Rushlake Green Village Leaf

Heathfield East Report - June 2014

Follow Cllr McKeeman on Twitter: @nigel_mckeeman

- Supporting local first responders and defibrillator units
- Economic growth highlighted in Wealden year-end report
- Wealden’s first food & wine festival
- Safety in action
- Serious concern for those suffering hardship
- Tour of Britain visits Wealden
- Streets Ahead project helping towns and villages across Wealden
- Bin a long time comin . . .

In many life-threatening medical emergencies the speed with which first is applied will make a significant to the patient’s chances of survival. In the case of a cardiac arrest even simple CPR can keep a person alive until an ambulance arrives. And the use of a portable defibrillator can increase the chances of survival and full recovery even more. Heathfield & Waldron First Responders recently spoke at a Parish meeting, making Councillors aware of the particular value, in a rural area like ours, of having trained local volunteers who can get to a patient early and provide first aid until an ambulance arrives. And on a personal note, I recently had the opportunity to attend a Wealden training session on applying CPR and Defibrillation to a person suffering a cardiac arrest. Going through that training brought it home to me how important it is to have someone with the right training, and with the right equipment, close by when a local person gets into difficulty. By doing something to build our local first responder support, we could save lives. I have suggested using my Wealden Community Dividend to support Heathfield & Waldron First Responders. This idea is already strongly supported by the Warbleton Parish Council, and the members for Heathfield North and Central have committed 50% of their dividend to the responders. We are also looking at whether we should try to get more defibrillators installed locally as, in a cardiac emergency, the sooner this treatment is applied, the better the chances of survival. I have been in touch with Tim Williams, Chairman of Heathfield & Waldron First Responders, to get more information on the present level of local coverage for each of these elements. My understanding is that this is the present status:

Heathfield & Waldron First Response currently have eight trained responders based in Heathfield and three of these live in Heathfield itself. One responder lives in Punnetts Town and another in Cross in Hand. The team is aware of the strong desire to have responder support locally in such places as Warbleton, Hellingly, Buxted and Mayfield. However a limit in funding at South East Coast Ambulance service (SECAmb), which trains the responders without charge, has constrained the number of new volunteers that can be recruited at present. Once trained, the equipment for each individual costs £1,500.

There is a move to get defibrillators installed in easily accessible places. Currently there appear to be defibrillators at these locations: - Heathfield Fire Station - Heathfield Ambulance Station - Heathfield Rugby Club - Punnetts Town Surgery. Many supermarkets now have defibrillators so there may be one at Sainsburys and the Coop. We do not appear to have a defibrillator in the Warbleton area, or near Bodle Street. Defibrillators cost around £850 and need a mounting box or case (£50-£200). They can be in places like pubs, shops or community halls. They can also be installed in locations that are accessible 24 hours a day. For example we could fit one outside Osborn House, the Dunn Village Hall or the Village Stores. To move things forward I would be interested in your views about where you think it would be valuable to have defibrillators installed locally within the Heathfield East area, particularly bearing in mind the many isolated communities in the area. I would also like to hear your ideas about how best we can encourage local people to put themselves forward as First Responder volunteers.

Once we have agreed our priorities and our funding approach we can go back to Heathfield and Waldron First Responders, to get their feedback and agree a strategy.

Cabinet members welcomed the news that the projected number of jobs resulting from recent planning permissions granted reached 668 for 2013/14, more than double the target. Underlying the successful economic performance has been the number of new homes (559) and affordable homes (207) built in the District – again both exceeding targets, affordable completions are twice the annual target. Other highlights are:
- Percentage of household waste, reused, recycled or composted = 46.5% (target 45%)
- Percentage household waste going to landfill = 3.8% (target 15%)
- Number of food inspections completed = 720 (target 690)
- Major planning applications determined within 13 weeks = 83.3% (target 80%)
- Percentage major applications overturned on appeal = 4.3% (national average 20%)
- Percentage council tax collected within the year = 98.1% (target 98.2%)

