Press Releases week beginning 28 August 2017
Safe Harbour ?
Hastings Borough Council has confirmed that it has started talking to partners about the possibility of developing a harbour, housing and transport improvements in the Old Town of Hastings.
Council leader Peter Chowney explained :- "We have been approached by Hastings Harbour Quarter Ltd., a company specially formed for the purpose. Its directors are experienced developers and architects who have carried out a number of large projects across the country.
"The scheme is at a very early stage, but it has potentially very significant benefits for the town, including a new marina providing moorings, boat storage facilities and support services; around 1000 - 1300 new homes; a protected launching and landing site for our fishing fleet; and transport improvements to the area.
"The proposal could have a substantial and lasting direct benefit to Hastings, with its construction alone worth around £500m. The spending power of the residents of the new homes is expected to be around £26m per annum, with significant additional spending from the many thousands of new visitors the development could attract.
"But there are still a lot of questions to be answered, before I'd be comfortable with the scheme. I would want to see at least 25% of the new homes as social housing, access for vehicles would need to be achieved without damaging the Stade and its character, and car parking lost at Rock-a-Nore would need to be replaced, ideally with underground car parks. It would also need to protect, and indeed enhance, our local fishery, along with the existing attractions on the Stade.
"But these are very early days, and we will debate the principle of the work at our cabinet meeting on 11th September. That meeting will not commit the council to anything, other than to develop a strategic outline case for the development. This will cover many areas, including the initial business case; a marine assessment; transport and access planning; an assessment of the implications on public space; the SSSI and sustainability; initial 3D mapping; legal advice; financial modelling; and, of course, engagement with the local community.
"The 'point of no return' is a long way away, but the potential benefits for Hastings are significant, so we owe it to our community to take the scheme seriously to see if it can benefit the town and its residents." Cllr Rob Lee, leader of the Conservative group on Hastings Borough Council, added :- "We are committed to the regeneration of Hastings, and this project has potentially huge benefits for the town :- more jobs, more housing, more reasons to visit Hastings, and the opportunity to improve the transport infrastructure here. "There is clearly a long way to go, and a huge amount of work is needed just to develop a business case, but I look forward to hearing more details about the project, and to discussing it at our cabinet on 11th September."
Cllr Keith Glazier, East Sussex County Council leader, said: "While still early days, this is an exciting proposal which could potentially have significant economic benefits not just for Hastings but for the whole area.
"Clearly there are a large number of transport, environmental and financial challenges to overcome but we will work with the borough council and other partners to endeavour to address these issues, which would need to be resolved to enable the scheme to progress."
Amber Rudd, Member of Parliament for Hastings and Rye, said: "This scheme has the potential to deliver fantastic new opportunities for our town through boosting the supply of housing, improving local transport, creating jobs and providing new facilities for our fishing fleet.
"However, we must make sure that this development is in the best interests of our community. I'm pleased there will be further discussion and consideration of the proposals before a decision is made on whether to take it forward."
New beach huts and chalets available for rent
Hastings Borough Council has new beach huts and chalets available for renting in five locations across the town. Cllr Kim Forward said:
"I am delighted that we can extend this popular amenity to more residents this year. We know that residents and visitors love our beach huts, with a waiting list for the most popular sites, so we are delighted to be able to provide even more."
"We are providing over 30 chalets in total, at Glyne Gap, Bulverhythe, West St Leonards, and White Rock, with annual prices ranging from £1200 to £1500 per annum." If we have more applicants than huts, we will hold a lottery; application for lottery draw opens on Friday, 1 September and closes on Friday, 15 September at 12 noon (midday)."
Anyone interested in a chalet site should email their name, address, telephone number, mentioning which site(s) they are interested in with a contact email address to email@example.com no later than 12 noon on 16 September 2017 People may enter for all the new sites, or just one or two. Runners up will go on a waiting list of sites for which they applied. Only one site can be allocated per person/household but waiting lists are available. Those allocated with the new sites following the draw will sign a rolling licence agreement prior to the completion of the sites. The licence fees run from 1 January to 31 December. People will be charged pro-rata from the day they receive keys for the chalet.
Fees and charges for 2018 are reviewed and agreed in the autumn. Timings regarding occupancy of the new sites will be available as the construction progresses.
Sierra Leone mudslide disaster update
Newspaper readers have responded generously to the Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link's appeal for funds to help victims of the devastating mudslide in Freetown. Like all the communities in the immediate vicinity of the disaster area, our twin town is doing what it can to help the displaced survivors. The appeal has raised £911 to date (including gift aid). Faced with the problem of getting funds as quickly and effectively as possible to those in need, the Link is working with Build on Books, a well-known and very dynamic non-governmental organisation(NGO) that the Link has worked with before.
In spite of its name, Build on Books is not just an educational charity, and its Freetown-based team swung immediately into action to take practical aid to the disaster area and to the Don Bosco camp, a mother and child camp that has been set up in a Freetown orphanage. The charity's Lori Spragg writes: "We have been providing food, water, soap, clothing and shoes in large quantities to families that have lost everything. We have a medical team on site to deal with the shock and often horrific injuries of survivors".
The Friendship Link is sending the appeal money to Build on Books, confident that every penny will be turned into much needed aid. The effects of the disaster will be felt for a long time. If readers would like to contribute to the Link's appeal, they can use https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/hastingssierraleonefriendshiplinkor send a cheque made out to HSLFL to The Secretary HSLFL, Oaklands, Rock Lane, Hastings TN35 4NY.
The Link's next fundraising event is a Music Quiz Night at St Paul's School, Horntye Road, St Leonards on Friday September 15th at 7pm. Tables should be booked in advance from the secretary on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01424 436603. All the money raised will go to the disaster appeal fund.