From the Parish Council

Wadhurst Parish Council held its Full Council meeting on Thursday 8th November, so I will include matters arising from this.

Proposed future of the Commemoration Hall and Football pitch.

A Parish Meeting was held on Thursday 25th October 2018 at 7pm in the Commemoration Hall in which the proposed future of the Commemoration Hall and Football pitch was outlined by the Chairman of the Wadhurst Institute, Hall & Field CIO.  It was good to see so many residents attend (about 250).  Following the illustrated presentation, there was a lively question and answer session which lasted about an hour.  At the end of the meeting , as the person presiding over the meeting, I called for a Parish Poll to take place, to be conducted by Wealden District Council Electoral Services on Thursday 15th November 2918.  All residents within the Parish of Wadhurst who are on the electoral register being entitled to vote.  I read out the question which would appear on the ballot paper before closing the meeting.  By the time you read this, the outcome of the Parish Poll will be known !

Wadhurst Household Recycling Centre

As reported in the last edition of Focus, the small working group set up to try and save the Recycling Centre have been negotiating with East Sussex County Council (Owner of the site and provider of Household Waste Recycling) and Veolia (Waste & recycling contractor).  We had not reached an agreement by 30th September, when the site closed.  Subsequently we have continued to work with them to find a reasonable and affordable outcome. Regrettably the offer from Veolia would mean charging a gate fee to users of between £2.50 and £3 per visit and if not enough people used the facility, then the Parish Council would have to pick up the bill for the shortfall which could be as much as £20-30,000 a year.  Reluctantly, the Parish Council have taken the decision not to continue because the risk is too high.  The Council publically thanked Councillors Dunnett and Standley for the enormous amount of time and energy they have committed to try and save our much-loved Household Waste Recycling Centre.

Parish Council Budget 2019-2020

The Budget was presented to Full Council for approval and accepted at our November meeting. Although the recent Chancellor’s Budget has meant 100% reduction in rates for Public toilets, our outgoings have increased for mowing verges and maintaining other amenity areas, energy maintenance & repairs (street lamps) and employees NICs.  It will result in a small increase in the Parish Precept of 5.7%.  Wealden District Council will be sending out the provisional tax base for 2019-20 to us in the first week of December, from which it can be worked out what this increase will mean to each taxpayer.

Nominate your Community Volunteer Heroes

Wealden District Council is looking for nominations for the Chairman’s Community Volunteer Awards.  The successful nominees will be presented with their awards at the Chairman’s Civic Reception on Friday 1st March 2019 in Herstmonceux Castle. The Chairman said, “ So many people channel their energies into helping other people and the environment but rarely receive the thanks and recognition of the wider public.  Community volunteers are taken for granted, but without them we really would notice a difference.  By finding and rewarding some outstanding examples of volunteering in Wealden, we hope others will appreciate the sense of purpose and fulfilment volunteering can bring”.

There are 3 categories for the Community Volunteer Awards 2019:

  • Community Volunteer Hero (someone who makes an outstanding contribution to running a voluntary group or groups or its beneficiaries)
  • Young Volunteer of the Year (under 25 years old)
  • Volunteer Group of the Year.

In the first 2 categories, the winning individual will receive a £100 donation to an organisation of their choice and £25 in gift vouchers.  The winner of the group/organisation of the year award will receive a £125 donation to the organisation.

All details, including nomination forms and eligibility conditions, can be found on the Chairman’s page of the Wealden DC website. Nominations close at Noon on 20th December 2018. Previous winners in Wadhurst include Stan Cosham and Dot Smytherman.

Communications

We are very conscious that communications from the Parish Council to the Community could be improved,  so we are trying to keep up-to-date our Parish Council Mobile Phone App, Twitter feed and Website.  We have stopped using our Facebook account.  If you want something local and current to go out through the Parish Council, please contact Cllr Bruce Meredeen.

