Observer column: 28 May 2021
We are all hoping that the better weather promised over the bank holiday weekend materialises- it will make a welcome change to the rest of May which has been one of the wettest on record! This bank holiday weekend is the first this year under Step 3 of the government's roadmap out of lockdown with hotels, guest houses and B&Bs all open, and we can eat and drink inside cafes and pubs again. This is good news for the town's tourism industry, which has really suffered since the pandemic began. Our indoor attractions will also be open including our museum (book your free tickets at www.hmag.org.uk)
Our RNLI lifeguards will be patrolling our beaches again from this weekend and we have once again received a Blue Flag award for Marina beach, and Seaside Awards for both Marina and Pelham beaches. So many of us will be enjoying these clean, safe beaches this summer and we can make sure they stay that way by taking our litter off the beach when we leave.
The virus rate remains low in our town, but it is worrying to hear about the rise of the so-called Indian variant elsewhere. Let's remember to keep space between ourselves and others not in our bubble, wear a face covering and wash our hands regularly. It is great that we can meet indoors now but we must stick to a maximum of six people or two households.
More and more of us have had our vaccinations and the pop-up clinics are still taking place across Hastings and St Leonards for people aged 40 and over who haven't had their first COVID-19 jab. All the details, including dates and times, can be found on our website.
If you are offered a vaccination, please have one as this way you are helping your family and friends and the wider community too. I am pleased that younger and younger people are being offered their jabs.
Hastings Borough Council does not agree with the use of the toxic chemical glyphosate and the impact it has on the natural environment on our streets, and we have previously passed motions pledging to support pollinating insects, especially bees. We have already asked East Sussex County Council who are responsible for maintaining our roads and most of our pavements to use an alternative method but they claim that their budget is insufficient to remove street plants (weeds) by more environmentally friendly methods and continue to use glyphosate for weed control.
I was pleased to join a protest in Collier Road last Saturday where the county council have refused the residents' request to stop using this toxic chemical and to allow them to take responsibility for the management of street plants in their road.
Where individual streets have asked to take on this responsibility, we believe they should be allowed to do so. It makes no sense for East Sussex County Council to continue to spend money spraying the streets with glyphosate when residents are happy to do the weeding themselves. We are looking at how we can take on responsibility from the county council for weed killing on our pavements so that we can prioritise and protect our people and our planet.
We are back to holding meetings in person as the government says we must, and it took a great deal of time and organisation to ensure the annual council meeting last week could take place in a COVID-19 secure way. Congratulations to our new mayor Cllr James Bacon and the deputy mayor Cllr Ruby Cox. You can find details of the Cabinet members and other committee members on our website.
Finally it is Volunteers Week from June 1st -7th where we can all say a big thank you to all our volunteers who have supported our community throughout this pandemic and to all those who usually volunteer but have?not?been?able to?because of?the virus.
Thank you everyone, we are so grateful for your care, kindness and commitment.
Council Leader's column