Press Releases: week beginning 05 May 2014
Win a week's hire of a new beach chalet at Marina!
Ten new seasonal chalets have been built on the Lower Promenade at Marina, St Leonards.
The wooden chalets, funded by The Foreshore Trust, are now available for seasonal weekly hire between May and October.
To celebrate the launch of this new site, we are offering a chance to win a week's hire of one of the new chalets at the start of the school summer holiday. Simply send your name, address and contact details to Amy Godfrey by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, by post to Muriel Matters House, Breeds Place, Hastings, East Sussex. TN34 3UY or drop your details into the Tourist Information Centre.
Entries must be received by 12noon on Friday, 24 May 2014 and the winner will be the first name picked out of a hat.
Hastings Borough Council also has four chalets now available on the back row at West Marina for long term hire with a rolling annual fee.
Check availability and book a beach hut by contacting Amy Godfrey by email email@example.com or telephone the Tourist Information Centre on 01424 451111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit www.hastings.gov.uk for further information about Beach huts and chalets.
Walking Festival launched
Details of a new 1066 Country walking festival have been announced.
Kevin Boorman, manager of 1066 Country marketing, explained:
"We've got some fantastic walks across 1066 Country, of varying lengths and difficulty and, of course, we've got some amazing countryside, and some beautiful towns and villages, which are wonderful to explore on foot.
"So we are working with our colleagues in the local councils, and with some great volunteers from local community and walking groups, to put on a walking festival which, we hope, will appeal to local residents and visitors alike.
"The festival will run from Saturday, 04 October until Friday, 10 October. The first weekend will see some long distance walks converging on Battle on the Saturday, where we hope to host a small celebration event, with more local walks on the Sunday.
"Throughout the following week there will be a series of shorter walks, including a number of fully accessible walks, which we think will be particularly attractive to the local community.
"More details of the festival can be found on www.visit1066country.com.
"I am especially grateful for the help and support of the local community and walking groups who are helping us to put on this festival."
Hastings - Famously Fun, Famously Green!
Hastings enjoyed one of its busiest days ever yesterday with its unique combination of Morris dancers and motorbikes. An estimated 15,000 people enjoyed the Jack in the Green event, as Morris dancers followed a 'dancing bush' around Hastings Old Town, whilst over 30,000 motorcyclists poured into town for the annual May Day run.
Kevin Boorman, Head of Communications and Marketing, said:
"This was Hastings at its very best. The town was literally packed with Morris dancers and motorbikes. This mix really couldn't happen, or work, anywhere else, and is one of the many reasons why we are unique.
"It was great to see the town so full, so many people enjoying themselves, the shops and cafés so busy and I have never, ever seen so many people on the West Hill, enjoying the Morris dancing.
"I would particularly like to thank the event organisers for all that they do, especially the volunteers who give up so much time to organise these events. It makes our town so special, and such a great place to live, and visit. Famously Hastings, famously fun, famously green."
Hastings and Bexhill on the map for further Regeneration
Hastings Borough Council is delighted to see that its efforts to get Hastings and Bexhill designated an 'Assisted Area' have been successful.
Simon Hubbard, Director of Regeneration, explained:
"We have come a long way over the last few years, and this latest good news is yet another example of what we can achieve by working in partnership with others. We developed the bid with the support of the local business community, Rother District Council and East Sussex County Council, our local MP , Seachange Sussex and the south east local enterprise partnership.
"Assisted Area status puts Hastings and Bexhill on the map for getting European and UK regeneration funds. Businesses can potentially benefit from a higher rate of state support than previously, so helping create much-needed jobs locally.
"Colleagues here put a lot of work into presenting a strong case for Hastings and Bexhill, and we were supported by lobbying from local businesses and other organisations. I'm obviously delighted that work paid off.
"The proposals are subject to ratification by the European Commission. The new Assisted Areas for 2014-2020 is expected to come into force in July.
"We now look forward to working with local businesses so that we can make the most of this extra support."
Butlers Gap closed
A popular open space in Hastings old town is to remain closed until repairs are carried out to a house above it.
'Butlers' Gap', so named because it was situated between two 'Butler's Emporium' shops, features a landscaped seating area, a giant chessboard, and chess sculptures by local sculptor Leigh Dyer. It was closed in early February following the collapse of a house wall in Hill Street, on the hill above the open space.
