PRA’s response to the Licence Application: WK 2020 13115

Re: Premises License Application WK 2020 13115, Butchers Wood, Rock’s Road, Uckfield, TN22 3PT

Piltdown Residents Association was formed in 2014 to represent the interests of approximately 140 households within the community of Piltdown being part of Fletching Parish. PRA has its own Constitution, including an Executive Committee, Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer and Secretary. 

Butchers Wood lies wholly in Piltdown, which is part of Fletching Parish Ward. The Wood forms part of a belt of agricultural fields and Ancient woodland which acts as a barrier to and lies immediately west of the A22 Uckfiel​d/Maresfield by-pass. The by-pass is sunk in a cutting running along the east side the Wood, there being no direct vehicular access to the A22 from roads west in Piltdown or east to Uckfield to the proposed site, the nearest point being Batts Bridge roundabout on the A275 at Maresfield. An unfenced ESCC public right of way runs alongside the top of the A22 cutting for part of the Wood, before dropping down through the Wood to two streams with bridges over and continuing across flat fields to several houses known as Fairhazel, which in turn joins the bottom end of Golf Club Lane. The streams flow south to several houses on the Shortbridge Road, a C class road with an unrestricted speed limit and 7.5-ton weight restriction. Shortbridge Road crosses the streams and curves left up the hill, to become Rock’s Road (with the same restrictions as Shortbridge Road), with several houses in a triangle to the right in an area known as Buckham Hill part of Isfield Parish, then past a further lane leading to a settlement of houses known as Copwood. This lane is opposite the field proposed for parking for the events and Rock’s Road then passes the entrances to Butchers Wood and the public right of way and then immediately across a bridge over the A22 by-pass towards Uckfield town centre. To the immediate left, after crossing the bridge, lies Lake Wood belonging to the Woodland Trust, and to the right West Park Nature Reserve behind which is the Rock’s Park housing estate. This is closer to the Wood itself than the settlements of Shortbridge and Fairhazel. As will be appreciated, there are several houses that would be open to potential nuisance and disturbance in Piltdown, plus many more in Uckfield.

PRA’s Executive Committee has received a high proportion of responses from residents, some of whom will have made representations to the Council directly, overwhelmingly objecting to the proposed Premises License application. Strong concerns have been voiced regarding the suitability of the site, particularly regarding Public safety, the potential for crime and disorder and public nuisance. It is understood that nobody will be admitted under the age of 18 which, if strictly policed, should remove any concern about the protection of children from harm from attendees of the event. The ESCC public rights of way could be a possible complication in this respect. It is understood that no camping will be allowed on the site which itself creates the probability of considerable late night/early morning traffic and people movements outside the site. It is not clear whether no overnight stays would apply to the car parking field.

Whilst the Application form itself does not provide much specific information about the intended events, PRA were aware of a draft Event Management Plan, which one of the Applicants kindly availed us of, and we appreciate the willingness to engage and inform on their part. Clearly this plan is work in progress and cannot necessarily be relied on to allay concerns PRA have about the suitability of the site and seemingly to meet actual Premises Events licensing objectives, as per sections 8.41- 8.44, 8.47 and 8.91 of the Licensing Act 2003, as well as sections 9.32, 9.38 and 9.43 of the Act. Similarly, there must be some concerns that the application meets the objectives of WDC’s Licensing Policy 2021 in respect of sections 4.4 and 10.5.

PRA’s Committee is aware of the letter of objection from one Piltdown resident, Mrs Jenny Barnard JP has submitted, and is in total agreement with the many points raised. Rather than regurgitate all these at length, there are particular points that we would wish to highlight as follows, all with our view that this is an unsuitable site for the proposed events: –

  • Public Safety

As can be seen from the public right of way and fields west below the Wood, there is a potentially dangerous sandstone ridge running south within the Wood but very close to the boundary with steep drops close to the streams below, also within the site. The ridge would present a considerable hazard to public safety, especially in the dark and possibly to event-goers in an inebriated state. The two streams immediately below in the Wood, one of which is particularly fast flowing, deep and with dangerous banks, also present further hazards. High fencing for several hundred meters in length would be required to secure the ridge and streams plus patrolling during the event, especially in the dark and early morning.

The same can be said for the eastern boundary at the top of the currently unfenced embankment of the A22 by-pass, a particularly fast-moving stretch of road. Access across the by-pass would be quite possible but extremely dangerous if undertaken, should the temptation be in hot weather in July to swim in the substantial lake just yards into Lake Wood.

The limited openings for public parking and service access have the potential to create danger for through traffic coming along Rock’s Road let alone pedestrians on the public right of way running along the side of the road across the bridge over the by-pass towards Uckfield.

Within the Wood itself, currently believed to comprise much low-level undergrowth and scrub trees beneath a canopy of some ancient high-quality trees, it would be difficult to contain free movement in safe conditions for 2,500 people, let alone up to 5,000, unless the scrub and undergrowth is substantially cleared. Any degree of clearing would create bio-diversity and wild life problems in listed Ancient woodland, itself open to usage challenge.

