Press Releases week beginning 02 February 2015
Keeping on track for better rail services to Hastings
Hastings Borough Council has welcomed the rail minister’s confirmation that if a strong enough business case can be developed, the Department for Transport (‘DfT’) will support the extension of high speed ‘Javelin’ services to Hastings.
The minister, Claire Perry, was speaking at a rail summit in Sussex Coast College Hastings on Friday, 30 January.
Lead member for regeneration at Hastings Borough Council, Cllr Peter Chowney, attended the summit and explained:
"It was widely accepted by all the speakers at the conference that the journey time between Hastings and London is too long. Indeed, we are very disappointed that the modern timetable, operated with new trains, gives us far slower journeys than the timetable of 25 years ago run with the old ‘slam door’ trains.
"We know that it will require a lot of investment to get the high speed ‘Javelin’ trains to run to Hastings and Bexhill via Ashford. The ‘Marshlink’ will need to be electrified between Ashford and Hastings, a key junction at Ashford will need to be rebuilt to allow trains to run between HS1 and Marshlink, and more Javelin trains will be required. We also accept that, unfortunately, this will take some time.
"However, it was good to hear Claire Perry, the transport minister, say that the DfT will support the investment if a strong regeneration business case can be developed. We will work hard with Rother District Council, East Sussex County Council, and our rail industry partners to do just that.
"It was great to see the Javelin at Hastings last Friday and, whilst it is by no means a done deal yet, I look forward to seeing these becoming a regular sight here in the years to come."
Sport for All
Together with partners Rother District Council, PODS1066 (the Promotion of Disabled Sportspeople) and Orbit Housing Association, Hastings Borough Council has launched a new project offering inclusive sport opportunities for all.
The Sport for All project will further develop the provision of disability sport and physical activity in the local area and aims to bring together everybody already involved or interested in the development of inclusive activity including day centres, schools, colleges, sports clubs and other organisations.
Cllr Jeremy Birch, leader Hastings Borough Council who attended the launch event at Horntye Park said:
"This was a fun afternoon and I’m very proud to be involved with this project. Over 80 people attended the first PODS Pop up Games event which included 56 participants who were all able to try a really good selection of sporty activities. I particularly liked the table cricket and this seemed to appeal to many participants too!"
Harold Lawrence, chairman of PODS added:
"This PODS Pop up Sports event was the first of many initiatives sponsored by PODS1066. We are looking forward to working together in the future as we aim to encourage and enable opportunities for local people who would like to access or return to active participation in sport. We will provide a selection of sport activities and we want to educate mainstream sports clubs and organisations to value sports men and women of all abilities."
Weekly sport sessions will take place on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and will include Boccia with Mencap, Multi Sports with PODS Pop up Games, Tennis and The 3Bs; Badminton, Boccia and Bowls with Hastings Voluntary Action.
To find out more about the sessions or to register your attendance contact our Sports for All officer Martin Eglington on 01424 451441.
Council approves innovative scheme to help those in housing need
Hastings Borough Council’s Cabinet agreed at its meeting on Monday, 02 February, to approve a new scheme to help local people find suitable housing.
Council leader Cllr Jeremy Birch explained:
"Private sector rented accommodation in Hastings is becoming a real problem for local people. Many low income households have said how difficult it is to get suitable accommodation because of the level of fees and deposits charged by letting agents and landlords, and a reluctance by some of these to let to those who receive housing benefit.
"We also continue to receive complaints about the poor quality of accommodation, and the standard of housing management offered to some of those who have managed to find housing.
"At our meeting on Monday, we agreed to trial a scheme which will see the council leasing up to 100 homes a year from property owners. We would then rent out the property to those in need of housing. We would be the landlord and responsible for paying a leasing fee to the owner, and we would manage the property.
"We hope to start the scheme this April.
"We think this innovative scheme will benefit both those looking for a home, particularly those in danger of becoming homeless, and landlords, who will get a guaranteed, hassle-free fee.
"If the scheme is as successful as we hope and think it will be, we will look at increasing the number of properties we let in future years. We hope also that running this leasing scheme will give us the experience and expertise for the second stage of the project which is the development of a social letting agency, run by us, to manage private sector housing in the town.
"We are determined to improve the quality of housing in the town, and our Cabinet’s decision on Monday is a major step forward to achieving this."
The ' Munitionettes' come to Hastings Museum
Join Shaping Voices on Saturday, 07 February for a fascinating look at the women who worked in the munitions factories in the First World War; their contribution to the war, personal sacrifices, risks and tragedies alongside the positive social changes the war brought to them. This project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, has researched individual stories which are presented at the museum in a display and performance.
Cllr Dawn Poole the council's lead member for leisure and amenities explained:
"The First World War transformed women's lives and today we often don't realise how much we owe these pioneers. This is a fantastic opportunity to find out more about some of these remarkable women. It's particularly fitting that this event is being held at Hastings Museum as the theme for this year's Hastings Remembers: Local stories of the First World War is the changing role of women. We hope that the whole community will get involved in uncovering more amazing stories."
The display will be open from 11am, the performance starts at 2pm. Both are free, but seats are limited for the performance and will go on a first come first served basis.
For more information about the Hastings Remembers project and to share your own family stories, please email firstname.lastname@example.org