Press Releases week beginning 04 July 2016
Council Calls on BT to Improve Broadband in Hastings Old Town
The leader of Hastings Borough Council, Cllr Peter Chowney, has called on BT to improve broadband in Hastings Old Town.
Significant difficulties had been experienced in finding a suitable site for a particular cabinet in this conservation area. However, this has been resolved. With the help of planning officers, and a lot of work from a number of people, the cabinet can now be installed, but BT has indicated this could take another 18 months.
In a letter to Mr Bill Murphy, Managing Director, Next Generation Access, BT, Cllr Chowney said :- "There are a number of businesses who would benefit from this broadband extension and, conversely, are suffering now with very slow internet speeds.
"They were therefore very disappointed to learn, as we were, that providing this cabinet, which is part of your own investment programme, is not in your commercial programme for this financial year. Indeed, we have been told that this cabinet might not be live until December 2017 which is, frankly, unacceptable.
"We are in the middle of a major programme to regenerate Hastings, which has enjoyed very considerable success. Nevertheless, we remain the 20th most deprived borough in the country, and the most deprived town in the south-east, and it is vital that we do all we can to improve our prospects. A number of small businesses, including a boutique hotel, are dependent on this cabinet being provided to enable them to access broadband.
"I would ask you to do all you can to expedite the installation of this vital cabinet, allowing this part of the Old Town to enjoy the broadband, and the benefits it brings :- and which have been enjoyed by most of the country for some time now."
Cllr Chowney added :- "It is very frustrating for local businesses to be told that they may have to wait another 18 months to enjoy the kind of service most of the rest of the country have taken for granted for ages. I do hope Mr Murphy is able to bring pressure to bear and get our Old Town businesses their broadband connection as soon as possible, and certainly by the end of 2016, not 2017."
Norman/1066 Country Partnership Wins Hampton Court Flower Show Medal
A partnership between Normandy Tourism and 1066 Country Marketing, based in Hastings and which promotes the eastern part of East Sussex, has produced a medal-winning garden at Hampton Court flower show.
The Norman mediaeval garden, called 'Le Clos D'Hastings' was designed by Normandy native Stephane Marie, the respected celebrity gardener presenter of the number one French TV horticultural show, who has a huge fan base. (The French Monty Don). The medal-winning garden is divided into two sections. The first represents the ancestral meadows on both sides of the Channel, the second a densely planted area designed like a tapestry, featuring plants from around the world that the English and Normans, with their shared passion for gardening, have enjoyed sharing for centuries.
Kevin Boorman, manager of 1066 Country marketing, explained :- "We were very pleased to work with our friends from Normandy tourism on this project. And Stephane Marie is a great fan of 1066 Country, having previously visited the area and featured Great Dixter on his show.
"As well as helping provide financial support, 1066 Country marketing staff are on the stand every day promoting this area, including its splendid and varied gardens and parks, the 950th anniversary events, and the ROOT1066 international contemporary arts festival.
"We also helped decorate the stand, and I'm very grateful to Sue Bower of Nelson Antiques in Hastings High Street who provided a fantastic oak table, two benches and a blanket box.
"Hampton Court flower show is an incredibly popular event, with well over 100 000 visitors expected over the next few days. It is a great opportunity to market our own fantastic gardens and for us to promote the many events that are taking place here this year."
New safety awareness signs for Sandrock footpath
Following a serious assault on the footpath from Sandrock Park entrance to St Helens Church in January this year, Hastings Borough councillors and officers, Ark Helenswood Academy and the police agreed that urgent action needed to be taken.
Over the years a number of incidents have occurred on this footpath and the serious attack this year prompted a review of the area and a plan to address safety issues.
Overgrown vegetation was cut back at the entrances to the footpath using probation community payback, a fence was erected along part of the footpath to block a gap and Ark Helenswood Academy ran a school competition to design signs to encourage safety on the footpath.
Cllr Warren Davies the council's lead member for the environment explained:
"Working together with the police, Safer Hastings Partnership, fellow councillors and Ark Helenswood academy we are delighted to see the new signs, designed by students, now in place along the footpath.
"We have been very concerned about the safety of pedestrians on this footpath but with the measures now taken and the installation of a CCTV camera and increased patrols by the police we are confident that the Sandrock footpath is much safer.
"Congratulations must go to Sam Evans and Abi Baker whose winning design was used for the new signs and our thanks must also go to all partners that have been involved with ensuring the future safety of pedestrians in this area."