  • Public Nuisance and Disturbance

As mentioned in paragraph 2 above, there are several properties in Fairhazel, Shortbridge, Copwood and Buckham Hill, if not further afield in Sharpsbridge Lane, Golf Club Lane, and properties south of the eastern end of the A272 that, because of the nature of the valley created by the streams and the height of the ground of most of the Wood, will have huge potential for disturbance, both in terms of noise and light pollution. This would be exacerbated by any clearing of scrub and undergrowth.

  • Prevention of Crime and Disorder

Naturally households in the immediate vicinity have voiced concerns that people attending the event for such long hours may be tempted to stray from the site, especially with the long licensing hours being proposed. Once off-site, there would be concern about the ability to control movements locally in Piltdown and Fletching, or indeed in Uckfield town centre where there has been recent history of disturbance in the evenings, and has had problems with County Lines activities. With a two-day set-up and the two days events themselves, especially in subsequent years, it will be impossible to keep the location of the event secret, which may attract undesirable elements.

  • Protection of Children from Harm

Assuming the age restriction of over 18 for attendees of the event, if properly policed, this should not present a problem as such. There could however be a potential exposure for harm to children using the public rights of way beside and through the Wood.

For all the above reasons, PRA objects to this Premises Licensing Application and would ask WDC’s Licensing Sub-Committee to consider seriously the points we have made. PRA would also like the opportunity to be represented in person by a member of our Executive Committee at the Sub-Committee Meeting, which we understand is scheduled for early April. Should the Sub-Committee grant a Premises License, we would also like to be represented at the Safety Advisory Group meeting to consider the Event Management Plan submitted by condition.

In my capacity as Secretary, Piltdown Residents Association, I am submitting their formal response to the above Licensing Application, and would appreciate your acknowledgement that our objection is valid and that it will be presented to the Committee.

Yours faithfully

Joanne Emerson

on behalf of the Piltdown Residents Association and Peter Roundell, Chair.

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Information on Fletching Church services

Here is the Newsletter from the Verger, Peter Wigan.

If you have not already done so, please let Peter Wigan know which Christmas service you wish to come to and how many of you there will be. There is plenty of space available for Midnight Mass, not so much for Christmas Day.  Contact: email address
Sunday service for 20th December: Pewsheet 20 Dec 20

All readings, pew sheets and services can be seen and heard on our church website Fletching Parish Church

 

 

 

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Keep Britain Tidy Campaign in Piltdown and Fletching from 11th September

UPDATE: As you are aware the Keep Britain Tidy campaign was postponed back in March/April because of the Pandemic, the official line is to run the campaign from the 11th September 2020 for one month

Litter collecting equipment

It’s not to late for those who would like to participate,Bob White has some spare equipment Gloves,  Litter pickers, bag hoops , Hi-viz jackets and collection bags if anyone needs them.

This year we will not be doing on a set day, you can decide when and where you would like to do it if you could let me know what area you will be covering send me an email.

If you are interested please email  Bob White

 

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Safety at Piltdown golf course

I am posting a message from the Piltdown Golf Club about concerns of the safety of walkers on the golf course.
Since lockdown there has been a large increase in the number of people walking around the Piltdown Pond and ending up on the golf course side. We are sure that this is mainly visitors to the area and not local residents, but can we ask that you all keep an eye on this as it is potentially dangerous. This is a spot that can’t be seen from one of the tees, and it is quite a common landing place for golf balls.
To get to this point on the golf course side of the pond, walkers have to go past 3 signs warning them that they are entering a potentially dangerous place. Sadly they are ignoring them. We have actually seen parents lifting pushchairs with children in them over the signs warning them of danger!
Should things not improve over the next week or so we will be forced to block off the access as we can’t afford to risk the possibility of an injury to someone. We would really rather not do this if we can help it.
There have also been a few issues with people picnicking and/or sunbathing on the golf course between the pond car park and the back of our 4th green. Once again this is potentially dangerous, and we ask that visitors to the area try to stay safe and avoid this area.
Phil Bonsall
Secretary
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Latest Piltdown Golf Club Press release

Dear Piltdown Residents

I hope you and your families have all kept safe and well during the strange times we have found ourselves in. We have seen many of you enjoying some exercise over the course during the last few weeks whilst we have been closed, and that has been good to see.

However, following the government announcement Sunday 10th May, I need to inform you that the course will be open for golf from Wednesday 13th May. Therefore if you are using the course for walking, please stay on the public footpaths to enable safety for all concerned.

Golf will be played in small groups, and will be members only for the first few weeks, but I am anticipating being very busy. Please stay vigilant and aware of golfers when walking on the footpaths.

I hope you continue to stay safe and well, and look forward to seeing some of you in not too distant future.

Phil Bonsall
Secretary

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COVID-19: Financial support for businesses from Wealden

Following the Government’s announcement that support will be offered to businesses affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, Wealden District Council are now able to accept applications for grant funding.

