Press Releases: week beginning 07 April 2014
Underwater wonders on show in rainforest of the sea
A new photographic exhibition at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery captures the underwater wonders of the coral triangle. 'Rainforest of the Sea', a Horniman Museum touring exhibition, features stunning photographs of sea creatures in Borneo, and highlights the diversity of coral reefs, as well as the threats facing one of the world's richest habitats.
Marine biologist and photographer Jamie Craggs worked without the aid of digital photography to create the series of striking underwater shots - from a turtle silhouetted against an azure sky, to close encounters with a longhorn cowfish, a bumblebee shrimp and a hairy squat lobster.
"Coral reefs are often called the 'rainforest of the sea' because, like rainforests, they are one of the most biologically diverse habitats on the planet. These photos weren't taken with an exhibition in mind, but the threats to this amazing underwater world are so great that I wanted the images to do some good. I hope Rainforest of the Sea will not only show visitors the beauty and wonder of the coral reef and its creatures, but also raise awareness of the importance of protecting them for the future."
Cllr Westley lead member Leisure, amenities and resort and chair of the Museum committee said:
"As a thriving seaside town it's important to think about the environment below the water. I'm very excited about this vibrant collection of photos coming to Hastings and would encourage young and old to come and see this free exhibition and learn of the magic below the waves."
Rainforest of the Sea is on display at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery from 03 May to-13 July.
Hastings, famously Shirty
New, 'famously Hastings' tee shirts are being provided to students at a local language school in Hastings as part of the council's campaign to improve the image of the town.
Cllr Peter Chowney, deputy leader and lead member for regeneration explained:
"This is another element in our famously Hastings campaign.
"We know that Hastings is the most famous town in the world, and is also a really popular destination for language students. Indeed, we attract around 35 000 language students each year, making us one of the biggest 'host towns' in the country, generating around £35m for the local economy.
"It's great to be able to work in partnership with one of our local language schools in this way, the students will be able to wear their 'famously Hastings' tee shirts with pride, both here and when they get home."
Fiona Cullen, of 'English For You', added:
"I think this is a great idea, and we are pleased, and proud, to support this initiative. It's a really good way of promoting not just ourselves but this fantastic town as well, and will help put our school, and Hastings, on the map as students wear the shirts once they return home."
Wood you believe it?
Children flocked to the Shornden Play Park in Alexandra Park on Saturday, 05 April to celebrate a newly crafted wooden centipede.
Cllr Emily Westley, lead member for leisure and amenity explained:
"During the recent storms a large oak tree had to be felled in the park. This was too good an opportunity to waste and so we commissioned Joc Hare, a local timber sculptor, to transform the tree into an activity play sculpture.
"Gristwood and Toms, our tree contractor, transported the dismantled tree from Harmers Lane to Shornden Play Park at no additional cost to the council.
"This was a great idea and has made use of a huge tree that was lost in the storms. Our thanks must go to Gristwood and Toms for moving the tree, and of course Joc who has made a magnificent job of carving the tree. I am sure that this sculpture will now provide for many hours of imaginative play!"
Seafront improvements in a roundabout way
Work is underway to improve the landmark roundabout and fountain on Hastings seafront.
Cllr Emily Westley, lead member for amenities, explained:
"East Sussex County Council have already removed the original high curved concrete wall and replaced it with lower level kerbing to improve the roundabout visually and reduce the ongoing maintenance that it has required.
"Work to refurbish the fountain itself at Pelham Place is due to start in earnest from Monday, 14 April.
"This will involve the repair of the fountain basin and replacement of all the heavily corroded and damaged existing pipe work and the refurbishment of the dishes before specialist paint is applied.
"The pumps are also being replaced with more efficient versions that can modify the rate of flow dependent on wind conditions, so saving electricity and water. We are also installing a modern LED lighting system that will illuminate the water, dishes and basin.
"It is expected that the works to the fountain itself will be complete by the end of May.
"The area around the fountain will then be planted with summer flowers to give a colourful floral display for the rest of the year. The bedding will be supplied and planted by our grounds maintenance contractor, The Landscape Group, who have offered to sponsor the maintenance of the bedding for 2014. The council will be working with The Landscape Group to design a more permanent landscaping feature for next year.
