Burgess Hill Pantry Official Opening

Great to be at the official opening of The Burgess Hill Pantry this morning, an initiative of Liberal Democrat controlled Burgess Hill Town Council to provide low-cost food for struggling families.  This is needed even more with rising prices and the threatened reduction of £20 in Universal Credit for six million families on benefit or in low paid work, this initiative provides healthy food and a breathing space for anyone in need.  Good to see the many volunteers and the ubiquitous support of Burgess Hill Lions in supporting the new charity.

For a weekly membership of £4, residents can choose a selection of food to the value of around £20, helping budgets stretch further. There’s a variety of food available including fresh fruit and veg, store cupboard favourites, bread and dairy products.  The Pantry is now open Tuesday & Thursday 10.00 am – 12.30 pm and 1.30 pm – 4.00 pm in the same shop unit at Scrapless.

Our planet is precious, we all need to help save it

Soaring temperatures worldwide, flash flooding and increasing numbers of wildfires. These are just a few ecological disasters we are seeing as a result of climate change. It is painfully obvious we must act. Locally we have seen extreme weather events such as with recent flooding.

We need to be ambitious. It is only by working with every single nation across the globe that we can hope to take on this challenge. Climate inaction is simply unacceptable. As president of COP 26, we should lead by example. The UK can lead the world in climate policy. We are hosting the UN Climate Conference (COP 26) in November 2021. We must lead the world to do what is required: limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. However, the Conservatives are delaying action on climate change.

They have failed to provide us with a plan to reach net zero emissions. We have watched as they have slashed incentives to switch to electric cars or upgrade homes for greater energy efficiency. Climate inaction is simply unacceptable. As president of COP 26, we should lead by example. Coming out of COP26, we want to see a major shift in energy consumption from fossil fuels to green alternatives.

Locally Mid Sussex District Council needs to lead the way and set its own targets for zero-carbon and to encourage and promote the adoption by businesses and residents of their own targets. We have a District Plan that allows developers to get away with minimal sustainable design requirements and build new houses and offices without targets to reduce carbon emissions or provide onsite renewable energy generation. We need more detailed planning guidance to require developers to estimate baseline energy demand and carbon dioxide emissions, and to commit to emission savings from energy efficiency measures and renewable energy micro-generation incorporated into the development.

At Liberal Democrat conference today, our members voted overwhelmingly in favour of protecting our planet. Here is what we want to do:
Lead with ambition and help all countries aspire to the 1.5 degrees limit for global warming
Keeping our 100bn a year pledge to low and middle-income countries to help with decarbonisation
Increase taxes and VAT on carbon-based activities such as first and business class flights. This will act as an incentive to switch to cleaner alternatives.
Introduce a protection and compensation package for those countries most likely to be worst affected by climate change.
Call for international agreements to phase out coal and protect our forests and work with the EU Carbon Trading System
Read our new policy on COP26
Read our new policy on Carbon Pricing
Using carbon has a price. We want to ensure that the price is fair to individuals and businesses and targets the biggest polluters.
We cannot continue as we are. The damage to our planet has already been done. We must all change our behaviour, change our economy and save our environment.

Burgess Hill electrical waste dumped on Wolstonbury Hill

The example pictured of fly tipping this week on a footpath leading to Wolstonbury Hill highlights the criminal activity of a small minority of contractors, in this case leaving delivery notes to two addresses in Burgess Hill.  However this also extends to those whose waste it is, everyone has a legal ‘duty of care’ to ensure their household or business waste is disposed of correctly. You could be prosecuted even if your waste is fly tipped by someone else on your behalf.  Most people act responsibly but remember fly tipping can be classed as any instance of leaving unwanted items e.g.: beside street bins and recycling banks, in communal bin areas, outside closed recycling centres and charity shops, as well as on roads, paths and in the countryside.

If it is on public land the Council will take action to remove but often it can be the landowners themselves who are left to pick up the bill of removing, and local wildlife and farm animals put in danger from dumped rubbish.

Everyone has a legal ‘duty of care’ to ensure household or business waste is disposed of correctly. You can be prosecuted even if your waste is fly tipped by someone else on your behalf.  Most people act responsibly but remember fly tipping can be classed as leaving items: beside street bins and recycling banks on the floor of communal bin areas, outside closed recycling centres and charity shops, on roads, paths and in the countryside.

What can we do

Suspect all waste carriers – don’t let them take your rubbish until they provide proof of registration and note their vehicle’s registration plate. This also applies to building and electrical contractors who take away their own waste.

Check that a waste carrier is registered on the Environment Agency’s website.

Refuse any unexpected offers to have your rubbish taken away.

Ask how your rubbish will be disposed of – seek evidence of this.

