Commercial property enquiries down
Update at 5.15pm: Lawson Commercial is still receiving enquiries for commercial properties though the volume is “well down”.
The company said: “We are still using common sense to do viewings for people who are interested in taking new premises or putting their existing property on the market. There are some very good opportunities in the marketplace both on a rental, and particularly a freehold basis which don’t often become available.”
It added: “We need to remain positive and optimistic in these difficult times.
“At Lawson Commercial we are available to discuss any property requirements and to help with appraisals for those contemplating marketing their existing premises or just to discuss options.
“Our professional team is ready to help with any lease renewals or rent reviews and are always pleased to speak to anyone needing a professional surveyor for help with commercial property management.”
Update at 4.50pm: All services in the Church of England, including at Holy Cross, Little Horsted, Isfield, and St Saviour’s (except weddings and funerals) have been suspended until further notice.
Picture House closes until further notice
Update at 4.25pm: The Picture House Uckfield has closed until further notice.
The cinema announced the decision, taken with great regret, on its Facebook page.
It says the team will be in touch with people who have tickets booked for future events. “Please bear with us during this difficult time.”
It adds: “We would ask that you consider taking a credit against your name for your tickets, to be redeemed after this is over, in order to assist us through the very difficult next few months and to ensure that there is a cinema to enjoy in the future.
“We appreciate the ongoing support of all our customers, especially in these exceptional circumstances. We really could not do this without you.”
Update at 4pm: Wealden Council, which continues to provide a full range of services within the district, is putting in place contingency plans to enable staff to work from home where possible.
Council leader Cllr Bob Standley said: “Our existing contingency plans to deal with a national flu pandemic are being modified in line with the latest guidance to deal with the unprecedented situation caused by the COVID-19 virus.
Email or telephone
“We will continue to keep our public reception area open at our Vicarage Lane offices in Hailsham, but we would encourage residents to email or telephone wherever possible.”
Field officers whose role involves visiting people and sites have been issued with guidance so they take sensible precautions which include seeking confirmation that people they are visiting are free from any symptoms.
Read more of Cllr Standley’s statement on the Wealden Council website.
Framfield Parish Council
Buildings owned by Framfield Parish Council – Framfield Memorial Hall, Blackboys Village Hall and the pavilion – are closed with the exception of statutory school use. This will be in place at least until May 31, 2020.
Parish council meetings and trust updates will not be conducted in public at least until May 31 and there will be no village market in March, April or May.
The parish council aims to continue to answer all queries and concerns by email and telephone.
Church services cancelled
Update at 2.45pm: Uckfield Baptist Church has cancelled all Sunday services and weekly activities until further notice.
Sussex Support Service is taking the precautionary step of cancelling all Saturday Social dates until it is advised it is safe for the older and vulnerable community.
Update at 2.15pm: Holy Cross Church has announced that children’s sessions will be taking a break with immediate effect.
This is to ensure the health, not only of the children, but more vulnerable members of the congregation and community.
An announcement on the church’s Facebook page says: “This is a really difficult time for so many people around the world, and it’s incredibly heartwarming to see volunteers stepping up to help those in our community – we always talk about kindness and compassion in our Junior Church sessions, and this more than ever, is the time to show what we can do for those around us.
Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare is closing to the public from tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18, as a temporary measure to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The centre says: “We are here to care for our animals at this time and everything needs to be managed for this purpose.”
£1,000 will be lost each day
It adds: “Thank you for your understanding. We will lose £1,000 every day whilst we are closed to visitors. Please support us by donating online: https://donorbox.org/raystede.
Manor Park and Hempstead Fields Residents’ Association has postponed its events which included an afternoon tea for volunteers on April 4, the Big Lunch on June 14 and its AGM in July.
The association is going ahead with the unveiling, at the top of Browns Lane, of a VE Day bench on Friday, May 8. This open air event will be the focal point for a flyover from the Battle of Britain Flight – scheduled to be a World War 2 Hawker Hurricane – and it is hoped the large space will allow for plenty of space between individuals and families, though people are asked to follow government advice at the time.
Uckfield Civic Centre is reviewing all events planned over the next six weeks and looking to either reschedule or cancel depending on the circumstances.
The town council is also looking at all council meetings and more information follow follow about these.
Residents and other members of the public are asked to contact the council via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone 01825 762774 rather than in person.
Sky High Trampoline Gymnastics Academy at Fun Abounds is closing its cafe and waiting area and asking all parent to wait in their cars for gymnasts.
Additional arrangements are being made for deep cleaning of the centre three times a day and cleaning of equipment between each class after school.
Read more on the Sky High Facebook page.
Update at 1pm: Kilnwood Studio remains open but is monitoring government information and advice and says it may become necessary for them to close in the coming weeks.
Studio owner Gaynor Robson asks that anybody with pottery to collect does so as soon as possible. Items painted on Friday and Saturday, March 13 and 14 should be ready for collection from tomorrow (Wednesday) and customers will be contacted when they are available.
Gaynor will also be in touch with anybody who currently has a session booked to discuss options available.
She said: “Thank you for your support and understanding during this confusing and difficult time.”
