Please note that permission should be sought from the Parish Council to install any signage or banners on the railings of the Court Meadow car park in Tunbridge Wells Road.
Proposed closure of Mayfield Library
The Parish Council was very surprised to hear East Sussex County Council (ESCC) announcement on 11 September 2017 that their cabinet would be asked to approve a consultation on library services which includes shutting seven of 24 libraries, one of which, sadly, is Mayfield. The Parish Council supports Mayfield Library and already contributes in the region of £3,000 annually towards staff costs. The following information has been received from ESCC Communities, Economy & Transport Department:
East Sussex Libraries – The Way Forward is a complete review of Library and Information Service and is the final part of their Libraries Transformation Programme. It is designed to deliver a modern and sustainable library service for the next five years, based on the needs of the people of East Sussex.
Libraries offer an affordable way for people to enjoy the pleasure of reading and access to culture, and they provide the knowledge, information and sources of inspiration to support and empower people to make transformational changes to their lives. Our Library and Information Service supports literacy, helps people get online and find work and new training opportunities, and provides all kinds of information, from health to hobbies.
Work to produce the proposed draft Strategy shows that there are still significant needs across the county, and especially within certain communities, around literacy, attainment, employment and ultimately health and wellbeing, which the Library and Information Service is ideally placed to help tackle.
Their proposals would modernise the East Sussex Library and Information Service in order to respond to these needs identified, as well as meeting the increasing demand from customers to access library services online. They would do this in two key ways:
- by enhancing the eLibrary, continuing to expand the growing range of online services and materials we offer
- by providing a greater focus on outreach provision in our most disadvantaged communities, working more closely with other County Council services and partners; this would enable us to use our limited resources more effectively to have the greatest impact for those people who stand to benefit most from the service, but may be less able or inclined to visit a library.
The number of people visiting and borrowing items from libraries has reduced by around 40% over the past ten years. The proposals would enable them to cut costs by having fewer libraries and prioritise resources to have a greater impact in supporting people in East Sussex. They propose:
- a network of 17 library buildings across the county, ensuring that there remains a very high level of accessibility to a library by public transport or by car within a reasonable journey time of 20-25 minutes. These 17 libraries are Battle, Bexhill, Crowborough, Eastbourne, Forest Row, Hailsham, Hampden Park, Hastings, Heathfield, Hollington, Lewes, Newhaven, Peacehaven, Rye, Seaford, Uckfield and Wadhurst.
- Seven of the current 24 libraries not be retained: These are Langney, Mayfield, Ore, Pevensey Bay, Polegate, Ringmer and Willingdon.
- to no longer provide the Mobile Library Service, or provide a supply of books for the Northiam Village Library. This proposal takes into account the fact that the 17 library buildings and the eLibrary provide a high level of accessibility to library services for rural communities, and are a more efficient way to meet needs for library services in these areas.
ESCC has given specific consideration in the proposed draft Strategy to potential options for the seven libraries that they do not propose to retain to be community run or community funded if there is a desire within communities for the libraries to continue to operate. These options include keeping the seven libraries within the East Sussex Library and Information Service if they can be funded wholly by communities or other organisations. Alternatively, communities or other groups or organisations may wish to take over the leases of buildings or purchase them (where this is possible) and run them as completely independent libraries or use them for other purposes. They would welcome the opportunity to discuss these options with you, or with anyone else in the community who may be interested in exploring these options.
On 19 September ESCC resolved to agree the draft Libraries Strategic Commissioning Strategy is publicly consulted on for a 12 week period from 21 September to 14 December 2017. They would like to hear from anyone with views about the proposed draft Strategy, particularly if they feel they would be affected by the proposals.
The Parish Council’s Community Development Committee discussed the proposed library closure at their meeting on Monday 18 September and agreed that that it is a valued community asset that should remain open but accepted that it might have to be run as a community organisation to keep it open. This option will be investigated further. At the time of writing this article, the consultation was not yet open.
