Mayfield & Five Ashes Parish Council information in support of application for Parishes in Bloom competition 2018
About the Parish
The parish of Mayfield and Five Ashes comprises two villages namely Mayfield (the larger of the two) and Five Ashes with a combined population of 3,718; the two villages are some 3 miles part on the main A267 road, both located in the county of East Sussex.
Mayfield village is a particularly historic village with a rich history and numerous ancient buildings dating back to the 13th century – with a good number of fine timber-framed buildings - and is therefore something of a tourist attraction. The Archbishops’ Palace and St Dunstan’s Church are two particularly fine examples, with some of the oldest houses dating back to the early 1400s. Also prominent in the middle of the High St., are a cannon (a reminder of the important local iron industry in the 1500s) and a prize-winning village sign.
Mayfield High Street itself is still vibrant with a wide range of shops offering the basic necessities together with a wide range of local produce, local crafts, fashion, local arts, gifts, materials, furnishings and more. The village is rare for its size in having its own baker, butcher, florist, greengrocers, ironmongers and a Post Office counter. There are cafes, and two pub/restaurant/hotels plus a wide range of other services.
- The parish is a thriving community with over 60 clubs and societies covering a wide range of interests and sports. Of particular note are the Mayfield Horticultural Society and the Five Ashes Horticultural Society, with a combined membership of well over 120.
- There are two village halls (one in each village) with associated playing fields, and a scout and guide hall. The playing fields encompass wild flower meadows and there are various public tended flower gardens as well as a natural wood.
- There are two state primary schools, a private preparatory school, and a private secondary school, all of which are active in the community. There are also four churches
with very active congregations.
The Parish and its residents are highly active with not just the 60+ clubs and societies, but well over a dozen community events held each year including a Mayfair, a Music and Arts festival, a Bonfire procession, a Christmas Fayre with Christmas Lights in the High St. etc. The schools and churches are heavily involved in these activities, which raise much money for various local charities.
- Local businesses also actively participate in events and, through the Mayfield Business Forum – Retailers Group, there is a pro-active approach to ensuring a vibrant High St and community generally, including initiatives to promote tourism.
- The parish council acts as an umbrella where necessary for the various activities and supports the numerous events throughout the year. One example being the hanging basket displays throughout the High St. It also provides small grants to assist various activities in the village as necessary.
- The Horticultural Societies, with their combined membership of well over 120, hold various very well attended events and flower competitions throughout the year. They also publish articles and features in the monthly village newsletter including a regular gardening tips section.
- In addition a collection of home-owners, as part of the National Gardens Scheme, open their gardens each year for people to see the result of their gardening efforts throughout the year and raise a lot of money for charity.
- There is a ‘Friends of Mayfield Churchyard’ volunteer group who look after the grass and flowers around the church and in the adjacent cemetery.
- In addition to the above there are a significant number of individuals who, of their own volition, tend various flowerbeds, and litter pick etc throughout the village.
- Those villagers with an interest in wildlife actively participate in the activities of the Sussex Wildlife Trust.
- Communication within the parish is via a broad mix of old and new communications channels including word of mouth, Facebook, a recently updated village website and a monthly newsletter. The village website brings together every aspect of village life by linking all the clubs and societies, churches, schools, businesses and the parish council.
- The parish council holds an annual parish assembly meeting at which all villagers can have their say and share their views. At this meeting the annual action plan is discussed - ensuring a pro-active approach to the development of the communities.
- Local people share their views about the appearance of the village by contacting the parish clerk, attending the annual meeting, through the two horticultural societies and through other clubs and societies, through the Mayfield Business Forum, and using Facebook and the village website. In many cases, if it is within their own capabilities, they just do whatever is necessary themselves!
- Being an active community suitable projects are invariably fully supported. For instance, with the ‘Parishes In Bloom’ competition the idea of participating emerged from an MBF Retailers group meeting; it was supported by the parish council who made the entry, and subsequently a working group with representatives from the parish council, the horticultural societies and other interested parties was created.
- The community, through the parish council, works with the local District Council (Wealden) and the County Council (East Sussex) in pursuance of initiatives within their respective purviews eg planning, environment, economy etc. An example of working together was the purchase by the parish council of a 1 acre wood from ESCC for the creation of a nature trail and an environmentally and child friendly area with access to all (known as Jubilee wood).
The Parish is engaged in environmental activities such as:
- Conserving local habitats & heritage (wildlife, natural landscapes & built environment). The village has a number of wildlife areas, including the largest, which is a 1 acre part of the Court Meadow playing field, a recently purchased and created wood known as Jubilee wood, plus there are various roadside verges that are left uncut as wildlife verges. The village takes its heritage extremely seriously in terms of conserving the natural and built environment particularly the protection of local habitats, and heritage
- Green recycling and composting is adopted by many residents including allotment holders and members of the horticulture societies.
- The parish council, churches and various landowners are highly pro-active in creating, maintaining or improving green spaces including the village greens, parks, verges, woodlands, churchyards and cemetery etc., and in establishing wild-life habitats.
- The Parish is engaged in addressing environmental issues such as the control of fly-tipping, fly-posting, litter, graffiti and dog fouling, although these are relatively rare offences in the parish due to the conscientiousness of the residents on these matters. The parish council funds litter picking activity, regular mowing of grassland, maintenance of hedges, weed-killing, upkeep of the cemetery and its grass areas etc.
- With Mayfield being such an historic village the parish council, together with the local history society, the preservation society, and others, are naturally pro-active in preserving the village’s heritage, and ancient buildings. The parish council works closely with the district council to maintain the conservation area which includes much of the historic High St., and monitors local planning applications which might be detrimental to the character of the village.
Gardening, Horticulture Conservation (inc Tree Maintenance, Street Furniture etc)
- The parish council employs good gardening, horticultural and tree management practices by having a tree officer and a sub committee that monitors and acts on all relevant arboreal and horticultural matters. The parish council regularly uses the services of the District Council tree officer who is a qualified arboriculturalist. The parish council also encourages residents to care for their gardens, allotments etc. and raises concerns directly with residents when necessary. However residential gardens are generally well maintained and mostly enhance the parishes’ appearance. The parish council ensures the adequate provision of waste bins, dog excreta bins, seats, signage and maintenance thereof and carries out weekly checks to ensure satisfactory levels of maintenance.
- The two horticultural societies do much to engender best horticultural practice amongst its members and run at least two flower shows per annum - with highly sought after prizes.
- The parish council has funded a major hanging flowers project in the High St together with stand alone planters throughout the villages and especially in the High St and around the war memorials. The parish council also runs allotment sites and actively ensures good practice and use of the plots.