A vision for Hailsham

Hailsham & Hellingly Business Plan Action Points

Introduction

The original plan was established following public consultation in 2013. The list is reviewed annually in July and the current objectives were established following the review in April 2019 and are listed below. Results of the recent public consultation undertaken as part of developing Hailsham Town Council’s Neighbourhood Plan will be assessed and considered as part of future reviews of this plan.

This ‘short list’ comprises:
  • Building a culture of collaboration
  • Specialist Markets
  • Town Centre Floral Displays
  • Zero tolerance on dilapidated buildings
  • Promotion of Hailsham’s markets including the Farmers’ Market
  • Improvements to public transport infrastructure
  • Movement and access around Hailsham and Hellingly
  • Industrial Estates Access and Parking
  • Communication with parties both inside and outside Hailsham
  • Town & Shopping Guide – maintain and expand scheme to include more local information
  • Sports & Youth Facilities – improvement to health & wellbeing of residents
  • Provision of low cost start up business units.
  • Establish Keep Trade Local Campaign
  • Encourage links between education and business focussing on employment & training
  • Safety & Security
  • Hailsham FM & Hailsham News

To add a little more detail to these headings here are a few words to give a flavour of each.

Building a Culture of Collaboration

During and after the consultation process it became clear that there are many groups operating in and around the town that are all doing excellent work, aiding either directly or indirectly to improve the town for the residents and business community, however all have a limited reach in terms of gaining new support and all appear to suffer from a degree of apathy when it comes to getting people to come out and get involved. By creating a forum or platform for community groups, sports clubs, associations and interest groups to meet and share ideas and projects a more holistic approach to the marketing of, and involvement with the activities around the town can be achieved. The Hailsham Fun Day, held in July is a great example of how the community groups can come together to create an activity for the whole town to enjoy, whilst raising the profile of the town and community groups within the town.

Specialist Markets

As a further development of the now successful events and markets in Hailsham it is intended to develop the events and markets to attract more businesses and visitors to the town.

Town Centre Floral Displays

By working with the business community Hailsham Forward would like to add to and compliment the excellent work done by Environment Hailsham in the town centre.

Zero Tolerance on dilapidated buildings

Working in partnership with the Hailsham Chamber of Commerce and other parties Hailsham Forward intends to communicate with landlords and tenants, and then instigate the desired changes by introducing the relevant people to each other and providing resources to facilitate work to be carried out.

Promotion of Hailsham’s markets including the Farmers’ Market

The markets in Hailsham add value and variety to the local shopping offer and will continue to be supported and promoted with the Street Market and other activities in the town.

Improvements to public transport infrastructure

Hailsham Forward had a clear message from the consultation process that this was a key issue for the town and its residents and as such gathered a good deal of information that will be useful in the context of delivering the public transport infrastructure needed in and around Hailsham. The development of the South Wealden Plan and the Hailsham Town Council Neighbourhood Plan will further inform the process of determining the public transport infrastructure required to meet the demands of an expanding town.

Movement and Access around Hailsham and Hellingly

Building on the excellent work that the MASHH group has started, the work of the group will need to consider Wealden’s emerging Local Plan and the potential additional circa 2,500 homes for the area; as it develops solutions to keep the town’s traffic moving. Part of the solutions must be to create a network of cycle/walking and running paths that connect all parts of the town including the connections between green spaces. Getting people out of cars for short journeys will reduce the pressure on the roads and car parks and will also have an impact on the environment. It is vital that these networks are part of the planning of new developments to avoid the difficult retro fit of connecting existing communities with the standards outlined in the Sports and Youth Facilities section below.

Industrial Estates Access and Parking

The feedback from the businesses that engaged in the original consultation showed a need for some attention to this increasing problem. The Hailsham Forward Executive Team has recently met with the key East Sussex County Council member and officer to determine all the issues that the businesses on Hailsham’s industrial parks face and how to start to address these. Further discussions with the businesses on the industrial estates will aid formulation of plans.

