A Christmas message from Wealden District Council leaders

As 2021 draws to a close and the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect every aspect of day to day life, Wealden District Council’s leader and chief executive are wishing all residents a merry Christmas after another difficult year.

Councillor Bob Standley, the council leader, and chief executive Trevor Scott have also highlighted the work and achievements by Wealden District Council saying the way the organisation had adapted its way of working during Covid meant vital services continued to be delivered to residents.

Councillor Standley said, “It has been another eventful and challenging year and I would like to thank Wealden residents, businesses and organisations for their determination and resilience as well as pay tribute to all our council staff for their hard work on behalf of residents – often in very difficult circumstances.

“Despite struggles with isolation, restrictions and disruptions to ‘normal’ life, it hasn’t stopped the council moving forward and achieving many ambitions thanks to a comprehensive Covid Recovery Plan.

“As part of that plan, more than £65 million in support grants was distributed to businesses across Wealden during the pandemic and lockdowns and in addition, council officers also prevented more than £1 million in attempted fraud and duplicate payments.

“As a council, we are progressing with plans for a sports park within Wealden, an employment park on the A22 corridor and a new health and community centre at Mayfield.

“We continue to work and consult on our Local Plan with the intention to consult early next year. We have also lobbied the government to reduce the number of new homes the council is obliged to provide. Only this month myself and the deputy council leader had an online meeting with Cabinet minister Michael Gove to raise our concerns and ask for his support.

“Elsewhere within the council, our housing team has worked tirelessly on homeless prevention and earlier this year we welcomed a refugee family from Afghanistan to the district as part of the government’s resettlement scheme to help those escaping conflict.

“The waste contractors have done a sterling job in keeping Wealden clean helped by litter picking groups, an anti-littering campaign and the Great British Spring Clean effort.

“2021 has also seen the launch of the council’s Shop & Dine Well in Wealden campaign to support local businesses and High Streets, and Explore Wealden, which encourages people to visit our captivating and diverse landscape with its abundance of attractions and hospitality venues.

“Finally, I would like to wish all our residents a very merry Christmas, best wishes for a happy New Year in 2022 and assure them that as the council moves forward, we will continue to put them at the heart of what we do and ensure best value for money.”

Wealden council’s chief executive Trevor Scott also highlighted the authority’s achievements particularly in relation to delivering its climate emergency plans.

He said, “We are making good progress to become a net-zero district by 2050 if not sooner. Already we are generating enough renewable energy to power around a third of the district’s houses; we are in the middle of a procurement exercise to provide a network of electric vehicle charge points in our car parks and a roadmap to decarbonise our housing stock is underway.

“A pilot scheme is also underway to encourage businesses on an industrial estate within Wealden to install renewable technologies to reduce carbon emissions.”

“I was also delighted when earlier this year Wealden was the only district council to make a successful bid for £309,453 through the government’s Safer Streets initiative. That money is being used to install crime preventative measures such as CCTV and education and information projects in parts of Hailsham.

“Wealden is an exceptional place and through our plans and forward thinking, we will continue to strive to regenerate our diverse market towns, create jobs and attract investment.”

Wealden District Council’s Hailsham offices will close at 4pm on Friday 24 December and reopen again on Tuesday 4 January. You can continue to access a range of Wealden services online throughout the holiday period by visiting the Wealden website