Paperwork must be obtained – a proper invoice, waste transfer note or receipt, including a description of the waste being removed and the waste carrier’s contact details.

Further delay opening Hawthorns Play Area

Frustratingly slow progress on opening the Hawthorns play area, an inspection took place yesterday but there were still additional items that needed addressing including ensuring the ground is level across all the site, remedying dips and holes and “undulations” which are potential trip hazards, particularly between the play area and the sports pitch, and reseeding specific areas where the grass has failed or where there are weed infestations, I have been promised that a further inspection will take place early next week to check these have been resolved. Unfortunately, local residents are stuck between a housing developer who is not expert at grounds maintenance and the Council which wants to ensure the play area is transferred to its ownership fully operational without any health and safety issues.

Thanks to Burgess Hill Lions

Todays Town Council meeting heard good progress is being made on the loan application for the Beehive with a decision expected in about a month and proposals to update the Help Point. The first meeting in person since Covid was also a chance to say thanks to Tony Parris and his thirty years of work with Burgess Hill Lions Club, fundraising for needy causes and indeed to thank all Lions for the work they do.  A presentation and gift was given by Burgess Hill Mayor Anne Eves.

St Wilfrids Road to Wivelsfield Station pathway

Pleased that the new walking and cycling between St Wifrids Road and Wivelsfield Station is now open. This is part of the Place and Connectivity Programme which by the end of the year will see six miles of safe, direct and attractive routes around Burgess Hill much of it now completed. Details of the Green Circle, the series of footpaths, cycle tracks and bridleways in and around Burgess Hill can be found here.

Sheddingdean remembrance

Thanks to Sheddingdean Baptist Church for organising a ‘Community Act of Remembrance & Tree Planting’ which took place outside Sheddingdean Community Centre, which was an opportunity to give thanks to those who worked through the pandemic to support our local community, not least the staff at the Co-op themselves. The tree was donated by the Town Council with the aim of having a lasting memorial. Candles were lit to remember those who had suffered a loss of a loved one or been impacted in some other way by the pandemic..

Clair Hall consultation opens

A public engagement and consultation programme has been belatedly launched for the future of Clair Hall, nearly a year after the Conservative Council voted to close it, and after it was taken to court by a group of Haywards Heath residents, during which it was found that the Council acted unlawfully, and therefore was forced to reconsider the decision. 

This was after the Council’s failure to properly consider the strong opposition to the closure of Clair Hall, and to engage with the approach by residents interested in taking over the management of the hall to enable it to continue as a performance venue.  The Council has form here give it previously closed the Martlets Hall in Burgess Hill and failed to support any replacement provision.

The Council ‘s press release launching this new consultation pointedly talks of the Clair Hall site rather than the hall itself, and it was clear when I asked a question at Wednesday’s Council meeting, that whilst not ruling out reuse of the hall, the administration is looking beyond that at the future of the whole site. 

Independent consultants have been engaged at a cost of £19,800 (!) to management the process.  However, I hope this becomes a real second chance to save the hall, and therefore residents in Haywards Heath and beyond now have the opportunity to engage with the twelve week consultation, and take Conservative councillors at their word, that they will act on the consultation.

Build in resilience to extreme weather

Heavy showers are having an impact on our roads so take care, flooding and drain covers blown out (this one by the entrance to Worlds End Park on Valebridge Road), and flooding in Freeks Lane and nearby houses in Dumbrills Close, as well as the previous mentioned flooding at Wivelsfield Station. Some of these issues are just the effect of heavy rain, no doubt made more extreme due to global warming, but it also highlights shortcomings in drainage infrastructure which needs to be remedied, and the need to plan for and build in more resilience to extreme weather. A particular issue is the poor drainage in Freeks Lane which has to cope with water flowing down Mill Road and swamping householders in Freeks Lane itself, local County Councillor Stuart Condie is pressing West Sussex County Council to take action to remedy this.

Wivelsfield Station approach flooded again

Flooding on Leylands Road at the west side of Wivelsfield Station has been a longstanding issue, with accumulated water after heavy rain leading to commuters being drenched as they walk along Leylands Road towards the station, due to spray from vehicles, indeed accumulated water has at times topped the pavements. A key cause has been water flowing from a spring that develops after heavy rain on the south side of the road but now the new paths just being completed under the Place and Connectivity Programme channel increased water volumes to this point.

A new culvert on the south side of Leylands Road has been excavated as part of the current works, but it appears the drains under the Leylands Road have been left untouched. This may be why the two parallel road drains on Leylands Road are currently blocked (which I have reported) and with the recent rainfall the road is currently flooded. I have asked for urgent clarification on how this additional drainage will be managed to resolve this problem.