Press Releases week beginning 20 March 2017
Promising start for street community partnership
Fifty representatives from over 25 different agencies and voluntary groups attended a Rough Sleeper and Street Activity Workshop at the White Rock Hotel last Wednesday.
The event focused on individuals that might be engaged in begging , street drinking or rough sleeping, examining how best to respond to recent rises in rough sleeping and street-related activity. A wide variety of services, agencies and community groups attended, pooling their knowledge of providing support, engagement and where necessary enforcement to the street community.
"Initial feedback from the day has been extremely positive," said Cllr Kim Forward, the lead member for housing, equalities and communities at Hastings Borough Council. "It was heartening to see so many individuals in the same room with such a strong commitment to improving the housing, health and wellbeing outcomes of rough sleepers and the street community; it felt as though real progress was made towards a consensus on the type of approach which might improve outcomes for some of the most vulnerable and isolated groups within our community."
In the coming weeks a working group will be set up to develop a set of shared principles that will underpin a multi-agency whole system. The intention is that these principles will be the foundation upon which a more coordinated and united approach will be built, so that rough sleepers and the street community can easily access an effective, holistic package of support delivered collaboratively within a system that will enable individuals to have an enhanced experience locally.
The workshop was organised by Hastings Borough Council's Housing Options team in conjunction with Community Safety and partners from Fulfilling Lives, Making Every Adult Matter, Seaview, Sussex Police and NHS Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group.
Building on the Past?
Hastings Borough Council has just launched its draft heritage strategy for the town, and is inviting comments on it.
Cllr Dawn Poole is lead member for culture at the council, and explained :- "Last August, the Drury McPherson Partnership was commissioned by Hastings Borough Council to produce a heritage strategy for Hastings. This had been identified as a priority in the Hastings planning strategy and in our culture-led regeneration strategy.
"The aim of the heritage strategy is to identify the heritage of the town in the broadest sense, including built, natural, archaeological, material and intangible. It then assesses its significance, and suggests means and priorities for conserving and sustaining it in support of the culture-led regeneration strategy and in the context of the wider economic and cultural regeneration of Hastings.
" A lot of work has gone into developing this strategy. Consultation took place with key stakeholders during the autumn of 2016, and a workshop session took place in December. The proposed heritage strategy is available on line on our www.hastings.gov.uk website, and we are very keen to hear feedback on it.
"All comments will then be considered and, where appropriate, incorporated into the final strategy, which will be agreed at a cabinet meeting later in the summer."
Consultation Starts On Public Space Protection Orders
Public consultation is now underway on the introduction of 'public space protection orders', ('PSPOs') in Hastings. The move was agreed unanimously by the council's cabinet on 6th March, with the public consultation period lasting four weeks, until Friday 21st April.
Council leader Cllr Peter Chowney explained :- "PSPOs replace existing controls such as those relating to dog fouling, and also enable councils and their partners, such as the police, to deal with serious anti-social behaviour in public places.
"This includes street drinking and begging, both of which appear to have become more common in Hastings, as well as elsewhere throughout the country.
"The consequences of becoming a street drinker aren't good. Street drinkers have a life expectancy of 46, but this is misleading - their lives as street drinkers are probably no more than four or five years. It's a very self-destructive lifestyle.
"We will listen to the consultation feedback, and, if it confirms what we believe, we will introduce the PSPOs. Their introduction will allow us to deal with a wide range of anti-social behaviour issues, and so help us realise our vision for a safer cleaner town."
The consultation document is at https://www.hastings.gov.uk/my_council/consultations/pspos/
'We'll Keep The Red Birch Growing Here…'
The former leader of Hastings Borough Council, Jeremy Birch, has been remembered with a tree planting event in Hastings' Alexandra Park.
The event was attended by Jeremy's family and friends, the mayor Cllr Judy Rogers, the current leader of the council, Cllr Peter Chowney, and the High Sheriff of East Sussex Michael Foster DL.
Cllr Chowney said :- "We wanted to remember Jeremy in a tangible way, and what could be more appropriate than planting red birches in our park.
