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East Sussex County Councillors

Please see below details of the two East Sussex County Councillors who are responsible for Heathfield and the surrounding area.

For a full list of Councillors, please visit ESCC website

Councillor Rupert Simmons

Councillor Rupert Simmons

A message from County Councillor, Rupert Simmons, Chairman of the Heathfield Partnership Trust Ltd.

Councillor Rupert Simmons

Rupert Simmons is the East Sussex County Councillor for the Heathfield division. Other responsibilities include:

1. Cabinet member for the Economy which includes Infrastructure and Skills.

2. Representation of the county in Europe and especially regarding INTERREG


3. Director of SEA CHANGE SUSSEX Ltd


4. Director of Action in Rural Sussex

Economic Regeneration


Rupert's Portfolio is responsible for economic growth in a County with a very low GVA. He is endeavouring to bring in investment in infrastructure to open up new opportunities for Businesses to invest in East Sussex or expand and by doing so increasing the number of jobs available for its Citizens. He and his department have already secured £24 million in funding this year to help attract businesses into, or to expand, within the County. The Link Road should open up a capacity for thousands of new jobs in North East Bexhill and will open in the spring of 2015. Investment in Hastings, in the Priory Quarter with Havelock Place opened recently by the Chancellor is already attracting inward investment Clients with new jobs. The Queensway building is also being planned for re-development with phase 2 Growth funds.


A further investment plan has identified development of the Sovereign Harbour area of Eastbourne and will also bring considerable new job opportunities. He is looking for new possibilities elsewhere in the County with similar business cases. He is now looking at further investment in our railway network with a commitment from the Secretary of State for Transport, committing to HS1 coming in to Hastings and Bexhill. This will take 40 minutes off a train journey to London. Further investment in the Uckfield line is also envisaged, again within the context of economic growth. We have also secured in excess of £20million to build a new harbour access road in Newhaven which will lead to more land available for jobs.

Updated: December 2014



I am a proud Governor of a number of schools in the parish. Firstly Heathfield Community College where I have special duties for Careers and the English Department. I am also Vice Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Committee. It was an outstanding year for the College in all of it's exam results. This year’s exam results at Heathfield Community College were outstanding and revealed the hard work put in by our Student population, their Teachers and the support Staff. The A level (A-E) results were 99% passed with 52% being A*-B results, which is the highest ever recorded. The GCSE results matched their highest recorded performance in a year when all marking was a tougher standard with 74% achieving A*-C results (including English and Maths,) now the second highest attainment in the County by one point to St Richards Catholic School in Bexhill.

I am also a Governor of the Woodland Federation responsible for Broad Oak and Punnett's Town Primary Schools. We have now added Dallington Church of England Primary School to the Federation and this is working very well for all three schools with each retaining thweir own identity but ensuring the raising of standards.

Since being elected in 2001 Rupert had the honour of being the cabinet member for education and then learning and school effectiveness. It is a matter of personal pride that during that term of office, the standards of education performance at all key stages improved beyond all recognition. The investment in our school buildings and equipment and facilities has also been dramatic and lastly and not least, the recruitment of outstanding Headteachers and high quality teachers has gone from strength to strength. The investment in early years provision most notably, Children's Centres, has raised the life chances of many of our youngest generation. He also played a part in the creation of the University Centre in Hastings, shortly to be expanded with a second phase and the concept of the multi-sited Further Education College now in the magnificent Plaza building. The newly built Bexhill School and rebuilt Tideway School were also founded during his term of office.


Updated: December 2014

Chairman of the County Council

Cllr Rupert Simmons was chairman of the County from June 2009 until May 2011. During that time he particularly leant his support for the outstanding voluntary sector, encouraged the regeneration of the business community; particularly the small and medium sized enterprises and endeavoured to bring the young and elderly of the various communities together.

Local Member - Heathfield Partnership

Local Member - Heathfield Partnership

For the last 12 years Rupert has chaired the Board of the Heathfield Partnership Trust Limited. Since 1997 the Heathfield Partnership has evolved from a steering group into a limited company which in turn is now recognized as a charity trust. Over that time an enormous amount of work has been done to regenerate the town and improve its amenities and over £1 million has been raised in grant funding to execute a number of projects across the Heathfield and Waldron Parish.

The "Heathfield Works!" project in partnership with Tomorrow's people has become an enormous (and nationally acclaimed) success. Launched in September 2011 it has already produced 13 sets of 10 young People none of them originally in education, employment or training and ensured all 100% are now in either full time education or employment. Rupert has sought extraordinary sources of funding (£384,000 to date) for this exciting venture and so far it has been extended into its fourth financial year. The Parish Council, The Chamber of Trade, The County Council and the Sussex Police have been initial supporters and this has been followed by Wealden District Council, the Heathfield Area Rotary and many individual benefactors. The Observer Newspaper's Charity support scheme run in December 2011 was also magnificent. The Heathfield Youth Centre Manager and Team have been invaluable and the support of local businesses has been the most exciting dimension. We are very proud that the concept initially unique to Heathfield has now been implemented in places as diverse as Hailsham and Gallashields (in the Borders,) Cumbria and will shortly be taken up in Devon and Dorset.

