Press Releases week beginning 06 January 2020
Hastings Remembers- Holocaust Memorial Day 2020
Hastings will host its annual Holocaust Memorial Day service at 1030 on Saturday 25 January at St Mary in the Castle, on Hastings seafront. It is organised by Dr Shelley Katz with the support of Hastings Borough Council.
This years' service will have as its theme 'Stand Together'. It will include the Acromax Performance Group working with Ark Alexandra Academy, the St Richard's Catholic College choir and dancers, and the BISC (Queens University - Canada).
The service is open to everyone, and admission is free but by ticket only.
Tickets must be obtained in advance, and are available from the Hastings Tourist Information Centre in Breeds Place, Hastings (by the fountain on the seafront).
Council narrows solar options
Hastings Borough Council has confirmed it is now looking at two possible sites to install solar panels, both in Hastings Country Park. One is the field to the south of the milking parlour; the other is the former helipad site.
Cllr Maya Evans, lead councillor for climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development, explained,
"As part of our pledge to go carbon neutral by 2030, the council has taken initial steps to gather information about potential sites. Currently, we are part way through a consultation process to discover whether ground-mounted solar arrays on certain fields in the country park are viable.
"We have discounted two of the original four sites we were looking at, to the west of the milking parlour in the Country Park, and Upper Wilting Farm.
"There is an exclusion zone around a WWII military aircraft crash site in the Country Park, which is protected as a war grave. And the site we were looking at near Upper Wilting Farm may fall within the site of another WWII 'plane crash site. Any further exploration would need a licence from the Ministry of Defence.
"Hastings Borough Council wants to activity play its part in tackling climate change by installing renewable energy infrastructure on all viable sites within the town. This includes car parks, rooftops and farming fields in the country parks.
"In order to ensure a sensible and pragmatic decision, we need to gather all available information so that we can strike a balance between getting to carbon neutrality while protecting the unique heritage and natural beauty of our diverse and beautiful town."
You can find out more on our Ground mounted solar FAQs page.
Hastings Borough Council is consulting on its draft corporate plan and budget for 2020/21 and wants to know what you think
We are consulting on two key documents for the council: the corporate plan sets out the council's vision for the year ahead, outlines what the service priorities will be, and the key opportunities the council will pursue.
The budget sets out how the council propose to pay for what they intend to do.
This draft corporate plan and budget for 2020/21 is available at https://www.hastings.gov.uk/my-council/consultations/corp-plan-budget2020/
This is your opportunity to have your say, help shape the future of Hastings, and ensure our plans are fit for purpose and relevant to you. Submit any comments you have to firstname.lastname@example.org
Hard copies of these documents can be accessed at the Council's Contact Centre and the Tourist Information Centre. At both of these centres there are the IT facilities and support necessary for the submission of comments.
The deadline for feedback is 5pm on Friday, 7 February 2020.
All comments received will be summarised and reported to the council's Budget Cabinet meeting on 10 February. After which the draft plan and budget will be put before the full council for approval on 19 February.
Members of the public are welcome to attend these meetings to hear the debate.
Leader of Hastings Borough Council, Councillor Peter Chowney, said:
"Over the last ten years, we have been faced with continuing year-on-year cuts to the grant we get from central government. Our total grants have been cut by over 72%. This means that since 2010, the council has lost well over £55 million in the money we receive to run services in our town.
"We've had to replace that funding wherever we can by raising money locally. We've done this by increasing fees and charges, raising Council Tax, and income generation, notably commercial property purchases, which will raise over £1million a year in additional net income.
"The Hastings Council element of the Hastings Council Tax will increase this year by 1.99 per cent, which amounts to £5.28 per annum for a Band D property, or 10p a week. This is the maximum allowed. We are however, very proud that we've been able to keep a generous Council Tax reduction scheme, which means that most people on out-of-work benefits (75 per cent of claimants) will still pay no Council Tax. We believe we will be one of the few councils left in the country who do this. Because of the extreme financial hardship that's been caused by the roll-out of Universal Credit in Hastings, we believe we need to do this to protect those who are least able to pay.
"This year we've seen further cuts to our grant funding and massive additional pressures on our budget. Rocketing homelessness has pushed the bill for rehousing homeless people to over two million pounds a year.
"We were facing a gap in our budget for the coming year of over £2.4 million. We've had to cover that gap by a mixture of service cuts, efficiency savings, income generation and using up our reserves. There will be around 30 council staff redundancies, in full time equivalents, including some of our most senior managers.
"We will continue to bid for external grants to fund projects that help us meet our priorities. We've been very successful at this, raising many millions over the last couple of years for additional targeted support for rough sleepers, a series of employment and community development projects in the most deprived parts of town, improvements to the seafront, funding to help our local fishery, and more. We are also working hard with partners to develop a proposal to submit to the Town Deal Fund for up to £25m of money to help further regenerate our town. We'll also continue to look at new ways to tackle the challenges we're facing, including homelessness, deprivation, and a significant focus on meeting our commitment to the climate change emergency by becoming a carbon neutral town by 2030.
"This year will be another extremely tough budget, and the future is not looking bright. The government is due to carry out a 'Fair Funding Review' of how it funds local councils in 2020. We have no idea yet what impact this will have on our council and it could mean that we have even less money. But we will do all we can to continue to be more efficient, improve our performance and customer care, and get the very best for local people."