£500m Hardship Fund to provide council tax relief

£500m Hardship Fund to provide council tax relief

The Local Government Secretary, Robert Jenrick MP has announced today (Mar 24) the confirmation of a £500m Hardship Fund that will provide council tax relief to those most affected by coronavirus.

Vulnerable households who would otherwise struggle to pay council tax will be supported by the new package of funding announced today.

The Fund, announced in the Chancellor’s Budget, will be distributed to local authorities in England in order to reduce the 2020 to 2021 council tax bills of those currently receiving Local Council Tax Support.

Other support arrangements on a discretionary basis will be available for councils to utilise such as Local Welfare Schemes.

Local Government Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:

“Providing the necessary financial support to people and families is critical at this difficult time when many people will be concerned about changes to their income.

“That’s why we’re giving local councils an additional £500 million, to ensure help is available for the most vulnerable people in our society who are struggling to pay their council tax bills.

“The government is on your side and will do whatever takes to help.”

This announcement comes after an additional £1.6bn in funding was announced to allow councils to respond to new coronavirus pressures surrounding their services.

This includes supporting the most vulnerable people in communities and those that may be unable to pay their council tax at this time.

Billing authorities will also want to establish their own local approach to using any remaining grant to assist those in need, as part of wider local support mechanisms. These may include:

  • council tax relief using existing discretionary discount/hardship policies
  • provision of support outside of the council tax system through Local Welfare or similar schemes
  • offering a higher level of council tax reduction for working-age Local Council Tax Support recipients whose annual liability exceeds £150

The guidance released today aims to bring clarity to councils on the best way to allocate the funding to their communities.



STAY AT HOME – Latest Coronavirus Advice and News

Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): what YOU need to do

Stay at home

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Important Message from Fairfield Surgery:

For the rest of the week the surgery has had to restrict opening hours to the following times 8.30am to 12pm and 2pm to 5pm.  The telephones will still be open for support of patients who are unwell. The need for those at high risk and over 70yrs to self-isolate means we have a very restricted team of staff. We are looking at drafting in some extra help and will review the situation at the end of the week.   – Julie Watson, Practice Manager  Fairfield Surgery Tel: 01435 882306

Do you need help? If you need help in picking up prescriptions or groceries, or simply need a friendly chat in what can be a very isolating time, please email parishclerk@burwashpc.org.uk or call the Parish Clerk on 07943 848 430. We have a group of volunteers who are available to help. If you can offer help please also get in contact with us. Read the leaflet sent to all residents across the community.

Monday 23rd March 2020 9.30pm


The Prime Minister announced stricter measures tonight. Please make sure you follow this advice strictly.

To view exactly what the Prime Minister said please visit:


Below is a summary of PM Boris Johnson’s speech and taken from the BBC website:

  • From tonight people in Britain will be allowed to leave their homes for only “very limited purposes” – shopping for basic necessities; for one form of exercise a day; for any medical need; and to travel to and from work when “absolutely necessary”
  • People are warned not to meet friends or family members who they do not live with
  • Shopping is only permitted for essentials like food and medicine, and people are advised to do it “as little as you can”
  • Police have powers to enforce the rules, including through fines and dispersing gatherings
  • All shops selling non-essential goods, such as clothing and electronic stores, are ordered to close
  • Libraries, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and places of worship are to close
  • All gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with – are banned
  • All social events, including weddings and baptisms are banned
  • Funerals are not included in the new restrictions
  • Parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed
  • Restrictions “under constant review” and will be checked again in three weeks. They will be relaxed “if the evidence shows we are able to”

If you think you or someone in your home has symptoms of coronavirus then please visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ to find out what you should do.


Parish Council Update regarding coronavirus

Although the Parish Council office can sadly not re-open at present, staff and Parish councillors are working behind the scenes setting up a system to help residents who might need practical assistance throughout the coronavirus outbreak. It is important that no-one in our community feels isolated and that residents get the help they need. The Parish council is working alongside a team of volunteers, the Etchingham and Burwash support group and also with Fairfield Surgery. We are putting together a coordinated response that will also ensure the safety of the people we are helping and our volunteers by following the current guidelines. We have already had 9 people contact us to say they need help and 24 volunteers have signed up so far which is a brilliant initial response. A huge thank you to those people putting their hand up to help.

Solutions are being found to help residents who can’t get out with:

  • picking up prescriptions
  • shopping
  • not becoming isolated

The Old Orchard Village Café and store in Burwash Common can deliver food, as can the Village Stores in Burwash. We will have more news on this soon.

