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Burgess Hill Full Fibre ring goes live

Full FibreA gigabit capable Full Fibre digital network in Burgess Hill is now ready to use and will soon bring dramatically improved broadband connections to homes and businesses within the town.

In 2018, Mid Sussex District Council secured £2.2million from the Government to stimulate the market by making the delivery of gigabit-capable Full Fibre more commercially viable. Installation began in September last year and since then our contractor Balfour Beatty has laid over 25km of ducting across Mid Sussex, including the creation of a dedicated fibre network within Burgess Hill.

The Full Fibre network will be operated and maintained on behalf of the Council by a co-operative, sharing the digital infrastructure for the benefit of businesses and the community. Cooperative Network Infrastructure (CNI) will be working closely with the Council over the next few months to raise awareness of the network and promote the new opportunities available in Burgess Hill. Over the next few months, residents and businesses will be able to gain access to the network through commercial Internet Service Providers who are members of co-operative and are able to offer a wider choice of services at reduced market rates. 

In addition, work is continuing to expand the fibre network into our rural communities north of Haywards Heath and south of Burgess Hill thanks to £3.2million of investment secured from the Government by Mid Sussex District Council and the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership. Digital infrastructure in rural areas is often left behind that of large cities because it is a much less profitable area for private companies to install the latest gigabit capable full fibre broadband. This Government investment will help to stimulate the market in rural areas 

The expansion of Full Fibre infrastructure to rural areas of Mid Sussex is due to be completed by early 2022. We are working with the telecoms market to coordinate the commercial roll-out around East Grinstead and link to the fibre network installed by West Sussex County Council between Haywards Heath and Crawley.

News

Burgess Hill bridleway, path and cycleway upgrades

Place and Connectivity pathsWork continues to progress with our Place and Connectivity programme, improving sustainable transport links throughout Burgess Hill.

Path, cycle and bridleways are being widened to around 3 metres, so that people can share each route safely and travel throughout the town without being so reliant on the road network. Great care is being taken to ensure the surface is suitable for all users, including the horse riding community who rely on the bridleways.

The work is being carried out in sections and our team are working hard to upgrade and reopen routes as quickly as possible. The next sections to reopen are Green Link Route 5, which runs through Fairfield Recreation Ground and connects Royal George Road with Fairfield Road, and Green Link Route 7, which links Burgess Hill Railway Station with Oak Hall Park and the southern Green Circle.

By the end of 2021 it is anticipated that six miles of safe, direct and attractive walking and cycling routes will have been created or improved as part of the project. To find out more about our improvement works, including when work is scheduled to take place, visit https://burgesshill.net/transport/sustainable-transport/townwide-green-links-phase-1/phase-1-green-links 

Easing of Covid-19 restrictions

UK Government Roadmap Step 3Further coronavirus restrictions were cautiously lifted on 17 May. Some of the rules on what you can and cannot do may have changed but many restrictions remain in place.

The 17 May changes are as follows:

• The rest of the accommodation sector will open.
• Outdoor gatherings of up to 30 people will be permitted.
• Indoors, the rule of 6 or two households will apply.
• Indoor hospitality will reopen. Venues that serve alcohol must provide table service.
• Indoor entertainment and attractions, including cinemas, museums and soft play will reopen.
• Indoor exercise classes and adult group sports can resume.
• Performances and sporting events in indoor and outdoor venues can resume with capacity limits.
• Up to 30 people will be able to attend significant life events including weddings, receptions, christenings and bar mitzvahs.
• The legal limit on the numbers of mourners at funerals will be lifted. Venues should set legal limits based on capacity.

For full details visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do 

Think carefully to avoid the spread of Covid-19

Protect against Covid-19West Sussex took a significant step towards normality when many businesses were able to reopen more fully and close contact between friends and family was allowed again from 17 May.

But people have been asked to think carefully to ensure the most vulnerable avoid unnecessary exposure to the ongoing risk of Covid-19.

West Sussex Director of Public Health, Alison Challenger, said: “The latest easing of restrictions from 17 May, in line with the government’s roadmap, is testament to everyone who has followed the guidelines during the pandemic.

“Some restrictions still apply though, and we must continue to protect the most vulnerable from the ongoing risk of Covid-19.

“People have been given the personal choice whether or not they resume close contact with family and friends. But it is a choice that should be made carefully as close contact, including hugging, increases the risk of spreading Covid-19.

“The best way we can keep ourselves and others safe is to take free lateral flow tests to ensure we are not spreading the virus, and to get vaccinated when we are eligible.