"It was great that so many of Jeremy's family and friends could be here for the event too, including Louise, his partner, their children Peter and Kate, and two of their grandchildren Kaya and Sami.
"We all miss Jeremy a great deal, and there are numerous legacies to his memory around Hastings. The town's physical and cultural regeneration, the Jerwood Gallery, the pier, and so on. And I still use what I call the 'Jeremy Test' when faced with a difficult decision :- I think what would Jeremy have done?
"We want to continue his legacy, but also wanted to mark Jeremy in a personal way, which is why I am so delighted that we now have these red birches in our park. Jeremy's memory literally lives on here."
New Seafront Kiosk Opens For Business
A new kiosk has opened for business on Hastings promenade, as part of the Foreshore Trust's plans to improve the seafront. The Foreshore Trust is a charitable trust which looks after the foreshore in Hastings.
Cllr Colin Fitzgerald is chair of the council's charity committee, which manages the Foreshore Trust. He said :- "We know our seafront is incredibly popular with visitors, and we are keen to improve the range of facilities it has to offer.
"This new kiosk, near the Source skate/BMX park, is ideally situated for those walking from the town centre or the Old Town towards the pier, and I am sure it will be very busy.
The new kiosk will be operated by The Source, and Rich Moore, co-owner, said :- "We're excited to be opening the new seafront kiosk at White Rock. It sits right above our skate park so made perfect sense for us to take it on; the building looks beautiful, it has one of the best views in Hastings and it really complements our food and drink offer inside the Park. Our amazing team in the cafe are enjoying the idea of serving locals and tourists whilst enjoying the sunny sea views.
"We aim for the kiosk to be a positive addition to Hastings promenade and offer excellent products at reasonable prices; with ice creams, slushes and teas/coffees from just 99p"
Council secures grant funding for new visitor centre
Together with their partners Groundwork South and the School of Natural Building Hastings Borough Council have been awarded £890,000 towards building a new centre at Hastings Country Park.
The new visitor centre will be part of a major European funded project to construct public buildings from straw. Other countries involved in the project are Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and France. The aim of the project is to showcase sustainable building projects with reduced carbon footprints. The new visitor centre will be the first straw build building in the borough and will be a focus for new interpretation and events at the Country Park.
The partners submitted an initial expression of interest to Interreg North West Europe for the programme in February 2016 and were one of only 4 projects out of 79 applicants under the Low Carbon funding stream invited to submit a further, full application.
Providing a new visitor centre at Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve is a top priority for the council. Planning permission was granted in 2015 so the council is keen to progress with the project as soon as possible.
The Interreg (NWE) Programme is a transnational European Territorial Cooperation Programme funded by the European Commission. This grant is worth £540,000 to the council and its partner Groundwork South and £350,000 for the School of Natural Building, the UK's lead organisation for straw buildings.
Councillor Colin Fitzgerald, the council's new lead member for environment and place explained:
"This is absolutely fantastic news for the council. We have had an ambition to build a new centre at Hastings Country Park for a number of years and with our partners Groundwork South have been working on grant applications to realise this ambition. We hope to have the new centre open to the public early in 2018. The new centre will be a completely sustainable straw building; a fitting building for the country park and its visitors and one which our residents can rightly be proud of".
Executive director of Groundwork, Gary Jacobs added:
"I'm thrilled that our partnership has been successful in securing this grant award despite the tough competition. We believe a first class nature reserve deserves a first class visitor centre. Working with the Friends of Hastings Country Park and the council we can now take forward this exciting opportunity to build one of the first public straw bale buildings in the UK which will help educate and inform local people and visitors of the truly amazing local heritage and wildlife on their doorstep."
Eileen Sutherland from the School of Natural Building (SNaB) commented:
"This project is a significant milestone on the road to sustainable building across NW Europe.
By working with other European specialists, SNaB will deliver workforce skills and curriculum innovation in the field of Natural Building"
Hastings Borough Council observe one minute Silence
Deputy mayor Cllr Nigel Sinden, conservative leader Cllr Rob Lee and Hastings Borough Council's director corporate service Jane Hartnell lead the one minute silence in Queens Square, Hastings today to pay respect to the victims of yesterday's attack in Westminster.
