Press Releases week beginning 23 October 2017
Selective Licensing Success
In the two years since the introduction of the Housing Selective Licensing Scheme across seven wards of Hastings in excess of 6,000 applications have been received.
Hastings Borough Council's full council meeting heard last week that since the introduction of the scheme some 6,353 applications have been received. In order to ensure the scheme continues to operate and identify and pursue unlicensed properties full council also heard that there was a need to increase the application fee to £665.
Cllr Andy Batsford, lead member for housing said "When the selective licensing scheme was introduced we were expecting to licence in the region of 7,000 properties; the fact that we have already had applications for 6,000 properties highlights how strong the private rented sector is in Hastings and that there are many good landlords out there providing good, safe and secure accommodation. Unfortunately there are still some landlords who are avoiding applying for their licence and it is important that we keep up the pressure on this rogue element who give all landlords a bad name".
He added that "Although there is a rise in the fee it still represents only £2.55 per week to licence a property over a five year period. Not only are the tenants assured they live in a safe and secure home but the landlords get the support of our housing team on issues such as dealing with tenants that may need advice on moving on and support."
Hastings Youth Council learns about refugees and asylum seekers
Hastings Youth Council heard international keynote speaker Alex Ntung talk about migration, refugee and asylum seekers on Thursday 19th October. Mr Ntung spoke about his journey to the UK from Rwanda and his life as a resident in St Leonards. He also talked about the stigma and politics he experienced as a refugee and asylum seeker.
George, Hastings Youth Council member stated "this was an emotional speech from the heart and it was very sad to hear what other people have to go through, and how families and lives are torn apart. We are glad to say that Hastings Youth Council supports the Syrian relocation scheme, which Hastings Borough Council is leading on for East Sussex."
Hastings Borough Councillor Andy Batsford, lead member for housing said, "Most of us never experience the horrors of genocide and civil war unless we see it on television. I am very proud that Hastings Borough Council is helping to settle refugees and give those families a chance for a new life."
Town twinning charter signed
Ken Sharples, chairman of the Hastings Association of Twin Towns (HATT) represented Hastings at a recent Hastings- Béthune charter signing ceremony. The Mayor and her deputy, Councillor Nigel Sinden were both busy with Hastings Week events, and unable to join the other twin town dignitaries for the occasion.
Mr Sharples said, "I was very pleased to be able to sign the Hastings- Béthune charter on behalf of the mayor. Béthune is a beautiful place with a great deal of character. The Béthune Twinning organisation and the Bethune town councillors made us very welcome.
"The development and promotion of common projects between our towns is essential to continue our involvement. We have already started planning for next year with a visit from Béthune to play football, handball and golf. Twinning is not all sport however; the Mayor of Béthune, Mr Olivier Gacquerre said, "We welcome local businesses to Béthune to discuss joint projects while strengthening our economic and cultural co-operation."
Looking To Help Your Community? Grant-ed!
Hastings Borough Council is looking for volunteers to sit on its grants advisory panel. This gives advice to the council's charity committee on how surplus income from the Foreshore Trust should be distributed.
Cllr Sue Beaney, who chairs the charity committee, explained :- "As a charity, the Foreshore Trust wants to help the local community, and giving grants to local groups is one way we can do this.
"We are looking for more volunteers to join our existing panel. It meets around four times a year, and other meetings may be called. We are particularly looking for people with a knowledge of the local voluntary and charitable sector.
"Anyone interested should contact our chief legal officer Chris Barkshire-Jones on Hastings (01424) 451731, email firstname.lastname@example.org".