I cannot believe that the time has come once again to wish all our residents a very happy New Year!

High Street Concerns: The current major concern to residents is the imminent closure of NatWest Bank in Mayfield especially with the potential loss of the ATM [Cash Machine]. Natwest bank has informed that the number of residents visiting the branch has fallen significantly over the last year and that it is not viable to keep it open. They are however willing to discuss alternative locations for an ATM to remain within the village and the Parish Council has arranged to meet with Natwest representatives in early January 2015.

The closure of Natwest bank was on the agenda of the December Parish Council meeting and we were surprised that no residents or business owners attended to voice their concerns. The Parish Council, prompted by the closure of the bank, is looking in to the current state of the High Street services. A village survey to assess local demand for the High Street shops and services in Mayfield will be posted on Facebook and the Parish Council website. For those residents without internet access paper copies will be available in the Parish Council office.

2015/16 Precept: The ‘Precept’, which is the amount that residents have to pay for the services provided by the Parish Council [and which is incorporated into your routine Rates Bill from East Sussex County Council], was approved unanimously to be increased to £105,000 in 2015/16 at the Council meeting December 2014. This will maintain the provision of services by the Parish Council and fund new projects such as the upgrading of street lighting to LED lighting. In addition some of the funding will be put to one side towards known future refurbishment of existing assets, such as playground equipment and the South Street toilets. It is also anticipated that with the imposed savings that the County and District Councils are having to find, more services will be pushed out to Parish Councils

When you receive the Council Tax bill each year it includes amounts for East Sussex County Council, Wealden District Council, Sussex Police, East Sussex Fire and Rescue and the Parish Council. It is calculated with reference to the number of Band D equivalent properties in each Parish area. The table below shows how much the Parish Council element of your Council Tax Bill will increase by per annum in 2015/16:

Parish Council 2015/16 Increases to Council Tax
Council Tax Band A B C D E F G H
Annual Increase £2.39 £2.79 £3.18 £3.58 £4.38 £5.18 £5.97 £7.17

 

Prospective Parish Councillors: Regrettably there were few attendees to the open evening and open morning held in early December for prospective councillors. If you are interested in becoming a Parish Councillor in May 2015 and you would like more information on what is involved please contact the Parish Council office.

East Sussex County Council Bus Consultation: A big thank you to all residents who took part in the East Sussex County Council bus consultation. Cllr Bob Standley was pleased to be able to report that the Wadhurst – Mayfield – Crowborough bus service will remain broadly as it is with two return trips three times a week which is good news. The Parish Council and Wadhurst Parish Council will continue to contribute towards funding the bus service, there may be time changes and day changes but frequency is not in doubt.

PCSO Surgeries: During the colder months our PCSO, Julie Pearce-Martin, will be holding her surgeries in the Parish Council office in Mayfield High Street rather than as the usual street meetings. The next dates for these are: Wednesday 14 January 2015 from 9:30–10:00am and Wednesday 11 February 2015 from 10:00–10:30am.

Parking Considerately: There have been several concerns raised recently with vehicles parking in South Street and Richmead Gardens. Please be aware that sufficient space for emergency vehicle access must be left at all times – after all, you never know when you may need them too!

Shaping the future of our countryside access: East Sussex County Council is asking residents to complete a survey which asks how and why they do or don’t use their rights of ways and countryside sites. Their survey is open until 20th February 2015 and is called ‘Shaping the future of our countryside access’. It can be found on their website at: www.eastsussex.gov.uk/haveyoursay

District Commander’s Message: Operation Dragonfly is the joint Sussex and Surrey Police campaign to tackle drink and drug driving, and officers will be actively stopping drivers throughout the festive season. Please don’t just think about the issue of driving immediately after drinking – which of course you shouldn’t do – also think about the day after, when you may still be over the limit.

Once the Christmas presents have been opened, always dispose of the packaging carefully. Cardboard boxes stacked outside your property will advertise the new goods within, and could prove too tempting to burglars. Also, don’t forget the year-round advice – ensure windows and doors are locked at all times, and make your home look occupied by using timer switches to operate lighting and radios while you are out.

Keeping warm is another important feature of this time of year, so protecting your heating oil supply is crucial. Padlocks, security lighting and defensive planting of prickly hedging can all help, as well as improving the sight lines from your house to the tank.