Press Releases week beginning 25 July 2016
Hastings Town Crier Wins British Town Criers' Championship
Hastings Town Crier, Jon Bartholomew has returned home triumphant this weekend after having won the prestigious Loyal Company of Town Criers British Championship.
Jon, accompanied by his wife Victoria, was one of only 15 top Town Criers from around the UK to be invited to attend the Championship, held in Biddulph, Staffordshire on Saturday (23rd July).
The Criers were required to perform two separate themed cries during the day and were judged on five different disciplines :- confidence and bearing, diction and inflection, volume and clarity, content of cry, and engaging the public audience. With a combined total of 50 marks per cry, in total Jon came away with a score of 90.2, having lost only 0.2 marks for missing out one word scrutinised by the “accuracy” judge.
The event was rounded off for Hastings when the colourful couple in their period costumes were also awarded the prize cup for best dressed town crier and escort.
Jon said :- “The whole day has been a great success for Hastings, and indeed Sussex, and I’m absolutely chuffed to now hold the title British Champion, and I’m so proud to bring home the cup and title, as the other criers competing were some of the best in the UK. It’s also a great accolade for my wife and I to win best dressed couple too.”
Jon has been the official Town Crier of the Borough of Hastings since 1998 and although he has won a number of tournaments both nationally and internationally, this is the first time he has attended and won the British Championship. Jon now has his sights firmly fixed on attending and maybe being placed at the World Championships in Chester in 2017.
Grant Funding Secured for Hastings Country Park Ecology
Hastings Borough Council has successfully secured funding from the The Sussex Lund grants programme.
The Sussex Lund grants programme is a collaboration between the charitable fund, Lund, and the Sussex Community Foundation. It supports small-scale, practical projects that improve the ecology and landscape of the High Weald.
Recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the High Weald is an exceptional medieval landscape, with a wealth of wildlife and historic features that provide a strong sense of place, enrich lives and inspire community pride.
“This is really excellent news! The grant of £ £8,494 will help to recreate areas of heather on the Firehills, restoring the landscape to a heathland mosaic of shrubs, including heather and gorse interspersed with acid grassland” said Cllr Warren Davies the council’s lead member for environment.
“A mixed-species hedge on an ancient boundary bank by the heathland will be also be replanted to act as a wildlife corridor and a wind break and the species-rich grassland fields will be enhanced to create flower-rich meadows to improve biodiversity and benefit a wide range of wildlife, especially pollinating insects” he added.
Sussex Lund is open to anyone who thinks they have a project that will benefit the landscape of the High Weald AONB, green projects that will make practical, tangible improvements to the High Weald and can inspire wider change. Examples might include improvements to habitats such as woods, marshes, meadows and hedgerows; planting trees and orchards; removing non-native tree species; community gardening; greening in and around villages; reducing sign and light pollution; clearing litter and improving rights of way.
Hastings’ Parks named as some of the best in Britain
More than 1,600 parks and green spaces will be flying the Green Flag award this year and three are in Hastings.
Hastings Country Park, Alexandra Park and St Leonards Gardens are among a record-breaking 1,686 parks and green spaces that will have received (21 July) the prestigious Green Flag Award – the mark of a quality park or green space.
Cllr Warren Davies, Hastings Borough Council’s lead member for environment said:
“We are absolutely delighted to receive the Green Flag accolade for excellence again this year as a testament to the quality of not one, but three parks in Hastings, a truly exceptional achievement!
“Our green spaces are essential to happy, healthy communities and are fundamental to our quality of life - we are so proud that residents and visitors are benefitting from parks of the very highest quality.
“Our thanks must go to our grounds maintenance contractors, The Landscape Group for their tireless efforts in making our parks and gardens look great and the park managers, staff and volunteers for their hard work and dedication which has helped to create these fantastic places for us all to enjoy.”
International Green Flag Award scheme manager Paul Todd said: “We are delighted to be celebrating another record-breaking year for the Green Flag Award scheme, especially as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Awards.
“All the flags flying this year are a testament to the efforts of the thousands of men and women, both staff and volunteers, who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award.”
Jeremy Birch memorial completed in St Leonards
A community arts project has been completed at Warrior Square, St Leonards in memory of Jeremy Birch, the former leader of Hastings Borough Council (2001 – 2008 and 2010 – 2015) until his untimely death in May 2015.
