Press Releases week beginning 04 December 2017
Information Centre Success
Hastings Tourist Information Centre ('TIC') has received recognition at the 2017 Beautiful South Awards, held in Brighton last week.
The awards are run by Tourism South East to recognise and celebrate excellence in the industry, and Hastings TIC received a bronze award in the 'visitor information service of the year' category.
Cllr Kim Forward, lead member for marketing at Hastings Borough Council, said :- "I am delighted that our TIC was recognised as one of the very best in the southeast of England.
"The visitor economy is vital to us here in Hastings, worth over £260m to the local economy and supporting over 5000 jobs, and we have put a lot of effort into improving our TIC.
"I would like to pay tribute to the manager, Lara Bolch, for all of the work she has done in developing the centre with a new team, and a great product range.
"Why not pop into the TIC soon, it's on the seafront in Breeds Place, by the fountain, and see just what makes it one of the very best :- and you might want to browse for Christmas presents too!'
Hastings parks are the best in the UK-official!
Hastings Borough Council has won two very special awards for innovation in parks management. The projects that secured the awards were for bathing water quality improvement in Alexandra Park and the introduction of Belted Galloway cattle, conservation grazing and heathland restoration at Hastings Country Park.
Councillor Colin Fitzgerald, lead member for the environment said, "The country park and Alexandra Park are two of just eight inspirational parks and green spaces in the UK to achieve the award, which is presented to Green Flag Award or Green Flag Community Award winning sites that have made changes which have brought outstanding benefits to both their site and the local community. My thanks go to the dedicated council staff who found innovative ways of achieving their aims and then saw the projects through."
Councillor Fitzgerald then said, "The topography and coastal habitats of the country park presents challenges for conventional management. In 2015 we established an innovative free roaming conservation grazing project.
We introduced a small herd of Exmoor ponies and Belted Galloway cattle to manage the wooded glens and slopes which are inaccessible for the mechanical equipment we would normally use. We opened up fencing so the cattle and ponies roam freely in the woods and steep slopes, allowing them the same freedom as walkers.
"Having successfully introduced these animals to help manage the park, we propose to roll out a second phase of grazing for four weeks in the autumn to cliff top areas. We are introducing a system of invisible fencing to allow grazing on the cliffs, with an underground induction loop fencing system restricting cattle to discreet areas for grazing whilst preserving the clifftop landscape."
"Our innovative use of free roaming grazing animals to manage threatened habitats on public land successfully combines biodiversity and wildlife management with public enjoyment and getting closer to nature, especially for residents from disadvantaged communities in the town. "
Turning to the award won by Alexandra Park, Cllr Fitzgerald said, "Waterways are a key feature in Alexandra Park. The Waterways Improvement Project started in the winter of 2014 and was completed in November 2016. The project aim was to reduce the contamination from surrounding sources and misconnections within the plumbing systems of some local houses entering into the stream flowing through the park. This involved the natural treatment of water in Alexandra Park through the creation of weirs, wetland, silt traps, planted stream channels, floating island eco-systems, pond edge treatment and an aeration system that sucks water through natural gravel and plant filtration beds.
"As a result of our work, stream water now travels slower through the park giving greater exposure to UV light, providing beneficial microbes and root filtration. The longer the water can be kept in the treatment areas the greater effect the power of nature will have to revitalise the quality of water discharged into the sea, resulting in improved bathing water quality at the outfall to the sea."
Paul Todd, Green Flag Award Scheme manager said: "Congratulations to everyone involved in the Hastings Country Park and Alexandra Park projects, both worthy winners of the Special Innovation Awards. Research has proved that quality parks and green spaces play a vital role within their local communities. Hastings Country Park and Alexandra Park are perfect examples of this."
White Rock Theatre Future Secure
Hastings Borough Council has confirmed that arrangements are being put in place to secure the future of the White Rock Theatre until at least 2024.
At its cabinet last Monday (4th December), the council agreed that, as its first preference, it would seek to agree terms to extend the existing contract with HQ Theatres & Hospitality Ltd for five years, to the end of January 2024. It also agreed to start the process to secure a new operator should the negotiations with HQ Theatres prove unsuccessful.
Council leader Peter Chowney said :- "This is a good result for Hastings. I know how popular the White Rock Theatre is, and how important it is to both visitors and the local community. Hopefully we will be able to secure a deal with the existing operator, but, if we can't, we are committed to finding another organisation to run it.
"We are keen to see more local input into the White Rock's programming, and are encouraging music and theatre groups to get more involved, perhaps through a consortium which can work with HQ Theatres, or a new operator, and start to put on its own events.
"We are also looking to the future. In five years' time we should be much more advanced in our plans to improve the whole White Rock area, where we intend to develop a new, multi-function performance venue."
Julian Russell, chief executive of HQ Theatres & Hospitality, added:-
"We're delighted that the council confirmed its commitment to the future of the White Rock Theatre and we are pleased to be starting discussions with the council with the aim of securing the future operation of the theatre.
"The White Rock Theatre is a vital cultural asset to the local community so we're hopeful of a positive outcome and one which meets the needs of all key stakeholders including the borough council, our loyal audience and the many local organisations and community groups who use the facilities at the theatre."