 

Graham Wells

Chairman

Wadhurst Parish Council

From the Parish Council

Wadhurst Parish Council held its normal Full Council meeting on Thursday 13th September, but also an extra meeting on 6th September to concentrate solely on our response to the Wealden Local Plan.

Wadhurst Household Recycling Centre

The small working group set up to explore a way to keep the Recycling Centre open has held meeting with East Sussex County Council (who currently run the Centre) to determine the financial implications and legality of setting up a Community Interest Company (or similar) to run it and charge customers (to cover the costs) . It has met with Forest Row Parish Council to consider a joint approach (although this now seems less likely). Finally,a meeting with Veolia management (the current contractor) which resulted in an agreement to work with Wadhurst Parish Council to find a reasonable and affordable solution.  If at all possible, we want to keep the site open and not close it at the end of September.  The Parish Council have agreed to provide some funds to facilitate this.

Progress on a new Village Hall

The Chairman of the Wadhurst Institute, Hall & Field CIO gave a presentation to Councillors at its meeting on 13th September and answered questions raised. In summary, the re-development of the existing Commemoration Hall and part of the field, which is owned and run by the Trustees, proposes to provide a new Village Hall, a new Community Health Centre for enhanced Doctors’ surgery and Pharmacy, a new building that will be let to the History Society, a “village square” on the site of the existing Hall car park and a new car park (48-52 spaces).  The creation of an all-weather football pitch on the Uplands site will provide a pitch to replace the one “lost” on the field. There will be up to 24 new houses built which will, together with grants, donations and loans, provide sufficient funds for the project.

Wadhurst Parish Council agreed in principle to support the project and to a organise a Parish Meeting on 25th October to present the Full Plans to Wadhurst residents, and subsequently to arrange for a Parish Poll on 15th November of all the electorate to gauge support for the project.

Wealden Local Plan Draft Proposed Document

There have been three Planning Committee meetings where the Local Plan has been discussed and an extra full Council meeting on 6th September which just focussed on this.  The Planning committee meeting on 15th September decided how best to formulate our response and return it to another extra Full Council meeting on 4th October for final agreement.  All meetings have been open meetings, with an opportunity for the residents to speak during the Public Forum section.

Wadhurst Neighbourhood Plan update

September has been a busy month for the Wadhusrt Neighbourhod Plan Steering Group.  A Focus Group Briefing with the AiRS consultant on 10th September,  a Neighbourhood Plan update at the Old Vine on 6th September where 40 residents attended and similar update in Tidebrook Church Room. Following the “Focus” Group briefing, they are now engaging with residents, businesses and schools about ideas for the future of Wadhurst, with a view to drawing up draft policies. They have also been reviewing the Wealden Local Plan which is out for consultation.

Grant funding

The Parish Council put aside some money each year to support local projects.  Application for this is done by completing a Grant Application form and returning it to the Parish Clerk. The bids are then scrutinised by the Community committee and those supported are recommended to Full Council for funding.  At the meeting on 13th September, Full Council allocated grant funding of £1000 to support the collaborative project organised by Beth Martin  “ Wadhurst – Over the Top” , a night of entertainment for all the family, to mark the 100th Anniversary of the end of World  War I.  This will be staged in the Commemoration Hall on 11th November and begins at 6.30pm.  Any profit will go to the British Legion.

Finally, to mention that Wadhurst Parish Council have been granted £10,000 by the Lund Foundation for the upkeep and protection of various road triangles scattered throughout Wadhurst.  Cllr Murphy and Nessie Spruce will represent us at the award ceremony.

 

Graham Wells

Chairman, Wadhurst Parish Council

From the Parish Council August 2018

With all the wonderful weather we have been having in June and July, like many others, I have spent more time in my garden.  Usually I enjoy the sight of many butterflies and bees feeding on my Buddleia bushes and other flowers.  Sadly there seems to be fewer butterflies this year and I did not spot the first Peacock until mid July.  As a Parish Council, we have had a request from the Beekeepers Association of the High Weald to ask our community to be on the look out for Asian Hornets (as opposed to our native European Hornet) which are invading the British Isles from Europe.  These aggressive predatory insects have been killing our honey bees and other pollinators. Please report any sightings to the Beekeepers so they can deal with these hornets.

