIVE ASHES: Mayfield Play Area. Confirmation that the contractor engaged for the refurbishment of the Mayfield play area could commence work during February which is earlier than anticipated. It is hoped that the project will be nearing completion or ready to be enjoyed by youngsters.
SPEED LICENCES: Licenses to install moveable speed indicating devices have been approved. There will be six locations where the signs can be installed temporarily in Five Ashes and Mayfield it is hoped it will remind drivers to keep to the speed limits and generally slow the traffic down.
DROPPED KERB: In Mayfield High Street. The parish council has been looking into the possibility of installing a dropped kerb on the north side of the High Street to improve access for the disabled and people with prams, and pushchairs. The parish council finally managed to convene a meeting with a representative from East Sussex Highways. It was not good news. The council was informed that under no circumstances would a dropped kerb be permitted to be installed in front of St Dunstan’s Church or, in fact, anywhere along the north pavement of the High Street due to the height of the pavement. If a dropped kerb were to be installed in front of the ramp to the church, the width needed to allow the permitted gradient of the drop would mean that the pavement would have to start sloping in front of the Middle House Deli door all the way to the Mayfield Wine shop premises. The following problems were noted: The heritage lamppost would have to be relocated, The three large BT utility covers in the pavement would have to be re-sited, which would be enormously expensive, and BT might not even allow it. The slope required for the drop would reveal the damp proof course for each of the shops it is in front of which would cause problems. The required sight lines to see past parked vehicles are not available. Basically, a disabled person would have to be almost in the middle of the High Street to see past the parked vehicles which is too dangerous. East Sussex Highways informed that a pelican crossing in the centre of the existing double yellow lines in front of the church would be their preferred solution, however it would cost in excess of £50,000. There would have to be zigzag keep clear lines painted on each side of the road for a set distance which would mean the loss of multiple parking spaces to allow necessary sight lines.
LOST FOOTPATHS: Lost Footpaths. The Rights of Ways and Trees Committee discussed the issue that England and Wales have about 140,000 miles of footpaths, but that it is estimated that more than 10,000 have been lost from current maps. Right-to-roam law means pre-1949 rights of way that are not on official maps must be recorded in next 10 years or will no longer be protected. From January 1 this year, walkers, horse riders and even those taking regular shortcuts to the shops, will have 10 years to apply to save any rights of way that existed before 1949 but do not appear on official maps. On January 1, 2026, old footpaths and bridleways that are not recorded on the official Definitive Map of Rights of Way may cease to carry public right. Volunteers across the country have been working to rediscover them and put in legal applications for the recovery of lost paths before the deadline. Some tips on how to rediscover a lost footpath. The first port of call is the Ramblers, whose website gives clear advice on how to identify a lost path and make an application. The method involves comparing new and old maps, plus examination of historical sources. Walking and exploration is involved, but don’t forget that a lost path has to be proven before you can use it, otherwise you are trespassing. It is also important to be sure you are not replicating work already underway. Government’s Rights of Way order information, decisions and maps websitegives information on current applications. You may also know of paths that are used regularly but are not on the definitive map. Any footpath walked by the public for 20 years without any attempt by the landowner to prevent access can be made a right of way.
HEATHFIELD ABOUT TOWN: Parish Assembly a Date for your Diary. The Heathfield and Waldron Parish Assembly will be held in the main hall at the Heathfield Community Centre, Sheepsetting Lane on Tuesday. Commencing at 6.30pm the meeting is open to all parishioners. Refreshments will be available.
ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR: Waitrose. It was reported on social media last week a number of youths were causing a nuisance in the store last week. The youths were very disruptive and argued with the management. At one stage they tried to break the glass windows in the store. Although not confirmed the youths were later apprehended by the police.
TEA AND COFFEE ABUSE: Waitrose. This is an old chestnut with Mrs PP and myself. In previous Community Newsletters I have written about the number of times people just walk into the store and other local Waitrose stores, help themselves to tea or coffee and walk out of the store without making a purchase. In my book this is out and out shoplifting. The store management informs me these freeloaders can sometimes visit the store up to three times a day. The Heathfield store is not the only Waitrose store that has the same problem. I understand the Waitrose, St Albans store has removed the coffee machines within the store because of the abuse. The galling thing is these individuals are getting away with it. As Waitrose is part of the John Lewis group and is a partnership with the staff and the company, the behaviour of some individuals not only affects the overall profitability of the group it also affects the staff bonuses. I understand the powers to be are reviewing this very generous offer throughout the group. A few greedy users could see this service withdrawn. It is shoplifting. Would you walk out of the store with a bag of apples or a carton of milk you haven’t paid for?
HORAM: Although I did not attend I hear the new Wealden crematorium was open for an escorted tour. Visitors were shown the chapel, grounds and all facilities. I will report on the next issue. Delighted to report that the traffic lights now appear to be gone for good.
BLACKBOYS: The Blackboys Inn is publicising its popular classic car show which takes place this year in June. Pulling in classic car lovers from far and wide, this is a date to put in your diary. More information to come.
BLACKBOYS CEP SCHOOL: As I write this, Red Nose Day is on the horizon and when you read it on Friday, it will have arrived. Each year the school supports the Red Nose Day Charity and this year is no exception. They will be raising money via The Crazy Catwalk, an idea thought up by School Councillors. It’s 50p to enter, crazy clothes are being brought in to school in a bag to change into. Children were told if they needed inspiration, just think colourful, mismatched outfits. Parents have been invited to come and watch the catwalk craziness in the School Hall starting at 2.30pm.
The school newsletter tells us the community has experienced a really positive start to term 4. They are sure that we are not alone in admiring the beautiful bulbs growing on the verges of School Lane and how they lift the spirits, even though the sunny weather of late February seems to have left us for the time being. Last year the bulbs were planted, sponsored by Stavertons Nursery and they are certainly thriving in this second year of flowering.