Press Releases: week beginning 20 January 2014
Community order for benefit cheat
A 50 year old man who falsely claimed benefits appeared in Hastings Magistrates court on 20 December 2013, after he failed to tell the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and Hastings Borough Council of his true circumstances.
A joint investigation with the DWP and Hastings Borough Council finally came to fruition after a complex investigation that lasted for approximately 12 months.
Mr Robert Olah, formally, of 22 Fearon Road, Hastings admitted to falsely claiming £5,634.24 Employment and Support Allowance and Housing and Council Tax Benefit when he failed to declare that he was working between October 2011 and April 2012.
Olah, now living in Bexhill, re-appeared at Hastings Magistrates Court on 07 January and was sentenced to a community order until 06 January 2015 and to undertake a 100 hours of unpaid work.
Costs of £110.00 were awarded against Mr Olah and he was ordered to repay all of the overpaid benefits.
If you suspect somebody is committing benefit fraud, you can report this anonymously by calling the investigation hotline on 01424 451082.
Hastings: famously Exposed
Hastings has become even more famous as news of the 'flash mob' on Friday was reported around the world.
Members of the local community had stripped bare to support Hastings' attempt to be the venue for a major piece of art work by Spencer Tunick, an American photographer who specialises in organising large scale nude shots.
Cllr Peter Chowney, lead member for Regeneration at Hastings Borough Council, said:
"The story of the local 'flash mob' has literally gone around the world, I've seen references to it on websites not just here but in Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Malta, America, and even in Kenya! So we really have got some fantastic exposure with this story.
"It would be even better if we won the competition and got Spencer Tunick here. His photographs are well known around the world, and it would be fantastic if Hastings were to be the location for his next shoot. We know we are the most famous town in the world, and it would be great to add yet another reason for being well known.
"It really does depend on us winning the competition, so I would urge everybody to go online and vote now at www.culture24.org.uk
"In addition, you can also cast a vote in person at either our Tourist Information Centre in Breeds Place, by the fountain, or our Community Contact Centre, in the Town Hall in Priory Meadow."
Conservation continues at award winning park
Conservation improvement work to increase the biodiversity of the area continues at Hastings' premier green space and award winning park, Alexandra Park.
The Veolia Environmental Trust awarded a grant of £10,000 through the Landfill Communities Fund to Hastings Borough Council in May 2013 when the works began.
Since then, volunteers have planted specimen trees including Double White Cherry, Crab Apple and a Wild Service Tree, all of which produce fruit to attract birds and insects to the area.
Work has also been carried out in Shornden Reservoir where planting shelves have been created at the water's edge and a wide variety of marginal plants were added to benefit the water fowl with a valuable food source and protection for their young.
Cllr Emily Westley lead member for amenities and leisure commented:
"The grant has enabled us to really make some excellent conservation improvements in the park. Currently, led by our park ranger, the Alexandra Park volunteer team, The Seaview project and the Education Future Trust Forest Schools are helping to plant 775 small trees in the Shornden area. These will provide an excellent source of food and shelter for the Park’s wildlife as well as making the area look even better.
"The final improvements will be a new information and notice board and a printed leaflet which will be available by the summer.
"Our thanks must go to the all the volunteers that have been involved in this project over the months – without their help it would have been very difficult to have implemented the improvements."
The Executive Director of The Veolia Environmental Trust, Paul Taylor, added:
"It's great to hear about the latest developments of this important project. We are so pleased to be supporting the improvements that will not only benefit local wildlife, but also the community of Hastings, offering volunteering opportunities and engaging people with their environment. Congratulations to everyone involved for all the hard work so far and I look forward to hearing about the next step of the project."
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at the park, contact Nick Hennessey, Park Ranger on 01424 451066.