“We should also remember to keep washing our hands regularly, wear a face covering when required, keep socially distanced from others where possible and let in fresh air. These simple steps make a big difference in stopping Covid-19.”

You can find out how to order or collect free lateral flow tests for people without symptoms of coronavirus on the West Sussex County Council website.

You should self-isolate immediately if you develop symptoms of Covid-19 and book a free test as soon as possible via the NHS website or by calling 119.

Schoolchildren learn about digital connections

St Augustine\'s SchoolBalfour Beatty has provided St Augustine's Catholic Primary School in Scaynes Hill with £1,000 for new IT equipment to help them make the most of a new Full Fibre broadband connection provided by the Government. 

St Augustine's was identified by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as one of 500 rural schools around the UK that required support to access Full Fibre broadband and provided them with the necessary funding to install it.

Balfour Beatty is helping Mid Sussex District Council to rollout Full Fibre broadband infrastructure to rural communities in Mid Sussex. To help the children learn more about the importance of digital infrastructure and how it affects our everyday lives, they took part in a competition to design posters that show what digital connections mean to them. The winners were Alex and Lily in Upper Key Stage 2, Lexie in Lower Key Stage 2 and Melissa who is in Key Stage 1.


Northern Arc infrastructure progress

Northern Arc Link Roads mapHomes England has appointed Jackson Civil Engineering and John Sisk and Sons to build essential road infrastructure that will support the Northern Arc development in Burgess Hill. Work is already underway at both the Eastern and Western sides of the Northern Arc site to construct the new road network. 

One of the main benefits of Homes England managing the Northern Arc development in Burgess Hill is that they can ensure essential infrastructure is delivered alongside the new homes. The road and associated roundabouts to the west of the Northern Arc, together with improved pedestrian and cycle routes for sustainable travel, will help to ease traffic pressures and provide better public transport connections for residents.

Jackson Civil Engineering is building the Western Link road connecting the A2300 in the north to Jane Murray Way in the south, with new roundabouts built at the intersections with the existing highways. Construction of the northern half of the A2300 roundabout is scheduled to be completed later this month (May 2021) and this will be followed by the construction of the southern half of the roundabout and main carriageway.

John Sisk and Sons is working on the Eastern Bridge and Link Road which will join Freeks Lane to Isaacs lane, providing pedestrian and vehicle access to the eastern part of the Northern Arc site. Sisk have now finished the initial site clearance along Isaacs Lane and at the future bridge location, as well as ground investigation for underground services. Now that this is complete, the next step is to limit the environmental impact during construction by erecting fencing to protect tree trunks and branches from moving machinery, as well as protecting tree roots from excavation. 

For all the latest news on the Northern Arc project visit www.burgesshill.net or www.facebook.com/northernarc 


West Sussex County Council election results

WSCC logoThe Conservatives have retained control of West Sussex County Council following the local elections on Thursday 6 May.

After the votes were counted, the Liberal Democrats remain the largest minority party at County Hall.

The new composition of the 70-member council is:

  • Conservatives: 48 councillors
  • Liberal Democrats: 10 councillors
  • Labour: 9 councillors
  • Green Party: 1 councillor
  • Independent: 1 councillor
  • Local Alliance: 1 councillor

The full results for the election can be found at www.westsussex.gov.uk/about-the-council/how-the-council-works/elections/county-council-elections-6-may-2021/ 

Katy Bourne re-elected in third term as Sussex Police Crime Commissioner

Katy Bourne has been re-elected as the Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner for another term of office. She will serve for a period of three years (as opposed to the normal four-year term) following the postponement of the election, initially planned for May 2020, due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) is responsible for setting the strategic objectives for policing in Sussex. This includes setting and updating a police and crime plan, setting the force budget and precept, and appointing, or where necessary dismissing, the Chief Constable.

The results of the 2021 Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner election are as follows:

Candidate First preference votes Second preference votes Total votes
Jamie Frank Bennet (Liberal Democrats) 63,271 63,271
Kahina Suzanna Bouhassane (Green Party) 60,781 60,781
Katy Elizabeth Bourne (Conservative) 214,523 30,287 244,810
Paul Adrian Richards (Labour and Cooperative Party) 84,736 43,523 128,259
Roy Thomas Williams (Independent) 30,408 30,408
Rejected Ballots 11,331




Your Council

New Mid Sussex District Council Chairman

Councillor Margaret BelseyCouncillor Margaret Belsey is the newly elected Chairman of Mid Sussex District Council. She will hold the position for two years during the civic term of office that runs from May. Councillor Salisbury has been appointed as the new Vice-Chairman.

