As you probably are already aware, on 06 March 2018 East Sussex County Council’s Cabinet (ESCC) did vote to close Mayfield library. The Parish Council has been considering a number of business options to maintain a library in Mayfield. The cost of the various premises options in addition to library costs to maintain the existing service provided by ESCC varied in the region of £17K – £20K per annum which is over 15% of the annual precept. Only four residents contacted the Parish Clerk to request that the library is maintained and the ESCC libraries consultation results were:
- 1 letter received from the public against closure
- 1 letter received from the Parish Council against closure
- 1 letter received from the District Council against closure
- 79 out of 4,303 consultation responses identified they had used Mayfield library in the last 12 months
At the Parish Council meeting on 12 March 2018, having considered all the business options, issues and risks it was with a very heavy heart and great reluctance that the Parish Council unanimously agreed that maintaining the library is not a viable financial commitment considering that only 220 residents borrowed an item in the last year and the lack of opposition from residents to the closure. The Parish Council will continue to look into other possible options, for example, a community book exchange.
Water supply problems
Thankfully that the water is back on – so many residents contacted the Parish Council but South East Water had not provided any updates other than what was on their website. The Chairman met with WDC’s Chief Executive on the Monday after the weekend we were cut off. He had met with the Sussex Resilience Committee who were trying to keep abreast of the situation. Information we did receive was that only 19 residents in Mayfield registered as having no water supply and there were very few registered vulnerable adults. They would only supply bottled water to Crowborough, Rotherfield and Wadhurst and that they were using the same staff to mend pipes and to deliver water, so water delivery was not a priority. The Parish Council will be writing to South East Water to request that Mayfield and Five Ashes are considered as a water distribution point in case of future emergencies. They will also be made aware that one of the reasons why so few residents registered that they have no water supply might be because their website made it clear that they were already aware of a water supply problem in this area. A very big thank you to everyone who assisted in supplying water to residents and to landowners for their livestock.
Annual Parish Assembly
Your Annual Parish Assembly will be held in the Memorial Hall on 21 May 2018 at 19:30. This is not a council meeting but a meeting of the parish residents that has to, by law, take place between 1 March and 1 June each year. Organisations, societies and residents can contribute to the agenda and debate current issues in the community. If your organisation or society would like to report to the meeting or if you have any current issues that you believe should be added to the agenda please contact the Parish Council office.
At the March Parish Council meeting a Drones Policy was adopted which has been uploaded to the website. This was introduced following complaints that drones had recently been seen above Mayfield Pre-school which is of concern. Anyone flying a drone must adhere to the Civil Aviation Authority’s Drone Code:
- Always keep your drone in sight so you can see and avoid other things while flying
- Stay below 400ft (120m) to comply and reduce the likelihood of a conflict with an aircraft
- Keep the right distance from people and property:
- People and properties – 150ft (50m)
- Crowds and built up areas – 500ft (150m)
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to keep your drone and the people around you safe
- Legal responsibility lies with Failure to fly responsibly could result in criminal prosecution
- If your drone endangers the safety of an aircraft it is a criminal offence and you could go to prison for five years
- If your drone has a camera, its use has the potential to be covered by the Data Protection Act
General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
GDPR is a major new law that comes into force on 25 May 2018, a strict set of new rules concerning privacy and data security for all businesses and organisations that store and use personal data. It must be recognised that it is not just the big companies who have to comply but all societies and organisations including Parish Councils that retain any personal information – this can simply be a name and contact number. Just some of the changes that will need to be considered are:
You will need consent to process someone’s data – until now you only had to ask once and it covered all uses. Now you will need to get separate permission to use customer data for different things and you must record when that consent was given. You will no longer be able to obtain consent using pre-ticked boxes or forcing people to un-tick them.
Right to erasure
Another change is the right to be forgotten when an individual withdraws consent meaning that an organisation would have to delete all information it holds about them.
Subject access request
An individual might ask for a copy of their data rather than deleting it. Upon request, the data controllers (the organisation responsible for customers’ data) must confirm whether they hold an individual’s personal data and provide a copy of it. GDPR also asks organisations to provide supporting material as part of this process, including the categories of data that they are handling and the reason they are have it. All of this must happen within a month of the request. A crucial step will be to audit the data you already hold in preparation for a request.