"The refurbishment of the fountain and replanting of summer bedding is an exciting project on a prominent feature of the Hastings seafront. We want it to look its best. We are very pleased and grateful to the Landscape Group for sponsoring the maintenance of the planting and we look forward to working with them to design the permanent landscaping for the fountain for next year."
Housing scheme builds a better St Leonards
Council members and staff from AmicusHorizon took to the streets in St Leonards on Thursday, 03 April to see how the joint Coastal Space investment project is progressing.
The project aims to improve the quality of housing in the neighbourhood renewal area of central St Leonards.
Hastings Borough Council and AmicusHorizon are investing £6.2m to deliver quality homes for local people. The Coastal Space initiative is a cornerstone of the wider regeneration of the area which is bringing about a renaissance of one of the most deprived areas in the South East.
The Hastings Borough Council members and AmicusHorizon staff visited three developments in the area. The first was a completed property in Stockleigh Road which has seen eleven run down bedsits converted under the scheme into seven high quality apartments offering a mixture of one and two bedroom flats with a shared garden. They then moved on to visit two major re-developments in Carisbrooke Road.
council Leader, Cllr Jeremy Birch, said:
"We are fully committed to providing affordable, good quality homes for local people and so now to see properties that have undergone development through our joint partnership completed and let, is very good news indeed. One family from the Stockleigh Road development welcomed us all and were proud to show us their new home.
"It's only a matter of weeks now until 17 Carisbrooke Road will be ready to let. This property was partly vacant and in very poor condition but has now been fully refurbished offering five one bedroom flats available to let from May.
"The former site of the nursing home at 41 Carisbrooke Road stood empty for over six years but with the help of the council's Compulsory Purchase Order action process, AmicusHorizon agreed to purchase the property and bring it back to life. The building, being converted by local company Booker and Best will provide eleven, one and two bedroom apartments ready for occupancy by the end of this year."
Angela Prickett, AmicusHorizon's Sussex Regional Director, said:
"AmicusHorizon are delighted with the progress of the Coastal Space project so far. The renovation of properties in Central St Leonards is just one half of the Coastal Space project, the other being the Community Investment work we're doing.
"I am really delighted that we are able to play such an important part in this vital work."
St Leonards Works - new opportunities for employment
Hastings Works has expanded with the opening of St Leonards Works, a partnership between The Work People Community Interest Company ('CIC') , AmicusHorizon and Hastings Borough Council as part of the Coastal Space Project.
The council leader, ward councillors and partners visited the new premises in Silchester Road on Thursday, 03 April.
Hastings Works in the town centre has helped 117 people into employment since opening last year and plan to build on this success to support more people in the St Leonards community with St Leonards Works.
Initially a six-month pilot funded by AmicusHorizon and Hastings Borough Council, St Leonards Works is the high street marketplace for employment and skills, bringing together local people, local employers and local organisations to provide skills and support.
David Hinton, Managing Director of The Work People CIC said:
"We are looking forward to working in the heart of the St Leonards community. The area has such a great buzz about it, there are some really interesting people and businesses here and we are pleased to be part of it.
We know the area has some significant challenges and we believe that by working with the Coastal Space Project at St Leonards Works we can really start to address some of the barriers that people are facing in accessing employment, enterprise and skills opportunities."
St Leonards Works provide free advice and practical support for people including CV's, careers, interviews, training and apprenticeships, new business start up, desk space with internet, printer and telephone and jobs board and jobs brokerage with local employers.
Council leader, Cllr Jeremy Birch commented:
"We are very pleased to see the success of Hastings Works and give council support to the new St Leonards Works. It will offer local people a much needed free service to access the skills and support required for employment."
Angela Prickett, AmicusHorizon's Sussex Regional Director, added:
"We're committed to helping local people get into work, providing support with CVs, job searches, adult learning and training courses, and also by assisting with apprenticeship and work placement opportunities. It's with this objective in mind that we have teamed up with Hastings Works to open up a new employment support service in Silchester Road, St Leonards Works. This new service makes good use of an under-utilised community space and will help us to provide vital services to local residents."