Wadhurst Household Recycling Centre                                                                                      Following the decision made by East Sussex County Council to close this much-used local facility on 30th September, the Parish Council decided at its July meeting to investigate alternative ways, perhaps setting up a Community Interest Company, to run the Recycling Centre.  The Parish Council cannot, according to current legislation, take on the Centre.  Cllr Bob Standley has arranged a meeting with the officer at East Sussex County Council who is responsible for Household Recycling Centres so we examine in detail the financing of running the Wadhurst Centre.  Any shortfall in income would possibly be made up by a small entrance charge for each visit.

Wadhurst Neighbourhood Plan                                                                                                                The steering group has been very busy getting the message out locally through handouts, questionnaires and an exhibition.  From the Annual Parish Meeting, they got 400 comments.  Leafleting commuters at Wadhurst Railway Station for a week, resulted in 10 returned questionnaires.  In June at the Primary School and Tidebrook Fetes, 30 were returned.  The official launch day in the Commemoration Hall was well-attended and produced 600 ideas and comments as well as 25 volunteers for Focus groups.  At Wadhurst Country Fair another 4 volunteered their help.  Analysis of the comments so far reveals the key issues are highways/ parking and the variety of shops/facilities (20% of the returns).  There is interesting ‘evidence’ on the depth of feeling on the Wadhurst Recycling Centre and better mobile reception/broadband.

The next step is to set up Focus Groups to develop themes, vision, policies and include the many additional volunteers who showed an interest in the Neighbourhood Plan.  Also having set up a website, Twitter and Facebook, we are looking for a Social Media expert to really focus on this in order to get better engagement with the younger generation.

Wealden Local Plan Draft Proposed Document                                                                                 This contains a range of environmental measures to ensure growth can proceed without causing irreversible damage to our regionally important local ecology. The proposals are in line with the latest Government aims to meet the widespread housing need. Mitigation measures and a thorough review system will ensure that the growth and prosperity needed in Wealden does not conflict with our many environmental responsibilities. These include Ashdown Forest, one of the largest stretches of lowland heath in Britain. Developers will be expected to install certain infrastructure items on site and make a contribution to ensure this protection succeeds. The Wealden Local Plan will meet its Objectively Assessed Housing Need.  The focus of growth remains on the south but the 2018 Plan allows for a more balanced approach to housing and economic growth across the District to reduce the need to commute. It outlines opportunities for retail and employment to support this.

Smaller sites for housing allocations have been identified within sustainable settlements, such as Wadhurst. Windfall developments, taking advantage of opportunities that arise within existing development boundaries, may account for further dwellings. Some of these can be delivered through Neighbourhood Development Plans, which allow the local community an involvement in site allocation.

Governing the progress of the Local Plan will be the Constraints and Review Mechanism. Land won’t be released without the timely provision of the infrastructure necessary to deliver housing. This includes transport improvements in the mitigation measures for Ashdown Forest Special Area of Conservation. If these do not take place, it will trigger a review, in part or in whole, of the Plan.

The delivery of road improvements, schools and medical provision has always been a key part of the Wealden Local Plan. Wealden will be working with key local stakeholders, strategic transport providers and developers to enable the funding and delivery of the strategic road and rail infrastructure at the earliest opportunity.

The Draft of the Local Plan Proposed Submission Document takes into account the earlier Issues Options & Recommendations consultation which took place during the autumn of 2015 and resulted in 2,038 responses from 412 residents and organisations. It was presented to a meeting of Wealden District Council’s Full Council on 18 July and was approved.  There will be a period from 13th August to 8th October 2018 when the public can make representations as to the soundness of the Plan, before it is sent to an independent Planning Inspector for a final decision.