Do you need help?

If you need help then make sure you contact us to let us know. You can contact the Parish Clerk, Sylvie Franklin on 07943 848430 : or by email: parishclerk@burwashpc.org.uk

Can you help?

If you are willing to help then we would also love to hear from you. If you are fit and able you might be able to help with collecting prescriptions or doing someone’s shopping. If you are self isolating yourself and have some free time then you can still get involved. Some residents might feel quite isolated over the coming weeks and a friendly phone call can also help people stay connected and offer support.

Please see the attached leaflet  for more information about what to do if you need help or can volunteer. This leaflet is being delivered across our community this week.

Official Guidelines regarding coronavirus

We encourage residents to continue to strictly follow government guidelines and to do everything possible to protect themselves and others.

For the latest Government advice about coronavirus: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

If you have any symptoms such as a fever or a new persistent cough you MUST follow the government and NHS guidelines: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ 

Please note if you have symptoms of coronavirus you MUST NOT go to Fairfield Surgery but instead follow the NHS guidelines on the link above.

Love Burwash 4th April postponed

The Love Burwash Day planned for the 4th April 2020 has unfortunately had to be postponed until a later date when it is safe to re-schedule it.

The Parish Council is heeding government advice concerning the current situation with coronavirus. The safety and well-being of residents is our main concern at this time.

We will have more news on this event later in the year.



Coronavirus – Burwash Parish Council Update


The Parish Office is sadly now closed and staff are working from home in light of the current advice.


Clerk: Sylvie Franklin Telephone: 07943 848430

Email: parishclerk@burwashpc.org.uk

The Parish Council and other local organisations are putting together a list of persons willing to help and persons in need of help.

We will then be able to offer co-ordinated assistance to those in need, either through illness or due to self-isolating or government advised containment.

If you need help or are vulnerable, please either telephone or email. Please have or send the following information:

Full name, address, telephone number(s) email address if you have one, tell us if you are unwell & self-isolating or staying indoors due to govt. advice.

Tell us how many other people are in your household and their situation(s).

Contact details for a close family member could also be helpful.

If you are able to help please tell us your full name, address, phone number(s) email address and what services you could potentially offer.

Please also let us know if you know of someone who may need help because of illness or self-isolation.

We hope to be able to offer help with shopping, collecting medicines, regular contact by telephone and other essentials.

If you are already looking after the needs of someone self-isolating then please let us know as we may be advised of their needs by someone else, we can then update records accordingly.

Please continue to see the official NHS website for advice if you or someone you live with have symptoms no matter how mild:


Please follow the latest government advice on social distancing and protecting yourself and others: 


Appeal for funding for Blacksmith’s Tea and Coffee shop

The Burwash Community Interest Company is looking for top-up funding to ensure the success of Blacksmith’s tea and coffee shop on Burwash High Street.

The CIC says support from the community has been brilliant so far but a further £10,000 is needed to complete the fit-out of the former Freeman Forman estate agency.

The cash is needed by the middle of March to make the project a reality.

”No donation is too small or too large,” the CIC says. “£10 will buy a teapot, £20 will buy a chair, £150 will buy a worktop, £500 will buy the lighting.”

To make a donation, you can pay directly into the CIC bank account. The details are:

Account name: Burwash CIC

Account number: 90028631

Sort code: 82-11-07

Or contact the CIC on 01435 882918 or email burwashcic@btinternet.com

Click here for an earlier story on this community project.

Job Advertisement: Parish Clerk/ Responsible Financial Officer Needed

Burwash Parish Council seeks a confident person with an interest in the local community for the post of Parish Clerk/Responsible Finance Officer from April 6th 2020.

The Clerk is responsible for managing the Council’s day to day business, providing advice and implementing decisions.

Applicants will need to be computer literate, able to prepare council agendas and record minutes, be familiar with bookkeeping and financial procedures and be able to correspond with external organisations on behalf of the council.

Working hours are 44/52 hours per month at £15/hour with core hours being two days of 3 hours a week (days and hours to be arranged) in the Parish Office, with some attendance at council and committee meetings which are predominately in the evenings; the remaining hours being worked at either home or in the office. The Clerk would be required to attend the Full Council Meeting, which is on the 2nd Tuesday of every month in the evening, with other committees on an ad hoc basis.

Formal training with a detailed handover and continued help will be available.