Update at 12.30pm: Kings Church Uckfield has cancelled all church meetings and activities for a period of at least 12 weeks, out of a desire to safeguard people’s health.
The church says on its website: “We are very sorry that our church members will now have very limited face-to-face contact, but we are committed to finding ways to support one another in what are extraordinary time.’
Paynes Heating and Plumbing is continuing to work as normal but speaking to customers in advance of appointments to make a decision on whether it is safe for the customer and staff to attend.
“When attending appointments we are ensuring physical contact with customers is kept to an absolute minimum and where possible we are keeping a safe distance.
“We are regularly washing hands with hot water and soap and we are currently not using touch screen devices to obtain customer signatures.”
The company is also ensuring workspaces, vehicles and tools are regularly cleaned using detergents and bleach to minimise the potential risk of spreading the virus.
Update at 10.30am: Rowland Gorringe estate agents are now offering a ‘virtual service’. The majority of sales properties can be seen on the company’s Youtube Channel which is called Inside RG.
If you would like Rowland Gorringe to value your home or take you on a viewing using video conferencing, please call 01825 762132.
The offices remain open until advised otherwise.
Hartfields, in Uckfield High Street is offering 20% off takeaways from today. The coffee shop says that, as usual, it is taking the highest hygiene measures and using compostable packaging.
Cole’s Menswear says they are open as usual until they are told otherwise.
Update at 9.45am: Uckfield Chamber of Commerce AGM, which was due to be held on Thursday at Crockstead, has been postponed until further notice.
Our earlier story
Uckfield businesses are being hard hit as alarm grows over the Coronavirus and looking for different ways of ensuring survival.
Barney’s Play, the soft play centre on the Bellbrook Estate is amending its business hours and has announced a change of business model.
Louise Jago, who owns Barney’s with her husband Asa, said they are now offering a meal delivery service for those who are self-isolating, or can’t get out and about. She said this was necessary for the business in order to survive and keep staff employed.
Louise said on Facebook: “With the current crisis we would like to help where we can. We have a fully functioning kitchen and are fully inspected by Environmental Health with a scores on the doors hygiene rating of 5.”
Barney’s will be offering a variety of fresh and frozen meals, with free delivery starting next week from Monday to Friday in the Uckfield area. If you are interested please call 01825 764575 (10am-3pm)
The menu is not finalised but could include the following:
- Baguettes with various different fillings
- Jacket Potatoes with various fillings
- Homemade Soup
- Beef Chilli & Rice
- Bean Chilli & Rice
- Sausage and Bean Hotpot
- Sausage, Mash, Veg & Gravy
- Beef Stew & Dumplings
- Crispy Chicken Salad
- Crispy Chicken Wraps
- Cottage Pie
Barney’s will keep people up to date on what is happening there via its Facebook page.
The Picture House restaurant is offering 20% off takeaways of burgers, pizzas, chips, plus pasta and risotto. See the menu here. It is requesting that people pay by contactless card rather than with cash.
And the cinema is giving customers the option to sit where they like so they can keep a distance from other customers.
Cinema owner Kevin Markwick reacted angrily on Twitter yesterday after Prime Minister Boris Johnson advised people to stay away from pubs, clubs, theatres and restaurants.
He said: “I own an independent cinema that has been a lifetime’s work with staff who rely on me and a community who value us. By not taking a clear position, and trying to dodge responsibility, Boris just threw us to the wolves.”
Kevin added: “Sadly our insurance does not cover us for this. We are not alone in that. The problem is shifting responsibility so that any future claims on help from banks or the Govt may well not be forthcoming as it will be considered our own choice to close. Madness.”
The Highlands Inn published a photograph of a board likening the hospitality industry to the band continuing to play as the Titanic went down.
Nose2Tail butchers at Ashgrove Farm, Piltdown, say they are offering deliveries as usual but because of a recent increase in demand they are requesting two days notice. “Please feel free to message us an order if you would like us to deliver to you in this chaotic time.
Retailers are anxious too and asking people to remember to shop locally and buy something from a small business.
The owner of Final Score, Stephen Holliday shared a Matt cartoon from The Sunday Telegraph which says: “I’m going to self isolate, or as I call it, open my shop”.
Stephen said on Facebook: “Didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at this.” He reminded people there was still 25% off everything in the shop. “Keep playing sport, it’s good for you and keeps you healthy! We all need you on the High Street.”
Meanwhile people were appreciating the efforts of staff at Tesco:
“I really would just like to say what a wonderful job all Tesco staff are doing in the current circumstances …”
“Let’s give a round of applause for the shops. In Tesco they are calmly getting on with chaos that is all around. Well done shop staff, and all the support in the background, deliveries, distribution etc … lovely customer service, thank you.”
And there was thanks from one Tesco employee who said: “At work this morning on Tesco checkouts, in amongst the chaos, a customer with a baby asked me when did I do my shopping? I said, well, I am doing my mum’s shopping after work. She replied there will be nothing left, would you like me to go and do it now for you! How lovely is that.”
There is guidance from Public Health England for households with possible coronavirus infection here.