The 'Grotbuster' team, along with councillors, was out on patrol on the seafront again this week making sure the progress of the last few years in the town's appearance is not undermined. It was agreed that with some exceptions the seafront looked better than it had done since the Grotbuster campaign started in 2000.
2013 was a busy and successful one for the Grotbusters campaign, yielding improvements to over fifty buildings across the town, including a number of prominent seafront premises in Eversfield Place and Marina as well as properties elsewhere including the Odeon cinema in Queens Road.
This year promises to be equally busy. There is significant work already underway across the town. In the Old Town twenty property owners have been approached and in Central St Leonards over thirty. Undertakings have been received in respect of a number of local eyesores including in Devonshire Road and West Hill Road. Grotbusters are also pushing hard for improvements in Caves Road, not least the terrace on the southern side. Councillors and local residents in the Bohemia Road area will be meeting with council officers shortly to assess progress in that area in terms of improving buildings there.
Council officers from the Grotbusters team have been invited again to speak to the Government about the success of the campaign and continue to assist other councils across the country, most recently Sevenoaks.
Grotbusters continue to co-ordinate their efforts with a range of agencies, including the St Leonards Town Team.
To date the campaign has seen 640 premises improved.
Council leader Cllr Jeremy Birch said:
"As we walked along the seafront local residents came up to us and they knew it was a Grotbuster walkabout and they suggested other properties we could look at. Clearly there is widespread public support for the work being carried out. If you own a property in our town, especially in such a prominent location as the seafront, you have a social responsibility for the upkeep of it. If you don't, the Grotbusters will remind you of that responsibility."
Mayor supports epic European cycle ride
The Mayor of Hastings, Cllr Alan Roberts, has pledged his support for an extreme challenge organised by Hastings-based Charity for Kids.
Charity for Kids are extremely proud to have the Mayor as their Patron and to show their gratitude the charity have organised a cycle challenge with a twist. They will be leaving Hastings Town Hall around 5.30pm on Tuesday, 15 of April to cycle to Hastings' four European twin towns (Bethune in France, Oudenaarde in Belgium, Dordrecht in The Netherlands and Schwerte in Germany).
They will then return home to Hastings where they are expected to arrive at Sainsbury's on Good Friday, 18 April, at around 5.30pm to 6.00pm. The cyclists will be covering the 900 mile distance on a relay basis in three teams, each team cycling for eight hours per day, enabling the Twin Town Cycle Challenge to be completed in just over three days!
34 cyclists will be taking part, from Hastings, Hurst Green, Eastbourne, and even Chobham in Surrey, all to help make a difference to sick, disabled and terminally ill children.
The Mayor said:
"This is an excellent charity, and an excellent cause, and I am pleased to show my support by travelling to Europe myself to meet the riders as they enter our twin towns. I'm not able to make Bethune, but will see the cyclists set off from the town hall next Tuesday, and then hope to meet them the following day as they enter Oudenaarde, then Dordrecht later that night, and, finally, Schwerte on Thursday.
"I only wish I was fitter and able to take part myself - they have my admiration and praise for what they're doing, and I am sure they will raise a lot for their terrific cause."
Charity for Kids Chairman Paul Harris added:
"We are extremely excited to be taking on such a big challenge as we haven't done anything on this scale before. It has involved a lot of organisation, but it will be worth it. We are hoping to raise in the region of £20,000, which will go towards helping more local sick, disabled and terminally ill children. We will use the funds to purchase a static caravan which allow poorly local children the opportunity to spend quality time with their families. The caravan will be situated at Crowhurst Holiday Park as we feel the venue is close to home but the stunning location could be anywhere in the UK.
"We would like to take this opportunity to thank our Patron The Mayor of Hastings, Hastings Borough Council, the support team, the cyclists and our sponsors/businesses for all of their support! We would love to see as many people as possible welcome the cyclist back on Good Friday at Sainsbury's (John Macadam Way)."