A dedicated crisis fund of £47million is available to support Wealden businesses. Grants of up to £25,000 are available to those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. Any small business that already pays little or no business rates because of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR), Rural Rate Relief (RRR) and Tapered Relief, is eligible to apply for a one-off payment of £10,000.

An application form is now available for completion on the Wealden website: https://tinyurl.com/COVID19businesssupportgrant

Cllr Bob Standley, Leader and Portfolio Holder for Governance and Finance said: “During these uncertain times it is vital that we do all we can to support the local economy and the livelihoods of our residents. Business rates for many Wealden businesses have already been suspended for the 2020-21 tax year, and we hope that this additional support will go some way to help prevent closures and redundancies. We urge as many eligible businesses as possible to apply for this one-off grant funding to help support and secure their future in the aftermath of Coronavirus.”

More information on advice and support for businesses during the pandemic is available on the COVID-19 section of our website: https://www.wealden.gov.uk/news-and-events/coronavirus-covid-19-latest/advice-support-and-information-for-businesses/

 

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Closing certain businesses and venues from GOV.UK

As a country, we all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

That is why the government has given clear guidance on self-isolationstaying at home and away from others, and asked that schools only remain open for those children who absolutely need to attend.

On 23 March the government stepped up measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus and save lives. All businesses and venues outlined in the table below must now close.

Takeaway and delivery services may remain open and operational in line with guidance below. Online retail is still open and encouraged and postal and delivery service will run as normal.

Employers who have people in their offices or onsite should ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidelines including, where possible, maintaining a 2 metre distance from others, and washing their hands with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available).

Parks will remain open but only for individuals and households to exercise once a day. Communal spaces within parks such as playgrounds and football pitches will be closed.

1. Businesses and venues that must remain closed

To reduce social contact, the government has ordered the following businesses and venues to close:

Food and drink Exceptions
Restaurants and public houses, wine bars or other food and drink establishments including within hotels and members’ clubs Food delivery and takeaway can remain operational and can be a new activity supported by the new permitted development right. This covers the provision of hot or cold food that has been prepared for consumers for collection or delivery to be consumed, reheated or cooked by consumers off the premises.
Cafés and canteens Food delivery and takeaway can remain operational (and as above).

Cafés and canteens at hospitals, police and fire service places of work, care homes or schools; prison and military canteens; services providing food or drink to the homeless.

Where there are no practical alternatives, other workplace canteens can remain open to provide food for their staff and/or provide a space for breaks. However, where possible, staff should be encouraged to bring their own food, and distributors should move to takeaway. Measures should be taken to minimise the number of people in the canteen / break space at any one given time, for example by using a rota.

 

Retail Exceptions
Hairdressers, barbers, beauty and nail salons, including piercing and tattoo parlours  
All retail with notable exceptions • Supermarkets and other food shops

• Medical services (such as dental surgeries, opticians and audiology clinics, physiotherapy clinics, chiropody and podiatry clinics, and other professional vocational medical services)

• Pharmacies and chemists, including non-dispensing pharmacies

• Petrol stations

• Bicycle shops

• Hardware shops and equipment, plant and tool hire

• Veterinary surgeries and pet shops

• Agricultural supplies shops

• Corner shops and newsagents

• Off-licences and licenced shops selling alcohol, including those within breweries

• Laundrettes and dry cleaners

• Post offices

• Vehicle rental services

• Car garages and MOT services

• Car parks

• High street banks, building societies, short-term loan providers, credit unions and cash points

• Storage and distribution facilities, including delivery drop off points where they are on the premises of any of the above businesses

• Public toilets

• Shopping centres may stay open but only units of the types listed above may trade

Outdoor and indoor markets Market stalls which offer essential retail, such as grocery and food.
Auction houses  

 

Accommodation Exceptions
Hotels, hostels, B&Bs, holiday rentals, campsites and boarding houses for commercial use Where people live in these as interim abodes whilst their primary residence is unavailable, or they live in them in permanently they may continue to do so.

Critical workers and non-UK residents who are unable to travel to their country of residence during this period can continue to stay in hotels or similar where required.

People who are unable to move into a new home due to the current restrictions can also stay at hotels.

Where hotels, hostels, and B&Bs are providing rooms to support homeless and other vulnerable people such as those who cannot safely stay in their home, through arrangements with local authorities and other public bodies, they may remain open.

Those attending a funeral will be able to use hotels when returning home would be impractical.

Hotels are allowed to host blood donation sessions.

Caravan parks/sites for commercial uses Where people live permanently in caravan parks or are staying in caravan parks as interim abodes where their primary residence is not available, they may continue to do so.

 

Non-residential institutions Exceptions
Libraries Digital library services and those where orders are taken electronically, by telephone or by post (for example no-contact Home Library Services) may continue.
Community centres, youth centres and similar For the purpose of hosting essential voluntary or public services, such as food banks, homeless services, and blood donation sessions.

