Draft Minutes of the Meeting of the Wealden District Association of Local Councils held at the Civic Community Hall in Hailsham on Wednesday 3rd April 2024 at 7.00pm

Information Technology (IT)

IT, which includes the Council’s website. Cyber security is a top risk and Wealden experiences over 300 attacks daily, none of which have been successful.

All its laptops have been geo locked which means they only work in the UK and can’t be hacked by other countries. He warned everyone to be vigilant with emails and not open up any strange links.

Predicting the future

One example of this was the Covid situation where the District Council was ahead of the game and donated 400 laptops with the right software in 48 hours.

Housing Services

Wealden is building more affordable houses, one example of which is Cart Barn Place.


Wealden also promotes energy efficiency and has recently given Citizen’s Advice a grant to enable it to provide debt advice.

In answer to Councillor’s questions, he:

  • Confirmed Wealden is providing more affordable housing than it has targeted for, His team inputs into the Local Plan and planners are still encouraging developers to mix affordable housing within their developments (pepper potting).
  • Said the right to buy still exists and he will let the Honorary Secretary know how many tenants have taken up the option recently.
  • The numbers of homeless people in the district has risen from 21 in 2018 to 75 now but the numbers are low compared to other districts and boroughs.
  • Confirmed that at Full Council on the 21st February it was agreed that properties that have been empty for between one and five years will be subject to a 100% premium on top of the council tax charge. The aim is to bring more properties back onto the market but exceptions can be made.

Mr Bone said he has been Head of Waste, Assets and the Crematorium for eighteen months and as such is responsible for:

Waste bin services

Residents should now have received notice of changes being made to their refuse and recycling collections. The changes will take place from the 15th April and are needed to help balance out the number of new developments.

Waste Performance

The District Council now has a 50% recycling rate (which is up from 45%), missed bin collections are now only 25 per 100,000 and less than 0.5% of our waste goes to landfill. From 2026 Wealden has a statutory duty to collect food waste and will need to buy more lorries and containers for which the Government is providing some but not all of the funding.

Talks are also taking place with Biffa to extend its waste contract to 2033 and the Street Scene Team has just been awarded £20,000 to help them run a campaign which aims to reduce the amount of fly tipping in the District.

The District Council’s Assets

These include the Council’s offices, car parks, green spaces and leisure centre buildings.

The car park at Pevensey Bay has recently been resurfaced and the toilet block has been refurbished.

Sport England has just donated £70,000 towards the maintenance of the swimming pool at Freedom Leisure in Hailsham. It rejected the bids made for other areas in the District but those pools are to remain part of Wealden’s business plan. Freedom Leisure is also investing £300,000 in the facilities at Uckfield.

Energy performance surveys are being undertaken in council owned properties to help reduce costs and the Council has produced a Cuckoo Trail Masterplan for which it has been given money from the Shared Prosperity Fund to spend on signage, benches, exercise equipment and a new hub.

The Crematorium opened in 2019 and is now a favourite amongst funeral directors. Solar panels have been installed on its roof and another Open Day is planned on the 31st July from 11am to 3pm, to which everyone is invited.

In answer to Councillor’s questions, he also confirmed:

  • Residents who use unlicensed contractors to collect their rubbish will ultimately be fined.
  • There is CCTV in the lay by in Back Lane but it is not there all the time.
  • Wealden does not have a specific policy for land transfers but if a Parish or Town Council would like to purchase any land from it they should contact him in the first instance.
  • He is working with Highways to try and co-ordinate litter picking with verge cutting.
  • He will consider offering longer leases to Parish Councils who rent land from them because it will enable them to apply for more grants.
  • Wealden would like more health centres in the District and is doing all it can to make that happen, but ultimately they are the responsibility of the NHS who are notoriously slow when it comes to dealing with such matters.
  • The District Council will consider increasing the number of/extending its car parks if it is asked to but its priority is to encourage other means of transport, such as cycling. It also wants to increase residents to use the Cuckoo Trail more.

5. Overdevelopment in Wealden

Councillor Sambrook (Chair of Wealden Against Over Development Group) and Mr Daines from the group are to be interviewed next week on Uckfield Radio.

6. Reports from Outside Meetings

Councillor Stevens said Action in Rural Sussex has set up Sussex Rural Affordable Housing and is working with Wealden to find solutions that help meet local housing need. The first meeting has already taken place and he will provide regular updates at future WDALC meetings.

7. Next Association Meeting: The next Association Meeting will be held on the on 10th July 2024 at 7pm in the Green Room, Uckfield Civic Centre TN22 1AE.

There were no further questions and this meeting ended at 8.25pm.