A vision for Hailsham
Hailsham & Hellingly Business Plan Action Points
The original plan was established following public consultation in 2013. The list has been reviewed annually in April and the current objectives are proposed following the review in April 2022 and are listed below.
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 and youth facilities – improvement to health and wellbeing of residents
- Establish ‘Keep Trade Local’ campaign
- Hailsham Business Improvement District (BID)
- Encourage links between education and business focussing on employment and training
- Safety and security
- Hailsham News & Hailsham FM
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 several consultation processes, it is 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 appear to suffer from a degree of apathy when it comes to getting people to come out and get involved. The creation of the ‘Hailsham Community Groups Forum’ for community groups, sports clubs, voluntary associations and interest groups – which, having been developed over the years, meets regularly and share ideas/projects for a more holistic approach to the marketing and involvement with activities around the town - has helped achieve this goal. The Forum is now meeting again following the lifting of Covid restrictions.
Following the lifting of Covid restrictions, it is intended to support the development of 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 on the various horticultural displays in the town centre.
Zero Tolerance on dilapidated buildings
Working in partnership with the Hailsham & District 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 Hailsham Street Market and other activities in the town. Support will be provided to the Farmers’ Market as and when they must relocate from the cattle market site because of the development of the area.
Improvements to public transport infrastructure
Hailsham Forward had a clear message from previous consultation that this was a key issue for the town and its residents. Hailsham Town Council’s Neighbourhood Development Plan and the development of the Wealden Local Plan will further inform the process of determining the public transport infrastructure required to meet the demands of an expanding town. In a recent review by the Hailsham Forward Executive Team, it was highlighted that car parking in the town centre was an issue again with more people visiting the town centre. The Aspires Project was not delivering any more spaces as detailed in the latest plan. This needs to be challenged as the welcomed increase in footfall in the town needs to be serviced by more spaces, together with the mitigation measures to resolve the highways pinch points in the town that have existed for many years.
Movement and Access around Hailsham and Hellingly
Building on the work that the Movement and Access Strategy for Hailsham & Hellingly (MASHH) group has achieved in the past, the work of the group will need to consider Wealden’s emerging Local Plan and the potential additional homes for the area as it develops solutions to keep the town’s traffic moving.
Industrial Estates Access and Parking
The feedback from the businesses that engaged in previous consultation showed a need for some attention to this increasing problem. This will need to be addressed within the emerging Wealden Local Plan.
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 Hailsham 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 what shops and businesses there are in the town centre, and some of the industrial estates. The Guide is regularly updated to ensure that it is current.
Sports & Youth Facilities
There is a distinct need to deliver improved sporting, leisure and youth facilities in the town. Hailsham is lucky to have the Freedom Leisure Centre close to the town centre, however, this only caters for one aspect of sport in the town. The good work of the various sports clubs and associations in Hailsham and its environs (under the umbrella of Hailsham Active - formerly known as the Hailsham & District Sports Alliance), has discovered that there is a wide range of needs, which the new housing developments around the town could go some way to funding. The current ambition is to expand on the network of cycling/walking/running tracks that connect the town through the established Cuckoo Trail. Hailsham Forward can and should be involved in the health and wellbeing of the town and its residents – something that sport delivers! Part of this work is also to maintain the ‘Active Spaces’ exercise classes that are now operating in and around Hailsham, with start-up funding from the Fields in Trust charity.
To be able to make the best use of recreation land provided by developers in the future, all green spaces allocated as part of planning permission for residential developments should have a minimum standard, to include a small building (shed) with power, water supply and removal. This would allow the space to be used better and developed over a period.
Establish "Keep Trade Local" campaign
Investigate various schemes already in existence and work with a chosen partner to establish a supportive business base.
Hailsham Business Improvement District (BID)
Hailsham & District Chamber of Commerce has developed a Business Improvement District (BID) proposal, focused on a zero-carbon environment, renewable energy, social heating projects and enhanced building insulation for the benefit of the entire Hailsham and District business area.
The BID will provide businesses with knowledge and assistance both to increase their energy efficiency, reduce substantially costs and ultimately become zero-carbon compliant.
New business opportunities will emerge in the zero-carbon economy and the BID will engage with the Government and other sources of assistance on behalf of businesses in the Hailsham District to take maximum advantage of any opportunities.
The Chamber's BID focuses on zero-carbon green energy benefitting the environment whilst reducing costs for businesses and creating new business opportunities in the BID District.
Today, businesses are confronted by spiralling energy costs whilst being legislated into ultimately a zero-carbon economy.
Additionally, it is now generally accepted that global warming is responsible for the change in climatic conditions caused by burning fossil fuels, cutting down forests and farming livestock, adding enormous amounts of greenhouse gases to those naturally occurring in the atmosphere, increasing the greenhouse effect and global warming.
Energy and climate costs are growing, as are the costs of national insurance and business rates with small and medium businesses being particularly affected and the Hailsham & District Chamber of Commerce is continually being reminded by their members of these increased costs and asking for solutions.
With this in mind, the Chamber is proposing a Business Improvement District (BID) for Hailsham and the surrounding District which will provide businesses with knowledge and assistance both to increase their energy efficiency and also to reduce substantially costs.
Whilst the current rapid rise of all energy costs proceeds along with the highest rises in interest rates in forty years, there are solutions, and the Chamber of Commerce proposes to enable businesses in the Hailsham district - through the BID - to take advantage of both the solutions and opportunities.
Encourage links between education and business focussing on employment and training
Establish and coordinate a forum for education providers, Job Centre Plus and businesses to engage/discuss the needs and constraints of each party to develop relevant vocational training and experience leading to job opportunities for the young people of Hailsham, reduce overall unemployment and recover 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 antisocial 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.
There are many different strands to the work schedule proposed above and all will take a differing amount of time and 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. The important thing now for Hailsham Forward is to focus on the projects that it can have a direct influence over or involvement in.