Royal National Lifeboat Institution to provide lifeguards on Hastings beaches for the first time
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is to provide a lifeguard service on beaches in Hastings this summer, the first time in history the charity that saves lives at sea has done so.
Following an agreement with Hastings Borough Council RNLI lifeguards will provide a service throughout the summer months, advising people on how to stay safe and rescuing people if they get into distress.
In addition to the RNLI's traditional lifeboats, lifeguards help to provide a ring of safety around the coastline of the UK and Ireland.
There will be three lifeguard units in total, on two of the area's most popular beaches. Two lifeguard units will be stationed at Pelham beach, and one will be at Marina St Leonards. Lifeguards will be in operation by 8 July at the latest.
The announcement means the RNLI is now actively recruiting for lifeguards for the season. Billed as "Britain's best summer job", RNLI lifeguards will receive world class training in search and rescue, lifesaving and casualty care techniques, as well as boosting their CV's with invaluable skills that will wow future employers.
Recruits will also be trained in using the latest lifesaving equipment including rescue boards, rescue tubes and defibrillators.
Allen Head, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager, said: 'I think working as a lifeguard has got to be one of the most rewarding jobs. Of course it's incredible to be able to call the beach your office but far more importantly than that, you are there to make sure the public enjoy it in the safest possible way.
'But make no mistake. This is a demanding job requiring commitment, skill and a clear head. We want people with the courage, determination and the ability to draw on their training and make the right decision if someone's life is in danger.'
Lifeguards have previously operated on beaches in the area, but that service was run by Hastings Borough Council and supported by Hastings and St Leonards Voluntary Lifeguard Club. The RNLI is hoping to continue to work closely with the Hastings and St Leonards Voluntary Lifeguard Club in the future
Cllr Colin Fitzgerald, chair of Hastings Borough Council's charity committee, which is responsible for the foreshore in Hastings, said: 'I am delighted that we agreed unanimously to work in partnership with the RNLI, who will provide our beach lifeguarding operation for this summer. The RNLI have an excellent reputation, and, I am sure, will do a fantastic job keeping our beaches safe.'
The RNLI is currently recruiting for beaches all over the UK and Ireland, including two other beaches in East Sussex; Bexhill and Camber Sands. The charity is looking for individuals who possess an internationally recognised beach lifeguard qualification. A series of courses hosted by the RNLI and local lifesaving clubs will be held in the coming weeks and months to enable people to get this qualification. Although this does not guarantee a job as an RNLI lifeguard, individuals must also be fit and healthy and be strong swimmers.
In 2016 RNLI lifeguards on some 240 beaches dealt with 17,414 incidents and saved 127 lives.
Find out more about how you can make a difference and apply to be part of our amazing lifesaving teams at www.rnli.org.uk/workonthebeach
Council to consult on new Additional Licensing Scheme for Houses in Multiple Occupation
Following on from the end of the last scheme (last scheme ended September 2016) Hastings Borough Council is to start a formal consultation on its proposal to introduce a new Additional Licensing Scheme for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in Hastings.
The Housing Act 2004 allows local authorities to introduce Additional Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) where there is evidence that certain HMO's are being ineffectively managed giving rise to problems for tenants or members of the public in the vicinity.
"We have a duty to ensure properties are safe and secure and want to ensure that all HMO's in Hastings are being properly managed. This consultation identifies reasons why changes are necessary, what the scheme will mean in the future and will give people the opportunity to respond" said Cllr Kim Forward, the council's lead member for housing and communities.
She added: "I urge people to take part in this consultation which will run until 9 June 2017 online or come along to one of the public consultation events in Hastings to be held in April and May".
At the end of the consultation the council will receive a report on the outcome and make a decision on whether a scheme should be carried forward. If approved, the scheme could come into force early in 2018.
Take part in the consultation : https://www.hastings.gov.uk/my_council/consultations/hmo/