Communication with parties both inside and outside Hailsham

Often overlooked is the process of actually telling people what is going on – Hailsham Forward has seen evidence of this on many levels, not least with the Street Market, where, when talking to people outside of Hailsham in the surrounding villages, the message that a regular market was operating was somewhat lost – and many of these people are the very people we need. So, the plan would be to engage with surrounding parish, borough and district councils, similar town teams and external community groups to, in a similar way to the item of ‘Building a Culture of Collaboration’, cooperate with and cross promote events, issues and ideas. This can also go some way to ensuring that similar events don’t clash, but also ensure that the best promotion of “what’s on” takes place.

Town & Shopping Guide

The online guide is active and the QR Code signs are now available throughout the town centre, the Guide allows visitors to the town to see exactly the shops and businesses in the High Street area. The original concept for the scheme was to cover the business and industrial estates also, and this piece of work needs now to be started to expand the reach of the scheme.

Sports & Youth Facilities

There is a distinct need to deliver improved sporting leisure and youth facilities within the town. Hailsham is lucky to have the newly refurbished Freedom Leisure Centre; however, this only caters for one aspect of sport in the town. The good work of the various sports clubs and associations in and around the town (under the umbrella of the reinvigorated Hailsham Active formally Hailsham and District Sports Alliance) have a wide range of needs, which the new housing developments around the town could go some way to funding.

The national charity Fields in Trust champions the provision of outdoor spaces for sport, play and recreation and has published widely used and accepted benchmark standards ‘Guidance for Outdoor Sport and Play – Beyond the Six Acre Standard’. Hailsham should use these guidelines as a minimum benchmark to ensure that adequate outdoor recreation space is provided to benefit residents and visitors to the town.

The current vision is to create a network of cycling/walking/running tracks that connect the town through the established Cuckoo Line. A recent report produced by cyclist Chris Boardman for Manchester highlighted the need for any cycle-path network created should be one which a 12-year-old would want to use. People do the easiest thing, so whatever we create must be easy, attractive and safe- all three, in that order, to convince those that do not cycle, walk or run already, to venture out in significant numbers.

Hailsham Forward can and should be involved in the ‘health and wellbeing’ of the town and its residents – something that sport delivers!

Provision of low cost start up business units

The Leap Cross small unit business centre has been designated for housing by WDC. There is a need for low cost start-up units in the town that Leap Cross has provided in the past. Hailsham Forward will work with WDC and part of the Local Plan to identify and secure such facilities for the future.

Establish Keep Trade Local Campaign

Hailsham Forward has agreed to support the Hailsham Shop Local initiative created by local businesses man. Local businesses pay a fee to have an interactive on-line business listing that is promoted to the extensive local audience that subscribes to the Hailsham News social media platform. Encourage links between education and business focussing on employment & training Establish and coordinate a forum for education providers, job centre plus, Hailsham Works the Now Charity Group and businesses to engage and discuss the needs and constraints each party to develop relevant vocational training and experience leading to job opportunities for the young people of Hailsham, reduce overall unemployment and any local skill gaps that exist.

Safety & Security

Establish more police presence within the town centre and industrial estates to reduce crime and the fear of crime.

Increase the provision of more attractions and events in the town centre to increase the public’s use of the town which will help reduce the fear of crime. Extended use of the town centre especially at night will help bring about the cultural change required and reduce the anti social behaviour experienced and perceived in the town centre.

The provision of more sports and youth services as described above will also assist in the reduction of crime and the fear of crime in Hailsham.

Hailsham FM & Hailsham News

The local news, information and feedback provided by local radio and social media is invaluable to the town and Hailsham Forward will continue to work with both these organisations to ensure that local information and feedback is available and used as part of the work of the partnership and other interested parties.

Summary

There are many different strands to the work schedule proposed above, and all will take a differing amount of time, effort and run to varied timescales.

The delivery of the plan will provide a range of benefits to Hailsham including the increase in the number of visitors to the town and surrounding area.

Hailsham Forward has already built a reputation for being able to deliver in very short timescales projects that people showed interest in and the important thing for Hailsham Forward now is to focus on the projects that it can have a direct influence over or involvement in.

In a similar fashion to with the Street Market project, the format for delivery on these key issues would be to establish smaller working parties operating within a framework within set out by the executive team and reporting back to the wider stakeholder base at regular intervals.