To take part in the consultation visit: https://consultation.eastsussex.gov.uk/economy-transport-environment/draft-strategy/
At the time of writing this article no actual applications from residents have been received for the Parish Council to consider co-opting as Councillor although interest has been expresse. Therefore, if you are interested please forward your CV to the office with a covering letter outlining why you think you would be a valued member of the Parish Council and any areas of expertise that you could offer. These would then be circulated to Councillors for consideration. Prospective Councillors will then be invited to attend a Parish Council meeting to introduce themselves and speak for a couple of minutes. A vote would then take place on the co-option.
251,252 bus service – Heathfield – Rotherfield – Mayfield – Tunbridge Wells
ESCC has forwarded information on changes to the timetable changes for this bus service which are summarised as: Journeys from Tunbridge Wells on Mondays to Saturdays are generally given reduced time to complete their journeys. Most journeys headed to Heathfield depart between 1 and 5 minutes earlier and certain journeys serve stops up to 9 minutes earlier than previously.
Due to poor use, the 17:35 route 251 from Heathfield and the 18:40 route 252 from Tunbridge Wells will no longer run. There are no changes to the Sunday and Bank Holiday service or to the Mayfield – Crowborough Service on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays. To see the revised timetable visit the stagecoach website at: https://www.stagecoachbus.com/timetables and enter the bus number of either 251 or 252.
Wealden Grants Programme
Wealden District Council has announced that their grants programme for Community Groups /Societies and Voluntary Organisations is open for applications until 30th November 2017. The Small Grant Scheme is for grants between £500 – £3000 and the Capital Scheme is for grants between £1000 – £10,000. Match funding is required, but it can be entirely “in-kind” such as volunteer time, member contributions etc.
A limited number of 40 minute pre-application advice sessions, for groups which have not had one before, will take place during office hours as follows:
- Crowborough – Mon 9th October (am) and Friday 20th October (pm)
- Hailsham – Friday 13th October (am) and Tuesday 31st October (pm)
- Wadhurst – Thursday 2nd November (am) (NB: Disabled access is through the main hall)
Sessions must be booked in advance and are to directly discuss a drafted application for your organisation. Please contact Michelle Gray by email: Michelle.Gray@wealden.gov.uk or telephone (01323) 443520. Applications must be submitted by the deadline of 30th November 2017 forms can be downloaded from: www.wealden.gov.uk/communitygrants
Platinum Wedding Anniversaries
On 20 November 2017 Her Majesty the Queen and HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary. Wealden District Council thinks it would be wonderful to find couples in Wealden who have celebrated or will be celebrating 70 years of wedded bliss this year. The achievement is worthy of local recognition with a visit from Wealden’s Chairman who would like to present a card and gift to the couple to add to the celebration. Please contact Amy Evans, PA to the Chairman on 01892 602435 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Safer Kitchens – Safer Homes
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is asking people to do three simple things to help keep their homes safe from fire:
- Pay attention when cooking
- Register your appliances so you know when they are being recalled
- Check whether anything could be close to a source of heat and catch alight – such as clothing on heaters or tea towels near cookers
These are the most common causes of fires in the home, followed very closely with fire started by smoking. By simply taking a bit more care and finding out about your appliances you can make your home safer. You have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home to give you an early warning should the worst happen.
Register your appliance
Electrical Safety First says that the average success rate of an electrical product recall in the UK is just 10-20%. This means that there are potentially millions of recalled electrical items still in UK homes. As most of these products have been recalled because they offer a risk of electric shock or electrical fire, they present a serious risk. You can register your appliance via its website – please offer to help people you know who may not be as confident using computers: http://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/product-recalls/
Home Safety Visits
We are committed to helping people stay safe in their homes. One of the ways we do this is by carrying out Home Safety Visits. These are offered to people who are most at risk from fires in their homes. Our specially trained staff will visit your home and give you advice on how to reduce the risk of having a fire. Find out more by calling on 0800 177 7069 or via our website www.esfrs.org/home-safety-visits/