The Wealden Local Plan Draft Proposed Submission document, as well as its accompanying documents, the Implementation and Monitoring Framework, the Habitats Regulations Assessment and the Sustainability Appraisal can be found on the Wealden District Council website with Local Plan Sub Committee agenda papers http://council.wealden.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=534&MId=4548&Ver=4

It will be an item on the agenda of the September meeting of Wadhurst Parish Council.

Graham Wells

Chairman, Wadhurst Parish Council

Wadhurst News April-May 2018

From the Parish Council

 We have a new member of the Council.   I’d like to welcome Alan Buckle, who has a background in both accountancy and public policy.  He is Chair of the Child Poverty Action Group and an active member of Wadhurst Runners.

I am delighted to say that we now have over 2000 signatures on the petition to save the recycling site, and though there are still copies around which you can sign, our focus is moving now to trying to influence the politicians by other means.  Even if you have signed the petition, please do also respond to the ESCC Household Waste Site Consultation available on the ESCC website or Google ESCC waste recycling consultation: https://consultation.eastsussex.gov.uk/economy-transport-environment/household-waste-recycling-sites-have-your-say-1/.   This is not “double counting” – it is the formal consultation, rather than the petition, and both are important.  And please keep up the social media campaign: send a ‘selfie’ of yourself at the site at Faircrouch Lane to bmeredeen@wadhurst-pc.gov.uk or attach it to a tweet #wadhurstrecycles.  We have a month yet till the consultation closes – now is the time to make your views heard.

Just one more reminder that the Annual Parish Meeting will be on May 15th this year, where one of the main subjects will be the Neighbourhood Plan.  You should find a newsletter about this in this copy of Focus.  There will also be a formal launch of the Neighbourhood Plan consultation on Saturday 23rd June (please note change of date).  I am delighted to say that since last month, a couple more members have joined the steering group, but we still need more – Contact the Steering Group on 07757 141221 if you’d like to get involved, or email wadhurstnpp@gmail.com.

At the April meeting, the Council gave the go-ahead to a small working group to look at how we might support the High Street – we want to do our bit to make it a lively and exciting place to be.  So we will be looking at the feasibility of the Council itself taking a short term let on one of the shops, if a suitable one is available at the right price, which we could use from time to time as a public face for the Parish Council or the Neighbourhood Plan, and which could hopefully be used as a “pop up” shop by local businesses, charities and individuals for just a few days as a temporary high-street presence to promote their services or sell their wares.  If you are at all interested in this, please contact Cllr Morris and let him know what your interest is – 01892 783226 or cmorris@wadhurst-pc.gov.uk.

We have now agreed an outline emergency plan which is on our website.  Hopefully it won’t be needed for a while!

The verges in the village areas (rather than on the roads outside the villages) used to be cut by East Sussex County Council, but they have now stopped doing this (unless the Parish Council is prepared to pay a considerable amount for them to do it).  So we have taken their offer of a small amount of money which will pay for us to do some cutting ourselves.  However, we are going to do it a bit differently.  The Parish Council has a commitment to biodiversity, and so we will try and encourage the return of wildflowers and a greater variety of plants to the verges.  This may mean less regular cutting, except in those areas where safely is an issue (for instance, where growth on verges might obscure your view of oncoming traffic).  And, while on the subject of roadsides, we are working with the newly formed Wadhurst Community Gardeners to find ways to encourage the growth of wildflowers on the little grass triangles around the parish.  In order to support this, we are looking at ways to fund the installation of curbs, which might just deter drivers from driving over the triangles – which at the moment are only protected by the shiny windmills which have been added to them by wellwishers!

