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Buxted Parish Council

Buxted Parish Council came into being in 1894 when the present system of Parish Councils was instituted to give rural communities a voice. Buxted Parish covers some 7,000 acres with an electorate of about 2,500 out of a population of 3,200. It encompasses the villages of Buxted, High Hurstwood and Five Ash Down.

The parish is divided into two wards – Buxted/Five Ash Down (10 councillors) and High Hurstwood (5 councillors). Councils are elected for a term of 4 years. Council meetings are held on the second Tuesday in every month (except August), alternating between Buxted Reading Room, High Hurstwood Village Hall and Five Ash Down Village Hall, at 19.30. Meetings agendas are displayed one week in advance on the Parish notice boards in Buxted (on the Ionides Trust site), High Hurstwood (near The Hurstwood pub) and in Five Ash Down (outside the Village Hall) and on the website. The agenda includes a list of any planning applications received from Wealden District Council for consultation. All meetings of the Council and its committees are open to the public, who are welcome to ask questions or raise issues with the Council before the meetings formally begin.

An early requirement was to provide allotments, which we do. Councils can also support arts and crafts; contribute to maintenance of churchyards; protect commons, provide buildings for public meetings, functions and entertainment, maintain public footpaths and bridleways (jointly with ESCC), provide footway lighting (we don’t), provide and maintain public open spaces, and comment on planning applications.

We also take an active interest in highways matters, policy and our environment (e.g. trees and hedgerows). More and more we have to comment on government policies for local government and voice our electors’ concerns.

Parish assets include Buxted Reading Room, two recreation grounds (Buxted and High Hurstwood), two allotment areas in Buxted (recently re-generated) and High Hurstwood, children’s play areas in Buxted and High Hurstwood, and two bus shelters. The budget is set annually over the period October to December. Planned expenditure less income forms the ‘Parish Precept’ which is levied as part of annual Council Tax. Apart from meeting general running expenses of the council – specifically employing our Parish Clerk – the council makes grants to local organisations and contributes to local projects e.g. Buxted Traffic calming.

The Parish Council recognises the burden of Council Tax but is also conscious of local needs for improvements in the Parish that increasingly are not being covered by either County or District as they seek to keep within national government budgets. Before increasing Precept to cover costs of local improvements such as the recent traffic calming, the Parish Council ensures that such improvements are what our electorate want and are prepared to pay for.

Councillors sit on various committees (e.g. Finance, Planning, Communications) and outside bodies (e.g. Ionides Trust, Buxted Community Hall Trust). Each keeps an eye on different parts of the Parish, e.g. for planning purposes and trees.

Our Parish Clerks, Beccy Macklen & Claudine Feltham (01435 812798) who act as the Council’s ‘proper officers’ on the Council’s behalf and under its direction. Both Clerks are available at the Reading Room to handle enquiries personally from parishioners on the first Thursday of every month from 10.15-11.30.

Latest Parish News

New free bus service for visitors to Sheffield Park and Garden during rhododendron season

10

May 2022
New free bus service for visitors to Sheffield Park and Garden during rhododendron season

The National Trust’s Sheffield Park and Garden in East Sussex is famed for its spectacular displays of rhododendrons in spring, with tunnels of bright, uplifting flowers.

And now visitors can use sustainable transport to visit, as part of a free bus trail, every Tuesday in May 2022, in an initiative supported by East Surrey Rural Transport Partnership.

The conservation charity aims to make the Grade II listed garden more accessible to visitors and volunteers in the local community. All seats on the service are fully wheelchair accessible. It leaves Uckfield Bus Station on Tuesday mornings, returning after lunch, with journey times coinciding with mainline London train services from Uckfield rail station, just a five 5 minute walk away.

May is an exciting time for Sheffield Park and Gardens as it comes alive with thousands of brightly coloured blooms of rhododendrons, one of the best times to visit the park.

Councillor Roy Galley, Wealden’s portfolio holder for climate change said, “This is an opportunity for residents to visit these world-famous gardens by public transport. This is a pilot service, but we hope it will continue with enough community support.

“The idea is to link this service with rail journeys to and from London Bridge so that people can visit Sussex, Surrey and London car-free.”

For more information, booking online and bus timetable visit http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sheffield-park-and-garden/whats-on

Going online when you’re out and about

03

May 2022
Going online when you’re out and about

How to protect yourself, your information and your devices away from the home or office

As the weather improves and COVID-19 restrictions have largely been lifted, many of us are getting out and about more with our connected devices, whether it’s in our personal lives or for work. After all, there’s nothing quite like being able to enjoy a coffee when you’re working on a spreadsheet or catching up via video call from the park.

Being online when away from our home or workplace, however, does make it vital to maintain safe and responsible habits and always remain aware of our location and surroundings. If we don’t, using our devices away from these relatively secure environments does pose certain risks:

• Your online activity or open apps being incepted via an unsecured or fake Wi-Fi hotspot.

• Your device being accessed via Bluetooth to view your contacts list or access your handset’s commands.

• Loss or theft of your device – either when you leave it unattended or while using or carrying it.

• Others dropping unwanted or potentially dangerous or compromised files on your device via features like AirDrop, Nearby Share or third-party mobile file transfer apps.

• ‘Shoulder surfing’ – when others behind or beside you check out what’s on your screen.

• Your screen being viewed and/or recorded by obvious or covert video surveillance.

• Others eavesdropping on your video calls and meetings, either physically or if they’ve intercepted them online by having the password.

One of the main risks associated with device use in a public place is that Wi-Fi may not be secured, enabling unauthorised interception of anything you are doing online by cybercriminals. The same applies if a bogus Wi-Fi hotspot has been set up to emulate the premises’ own network. Entering a key or code supplied by the premises purely provides access and does not indicate security.

Top online safety tips for when you’re out and about

• Never use Wi-Fi hotspots when doing anything private or sensitive: they may be insecure, or somebody may have set up a fake hotspot to intercept what you’re doing. Instead, use your data or a secure mobile router (dongle), or wait until you can connect to secure Wi-Fi. If you use a VPN (virtual private network), bear in mind that the provider could access your communications.

• Use Bluetooth and mobile file-sharing apps with care. Ensure they’re switched off when not required. If you do use Bluetooth, make sure your devices are not left ‘discoverable’. Don’t pair devices in public in case someone is scanning you while you create the connection. Restrict access to known, paired devices. Never accept files transmitted via Bluetooth from unknown or suspicious sources.

Never leave devices unattended, nor in view when not using them, on your seat or table, at the gym, in a vehicle or on public transport.

• Be aware of who’s around you and may be watching what you are doing online. Consider using a privacy filter which effectively obscures your screen from people sitting either side of you.

Avoid getting distracted by somebody who could steal your device.

• Try not to use your device or have it on show when walking around. You could risk becoming a victim of theft and your personal safety could be compromised.

• Don’t forget that many apps connect to the internet in the background so you should check your settings to be sure of what information is being sent.

• Consider disabling geolocation on devices and apps(including social media and fitness apps and your camera). Ensure your home or place of work isn’t revealed if the device falls into the wrong hands or its security is compromised.

Get Safe Online

Get Safe Online is the UK’s leading source of information and advice on online safety and security, for the public and small businesses. It is a not-for-profit, public/private sector partnership backed by law enforcement agencies and leading organisations in internet security, banking and retail.

For more information and expert, easy-to-follow, impartial advice on safeguarding yourself, your family, finances, devices and workplace, visit www.getsafeonline.org.

If you think you’ve been a victim of online fraud, report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre on 0300 123 20 40 or atwww.actionfraud.police.uk. In Scotland, report fraud to Police Scotland by calling 101.

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