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From chefs to new parents, we all benefit from a daily bus service

In spring 2017, after a four year absence and bucking a national trend, a Sunday bus service was restored linking rural communities and major towns in East Sussex and West Kent to their mutual benefit, On the very first day, the Sunday bus service between Hastings and Cranbrook, connecting there with the Arriva 5 to Maidstone, helped to get two chefs to their Sunday jobs. Food for thought!

The good news is that following a successful trial period, the service is set to continue through winter 2018 and summer 2019 with five return services a day.

Key to the start-up was recognition that growing annual visitor numbers at Bodiam Castle (200,000) and on Kent and East Sussex Railway (100,000) offered an opportunity to reintroduce a viable service. These attractions are mainly reliant on cars, putting pressure on local lanes and land for parking, with Sunday being the busiest day. Now there’s a daily public transport option again, with rail connections at Hastings (for Stagecoach bus 349) and Staplehurst (for Arriva bus 5). This means that these attractions are now accessible from London, Brighton and Eastbourne. With many people not having access to a car, certainly in London and Brighton, these attractions now have a much bigger potential audience.

Voluntary groups, organisations, parishes in East Sussex and Kent, the National Trust, 1066 Marketing and individuals got together to raise sufficient funds to support summer Sunday and school holiday services. At this point, East Sussex and Kent County Councils began conversations with Stagecoach and Arriva. This resulted in the recognition of the potential value of the restored ‘cross border’ link and led to limited but crucial support, including publicity. At a critical point in the process the enthusiasm of the Hawkhurst Transport Access Group helped see the project through.

With good will and trust, it turned out to be a highly pro-active partnership with all partners helping to distribute timetables and spread the word to businesses and the public.

As well as serving attractive and growing village communities of Hawkhurst and Cranbrook, the Stagecoach bus 349 and Arriva 5 also make possible Sunday days out in the country to Sedlescombe organic vineyard, Sandhurst church and Hawkhurst Victorian walled nursery. For villagers the riverside town of Maidstone, and Hastings seaside and medieval Old Town have their unique leisure, arts and shopping attractions. For walkers, the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty offers a network of footpaths across special landscapes of ridges and valleys, with a reward of good pub lunches in picturesque villages.

An email from a young family with a new baby is telling; having just moved back to Staplecross after some years in Hastings, they report their relief at having a daily service linking them to the larger surrounding towns. How many other rural communities can say that nowadays?

Derrick Coffee, County Officer, East Sussex Campaign for Better Transport

RESTORED SUNDAY BUS SERVICES TO CONTINUE – Press release

Great News! The Sunday Stagecoach 349 bus service between Hastings and Cranbrook, connecting there with Arriva 5 to Maidstone, is set to continue through winter 2018 and summer 2019 with 5 return services a day.

After a four year absence – and bucking a national trend – the service was restored in spring 2017 linking rural communities and major towns in East Sussex and West Kent to their mutual benefit. On the very first service, the bus helped to get people (two chefs) to their Sunday jobs. Food for thought!

Key to the start-up was a recognition that the growing annual visitor numbers at Bodiam Castle (200,000) and on Kent and East Sussex Railway (100,000) are mainly reliant on cars, putting pressure on local lanes and land for parking. Now there’s a 7 days a week public transport option, with rail connections at Hastings (for Stagecoach bus 349) and Staplehurst (for Arriva bus 5). These connections make ‘car free’ days out feasible to/from London/Brighton/Eastbourne.

Voluntary groups, organisations, parishes, the National Trust, 1066 Marketing and individuals raised sufficient funds to support summer Sunday/school holiday services. At this point, East Sussex and Kent County Councils began conversations with Stagecoach and Arriva resulting in recognition of the ‘cross border’ link and offering limited but crucial support, including for publicity.

Rother Voluntary Action helpfully held the funds raised and the idea was backed by Rother Transport Action Group. Commitment of the cross border Hawkhurst Transport Access Group – with Bodiam and Sandhurst parish members – was also notable and helpful, and the regular attendance of Stagecoach and Arriva at their meetings reflects the shared efforts of all to secure a high quality and comprehensive local and regional bus service. The fruits of this are certainly a great example of ‘partnership working’.

As well as serving attractive and growing village communities of Hawkhurst and Cranbrook, the Stagecoach bus 349 and Arriva 5 also make possible Sunday days out in the country to Sedlescombe organic vineyard, Sandhurst church and Hawkhurst Victorian walled nursery. For village dwellers, the riverside town of Maidstone, and Hastings seaside and medieval Old Town have their unique leisure, arts attractions and shopping opportunities. For walkers, the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty offers a network of footpaths across special landscapes of ridges and valleys, with a reward of good pub lunches in picturesque villages.

An e-mail from a young family with a new baby is telling: just moved back to Staplecross after some years in Hastings, they report their relief at having a 7 days a week service linking them to the services they need in the larger towns.

Derrick Coffee

(County Officer, Campaign for Better Transport – East Sussex)

The Stagecoach 349 and Arriva 5 routes and their passengers and linked communities in the High Weald  had a piece to cheer on Sunday last on the Politics Show – BBC South East

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0bp0kf2/sunday-politics-south-east-28102018

Adult Volunteer from Cranbrook awarded coveted Lord Lieutenants Junior Leadership Award 2018

NEWS RELEASE

WEDNESDAY, 5TH September 2018

Second Lieutenant Dave Hazlewood from Cranbrook Detachment of the Kent Army Cadet Force (Kent ACF) was recently awarded the Lord Lieutenant of Kent Junior Leadership Award for 2018.

He joined the Army Cadet Force as an instructor back in 2013, and was commissioned as an officer this January.

The Commandant, Kent ACF, Colonel Chris Gilbert  presented the award which is for Junior Adult Officers or Non Commissioned Officers (NCOs), as well as Cadet NCOs, who have demonstrated the most improvement in his or her leadership skills.

Second Lieutenant Dave Hazlewood said:

“I was shocked but honoured to be given this award, especially as I don’t have the same previous military or cadet experience as a lot of my peers. I feel that coming into the organisation without any pre-conceptions has actually been a good thing in the long run though, and has helped me see things a bit differently.

My background in management and running my own business has carried across to the ACF quite well, but I’ve never thought of it as anything special. Everyone in the organisation has their own strengths, and I feel humbled to work with such great people.

I am extremely pleased to have taken the plunge to be a part of the ACF and would recommend it to anyone seeking a rewarding and fulfilling past time”

Colonel Chris Gilbert, Commandant Kent ACF said:

“I would like to formally thank Second Lieutenant Dave Hazlewood for all his hard work during his cadet and adult career – without such dedicated volunteers such as Mr Hazlewood we would not be able to offer the youth of Kent such a wide range of fabulous opportunities that we do today”.

Details of Cranbrook’s parade nights and address:

 ACF Centre, Causton Road, Cranbrook, Kent, TN17 3ER

 Monday: 19:30 – 21:30

Thursday: 19:30 – 21:30

 

Are you interested in having an allotment?

WOULD YOU LIKE AN ALLOTMENT?

 

  • A nominal current annual cost of £22 per 5 rods (45 x 30ft) with a 50% reduction for pensioners.

 

 

  • A wonderful source of fresh fruit and vegetables for a healthy diet at minimal cost.

 

 

  • A relaxed friendly atmosphere with an abundance of experienced allotment holders happy to give advice

 

 

  • A great form of exercise.

 

 

If you are interested and can commit to looking after a plot you, please pop into the Parish Office or alternatively call 01580 713112 for further details.