A big thank you to all residents who took part in our Mayfield High Street Shopping survey which ran between 1st – 31st January 2015. The reason was to get an idea of why trade in the High Street appears to be diminishing and the concern surrounding the closure of Natwest Bank on 23 February.

The results of the survey will be published on the Parish Council website shortly.

A total of 401 replies were received, 346 were entered online via the Parish Council website and a further 55 people submitted printed copies which they had filled in. As four of the questions in the survey encouraged residents to write comments, the results are still being analysed while this article is being written. A brief summary of some of the other questions can be provided now and is provided below. It has been noted however that the surveys received do not necessarily represent a balanced view of the whole parish as most of the replies were from residents who use the High Street quite frequently.

How often the High Street was visited to use its shops and services

2-3 days a week            38.65%

All/most days                33.925

Once a week                 19.95%

Every two weeks           3.74%

Less often                    3.745

What stops resident from using the High Street (in descending order):

  1. Lack of parking
  2. Limited choice of produce / services
  3. Price
  4. Convenience e.g. work near bigger shopping centre
  5. Limited or inconsistent opening times
  6. Other reasons

Other reasons given for not using the High Street

97 comments for this question were submitted with 22 people leaving positive comments about how much they liked and used the shops and services. Some of the other reasons mentioned were:

  • Problems with quality of goods
  • Pushchair buggy access
  • Disabled access (including no disabled parking)
  • Queuing
  • No trolleys for heavy shopping
  • No home delivery

How the closure of Natwest will affect the use of the High Street

No change                    39.29%

Use it a little less           40.55%

Use it a loss less           20.15%

Other shops/services that would attract residents to the High Street

Out of the 227 comments submitted, the most commonly requested shop/services were:

No.       Suggestion

95         Hardware / Ironmongers

48         ATM (everyone who requested a new bank was assumed to be requesting an ATM)

35         Greengrocery with many people requesting “full range” and/or “reasonably priced”

29         Bakery with many comments asking for ordinary bread and simple sandwiches at good prices

23         Electrical shop (strong overlap with those requesting hardware)

22         Bank (overlap with those requesting an ATM)

19         Supermarket or grocery store offering more choice

15         Stationery

13         Clothes (more fashionable, bigger sizes etc.)

11         Bookshop

There were 27 requests for restaurants and/or takeaways but these varied from bistros to restaurants to takeaways so it is unlikely that any one outlet could service all the requests. No other type of shop/service was requested by more than ten people.

What is clear from the comments we have received is there is still a great demand for the High Street and the services it offers and of how important it is for many of our residents. Encouragingly, among some of the comments, were a few who have expressed a willingness to look more closely at its future and the Parish Council will do what it can to facilitate this process.

Wealden District Council’s Car Parking Order

Wealden’s new Off-Street Car Parking Order, which will introduce greater flexibility for parking in their 40 car parks, has been approved. During the 90 day consultation the council received 11 letters, 93 emails and five petitions containing a total of 392 signatures. As a result further changes have been made to the provision of car parking spaces at Hailsham, Uckfield, Forest Row and Wadhurst. Further work will also be carried out to improve on street car parking arrangements and to ensure that they are enforced. The new timings are:

  • Short Stay:       2 or 3 hours
  • Medium Stay:    6 to 10 hours
  • Long Stay:        23 hours

Wealden District Council believes keeping car parking free will enhance the viability of town centres, high streets and villages. An Automatic Number Plate Recognition System will be installed at car parks in Uckfield to make sure the new flexible times are enforced. The new off street car parking order will come in to operation on 23 February 2015. South Street car park in Mayfield will remain a long stay car park.

 County Council Warns of bogus ‘Council’ contractors

The following report has been issued from East Sussex County Council:

“We had reports last month of bogus contractors knocking on people’s doors, claiming they are there to cut back overgrown trees or hedges on behalf of the Highways department and requesting payment for their service. It’s needless to say that none of our contractors would ever approach people offering any service in this way and request they pay for it.

We are working alongside our Trading Standards team to act on these reports and quickly follow them up. Our advice to the public is not to deal with cold callers offering to carry out work on behalf of the Council and not to feel pressurised to make a decision on the spot. If unsure, they can verify the claims being made by contacting the Highways Department on 0345 60 80 193 or Trading Standards Service directly on 01323 463430.”

Extra plastic bottles wanted

Residents in Wealden and across East Sussex are being urged to recycle an extra plastic bottle a week in support of the ‘Pledge 4 Plastics’, the national initiative aimed at recycling more plastic. Plastic bottles and tubs can be remade to their original function or turned in to anything from children’s toys, football shirts or garden furniture to duvets, pens or kitchen utensils! East Sussex would save £50,000 each year if all the plastic packaging thrown away was recycled. Plastic pots, tubs, trays and bottles can all be recycled from our kerbside recycling collection. We are asked to rinse bottles, squash the air out and remove the tops first.

PCSO Surgeries

PCSO, Julie Pearce-Martin next Police Surgeries will take place on Wednesday 18 March 2015 from 9:30 -10:00am and then on Wednesday 15 April 2015 from 10:00 – 10:30am in the Parish Council Office in Mayfield  High Street.

and finally….

If you would like any information on how to become a Parish Councillor and what it involves please contact the Parish Council office. Information is available to assist you and guide you through the process in preparation for the elections in May 2015.