The Partnership has over the last three years been championing the cause for Superfast Broadband provision throughout the Parish. We succeed in winning a pump priming pilot scheme from SEEDA but this eventually proved unsatisfactory and we withdrew. Since then the Partnership has been working with East Sussex County Council on the BDUK Scheme and this was given Government approval in May of last year. It was noticeable when it came to generating responses, the media turned to Heathfield Businesses to express their pleasure at the decision. In May of this year BT won the competition to execute the programme from 2013 to 2015 across the whole County The Partnership promoted Heathfield as an early pilot and this work has been progressing throughout the whole Parish of Heathfield & Waldron. This should be of real value to the many small and medium enterprises in the Parish, encourage others to start up and be of value in every household as well. 

The Partnership took over the management of the Swimming Pool campaign several years ago and since then has produced feasibility studies and business plans. 2011 was spent raising funds to commission a consultancy to execute all the required drawings and specialist reports for a full planning application. In January 2012 the draft proposals were presented to the Public at the Community College. Subsequent revisions were made and the final application was submitted by Saville Jones in March and the decision was passed by the County Council planning authority in June 2012. Since then the Committee has secured permission for one of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Swimming Pools and this will ensure a magnificent legacy is maintained in our Community. We now have the significant task of raising £3.25 million to bring this about.

A new project is the creation of an Enterprise centre in the heart of the town of Heathfield. initially a location for 10 start up businesses and later, if successful, a further 12. We had secured the building before sadly the owner sold it on to a new development. We had to return the £50,000 raised to convert the building. However the value of the scheme is still well proven and we are seeking alternative sites to bring about this primary objective. The concept is for those initial businesses to enjoy 3 years max of below rate rental costs, a shared meeting room and receptionist, full communication provision with Broadband and telephone services etc. The shared experience of working with other start up businesses with professional banking and marketing advisors if needed, should be a less risky way of entering the commercial world.

Please see project page for full information on various initiatives such as the farmer's market, the swimming pool and improved Broadband campaigns, the community service website, shopper's guide, town information boards, public information points and "Heathfield Works!

Updated: December 2014



When Rupert was elected in 2001, Heathfield was policed from Hailsham so he campaigned to the Chief Constable for the re-introduction of the local police station, a local police team and an arrest station within Wealden, which we now have. He also sought for Uckfield station to be able to take arrests. That has now returned to Eastbourne in a new centre. He has also campaigned successfully for better equipment for the Heathfield police team which extended to a Sergeant, 2 Police Officers and 6 PCSOs. This has recently been reduced due the cutbacks in neighbourhood Policing but ht Station and Area is still run by a Sergeant and 6 PCSOs with 2 Police Constables on call. It has also had the support from the Partnership LATs Committee and the Parish Council who have contributed to a 4 camera CCTV Scheme. The end result is a safer community for everyone.

Updated: December 2014



With Rupert's education portfolio he has had the privilege of seeing, throughout the County, the young at their best and has regular dealings with the Youth Council in the Youth Centre. A number of partnership projects have come from this direct liaison, including the youth council having their own website. It was also the foundation of the subsequent "Heathfield Works!" project to help former Students who had become NEETs. He also initiated the "Youth Express" project to enable teenagers to get to youth Events without being dependant on the Parents for lifts.. This is also one of the very few Youth Centres still in operation in the County and is much valued by the Community.

Updated: December 2014

Road Safety

Rupert has spent much of the last 12 years trying to bring in increased safety measures within his ward. Establishing the Heathfield Local Transport Plan - 9 projects were identified and only the A265/Lewes Road junction is yet to be concluded. The Broad Oak 30mph Scheme is now in place as is the pedestrian crossing to the Village Hall. This will also help the daily crossings of the Community College Students who also benefited from the Halley Road safe crossing and 40mph speed limit installed two years ago. The Three Cups and Punnett’s Town schemes are now in place. There have also been many promotions for road resurfacing and many of these projects have been realised.

Rights of Way
Having worked closely with the rights of way officer team to improve access to pathways throughout his ward the greatest success has been the rebuilding of 6 bridges in the Warbleton Parish.



Over recent times there has been a gradual erosion of bus routes and services connecting Heathfield and its surrounds. Rupert has met with all the bus company executives and campaigned for better services and improved timetables. This has resulted in Sunday services being returned and two per hour services at peak times.


Other Associations:

Member of All Saints Waldron Church
Trustee of the Waldron 800 Trust
Chairman of the CATTAM Committee
Chairman of the Heathfield Area Leisure Company Ltd

Contact Details:

Telephone: 01435 813481
e-mail address:


Postal address for division responsibilities:


Beacon View Cottage
nr Heathfield
East Sussex
TN21 0QU


Updated December 2014

Councillor Chris Dowling

Councillor Chris Dowling

Chris Dowling is the East Sussex County Councillor for the Framfield and Horam division which includes part of Uckfield, Framfield, Blackboys, Waldron, Horam, Cross-in-Hand and Five Ashes. Chris was first elected to the County Council in 2001 and is a Conservative Councillor.


Chris is involved in the business community in Uckfield and surrounding area. He owns and runs Dowling Creative Ltd, a graphic design and print services business, based in Uckfield. He is also a member of the executive committee of the Uckfield Chamber of Commerce.


Chris lives in Uckfield and is married to Claire with two grown up daughters.
Chris is always pleased to speak to local residents about County Council matters. Contact details:


Email address:

Telephone number: 01825 767695
Address: 89 Hunters Way, Uckfield, East Sussex TN22 2BB


Updated: June 2012