Public venues that host blood donation sessions can continue to open temporarily for these services only. A distance of two metres should be maintained as per Public Health England guidelines.

Places of worship Funerals in places of worship and crematoria, where the congregation are members of the deceased’s household or close family. In a case where no members of the deceased’s household or family members are attending, friends can attend. A distance of two metres should be maintained between every household group, as per Public Health England guidelines.

A minister of religion or worship leader may leave their home to travel to their place of worship. A place of worship may broadcast an act of worship, whether over the internet or otherwise.

For the purpose of hosting essential voluntary or public service, such as food banks, homeless services, and blood donation sessions.

 

Assembly and leisure Exceptions
Museums and galleries  
Nightclubs  
Cinemas, theatres and concert halls Small group performances for the purposes of live streaming could be permissible where Public Health England guidelines are observed and no audience attend the venue.
Bingo halls, casinos and betting shops  
Spas and massage parlours  
Skating rinks  
Fitness studios, gyms, swimming pools or other indoor leisure centres Any suitable assembly or leisure premises may open for blood donation sessions.
Arcades, bowling alleys, soft play centres and similar  
Funfairs  

 

Outdoor recreation Exceptions
Playgrounds, sports courts and pitches, and outdoor gyms or similar  

These businesses and venues must close as they involve prolonged close social contact, which increases the chance of infection spreading.

Providers of funeral services such as funeral directors and funeral homes may remain open, subject to Public Health England guidelines as mentioned in the table above.

2. Work carried out in people’s homes

Work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms.

Again, it will be important to ensure that Public Health England guidelines, including maintaining a two-metre distance from any household occupants, are followed to ensure everyone’s safety.

No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs, and where the tradesperson is willing to do so. In such cases, Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households.

No work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.

For more information, see guidance published 23 March 2020.

3. Takeaway and delivery facilities should remain open and operational.

This means people can continue to enter premises to access takeaway services, including delivery drivers.

Businesses are encouraged to take orders online or by telephone, and businesses should not provide seating areas, indoors and outdoors, for customers to consume food and drink on. Ordering in advance is strongly encouraged to avoid waiting in, as per Public Health England guidelines.

Planning regulation has been changed to enable restaurants, cafés and pubs which do not currently offer delivery and hot food takeaway to do so. The legislation can be accessed online.

People must not consume food or drinks on site at restaurants, cafés or pubs whilst waiting for takeaway food.

Those venues offering takeaway or delivery services must not include alcoholic beverages in this list if their licence does not already permit.

4. Length of closure

We are asking the businesses and venues outlined above not to open for trade from close of trade 23 March 2020.

The first point of review for these measures will be in three weeks. This review will consider their necessity and effectiveness in light of changing circumstances.

5. Compliance

Everyone is instructed to comply with the rules issued by the government in relation to coronavirus, in order to protect both themselves and others.

As of 1pm on 26 March 2020 new Regulations extending the restrictions are now enforceable by law in England due to the threat to public health. These supersede Regulations that came into force at 2pm on 21 March 2020. They are enforceable in Wales from 4pm on 26 March 2020 and Scotland from 7.15pm on 26 March 2020.

Where an owner, proprietor or manager carrying out a business (or a person responsible for other premises) contravenes the Regulations, that person commits an offence.

In England, Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers will monitor compliance with these regulations, with police support provided if appropriate. Businesses and venues that breach them will be subject to prohibition notices, and fixed penalties. With the support of the police, prohibition notices can be used to require compliance with the Regulations including requiring that an activity ceases.

If prohibition notices are not followed, or fixed penalty notice not paid, you may also be taken to court with magistrates able to impose potentially unlimited fines.

6. Financial support

Her Majesty’s Treasury also announced on 20 March 2020 a comprehensive series of measures supporting wages, cash-flow for businesses, and the welfare system.

7. Business support

In England, under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG) announced on 16 March 2020, businesses and venues in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will be eligible for cash grants of up to £25,000 per property.

Eligible businesses and venues in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000. Eligible businesses and venues in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000. Businesses and venues with a rateable value of over £51,000 are not included in this scheme.

For more information please visit the government’s business support page.

8. Business rates

In England, as announced on 16 March 2020, the government will provide a business rates holiday for businesses and venues in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector. This includes the businesses and venues in scope for closure listed above. This will apply automatically to your next business rates bill in April 2020.

9. Further information

This guidance will be updated regularly as the situation develops. For information about support for business, please go to the government’s Business Support page or visit GOV.UK.

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Ready Meals from Simon Desmond

I have decided to get back to the kitchen after a number of weeks wondering, as I’m sure you have, of how to approach our new set of living circumstances.

I attach a menu and address details for Ready Meals produced to the highest hygiene standards here in our new kitchen at Gipps Farmhouse, Spithurst Road, Barcombe, Lewes BN8 5EH.  Menu Leaflet

Completed in September 2019 the kitchen has the benefit of space, blast-chilling facilities and masses of Fridge and Freezer storage. My suppliers: TGFruits of Brighton, ‘Fish’ of Hove, ‘The Cheeseman’ of Hove, Denniker Farm Fletching, all have great and consistent stocks of fresh food.