Councillor Belsey has represented the East Grinstead, Ashplats Ward on Mid Sussex District Council for the past two years, during which time she has also been the Council’s Vice-Chairman. She has lived with her husband Edward in East Grinstead for 28 years and together they work in their family business. They have two sons and two grandchildren. 

Since becoming a District Councillor in East Grinstead, Councillor Belsey has served on a number of important committees, including being Vice Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee for Customer Services and Service Delivery and currently serves on the Scrutiny Committee for Housing, Planning and Economic Growth. She served as Town Mayor of East Grinstead in 2013 and as well as being a Town Councillor is a Trustee of Age UK and a School Governor of Blackwell Primary School. 

Councillor Belsey has confirmed that her chosen charity for the year will be announced at the next full Council meeting.  

“It is a great honour to be elected by my fellow Councillors to be Chairman of Mid Sussex District Council for the next two years,” said Councillor Belsey. “I am looking forward to representing the Council; meeting people in our local communities and businesses throughout our District.  

“I’d like to thank my predecessor, Councillor Trumble for all his hard work. We have been lucky enough to have had some remarkable Chairmen and women to represent this Council over the years and I aim to follow the high standards they have set.”

Mid Sussex mourns the loss of Councillor Andrew MacNaughton

Councillor Andrew MacNaughtonMid Sussex District Council is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Councillor Andrew MacNaughton, who passed away recently.

Councillor MacNaughton was the Mid Sussex District Council Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning, and he represented Mid Sussex residents in the Ardingly and Balcombe Ward for 34 years. He will be greatly missed.

As a mark of respect, the Mid Sussex District Council flag flew at half-mast to mark the long and distinguished period of public service that Cllr MacNaughton has given to the people of Mid Sussex. A minute’s silence will be observed at the next Full Council meeting on 30 June.

Councillor Jonathan Ash-Edwards, Leader of Mid Sussex District Council said: “I am deeply saddened by the death of Andrew MacNaughton. Andrew was a wonderful man and a highly respected Councillor who will be greatly missed. He was committed to public service and served continuously for 34 years, providing the benefit of his experience and wisdom, especially on planning matters, to many Councillors over that time. Andrew leaves a huge legacy, having played an instrumental role in the District Plan, and his passion for affordable homes and better supporting those in emergency housing need will continue to benefit many in Mid Sussex. My thoughts are with Andrew’s family”.

Nominate your community champions for Mid Sussex Applauds

Mid Sussex Applauds winners 2020Do you know of a person, group or organisation that goes above and beyond in the local community? Mid Sussex Applauds is now open for nominations through June and July.

Mid Sussex Applauds is our local Awards for the Mid Sussex area, so anyone who lives or works in the area is entitled to be nominated.

Business in the Community Award – sponsored by the Caravan and Motorhome Club
Recognising a business which supports or makes a positive contribution to benefit and enhance community life

Young Volunteer of the Year – sponsored by Clarion Futures
Recognising those young people who have made a difference in their local community

Take Pride in Mid Sussex – sponsored by Id Verde
This award will recognise residents who dedicate their time and energy into keeping Mid Sussex clean and green, take pride in their local area by creating community gardens, painting local spaces, upcycling or encouraging others to recycle.

Lifetime Achievement Award
An individual who has made a substantial commitment to the community in their lifetime

Stronger Together – sponsored by the Orchards Shopping Centre
For an individual who has helped to bring together cultures and communities through a local project or community activity

Good Sport Award
A club or individual who has made an outstanding contribution to supporting activity or sport in Mid Sussex

Stronger Communities – sponsored by CAE
A community group or organisation that has helped to bring together cultures and communities through a local project or community activity

Young Achiever Award
Against all the odds, someone who has overcome significant obstacles and made a positive difference to their own lives or to other young people through education, campaigning or helping another overcome a difficult situation or personal problem

You can nominate and see the amazing stories of our previous winners at www.midsussex.gov.uk/applauds 

Council meetings

Council ChamberAs of May 2021, decision making meetings of the Council have returned to in-person sessions. A number of meetings remain virtual, and are marked as such below.

You can follow virtual meetings on the Mid Sussex District Council YouTube channel.  For further details of the location of in-person meetings please see www.midsussex.gov.uk/council or contact Committee Services on 01444 477225.

Meeting agendas and papers will be available online five working days before each meeting at the links below:

7 June - Cabinet (16:00) - Virtual 

7 June - Standards Committee (18:00) - Virtual

30 June - Council (18:00) 

8 July - District Planning Committee (14:00) 

Your services

Register your food business

Register your food businessLots of people have been cooking and baking more at home because of the Covid-19 lockdowns, but if you decide to sell the food, you need to register your business with the council.