Council spokesman Kevin Boorman explained:
"Butlers' Gap will have to remain closed until the repairs to the house in Hill Street are completed. Any further collapse would almost certainly result in debris falling into Butlers' Gap and, indeed, could affect Oak Passage, which is the path that runs along the wall at the top of Butlers' Gap.
"The last thing we want is for someone to be injured or worse, so we will have to keep the area closed until the house is repaired and we are sure it is safe to re-open Oak Passage and, of course, Butlers' Gap."
Dog offence - council prosecution
A local man was charged with not keeping his three dogs on leads and having no reasonable excuse for doing so in Linton Road, Hastings, contrary to the Dogs on Leads (Borough of Hastings) Order 2008. He was summonsed to appear at Hastings Magistrates Court on 05 February 2014 however he failed to attend and pleaded not guilty by post.
The offence took place on 21 October 2013 and after speaking with one of the council's street wardens, Simon McKenzie 43, of 14 Amherst Road, Hastings was issued with a fixed penalty notice of £75.
A further trial date was set for 29 April 2014, but McKenzie failed to attend.
Head of Environmental Services, Mike Hepworth commented:
"We take dog control issues very seriously. The safety of residents and visitors to the town is very important to us and this prosecution will act as a deterrent to other dog owners who do not keep their dogs under control.
"Our Street Warden gave her evidence clear and concisely and was commended in court for being a very credible witness."
Mr McKenzie was proven guilty in his absence and fined £75 with £458 costs and £20 victim surcharge.
Visit www.hastings.gov.uk for further information about Dog Controls.
Council bitterly disappointed at Appeal Court decision
Hastings Borough Council is bitterly disappointed that it has lost its Court of Appeal case concerning the closure of Hastings Pier. The council is considering its position regarding a further appeal but, as it stands, it will be required to pay compensation to Manolete Partners PLC, an Amersham-based company who bought the Stylus' Sports claim against the Council. Stylus Sports were the operator of the bingo hall and amusement arcade on the pier who went into liquidation in late 2011.
The council used emergency powers to close the pier in June 2006 after the pier owners, Ravenclaw, failed to carry out safety work required by the council. Ravenclaw, a Panamanian-registered company, effectively disappeared from the scene, and did no further work on the pier and failed to respond to any correspondence.
As the Appeal Court noted in their judgement, 'the true culprit, Ravenclaw, is outside the jurisdiction and effectively beyond the reach of any enforcement procedures. The court is faced with the familiar problem of deciding which of the surviving partners should bear the loss caused by the culprit.'
The council believes it was absolutely right to close the pier when it did in June 2006. Ravenclaw had failed to carry out essential safety work, pieces of metal had fallen from the underside of the pier, and Ravenclaw failed to comply with the notice served on it by the council requiring it to undertake a survey of the pier structure.
The council therefore commissioned a report from Gifford, a firm of independent structural engineers, which identified a number of serious structural defects and indicated that the pier may no longer be safe for public use. Indeed, the engineer said that it would be unsafe to subject parts of the pier to 'crowd loadings'.
A large event - a disco - was due to take place in the pier ballroom just days after the council received this report, at which around 500 mainly young people were expected to attend. The council asked the pier management, and Ravenclaw, to close the pier to the public, but the pier management and Ravenclaw declined to do so.
The council felt it had no alternative other than to use its emergency powers to close the pier, and did so on Friday, 16 June 2006, the day before the disco was due to take place.
Hastings magistrates made an order prohibiting public access to most of the pier in September 2006, effectively ratifying the council's decision, and this was subsequently upheld on appeal.
The council is therefore disappointed that it is now facing a compensation claim, and having to pay legal costs, when all it has ever sought to do was ensure that the pier was safe for members of the public. It simply could not have allowed the disco to go ahead in June 2006 knowing that pieces of the underside had fallen off, that parts of the pier's structure were in a dangerous condition, and that an independent engineer had said that parts of the pier were likely to be unsafe under 'crowd loadings'.
It is also concerned that this case may compromise safety in the future. If councils believe they may be liable to compensation claims if they use their emergency powers, they may choose not to use them, but instead apply to magistrates courts for an order instead. That can take time, meaning that potentially unsafe structures may remain open to the public. Hastings Borough Council is therefore calling on the Local Government Association - an organisation which represents local authorities across the country - to lobby the government to change the law. Public safety must be paramount.