The recipes I have chosen are for food to enjoy daily not just super rich restaurant fare – Each dish is packaged either oven ready (e.g. pies) or in reusable plastic containers with ingredient, allergen and cooking instructions. I am ‘Freezing Fresh’ so as to give the longest shelf life when defrosted.

Food is available for collection 11am -3pm.

Do get in touch if interested     With kind regards, Simon Desmond

 

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‘Press Release’ from Piltdown Golf Club

COVID 19 UPDATE FROM PILTDOWN GOLF CLUB

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all Piltdown Residents who have supported the Golf Club in one way or another, both now and in the past. Whether you have been a member, a green fee payer, an Academy Member, or even if you have just attended one of the various PRA Dinners we have hosted, we are very proud to be the centre of the village, and hope to have had a positive impact on many of your lives.

I want to give you an update on where we are with the Coronavirus Pandemic, and let you know what we are doing. I appreciate that our actions can have some effect on your lives.

We clearly need to carry out some maintenance on the course or we would be coming back to an overgrown field, and it would take weeks to make it playable. The government agree, and have said that greenkeeping is vital and is allowed to continue. The advice is that we can carry out “essential” maintenance. There is no real definition of what is “essential,” but as an ethical business we are keen to do the right thing. We normally employ 7 greenkeepers, and we have decided to take this down to 2 from now until further notice.

Therefore can I ask that if you see one of our team out working on the course, do not give them a strange look, or question their right to be working. They are allowed to be there, and we need them to do the essential work. We heard of a horrible incident at another local course yesterday where a man out walking his dog threatened a greenkeeper with a knife. We will not tolerate anything of this nature, and our staff have been told to call the police if they encounter any unsavoury behaviour.

The clubhouse will be kept closed except for me popping in from time to time to check security, check for leaks etc, so I would appreciate if those of you living on Golf Club Lane would keep an eye on our property, and report any suspicious activity. We will of course do the same for all of you when we are out and about in Piltdown.

From a golfing perspective, no one is allowed to play the course at this time. This is not our rule, it has come from the government. All the members are aware of this, but there are occasions where locals head onto the course. We know this happens, and obviously we aren’t that happy about it, but during this extraordinary time we ask you to respect the Club and the law and please stay away. Golf is not legally allowed to be your daily exercise during this period.

All of us at the Club wish you all a safe and healthy few weeks and months, and we look forward to re-opening sometime soon, and seeing you all out and about in the village at that time.

Phil Bonsall, Club Secretary

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Scams Advice During the Coronavirus Outbreak

News and Advice from Neighbourhood Watch.

We are writing to you with regards to the coronavirus and how you can access support and safeguard yourself against scams.

Social media such as Facebook Community Groups and WhatsApp Groups that send alerts can be great ways of staying in touch with those around you. However, it can be difficult to know who to trust. Such media are all online, and not everyone has access to the internet, so please help others, from a safe distance.
Please be aware that not everyone out there is trustworthy, and some people will take advantage of this unusual situation that our society is facing.

Here are just some of the scams we are aware of, but please note that criminals come in all shapes and sizes and can contact you at the door, by phone, post or online:

  • Be aware of people offering miracle cures or vaccines for coronavirus – there is no specific treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19). Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms until you recover.
  • Home cleaning services.
  • People impersonating healthcare workers, claiming to be offering “home-testing” for coronavirus – this is a scam and these kits are not currently available to buy.
  • Emails saying that you can get a refund on taxes, utilities or similar are usually bogus, and they are just after your personal and bank details.
  • There are lots of fake products available to buy online that say they can protect you or cure coronavirus. These will not help and are designed to take your money.
  • There are new mobile phone applications that claim to give you updates on the virus, but instead, they lock your phone and demand a ransom.
  • Your bank or the police will never ask for your bank details over the phone.
  • People offering to do your shopping or collecting medication and asking for money upfront and then disappearing.

Tips to avoid being scammed:

  • Be cautious and listen to your instincts. Don’t be afraid to hang up, bin it, delete it or shut the door.
  • Take your time; don’t be rushed.
  • If someone claims to represent a charity, ask them for ID. Be suspicious of requests for money up front. If someone attempts to persuade you into accepting a service they are unlikely to be genuine. If you are unsure, check with family and friends before accepting offers of help.
  • If you are online, be aware of fake news, and use trusted sources such as .gov.uk or NHS.uk websites. Make sure you type the addresses in and don’t click on links in emails.
  • Only purchase goods from legitimate retailers, and take a moment to think before parting with money or personal information.
  • Know who you’re dealing with – if you need help, talk to someone you know or get in touch with your local Council.
  • Protect your financial information, especially from people you don’t know. Never give your bank card or PIN to a stranger.

Contact information:

  • If you think you’ve been scammed, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. If you need advice, call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133. If you are in immediate danger, contact the police on 999.
  • Contact your bank if you think you have been scammed.