For an informal discussion and an application form and job description please contact the chair of HR Bob Franklin 07802 771329 or email cllr.Robert.Franklin@burwashpc.org.uk.

Closing date for applications – Friday 20th March 2020.

Interviews to be held during the evening of Thursday 26th March, and the morning of Friday 27th March.

Parish Office closed throughout February for renovations

The Parish Office is being renovated and won’t be open the usual Monday and Wednesday mornings to public for a few weeks.
We hope to have all the work finished by the end of February and we will update you once we have a definite re-opening date! We’re giving it a lick of fresh paint, installing a door to connect with the Parish Room next door and some new but simple furniture to make it more functional and welcoming!Whilst renovations are taking place you can contact either Rachel or Sylvia by email:
Administrator (Rachel Guernier): adminofficer@burwashpc.org.uk
Acting Clerk (Sylvia Franklin): parishclerk@burwashpc.org.uk

If you don’t have access to email or your matter is urgent please contact the Clerk on the Parish mobile: 07943 848 430

Please note that the Internet Café will be open as usual Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 10am to 1pm (except for Friday 28th Feb when painting work is taking place there).

One step closer to new tea/coffee shop in Burwash High Street

Burwash is one step closer to having its own tea and coffee shop again in the High Street.

Rother District Council has accepted an application for a change of use on the site of the former Freeman Forman estate agency in the village.

If you would like to support the project, click Rother Planning Office online  and add your comments.

Alternatively you can write to :

Strategy and Planning, Town Hall, Bexhill on Sea, TN39 3JX

A new organisation – the Burwash Community Interest Company (BCIC)- has taken on a lease for the site and has raised money locally to pay for refurbishing the premises ready for a new tea and coffee shop operator. Plans are well advanced.

There will be regular updates on the Burwash website, the Burwash App and the Burwash E-Bulletin.

It is hoped that that the new shop will be up and running by late Spring.

For further information and offers of support, please email BCIC at burwashcic@btinternet.com or telephone 01435 882918

Update on consultations about the latest draft development proposals for Watercress Field

A series of presentations about the latest draft plans to build 30 homes on Watercress Field  – the site at the end of Strand Meadow – were attended by 76 people.

Asked to comment on the plans by developers Park Lane Homes, 68 people completed feedback forms. Two were in favour of the plans while the remainder were against.

A public consultation with the architects of the new scheme was held on Wednesday 8th January  in the Parish Room (Internet Café) in The Bear car park, Burwash. The presentation materials were available to the public in three sessions later that month.

Following extensive local opposition, led by Burwash: Save Our Fields, the previous proposals were rejected unanimously by Rother District Council and, in January 2019, by a planning inspector after an appeal.

Issues raised by residents at the latest sessions included:

  • The housing proposed does not meet local need – it is not social housing and there is not even ‘affordable housing’
  • Accessibility to the village by any method other than by car is challenging
  • Traffic issues in Strand Meadow
  • Traffic issues on Shrub Lane
  • Concerns about impact on residents of Rother View
  • Impact on the AONB
  • The house designs are ‘suburban’ rather than rural
  • The site is overdeveloped
  • Steepness of the site
  • Ground Water present at the site

The feedback has been shared with the architects as agreed.

76 people attended the sessions with the largest number being 46 on the Wednesday where the architects were in attendance. The developers were not represented at any of the sessions.

Many residents have been concerned about the lack of materials available. The Parish Council has been in contact with the architects about obtaining an electronic copy of the Pre-Application Enquiry Supporting Document but have had no response. Extra copies have now been printed off for residents to view either at the Internet Café or the Parish Council Office.

Residents will be able to comment directly to Rother District Council once the formal planning application for the scheme is submitted. This is expected soon. The Parish Council has resolved that it will consider the application at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM).

For those interested in the sorts of standards expected for new developments in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you can click on the High Weald Joint Advisory Committee design guide here.

The latest Park Lane proposal is for 28 houses and 2 flats. There will be 22 three-bedroom houses, seven properties with two bedrooms and one single-bedroom flat.

None of the proposed housing will be ‘affordable’ according to the government’s definition of 80% of the market price.

The architects have said that all the proposed developments will be two-storey and set lower in the site than previous proposals.

Burwash Save Our Fields have already drafted a response to the proposals. Click here for details.

Click here for more background.

There remains outline planning permission for 30 houses on the site. To see a pdf overview of the new plans click here.

On the 26th November the architects presented the initial new set of plans to the Planning Committee of Burwash Parish Council. You can read the minutes of that meeting here.