You can donate via Just Giving www.justgiving.com/Paul-Harris33 or Text TTCC99 £5 to 70070.
Kebab shop owner fined for breaches of Health and Safety
Abdullah Sanci, the owner of Cyprus Kebabs in London Road, St Leonards has been found guilty of health and safety offences.
He had pleaded not guilty to two charges of failing to comply with the requirements of two Improvement Notices under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The notices were served in August 2012 and related to serious concerns regarding the electrical system and the serious corrosion to a metal spiral staircase used within the food business. The notices required an examination by a competent electrical engineer of the electrical system and an examination of the staircase by a structural engineer.
At a hearing at Hastings Magistrates' Court on 08 April, Abdullah Sanci was found guilty of non-compliance with the requirements of the notices. He was fined £250 for each offence and ordered to pay the Council's cost of £2,545 and a victim surcharge of £25. The Chairman of the bench commented that the prosecution had been properly brought by the Council.
Councillor Jay Kramer, lead member for the environment, said:
"Inspectors within our food and health and safety team had serious concerns about the danger to staff within the premises, from the electrical system and the state of the metal spiral staircase.
"We do not undertake legal proceeding lightly but if someone fails to comply with the requirements of statutory notices, we then have little option but to prosecute, to ensure a safe working environment for the owner and his employees."
Cyprus Kebabs is now under new ownership.
May fare just the ticket
Southeastern, the train operating company which operates the main line service from London to Hastings via Tunbridge Wells, has announced a special flat fare of just £10 for visitors travelling to the town during May.
Deputy leader and lead member for tourism, Cllr Peter Chowney said:
"This is absolutely brilliant news for the town, and the result of our very good working relationship with Southeastern.
"It is a fantastic offer, and represents a discount of well over 50% on the normal cheap day return ticket from London. I am sure it will be really popular with Londoners wanting to visit and, of course, it coincides with our May Day celebrations, including Jack in the Green and the bikers' rally.
"It's just what we needed following the months without a decent train service from London, and I am very grateful to Southeastern for offering this special deal."
Marketing initiative on track
Staff from Hastings Borough Council's marketing department are working at Charing Cross station on Saturday, 12 April at celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of the opening of the London terminal.
Cllr Peter Chowney, deputy leader and lead member for marketing, explained:
"Hastings is a really popular destination for people travelling from London. Charing Cross is always busy, and will be especially so tomorrow because of the 150th anniversary celebrations so this is an ideal opportunity to promote the town and the special £10 fare Southeastern are offering day trippers to the town in May, and to remind prospective visitors that the Hastings line is fully open again.
"We enjoy good relations with the rail industry, and are very grateful to Network Rail and Southeastern for allowing our colleagues to work at Charing Cross on the day."
SUCCESS breeds success
Hastings Borough Council is managing the SUCCESS programme (South-East Urban Coast Creative Enterprise Support Scheme), a regional growth fund providing grants worth over £2m to new or expanding creative businesses in Hastings, Thanet and Tendring, in Essex, and which will create or safeguard over 300 jobs.
The programme (launched December 2013 and supported by the Government's Regional Growth Fund) has 26 expressions of interest to date and is currently assessing seven full applications. The first assessment panel is set for late April 2014.
Applicants can apply for grants from £3,000 to £150,000 with eligible businesses providing up to 50% funding of their growth investment plan. This investment needs to be about securing employment, but that can mean creating a new job, or safeguarding existing jobs in the creative sector.
Currently, the majority of the applicants are start-ups and a marketing push is now underway to publicise the scheme and support businesses in applying.
Councillor Peter Chowney, deputy leader and lead member for regeneration said:
"This is a great scheme for local creative businesses, and can provide the extra investment needed for them to grow and flourish. If your business has a creative element – be it arts, music, design, software development, or even creative manufacturing, you could well be eligible, so have a look at the details and see if it's for you.
"The grants panel is now meeting monthly, so we'll be able to turn applications around fairly quickly. The first businesses to benefit from SUCCESS grants will be announced very soon."
For further information please contact Victoria Conheady, SUCCESS Project Officer on 01424 451014 or email firstname.lastname@example.org