To learn more about different types of scams and how to protect yourself and others, visit www.FriendsAgainstScams.org.uk and complete the free online training.

Why not become a Scam Marshal? A Scam Marshal is any resident in the UK who has been targeted by a scam and now wants to fight back and take a stand against scams. Scam Marshals do this by sharing their own experiences, helping others to report and recognise scams, and sending any scam mail that they receive to the National Trading Standards Scams Team, so that it can be utilised as evidence in future investigative and enforcement work. Visit www.FriendsAgainstScams.org.uk/ScamMarshals for more information and to sign up.

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Wine delivery offer – 20% discount

While this is an unprecedented and uniquely challenging time for us all, if you find yourself at home and unable to leave your house, you will be relieved  to know that we have a warehouse full of wine that we can deliver straight to your door.  Complete Wine list

In anticipation of self-isolation we have put together a new selection of wines all at -20% discount that we hope will bring some calm and happiness during this time of uncertainty.

We are offering free delivery for orders of 24 bottles or more or a value of £150. These can be mixed cases. Smaller orders are possible but will incur a minimum delivery charge of £9.

For next day delivery, orders must be placed by 12pm the day before and paid for upfront by debit or credit card. We are currently delivering Monday-Friday and will inform you of any COVID-19 related interruptions to our delivery service on a case by case basis.

To place you order please call me on 07825 279193 or email me: Abi Schade.

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Wealden District Council Updates

Information from Trevor Scott, Chief Executive of Wealden Council

Further update from Trevor Scott, CEO of WDC, as of yesterday, 8th April

As it has been a few days since our last email, we wanted to send an update on key activities.

Shield / Hub – since going live with this service, we have received 492 calls / web contacts from residents asking for support or assistance. In line with our processes, we have been able to put in place arrangements for help and support for all those who need it. In recognition that there may be some vulnerable residents who are not aware of this service, a leaflet will be posted this week (copy attached) to all residents over the age of 70 on our electoral register data base.

Business grants – we have now received over 1900 applications from local businesses for the £10k or £25k grant payments. To remind you, we are processing these in line with the government guidance on paying grants. This means we have to capture certain information from the local businesses (which they provide via an online form), we are then having to check the eligibility of these claims (roughly 10% of applications are not valid / eligible) and then we have to process their payment through our systems. The first payments went out yesterday and we are making more payments today and tomorrow. We will also have staff working on processing these applications over the Easter weekend. So we are doing all we can to get this money out to businesses as fast as we can, whilst ensuring a balance with appropriate checks and controls.

Council Tax – we are continuing to see an upward trend on applications for benefits and council tax support. Along with processing the business grants applications, this is putting a heavy workload on our benefits team and, where possible, we are diverting staff to assist with these tasks.

Waste – the service collecting residual waste and recycling bins is performing well, with only 93 missed bins last week. We have already had almost 2000 people sign up for the garden waste collection service that starts again on 1 July.

Customer Services – due to the renewal of the garden waste service and the Shield / Hub activities, we are seeing an increase in calls. We have redeployed some staff to work in the contact centre and this is currently working well. We will also be opening the contact centre for reduced hours over the bank holiday weekend, with calls being taking between 10am & 4pm on every day except Easter Sunday.

Licence Fees – during the current ‘shutdown’ period, we are now deferring any requests for the payment of fees from licenced premises and the approach we will take is to change the anniversary of the annual fee to when it is paid, if it is paid before April 2021. For those premises who have already been issued an invoice, we will consider deferring payment on a case by case basis (remembering that some businesses are continuing to trade, so still need the licence) so please ask anyone who may contact you about this to get in touch directly with the licensing team.

Housing – we are continuing to see a small increase in people asking us for assistance with housing. We are also working with the police to try and support people as a result of an increase in domestic violence during the current lockdown period. Separately, we have also secured, on a countywide basis, suitable premises for those in temporary housing / emergency accommodation who then might need to be moved if they are presenting with symptoms of Covid-19.

Planning – we are continuing to see a reduction in the number of planning and building control applications. Whist there is still work for both teams as a result of ‘pipeline’ work, this is falling away.

We hope you are all well, staying safe and, where able, making the most of the sunny weather to get your daily exercise. Take care and enjoy the Easter weekend.

 

Update from Trevor Scott, CEO Wealden DC as of afternoon 27th March

Business rate grants – the form for businesses to claim the £10k or £25k grants is now live on our website. We have sent messages out on social media, but if you can let businesses in your area / networks know, that would be helpful. Government are due to pay us the money for distributing to businesses on the 1st April, so the sooner we have the relevant information back from businesses, the sooner we can pay out the grants.

Business rates freeze – we have been able to update our business rates systems for the over 2,200 businesses who will not now be charged business rates for the coming financial year to ensure payment is not taken for their rates (the first instalment was due to happen on Monday). New bills / invoices have to, by law, be issued to businesses even though they will be for nil / zero. We understand this may look strange but unfortunately it is a quirk of the law / system.