This is just the very tip of the iceberg. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has created a helpful guide at: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/business/ that lists the various steps that organisations should go through to ensure that they are ready for May 2018.
Complaints about waste collection
There were quite a few complaints received from residents that their general waste, recycling and glass bottles were collected by the same refuse truck and mixed together. There were concerns that the waste would not be separated and recycled back at the depot. The reply received from Wealden District Council (WDC): “Unfortunately, due to the wintry conditions last week we suffered significant disruption to our waste collection services. Regrettably we do not have enough spare vehicles and crews to run extra rounds for recycling in all of locations that were missed due to the conditions and as such, to enable collections to be caught up, whilst it is not ideal there will be some locations where the only way to recover the missed recycling bins is to collect it combined with refuse. Although where this happens the material will not be recycled on this occasion I would seek to assure customers the waste does not go to landfill. Instead it goes to the energy recovery facility in Newhaven where it is burnt to generate electricity for the National Grid.
Please be assured this is also an exceptional situation and not a decision we take lightly. We are rightly proud of our recycling record, being the best recycling authority in Sussex, and future recycling collections will take place as scheduled with the material sent for reprocessing as intended.”
On a happier note…
Wealden has climbed 23 places in the national recycling league table thanks to the commitment of local residents. The latest annual recycling figures, published by Letsrecycle.com show Wealden is ranked 62 out of 350 English local authorities in the national recycling league table, the highest performance of all the recycling authorities in Sussex.
Litter on the A267 bypass
Just so residents are aware, the problem of litter along the bypass has been reported to WDC on several occasions already this year and it has also been raised as an issue by Wealden’s Street Scene Team. At the time of writing this article there was no feedback on when it will be removed. Unfortunately drivers and passengers travelling through Wealden are not as conscientious as local residents and thoughtless people continue to throw rubbish out of their vehicles. WDC is looking forward to taking part in the Government’s national anti-littering campaign which will come into force this April with the aim of reducing this ugly blight on our major roads. The Government’s proposals include powers to fine the vehicle owners when litter is thrown from a vehicle.
Household Waste Recycling Site Consultation
ESCC’s consultation on their Household Waste Recycling Site Service has now started and ends at midnight on 15 May 2018.A link to the online survey, as well as FAQs and the full Service Review are available at: www.eastsussex.gov.uk/environment/rubbishandrecycling/wasteconsultation
They are consulting on these proposals:
- The introduction of charging for certain waste types that are not ‘household waste’ (i.e. rubble, soil, plasterboard, tyres and asbestos) at the Household Waste Recycling Sites
- The possible closure of the part-time recycling sites at Forest Row and Wadhurst
- A review of recycling site opening hours against demand for the service
They would like to hear from anyone in East Sussex with an interest in the recycling sites, particularly if they feel they would be affected by their proposals.
Accessible Swim Sessions
In February accesible swim sessions have been organised by Freedom Leisure . The sessions are suitable for people with physical disabilities, learning disabilities and people living with dementia. Pool sessions are assisted by a swimming teacher to provide help, guidance, and a supportive friendly face. They are held at:
Hailsham Freedom Leisure: Friday 2.30pm-3.30pm dur-ing term time for 50 weeks.
Uckfield Freedom Leisure: Tuesday 2.30pm – 3.30pm, during term time, for 25 weeks.
Crowborough Freedom Leisure: Tuesday 10am-11am, term time, for 25 weeks.
Tuesday 2.30pm – 3.30pm, during term time, for 25 weeks.
Crowborough Freedom Lei- sure: Tuesday 10am-11am, term time, for 25 weeks.
Further information from the specific Freedom Leisure Centre. Sessions are funded by Sports4All.
Parish Council office opening hours in April
The office will be open for the Planning meeting on Monday 09 April but will be closed for the rest of that week. It will reopen for business as usual on Monday 16 April 2018 at 09:30.
Parish Council Grants:
Please not that the application deadline for Parish Council grants each year is 30 September for the following financial year. Information on how to apply and the application form can be found in the “Key Documents / Finance” section on the Parish Council website at www.mayfieldfiveashes.org.uk. Alternatively contact the Parish Council office on 01435 873784 for a copy of the grants policy and application form.