The first two months of this year have been very busy with many residents contacting the Parish Council office to report problems caused by the inclement weather such as potholes, blocked drains, trees down, not to mention part of the roof blowing off South Street toilets! East Sussex County Council and Wealden District Council have confirmed that they are dealing with all the reported problems as fast as they can but, as you can imagine, they have been inundated and are stretched to capacity, so patience is necessary.

To make it simple to report a problem directly to either East Sussex County Council or Wealden District Council their links have been added to the Parish Council website: www.mayfieldfiveashes.org.uk in the ‘useful links’ section on the homepage where you can also find lots other recent information from the Parish Council.

Problems concerning roads, paths, pavements, verges, signs and lights can be reported to East Sussex County Council online or by telephoning 0345 608 0190. Problems concerning anti-social behavior, missed refuse collections, litter bins, dog bins, bonfires, dog fouling, noise pollution and fly tipping can be reported to Wealden District Council online or by telephoning 01323 443322.

At the last Parish Council meeting there was a presentation on Operation Crackdown which is a joint initiative run by the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership and Sussex Police which gives the Sussex community an opportunity to report specific instances of anti-social driving/riding as well as any abandoned vehicles left on the roads.

Anti-social driving includes driving that is careless, deliberately aggressive or dangerous for example: speeding, thoughtless driving, underage driving, drink or drug driving, mobile phone use, unlicensed or uninsured driving, driving without a seatbelt and untaxed or unsafe vehicles. You can report anti-social driving online at www.operationcrackdown.org or by telephoning the hotline on 01243 642222. You will need details of the vehicle – colour, make, model and number plate as well as where the incident happened.

SCAM ALERTS: Sadly, Sussex Police have had to issue two more warnings concerning scams that you need to be made aware of:

Firstly, an urgent warning to residents, especially the elderly and anyone living alone, not to be taken in by a current wave of crime in which phone callers posing as police officers or bank staff ask for bank and card details.

In Sussex, the fraudsters have got away with more than £150,000. They call the intended victim claiming to be from either the Police or a Bank. They tell them that their card details have been fraudulently used and that they need to act urgently to protect themselves. They suggest that they hang up and ring the bank or police back to ensure that the call is genuine. But don’t be fooled – they stay on the line and pretend to be the police or the bank. They then tell the intended victim to key in or read out their PIN number.

They will then send a taxi or courier, who may know nothing about the crime, to collect the bank card. With this and the PIN they will then have full access to spend your money. Under no circumstances would the police or your bank request your PIN number over the telephone or arrange collection of your bank cards from your home address in this manner. Never give out your bank details to someone who has contacted you on your home phone unsolicited. If you have any suspicions please do not use the phone you have just been called on to contact the police or your bank. If possible use another phone to contact the police to report it, or to contact a friend or relative to alert them. If you have any information or if you have received similar calls or know someone who has been a victim of this crime Sussex Police would like you to contact them via 101 or email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk quoting Operation Edisto. You can also call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Another scam that has been reported to Wealden Police is where the fraudster pretends to be a Metropolitan Police officer. The scammer tells victim that their grandson is being held in custody and that they need to call a number to decide how to deal with them. The scammer stays on the phone line in the hope that the victim will try to call out and pretends to then be a police call handler. They then arrange for money to be withdrawn from a bank and collected. There have been 3 reports so far of scams similar to this with 1 victim handing over a large sum of money.

Changes to the concessionary bus pass scheme: On 10th December 2013 East Sussex County Council’s cabinet voted to press ahead with a series of changes aimed at reducing the authority’s transport budget over the next three years. This includes changing the start time at which concessionary bus pass holders can use their pass on weekdays. From 1st April this will move from 9.00am to 9.30am in line with national rules.

The entitlement to free travel for elderly and disabled residents is set by the Concessionary Bus Travel Act 2007 (‘CBTA’).  The CBTA defines the minimum travel concession that must be provided and the national standard concession enables journeys to be started between 9.30am and 11.00pm on normal weekdays and at any time at weekends or on public holidays, between places in England and on eligible services. Most local transport authorities use the 9.30am national standard start time; however the practice in East Sussex has been to permit free travel from 9.00am. Moving the start time to 9.30am brings practice in East Sussex in line with the neighbouring authorities of Kent and West Sussex.

Mayfield Post Office: The most recent information that the Parish Council has received from the Post Office when this article was written is that there were two applicants for the new “Post Office Local” and that the successful applicant has been informed. The Post Office is waiting for the successful applicant to sign their contract before they can make any official announcement.

A consultation on the premises and opening hours will follow which will be open for members of the public, local stakeholders, local ward members and the Parish Council to participate in. The Post Office anticipates that consultation letters and advertising posters will be circulated by the end of the month. They then estimate that the new Post Office Local will open within three to four months.

Regrettably, the Post Office has not been able to fill the position of interim Postmaster. Apparently none of the local postmasters that they approached were willing to arrange all the legal documentation and necessary equipment for such a short period of time.

“eSussex” rollout underway! The first major part of the new faster broadband for East Sussex is well underway and you will already have spotted the new BT green telecom cabinets springing up along the roads.

Over 600m of fibre has now been laid on the new “spine” running between Mayfield and Heathfield. It was expected that the first customers would be able to connect to faster broadband by the late spring/early summer however some residents are already receiving improved speeds. For further information please visit: www.goesussex.co.uk – and also see the article below.

Cordbatt Hill: You may be aware that Cordbatt Hill, off the Avenue, in Mayfield is currently closed following a landslip that has caused a large amount of soil to fall from the embankment to the highway below.

East Sussex Highways are drawing up a scheme to repair the embankment with work programmed to commence in late April, lasting for approximately 3 weeks.