Council Tax. As mentioned yesterday, the hardship fund will credit relevant customers by up to £150. We have now applied that credit to the 3635 residents on Council Tax Support. There is also a concern that residents may not pay Council Tax for the coming months. Our message is to encourage customers to carry on paying as usual. Any deferral of payment has a significant impact on our cash flow (and that of the other precepting authorities).

Waste. Due to escalating staff shortages, Biffa have now confirmed that they will be suspending garden waste collections from Monday for up to 4 weeks. This accords with the Business Continuity programme we have agreed with them. Communications will be going out to residents but please can you share these messages with your networks. The message will contain advice about home composting as a temporary alternative. Whilst the timing is not fantastic, we will have to continue with the sign up for people who want to have / continue the garden waste collection service from the 1st July. That sign up goes live from 1 April so again please advise your communities to sign up as normal, although please emphasise the importance of doing this on line. Our phone lines are getting busy due to the Covid-19 response, so it will be helpful if the vast majority of our customers do this on line.

Shield / Hub. The website is up and running so again please let people know how they can either volunteer or ask for help if they need it. At a national level, Government have confirmed that the Emergency food supplies for the 1.4m nationally shielded people will start going out this weekend. For our local community shield, to try and ensure we try and contact those who might need help, we are looking at contacting all people on the electoral register who are aged 70 or over to check on them and make sure they are doing ok. That is over 20000 people so will take a significant effort (and a little time) to contact them all as we don’t have phone numbers or email addresses for all residents, so it will involve a mix of emails, calls and letters to alert people to the local shield offer. In tracing these people we will cross reference and try to avoid duplication with the national schemes where possible.

Homelessness. As an update to the concerns I highlighted yesterday, we have managed to secure access to a small amount of temporary accommodation to deal with those presenting as homeless. We are also participating in County wide discussions on this issue to ensure a co-ordinated response, including in dealing with those people who will return to our area following the Government’s move for the early release of prisoners.

We hope this update has been useful. At the moment, we aren’t anticipating sending any further updates over the weekend but if anything urgent changes that, we will let you know.

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Update from Trevor Scott, CEO of Wealden DC as of 26th March. I wanted to provide an updated on key areas of activity.

Shield / Hub. Alex White sent Parish/Town Councils an email yesterday evening which we hope provided a detailed update. The information is now live on our website so please direct anyone in your area who either wants to volunteer or who needs help and support to the website.

Business rates. Early estimates show that there are approx. 3500 businesses in Wealden that will qualify for the £10k small business grants that the Government have announced. Government have advised that we can now expect to receive the money for this in ‘early April’. In order to access the grants, Government are requiring us to capture some very specific information from business owners before any money can be paid out. We will be contacting businesses this week to let them know how to provide this information to us (we are currently designing a web form to allow this to happen electronically which will be sent to businesses and made available on our website). Once that information is with us and we have been able to verify the information provided (there is national concern about potential scams so we need to take sensible checks on the information) we will then be in a position to pay the £10k grants. We will also be identifying the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality businesses that may also qualify for the higher £25k grant and contacting them directly.

Benefits. In the last week we have seen a considerable increase in the number of new benefit claimants, existing claimants submitting change of circumstances applications and new Council Tax support applications or enquiries. We have had to allocate additional resources to this team to respond to this increasing demand on the service but the team are working incredibly hard to deal with applications as quickly as they can.

Hardship Fund. We are receiving just over £600k of funding from Government to provide further financial assistance to those who receive support under the Council Tax reduction scheme. The government has indicated that the fund should be used to reduce the liability of those receiving working age council tax support by up to £150 in 2020/21 (it is up to £150 as some Council Tax bills would reach nil with a credit of less than £150). We are working through the scheme detail and we expect to be able to credit accounts by the end of next week.

Waste Service is continuing to operate however, due to increasing staff absences, Biffa have had to stop all new requests for bulky waste collections.  The Salvation Army have also stopped collection of textiles at the bring sites.  Biffa are sending daily updates and we are monitoring the situation closely.

Homelessness. We are seeing an increase in people contacting us to present as homeless. You may be aware that the closure of hotels nationally has driven some of this growth as people who were in temporary accommodation in hotels have been required to leave. This is getting national attention and the Government have been speaking directly to national hotel chains to get them to reverse their decisions. They have also clarified that there is an exemption for hotels to open to provide accommodation to either homeless people or to NHS staff / key workers. We are working hard locally to get hotels to re-open to take homeless people where we need that accommodation in order to manage this situation.

Committee meetings. The legislation has now been passed in the Covid-19 Act to allow remote meetings. Further regulations are awaited that will provide the details on holding remote meetings.  In the meantime Democratic Services are trialling different software applications to enable this and will in due course contact members with more details.