And finally, I really do mean finally:  this is my last Focus article because I will stand down as Chair at the coming Annual General Meeting of the Parish Council in May, having done my full 3 years.  I’d therefore like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow Councillors for all the hard work they have put in, Parish Council staff past and present, and those of you who have read these articles, acted on them, and even from time to time said they were interesting.  I’ve certainly enjoyed the role, and look forward to supporting a new Chair next year.

Felicity Harvest

(Chair Wadhurst Parish Council)

 Contacts: fharvest@wadhurst-pc.gov.uk. tel 783226, or the Clerk (Amanda Barlow) – The Pavilion, Sparrows Green Recreation Ground, TN5 6TW, tel 07375 062428, email clerk@wadhurst-pc.gov.uk.  Fiona Hensher, Finance Officer, address as above, email rfo@wadhurst-pc.gov.ukFollow us on Twitter:  @wadhurstpc.  Website: www.wadhurst-pc.gov.uk.  Or download the free Wadhurst Parish Council app for your Apple or Android mobile device.  Search for ‘Wadhurst Parish Council’ in the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Save our Recycling Centre at Wadhurst

Subject: The Proposed Closure of the Household Waste Recycling Site on Faircrouch Lane

Dear Friends and Residents of Wadhurst and the Surrounding Villages

 

Many of you may have already heard of East Sussex County Council’s short-sighted decision to close Wadhurst Household Waste Recycling Centre as part of the cost cutting measures. Any decision to close the recycling centre will increase fly tipping, reduce overall recycling, increase traffic and pollution on the roads to Crowborough, Heathfield and Tunbridge Wells, increase transport costs to residents and increase traffic movements across the Ashdown Forest.  We will be circulating a petition to all Wadhurst’s Clubs, Societies and the shops in the village.  We will also be speaking to the local schools and the Parish Councils in the surrounding villages.  You may well be accosted at the station or on a Saturday morning the High Street in coming weeks!  The consultation closes May15th. but we don’t want to leave any response until the last minute.

 

PLEASE ADD YOUR VOICE AND SIGN THE PETITION.  In addition, can you please:

Would you consider approaching your friends and neighbours?  If so, please print off a copy of the attached “Keep Wadhurst Recycling Petition”. Once you have filled out a sheet, please take the completed forms to Carillon Cottage on the High Street.

With many thanks for supporting your community in this way.

 

Kind regards

Anthony Dunnett

                                                KEEP WADHURST RECYCLING

We the undersigned deplore the short-sighted decision of East Sussex County Council to close Wadhurst Household Waste Recycling Centre as part of the cost cutting measures. Any decision to close the recycling centre will: increase fly tipping, reduce overall recycling; increase traffic and pollution on the roads to Crowborough, Heathfield and Tunbridge Wells, increase transport costs to residents and increase traffic movements across the Ashdown Forest.  We the residents of local villages who use this site ask that the decision be reversed and our local recycling centre be retained.

 

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New flats & houses to rent or part-buy 2019

Wealden District Council will have 6 one and 2 bed flats and houses to rent and 6 two and 3 bed houses for shared ownership available approximately in August 2019. The location is the Lower High St., Wadhurst.  To apply for rented accommodation, you must be on the Council’s Housing Register.  Preference will be given to applicants with a local connection.  For details, go to www.wealden.gov.uk/applyforhousing or phone 01323 443390.

Wadhurst Neighbourhood Plan website 2018

Wadhurst Parish Council is pleased to announce that in the first quarter of 2018 the Steering Group which is leading the development of the Neighbourhood Plan will start the process of community engagement to gather the views and opinions of those living and working in and around Wadhurst about the future of our neighbourhood.

For more information on this community led plan, please see the Wadhurst Neighbourhood Plan website https://www.wadhurstnp.org/

Wadhurst Neighbourhood Plan

The Area Designation for the Neighbourhood Plan (NP) has been submitted to Wealden District Council. The Parish Council has several volunteers who want to help with the NP and a Steering Committee has been set up to guide us through the process.  Its Terms of Reference will be brought to Full Council for agreement on 12th October.