Agreement signed to transform Hailsham’s Town Farm Estate

(left to right) Alan Dalton (Vice Chairperson; Town Farm Residents Association), Steve Houghton (Living Word Community Church),�Stuart Towner (TFRA Chairman & Hailsham Town Council),�PC Justin Dighton and Cllr Graham Wells (Affordable Housing portfolio holder, Wealden District Council).

(left to right) Alan Dalton (Vice Chairperson; Town Farm Residents Association), Steve Houghton (Living Word Community Church),�Stuart Towner (TFRA Chairman & Hailsham Town Council),�PC Justin Dighton and Cllr Graham Wells (Affordable Housing portfolio holder, Wealden District Council).

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A NEW Neighbourhood Agreement has been signed to help transform Hailsham’s Town Farm Estate for its 800 households.

A survey organised by Wealden District Council earlier this year identified safety and security, litter and waste dumping, house conditions and lack of community spirit as the four main stumbling blocks to creating a happier community.

Wealden District Council, Sussex Police, East Sussex Targeted Youth Development Service and the Living Word Community Church have signed a Neighbourhood Agreement with the Town Farm Residents’ Association to work together bring about improvements.

The agreement sets out four priorities: to clean up the appearance of the estate; make people feel safer on Town Farm; improve the Housing Services on the estate and increase the sense of community spirit.

“We are already seeing the benefits of closer working with the Police and Wealden District Council on the estate,” said Councillor Stuart Towner, Chairman of the Town Farm Residents’ Association.

“It is beginning to make a real difference to the community and I hope more organisations will get involved.”

Cllr Graham Wells, Cabinet Member for Affordable Housing on Wealden District Council, said, “I have seen some terrific things on the Town Farm estate.

“The work being done by the Residents’ Association is so important to building up community spirit.

“This agreement has kick started a good working relationship and the Wealden District Council will do all it can to help residents make a real difference.”

PC Justin Dighton, of the Wealden Neighbourhood policing team, said, “This is an exciting time for Town Farm and we fully support this alongside all of the partner agencies.

“It is our aim to ensure everyone can live in a safe and secure environment without feeling worried about their own or others’ wellbeing. PCSO Parrish Claxton and myself already have a very close working relationship with the Residents’ Association and we hope to continue in this vein.”

As a result of the agreement, there will be a new recycling point installed on the estate, a free bulk refuse collection three times a year and an annual community clear-up led by the Residents’ Association.

Sussex Police will continue to support a range of activities for young people on the estate including the new skate park, the Friday Night Project and links with Arlington speedway.

It will also use acceptable behaviour contracts and other ways of monitoring young people who disrupt life on the estate.

As well as pursuing housing improvements on the estate, Wealden’s housing officers will carry out six scheduled walkabouts a year and regularly report to meetings of the Town Farms Residents’ Association.

To encourage community involvement, the Residents’ Association will hold regular open meetings in Hailsham East Community Centre at 6.30pm on the second Tuesday of each month, as well as publish a residents’ newsletter and try to organise a Town Farm football team and other activities for the community.

Weekly youth clubs providing a wide range of activities are organised by the Residents’ Association with support from the Town Council, Targeted Youth Development Service and the Living Word Community Church.

The clubs, for eight-12 year olds and 13-19 year olds, are held at the Maurice Thornton Pavilion.

The agreement follows a popular partnership agreement for the Alderbrook estate in Crowborough.

To make sure the agreement is working, the partners will produce an annual progress report in November each year.

Another survey of the estate will be carried out in April 2013.