Press Releases: week beginning 17 November 2014
Hastings Country Park heathland restoration
Work is now well underway on a three year programme to clear scrub and gorse across a large area of Hastings Country Park.
Cllr Dawn Poole lead member for Leisure and Amenities, explained:
"The Country Park includes the Hastings Cliffs Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and the European-designated Special Area of Conservation. These recognise the national and international importance of the vegetated cliff, cliff top grassland and coastal heathland which characterises the Country Park and, indeed, makes it so special.
"It is owned by Hastings Borough Council, and we have a legal duty to conserve the area, and a duty to conserve and enhance the SSSIs which we own and manage.
"The council has been working with Natural England on management and protection of the Country Park since 2000, and, following the completion of a successful ten year Countryside Stewardship Agreement started in 2004 we worked with Natural England to move on to a ten year Higher Level Stewardship Agreement.
"This started in October 2013, and is a legal agreement between Hastings Borough Council and Natural England and covers the entire nature reserve, including the Firehills.
"The agreement highlights the fact that gorse and bracken are a severe threat to maritime heath and cliff-top habitats and their control has to be high priority, and sets very clear targets for their management.
"The work we have started is part of a three year programme to help us meet our objectives, and ensure that the unique nature of the Country Park is maintained - reducing the dominant gorse and scrub will increase the land available for less dominant plants, benefit wildlife and ensure that the landscape continues to look attractive, with its distinctive mosaic feature, and enhance the coastal view.
"We do have to use heavy machinery for this work, and signs have been put up throughout the Country Park telling visitors what is happening, and reminding them to be aware of the machinery, and keep dogs under control.
"Our Country Park is, rightly, one of the jewels in our crown, and this work will help to keep it shining brightly for many years to come."
Council's new cultural development specialist set to raise profile of town
Cultural regeneration is a key priority for Hastings Borough Council and they hope that an ambitious events programme marking the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings will raise the profile of the town and signal that Hastings should be seen as one of the South East's major cultural destinations.
With 2016 fast approaching the council have appointed Polly Gifford to lead on the strategic cultural development in the town. Polly has been the Director and Chief Executive of Bridport Arts Centre in Dorset since 2010 and for six years prior to that she was Head of Education at De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill.
Cllr Peter Chowney, lead member for regeneration explained:
"We firmly believe that culture can be the key to improving the image of Hastings. Our City of Culture bid showed the potential within the town and we plan to tap into and build on this further.
"Polly will be co-ordinating plans for a nationally significant cultural festival to mark the town's celebration of the 950th anniversary of 1066 and will make sure that the maximum benefit is gained for local businesses and local people."
Polly Gifford added:
"I am very pleased to be back in Hastings and look forward to taking on this challenge; it's a very exciting opportunity to work with our growing creative sector and place Hastings firmly on the cultural map. By using the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings in 2016 to promote our town nationally and internationally, we will be able to develop programmes and new approaches to support the development of creative and cultural businesses with partners across East Sussex.
"We will also work with schools, colleges and alternative education providers to use culture to develop the confidence, life skills and qualifications required for successful employment and long term career paths for local young people."
To find out how to get involved in 2016 contact Polly Gifford at firstname.lastname@example.org