We’re encouraging all new food businesses to register as soon as possible so we can help them with the latest food hygiene and safety guidance.

The Food Standard Agency has produced a handy online guide for new food businesses and you can find full details at www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/starting-a-food-business-from-home?fbclid=IwAR3lcQhKl5lt4aVo-8Fq968zHlG8hqgobrCjhcdB4yWaCZbaRzI_1It4DrU 

To register a food business with us visit www.midsussex.gov.uk/environment/food-safety

Mid Sussex businesses urged to apply for new Restart Grants

RestartGovernment Restart Grants are available now to help local businesses reopen safely as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

The Restart Grants are being administered by Mid Sussex District Council on behalf of the Government. Businesses in the non-essential retail sector are eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000, while businesses in the hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care, and gym sectors are eligible for one-off grants of up to £18,000.

Businesses can apply for the new Restart Grant support at https://midsussex.grantapproval.co.uk/. The application process is quick, simple and the amount paid is based on the rateable value of the property.

It is vital that local businesses and organisations tap into these grants, so that they can reopen and restart safely after the huge impact of this pandemic. Last year was tough for everyone but this is an opportunity to kickstart our local economy and help Mid Sussex businesses bounce back strongly.

The Government has also released more discretionary funding for a further round of Additional Restrictions Grants. The grants will help to support businesses that have been negatively impacted financially by the pandemic but may not pay business rates. Businesses can apply for these grants at https://midsussex.grantapproval.co.uk/

The deadline to apply for the new Restart Grants and the latest Additional Restrictions Grants is midnight on 30 June 2021. 

For further information, or to find out more about the latest financial support for local businesses, email businesssupport@midsussex.gov.uk.

Wellbeing

Preventing Suicide in Sussex

Preventing suicideIf you are thinking about suicide, or are worried about someone who might be, help is just a click away. Don’t ignore the warning signs. Together we can stop it.

If you are going through a difficult time or are worried about someone else, don’t go through it alone...TALK

Tell someone what you are thinking and how you are feeling

Ask for their help or seek help

Listen to their advice or seek advice from others

Know who to call in a crisis and keep the number with you at all times

If you are concerned your child may be feeling suicidal, the following advice may help:

  • Notice when they seem upset, withdrawn or irritable
  • Encourage them to talk about their worries, listen to them and help them find their own solutions
  • Keep all medicines locked away, including painkillers such as paracetamol
  • Suggest your child talks to their GP or a Counsellor about how they feel
Help and support is always available. Please contact the following organisations if you need help.

West Sussex Mind: westsussexmind.org
Samaritans: samaritans.org
Sussex Mental Healthline: 0800 0309 500

Parks & Rangers

More wildflower meadows in 2021

RewildingWe're creating more wildflower meadows in local parks and open spaces this summer to encourage native insects, wildlife and grassland species to thrive.

Open space in nearly 30 locations across Mid Sussex will be set aside and left to grow throughout the summer as part of the national Blue Campaign. You will be able to spot the protected areas because they will each be marked with a blue heart symbol.

A recent study by the Wildlife Trust suggests that 90% of lowland grassland has been lost in the 20th Century, areas that form an essential part of the UK’s ecological infrastructure. It is this dramatic decline in biodiversity and biomass that led wildlife film maker Fergus Beeley to create the Blue Campaign, a conservation project, which aims to rewild areas across Great Britain by letting grass grow naturally.

By letting the grass grow, native wildflowers begin to emerge, and they provide a natural canopy for smaller creatures like short tailed field voles, crickets and grasshoppers. Various types of beetle and caterpillar will start to feed off the native wildflowers and in turn, they will support families of growing blue tits.

To find out more about rewilding and increasing biodiversity in the UK, just visit www.bluecampaignhub.com


Help us to improve Brooklands Park

Brooklands ParkThe COVID-19 pandemic has reminded everyone just how important parks and open spaces are for local communities across the UK. As we ease out of lockdown, we are planning ahead for future improvements to Brooklands Park in East Grinstead.

To help us create a plan, we'd like you to tell us about how you currently use Brooklands Park, and how you would like to use it in the future, by completing a short questionnaire 

Your answers will help us develop draft proposals, which we will share with local residents and use to gather further feedback. After that we can finalise a plan and start delivering the improvements throughout the Park.

Your support will help inform decisions about what to improve and how the future of the park might look and feel in years to come.

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