Press Releases week beginning 11 December 2017
Stade Saturdays programme confirmed for 7th year
Hastings Borough Council has confirmed that it plans to continue the Stade Saturdays programme of free music and performance in 2018, for a seventh successive year. The weekly events on the Stade Open Space run from June to October and are a valued part of the town's cultural calendar.
"We are delighted to be able to provide this programme of wonderful varied events again in 2018," said Cllr Kim Forward, lead member for culture. "These free outdoor performances and concerts are much loved by residents and visitors alike, helping bring our community together and our seafront alive."
In 2017 over 11,000 people attended Stade Saturday events, with an increasing proportion of families and under 35s in the audience. Highlights included Liane Carroll's opening concert for the Hastings Jazz and Blues Festival, ÓcabrazÓka's Brazilian celebration of food, music, drumming and dance, the LaDinamo funky bike band who visited from Barcelona, and Le Cirque du Platzak with their unusual combination of lawnmowers, lettuces, staplers and rough folk music.
This year all the musical concerts were by Hastings-based artists, reflecting the excellent quality of music in the borough. Vocalist and composer Gwyneth Herbert and folk rock band Skinny Lister both braved particularly English weather to produce sets as fine as anything ever seen on the Stade.
Partnership working increased in 2017, with partners including Active Hastings' 1066 Cycling Festival, Coastal Currents, Journeys Dance Festival and the Lantern Society. And once again the council's membership of the Coasters Touring Network augmented the programme, providing 50% of the funding for five performances of quality street arts, which were among the most popular and well-attended of the summer. Coasters is supported by Arts Council England.
Sadly two of 2017's programmed events had to be cancelled: Glorilla due to one of the performers requiring an operation, and Acrojou due to the worst winds and rain of the year. However, Acrojou were still able to host creative drama workshops in each of the borough's four secondary schools, attended by 105 students altogether.
Next summer's programme will be confirmed in spring 2018.
Alexandra Park recognised for innovative water quality improvements
A year after the completion of an ambitious water quality improvement project, Alexandra Park has scooped a Green Flag Special Innovation Award - one of just eight awarded nationwide.
The two-year programme was carried out by Hastings Borough Council, in partnership with the Environment Agency, The Landscape Group and specialist contractor Biomatrix. It combined ecological and engineering expertise to slow the flow of water and reduce contaminants, effectively naturalising a Victorian waterway. This involved 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," said Cllr Colin Fitzgerald, lead member for the environment. "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."
Before the project began, the water flowing through the park and out to sea had been found to contain a level of contaminants that put Hastings at risk of failing EU regulations for bathing water quality. This could have been harmful both for public health and for the town's tourism economy.
Now however, Marina beach in St Leonards has been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag award for two years running, as well as the Seaside Award, and Pelham Beach in Hastings has been awarded the Seaside Award.
Hastings Country Park also won a Special Innovation Award for its heathland improvement, making Hastings the only location in the country to win two of the eight awards.
Playground reopens after vandalism damage
The playground in Alexandra Park has been fully reopened, following repairs to the vandalised timber framework.
Over 100 timber posts had been pulled out of the ground or snapped in half, along with damage to the soft flooring areas. Hastings Borough Council had to close the upper section for over a month, and the lower part for a week, with the total cost of repairs coming to just over £10,000.
Cllr Colin Fitzgerald, lead member for environment, said: "As one of the council's most popular children's playgrounds, such vandalism was particularly upsetting for the many children locally who enjoy playing in Alexandra Park and use it as a place for fresh air and exercise."
If you have any information to help find who is responsible for this vandalism please contact Hastings Police on crime reference number WEB-N96-VH5-6MQ.