Wealden is organizing its first food and drink festival to take place at Pevensey Castle over the weekend of 30th – 31st August this year. The Festival aims to highlight the very best of Sussex food & wine produce, artisan goods, local crafts and culture. Exhibitor stands will be set around the castle walls, inside the entrance to the castle itself. Highlights of the festival will include: cooking and wine demonstrations; live music, street entertainers and storytellers; and free guided walks around the Castle to learn more about its history.
Exhibitors located within a 30-mile radius of Pevensey are welcome to enroll. Stalls will cost £175. Businesses and organisations interested in taking part should email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Two weeks of hands on learning began at the Bowles Adventure Centre, Eridge at the beginning of June, followed a fortnight later by a week of activities at Herstmonceux Castle. Over 1,200 children from 48 local primary schools across Wealden will take part. They experience and learn by first hand approaches to risk by hazard scenarios provided by Sussex Police, South East Coast Ambulance, East Sussex Fire and Rescue, Southern Railway, Royal National Lifeboat Institution, the NHS and Wealden District Council. Each child will be presented with a workbook to take back to school in order to reinforce the safety messages learnt during their visit.

Wealden District Council has unanimously expressed “serious concern” at the Government’s decision to remove support from the East Sussex scheme that has helped 168 Wealden residents get through a short term financial crisis in the past year, including 35 hardships cases which could have led to homelessness. The Council is worried that removal of Government support will directly affect the Discretionary East Sussex Support Scheme at a time when Local Authorities are already operating under severe financial pressure. “The DESS scheme provides early intervention when people are faced with an unforeseen financial crisis,” said Councillor Graham Wells, at the full meeting of Wealden District Council on 28 May. “It provides them with vouchers to provide goods and services, rather than cash. Without it, their only other option will be to go to the loan sharks.” For further information please contact Amanda Hodge, Head of Housing & Property Services. Tel: 01323 443364 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

On Saturday September 13, the 7th stage of the Tour of Britain cycling race will be taking the participating riders through Wealden. The route will pass through the following towns and parishes: Fletching, Uckfield, Framfield, Heathfield & Waldron, Chiddingly, Horam, Hellingly, Hailsham, Westham, Eastbourne, Beachy Head, East Dean & Friston. More information on the race and a map of the route can be found on the Tour of Britain website: For further information, please contact Helen Markwick, Community and Regeneration Manager. Tel: 01892 602756 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Streets Ahead, a Wealden project with which I have been associated since its inception, is now beginning to make real progress in supporting local teams with their high street regeneration efforts. The Streets Ahead team at Wealden has been out and about meeting local teams, sharing ideas and offering support. I recently attended a presentation, by Helen Markwick and her team, at a meeting organized by Heathfield Chamber of Commerce. The town, through its Partnership, has led the way over the past ten years or so with its high street improvements, and at the meeting many high street retailers fully recognized the threat from alternative forms of shopping and were eager to find ways to use social media and other technologies to reconnect with their customers. Members of the audience were also very interested by the Streets Ahead high street survey and requested copies of the detailed survey results for the town. The Streets Ahead team recently published their first newsletter and a copy is the companion document to this report. I am also currently running a campaign to encourage local Wealden Council members across the district to become active champions of the Streets Ahead project and of high street regeneration efforts in their local town or village.

The long-awaited replacement for Rushlake Green’s missing bin will be re-materializing shortly. Some time ago the bin at the end of the green was damaged and removed. Our request for a replacement was overtaken by the hiatus at Wealden as a result of Kier’s dire performance when it first took over the contract for refuse collections. When we increased the pressure for our bin to be replaced it appeared that it might have to be a plastic one as, due to reduced budgets, the pebbledash concrete style bins of the type we have on the Green are no longer generally being made available. However having escalated the matter to the Portfolio Holder, and having emphasized the need for a bin that is appropriate for this unique conservation area setting, a budget has been found for a ‘one-off’ retro special. Watch that space.