The local community together with Hastings Youth Council under the guidance of Graffiti Plus have completed the artwork in Jeremy’s memory on the promenade steps at Warrior Square.
The inscription reads: ‘People let your voice be heard, every culture, every language, every word, fore this land this life this earth belongs to you. One Hastings Many Voices’
“Jeremy played a huge role in Hastings over the twenty years he was involved in local politics. He was not only active in Hastings but across East Sussex, and, in fact, across much of the south east where he was involved in many different groups and partnerships over this time” said Cllr Peter Chowney leader Hastings Borough Council.
He added: “The cultural diversity of St Leonards was very important to him and he coined the phrase ‘One Hastings Many Voices’. This new community art project in his memory is wholly fitting; he would have loved it. Our thanks must go to everyone that was involved in its creation.
"Jeremy was a very strong figure within the council who always supported our projects and campaigns. He constantly inspired us to do our best and believe that everyone deserve to have their voice heard” said Huda Caglayan, chair Hastings Youth Council.
Couple Charged for Out of Control Dog
A couple from Beachy Head View in St Leonards have been charged with having an out of control dog.
Mr and Mrs Baker were summonsed to Eastbourne Magistrates Court on 17 June 2016 for not keeping their large crossbreed dog named Congo under proper control in public places.
Hastings Borough Council’s Street Wardens have successfully prosecuted the Bakers and a dog control order is now in place. The order states that Congo must be on a lead and muzzled at all times while in public places and must be walked and exercised by an adult who has the ability to restrain the dog either physically or by verbal command.
Mr and Mrs Baker admitted the charges to which they were summonsed. Neither party attended court, choosing instead to write to the court. Costs of £225 were awarded.
Cllr Warren Davies the council’s lead member for the environment commented:
“This is excellent news and we hope that it will serve as a very firm warning to other irresponsible dog owners in the town. We take issues of this nature very seriously indeed. We will not tolerate those who have no regard for the safety of residents and visitors to our town. This prosecution will ensure that one more dog will be kept under control.”
“It’s unacceptable for dog owners not to exercise proper control of their pets - we will always prosecute. We want to celebrate responsible dog owning and I’m pleased to say that the majority of our residents are considerate and think about the impact that their pet has on our fantastic town.”
Council Retains Moral High Ground Following Supreme Court Judgement
Hastings Borough Council retains the moral high ground following the Supreme Court judgement on the Hastings pier compensation case.
Hastings Borough Council had appealed against the decision that it is liable to pay compensation to Manolete Partners under section 106 of the Building Act 1984 for loss to a business on Hastings Pier during 2006. The council had closed the pier under its emergency powers because the pier was unsafe.
‘Manolete’ had bought Stylus Sports' claim after Stylus Sports went into liquidation in late 2011; Stylus ran the bingo hall and an amusement arcade on the pier. They reopened their operation in 2007, but closed it in 2008.
Council leader Cllr Peter Chowney said :- “Although we are obviously disappointed to lose the appeal, we absolutely believe it was the right thing to do.
“The Supreme Court recognised that the Building Act as interpreted by the ‘lower’ courts was too strict, and they have effectively widened the application of what ‘in default’ means. Although this might seem a technical point, it is an important one and one which will in future help councils faced with the same dilemma.
“The judgement also recognises that the council can argue that any compensation must take into account the fact that the pier was in a poor structural condition. We will robustly challenge any large compensation claims, we do not think that the taxpayers of Hastings should have to pay significant sums of public money when all we have ever done is act in the best interests of public safety.
“We believe that we acted entirely correctly when we closed the pier. Our engineers told us it was dangerous with crowd loadings, and it would have been foolhardy to allow large events to go ahead.”
Summer Season kicks off with Play Days in the Park
Hundreds of families packed Alexandra Park despite the inclement weather yesterday (27 July) for the first play event of the summer season, Play Days in the Park.
Organised by Hastings Borough Council’s Play Hastings team the event was a real success with lots of play and sporting activities for all.
The next Play Day will take place in Alexandra Park on Wednesday 03 August 10.30am – 3.30pm. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
For more information about Play in Hastings contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 01424 451051
Play Days in the Park is supported by Hastings and St Leonards Play Forum and Youth Partnership