Operationally, we have a few members of staff who are now in isolation having developed symptoms of the Covid-19 virus. As previously reported, staff have been working successfully from remote locations and we have very minimal numbers of staff in the office Monday-Thursday with the office fully closing on a Friday. Those staff apart, morale seems to be remaining high and staff are working well remotely. We are continuing to develop contingency plans should we need to redeploy staff to other activities due to workload peaks or other demands in responding to the Covid-19 situation.

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Firstly, in relation to the Council’s operations, we have moved the majority of staff to working from home. Yesterday we had over 200 staff logged in working remotely and providing services to our residents. Reception is still open and we have a small number of staff in the office. Whilst visiting officers are still able to undertake visits to homes, this is on the basis that they make appointments first and are clear that the person is happy to have a visit and is symptom free. We are also making use of technology with things such as Facetime being used to conduct remote visits to premises e.g. by housing officers or building control officers for low risk assessments. These are working well and customers are pleased with this approach. We have also been able to double our broadband bandwidth which means our online presence should be more available and quicker for staff to use.

We are currently monitoring the impact of the proposed school closures on staff and will be relaxing ‘core hours’ so that staff can work more flexibly to ensure that services are provided whilst juggling / managing childcare arrangements. As a result, you may receive emails outside of ‘normal’ working hours. We are also monitoring announcements from Government about the definition of key workers which may assist staff with childcare. Once we hear any further we will update you.

Business rates. As you will have seen the Chancellor announced in last week’s Budget that the current 50% retail discount would be increased to 100% for 2020-21 and expanded to include all occupied retail, leisure and hospitality premises.  Guidance is provided on the types of use that will be eligible for the discount.  Broadly they are hereditaments that are being used for the following purposes:

  1. as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues,
  2. for assembly and leisure; or
  3. as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation.

More detailed Government guidance on qualifying businesses and also on the other aspect of the Government announcement regarding grants and loans to businesses is still awaited. Again, once we are clear on how these will be administered we will let you know and will communicate this more widely to the business community. If you are in contact with businesses, it would be helpful if you could advise them to hold off contacting us at the moment.

We have been advised that Government will make an announcement today regarding what is being described as a Shield / Hub approach. The idea is to create support for vulnerable residents who may not have support. This is likely to focus on ensuring they have access to food, medicine and other essential supplies. The Government expectation is that the ‘shield / hub’ will be provided by local government. Whilst we are awaiting the detail of what this means, we have agreed to work collectively with the County Council and all the other District & Boroughs to ensure consistency and to support each other in providing an effective approach. I know many Town & Parish Councils are already doing similar things and we will make sure that their efforts dovetail in with whatever is expected of us under the emerging policy.

In terms of community messaging, please can you let your communities know that we are still fully operational but that if they would like our support, please use the website and/or email as the primary way of contacting us. Please strongly discourage posted communications as this presents a challenge (and an administrative task) which whilst we can manage at the moment, if there is a full lock down resulting in an office closure, then post will not be opened for that period of time.

It would also be helpful if you could continue to repeat the Public Health England guidance about good personal hygiene and when to self-isolate.

Should residents want more information about Covid-19 or our services during this time, our website has a dedicated page which is regularly updated. The link is: https://www.wealden.gov.uk/news-and-events/coronavirus-covid-19-latest/ but the link is also prominent on our homepage. Please also encourage residents to follow our twitter account (@wealdendistrict), ‘like’ our Facebook page or sign up to MyAlerts for regular updates

Could you also advise residents to be cyber secure. We understand that there is an increase in phishing attacks at this time often using Covid-19 as the cover (these are fake emails that will infect your computer with a virus if you click on them). Please urge people to be extra careful about the emails they open and the links they click on.

 

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Corona Virus – helping the community

If you are fit and well and want to offer your help, you could print and fill in the form and give it to any self-isolating neighbour that needs assistance.

It could be shopping, a phone call, posting letters or perhaps helping out with some essential gardening.

Please email if you would like to ask for more information and add your name to the list:     Peter Roundall

Unfortunately events such as litter picking, the Rights of Way walk and Community speedwatch will be postponed for the present time.

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Piltdown Village Gates

Bob White has given this information on the proposed Piltdown Village Gates.  These will be erected in three locations.

  • A272 adjacent to The Old Spot Farm
  •  A272 adjacent to Batts Cottage
  • Shortbridge Road adjacent to Upper Morgan. The applications is currently with East Sussex Highways awaiting approval for a licence (16/01/20).

Piltdown Residents Association have raised the funds over a period of three years from various events, with no contributions from The Fletching Parish Council or East Sussex County Council.

Approval for the Village Gates was given as a curtesy by the Parish Council.

These pictures are an example of village gates.

       

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The Piltdown Man Returns..

Latest News:  The Piltdown Man will be opening Saturday, 8 February 2020 from 12:00-23:00. 

A local family  will be the new tenants of the Piltdown Man Pub currently the  Lamb inn. The Hartnell family are planning to have the doors of the pub open in the first week of February to offer their fabulous menu, local ales and top quality beers. They look forward to meeting the locals.

A selection of the old pub signs over the years.

                                        

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