Press Releases week beginning 1 June 2020
Council gets green light to build new sustainable business incubator units
Hastings Borough Council has been granted planning permission to build new small business incubator units at Churchfield Industrial Estate.
In total 28 units, ranging from 322sqft to 344sqft in size (a total of approx. 9,558sqft), will be built. The incubator units will be used for office, light industry or high-tech spaces and will contain shared amenities and services.
The building will be built to a very high sustainable (BREEAM) standard and feature "Superfast" broadband; extensive energy efficiency measures; "green" roof; solar PV; security features; electric vehicle charging points and be fully accessible; all with the aim of minimising tenant costs and promoting "greener" working.
The plan is for the building to be ready for occupation by end of 2021.
Cllr Kim Forward, leader of the council, said:
"I am delighted that planning permission has been granted for this exciting new development which will provide a perfect space for new businesses and start-ups to grow from.
"The units will be built sustainably, which is really important as part of the council's commitment to tackling climate change and being an example of good practice in all that it does to think and act sustainably, and will be available for low fees and with 'easy in, easy out' licences.
"Situated close to three of our other industrial estates and easily accessed from the Queensway bypass and the A21, the units are in an ideal location for business employees, visitors and suppliers. The businesses that occupy these units will be in good company with other businesses located on the estate including nationally and internationally respected enterprises. Our hope is the businesses that move into these units will become part of mutual local supply chains.
"As well as the new facilities a CHART (Connecting Hastings and Rother Together) funded programme will help individuals starting a business to do so from one of the new incubator units. As part of this there will be on site training, networking, and mentoring and support.
"The proposal demonstrates the council's ongoing efforts and commitment to help support local businesses and provide the right facilities for them. This is especially important now as businesses face the challenge of recovering from the impact of COVID-19."
The council has developed the project with funding from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership; the Connecting Hastings and Rother Together (CHART) Programme and the council's own Capital Programme.
To register an interest in occupying one of the units please contact the council's estates team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To view the plans please visit: http://publicaccess.hastings.gov.uk/online-applications/.
Council encourages residents to keep supporting biodiversity in Hastings
Hastings Borough Council encouraged residents to take part in NoMowMay, a national project by Plantlife urging people not to cut their gardens for the whole month to help support the pollinating insects which are key to human survival.
There are thousands of gardens across Hastings and St Leonards. The positive impact of residents having let the grass in their gardens to grow over May will have helped to support a huge diversity of flowers and insects. Even daisies are an important source of pollen for insects. Supporting the local ecosystem in this way, especially supporting pollinating insects such as bees, contributes to regulating the planet and offsetting climate change.
Hastings Borough Council has large areas of land that it owns and manages to protect and encourage wildlife and for residents to enjoy. These range from public parks to the award-winning Hastings Country Park nature reserve.
Cllr Maya Evans, lead for climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development said:
“This is the first year the council has endorsed the national campaign No Mow May and we hope that many residents took part.
“The aims of this campaign are really important. For many, grass left to grow looks unkept and attractive, however it’s a haven for biodiversity and pollinating insects. It’s great for supporting our local ecosystem; pollinating insects like bumblebees contribute significantly to regulating our planet and offsetting climate change.
“The council already do a lot to manage our parks, gardens and country park to promote biodiversity and encourage wildflowers to grow. There are areas within our parks and open spaces unmaintained for wildlife to flourish and wildflowers to grow naturally and allow to set seed to encourage wildflowers for the following year. Other areas are maintained twice a year during spring and late summer to allow wild plants to thrive. A few areas need to be well maintained, as longer grass can trap litter and can lead to dog fouling issues.
“This year we will be substituting bedding plants in a lot of areas with annual flower seed mixes and perennials which will attract pollinating insects. Make sure to look out for these areas when you’re out and about. We will continue to look at how we can do more.
“We hope No Mow May has inspired you and we encourage residents to take part again next year. There are all sorts of other organisations that run activities and challenges throughout the year to help encourage people to look after their natural environment. Throughout June, the Wildlife Trusts are running a ‘30 Days Wild’ challenge. They’re encouraging people to do ‘one wild thing’ every day in June ‘for your health, wellbeing, and for the planet’, such as plant a tree or make a house for a hedgehog, and we encourage our residents to do the same. The wildlife trust website has all the information you need, as well as some great resources to get involved.
The council is committed to tackling climate change locally, working alongside residents. We all have a responsibility to do our bit.”
Council decries rises in child poverty levels
Recently published statistics, from a study by End Child Poverty coalition and Loughborough University, show that Hastings has the highest child poverty rate in the south east of England, and that it has increased more over the past four years than anywhere else in the south east of England.
Hastings Borough Council's leader, Cllr Kim Forward, said:
"We are incredibly saddened to see such an increase in child poverty in Hastings, but we are not surprised; the rate has been high and rising for years.
"It is especially worrying that these figures indicate rises before COVID-19 hit us. We are still working out what the long-term effects of this pandemic will be, but we know that child poverty levels are very likely to continue to rise.
"It is not acceptable for so many of our children to be experiencing such poverty and it should not be acceptable to any government or any society.
"Although years of austerity and cuts to key services have very much limited what we as a council can do, we are still committed to doing everything possible, with our partners, to tackle child poverty.
Natalie Williams, Community Engagement Director at King's Church, which runs Hastings Foodbank, said:
"It is really troubling to see Hastings with an increasing level of child poverty. At the foodbank and other projects we run, we see so many desperate situations across the town and we've seen huge increases in need over the last three years. The coronavirus crisis has made this worse.
"In April, for example, the parcels we gave out included food for 821 local children. There is a lot of good work going on across Hastings & St Leonards to support people in poverty, but there's a lot more work for us all to do together to stop people being swept into poverty and trapped in it."
Carole Dixon, Chief Executive at Education Futures Trust, said:
"These figures unfortunately confirm what we see through our day to day work in Hastings. Families living in poverty face an uphill battle and parents struggle to meet their children's needs. COVID-19 has added to the inequality, and life for some is bleak.
"We want to see our children succeed, but the widening gap makes it difficult for them to share the aspirations of those who do not face these challenges. We need to break the cycle of poverty to provide a better future. This will require long term investment in the local structures and organisations, where the problems are understood, and solutions can be found."
Cllr Kim Forward, added:
"Last year the council passed a unanimous motion to help tackle child poverty and the actions we are pursuing include calling on the government to end short term funding through competitive grants (such as homelessness provision) and other initiatives and return to providing us with adequate long-term support based on local needs.
"It is vital that this short-term piecemeal funding approach to fundamental issues such as this is stopped. There must to be a commitment from the government to meaningful, secure, long-term funding, to allow an effective strategy that can make a real difference to be delivered.
"We are calling for a community conference to consider how best to tackle poverty, learning from the impact of our current anti-poverty strategy and working towards a longer-term ten-year approach which sees partners planning joint action more strategically.
"The council is already committed to funding which supports voluntary sector advice and support agencies in 2020/21 but doing so in future years may be impossible without sufficient funding from the government.
"We encourage others to join us and support the day of action on child poverty in Hastings on August 1st, led by Unite the Community and other local voluntary organisations.
"Our motion made our position clear, and we emphasise that we will continue to do all that we can, working with partners to help tackle the issue of child poverty in Hastings. At the same time, we call on the government to do much more; we simply can't do this on our own. We surely all agree that we must eradicate child poverty in our town."