Press Releases week beginning 30 March 2015
Hastings, Famously Educational...
Hastings Borough Council is again teaming up with local education charity Education Futures Trust to provide training for all year 6 primary school students in Hastings on a piece of work they can take with them to their secondary school.
Cllr Peter Chowney, lead member for regeneration, explained:
"Last year we worked with the Education Futures Trust, local artist Ed Boxall and local schools on a Famously Hastings project. Every year 6 student produced a piece of work which included some writing, some maths, and a picture, explaining what Hastings meant to them. This was a great success, and all of the work was put on show at our Seafood and Wine Festival last year.
"This year, Ed is asking the students to explore the theme of journeys. The students will produce their work in the summer term, and it will then go on to their senior school. Prizes will be awarded for the best work, and all of it will be bound into large books, which will be displayed at this year's Seafood & Wine Festival in September.
"We had some fantastic feedback on this project last year, and I am very pleased indeed that we are able to support it again this year."
Carole Dixon, chief executive of the Education Futures Trust, added:
"I am very pleased that we are able to do the project again this year, and would like to thank the schools, Ed Boxall, and Hastings Borough Council for their support.
"We had a training day for teachers at Helenswood Academy last week, it was great to see the teachers cutting and pasting their own work under Ed's supervision. I'm really looking forward to seeing the results later this year."
Local car dealership is driving force behind Mayor
Local car dealership Birchwood Group is sponsoring the mayoral car in Hastings, saving the local authority money by providing the vehicle free of charge.
The Mayor of Hastings, Cllr Bruce Dowling, explained:
"We are having to look at all of our costs very carefully, as every penny really does count. We were therefore delighted when the Birchwood Group offered us a new Kia Carens to replace our existing car, which is over three years old.
"This car will be seen widely not just around Hastings but further afield too, as not only will I be driving it but other colleagues will too and although it has a standard number plate now, we are in the process of transferring our distinctive DY1066 registration to it, so we will be even more recognisable!
Group Operations Director of Birchwood Group Pete Parker said:
"We were honoured to be given the opportunity of supplying the Mayor's official car.
"We have been established in the Hastings area for many years and have been actively working with the Council on a number of initiatives. We firmly believe the Council's partnership approach to working with local business offers us the ideal conditions within which to successfully trade and expand our operations.
"The Kia Brand has proved hugely popular so we are sure the Mayor will be delighted with the Kia Carens as it combines stylish design with economy and practicality. We look forward to a working with the Council again in the future."
Council agrees Selective Licensing Scheme
Hastings Borough Council agreed to introduce a selective licensing scheme for privately rented homes in Hastings at its Cabinet meeting on Monday, 30 March.
It is the first selective licensing scheme for privately rented homes in Sussex, and the first on its scale in the whole of the south east.
The scheme will cover all privately rented homes in seven of the town's wards: Braybrooke, Castle, Central St Leonards, Gensing, Old Hastings, Ore, and Tressell.
Council Leader, Cllr Jeremy Birch, explained:
"Hastings has a large and expanding private rented sector that is almost double the national average, and covers nearly a third of all homes, nearly 12,000 households, in the town.
"Ten of our 16 wards have levels of private renting above both the regional and national averages. We agreed that seven wards should be designated for selective licensing as a result of a comprehensive consultation exercise, and a review of the evidence produced.
"This has shown that living conditions and management are often well below standard in the private rented sector. There is also evidence to suggest that there is persistent and significant anti-social behaviour from some households within the private rented sector, which is affecting other residents and local communities.
"The selective licensing scheme will help solve these problems and improve conditions for tenants and local communities. It will help create a private rental sector that as a minimum provides basic standards of condition, management and tenancy arrangements, and will require landlords to help tackle anti-social behaviour from their tenants.
"We already license many activities, from the sale of alcohol, to late night takeaways, and to taxis, and people know that they can trust things that have been licensed. The conditions where people live are extremely important, so surely it is only right that we license these too.
"The cost of a licence can be as little as 60p/week, which I am sure every good landlord is a price worth paying for their, and their tenants', piece of mind.
"We are determined to improve the quality of life of our residents, and we believe this scheme is an important step forward in helping us achieve that."
All that glitters...
The Mayor of Hastings has a new mayoral chain, but only the sharpest-eyed will spot the difference!
The Mayor, Cllr Bruce Dowling, explained:
"Our mayoral chain is historic, with the chain itself believed to be over two hundred years old, and the badge over 150 years old. It is also valuable, as it contains a lot of gold.
"We therefore felt that, for a number of reasons, a replica would be better. This was commissioned from local company JCF Jewellery in Hastings Old Town, who have done a remarkable job. I certainly feel much more comfortable wearing the replica chain, which looks just as good as the original."
Spring is sprung in Hastings
With daffodils and primroses out in abundance, spring has truly sprung in Hastings.
Cllr Dawn Poole, lead member for leisure, is encouraging residents and visitors alike to enjoy the local parks and gardens in Hastings this Easter. She said:
"Our parks and gardens are looking fantastic. At the moment they are a riot of yellow with primroses and daffodils, and soon tulips and other spring flowers will be out.
"We are rightly proud of our green spaces here in Hastings, from the wonderful Alexandra Park, a linear park which runs from the edge of town almost to the town centre, to numerous smaller parks and pocket parks. And they will soon be at their very best.
"Our parks and gardens team, and our contractor The Landscape Group, work very hard to ensure that our 'green lungs' look as good as they do. Easter is traditionally a time for getting out of the house, and I really would urge local residents and visitors to explore our parks and gardens this coming weekend. I know they won't be disappointed."
Students complete Public Health Awards
A partnership between Hastings Borough Council's StreetGames project and Brighton University Hastings Campus has seen eight young people complete their Royal Society Public Health Level 1 Award.
Cllr Dawn Poole, lead member for leisure and amenities explained:
"This partnership was set up to develop and promote the message of health through StreetGames Doorstep Sports Clubs. Its aim is to help young people look at the way they can become healthier by making small changes to their lifestyles.
"We are very pleased that the first group have completed the course and achieved their level 1 award in Public Health. Congratulations to them all!"
Police partnership pays off
What started as a simple offence has cost one Hastings resident over £1,200 because he gave false personal details to a street warden.
One of the council's wardens was driving their vehicle and had to brake suddenly to avoid a dog which was loose on the road. The warden stopped, checked the dog was alright, and then spoke to the owner. Normally a 'fixed penalty notice' would have been issued because the dog wasn't on a lead, but the dog's owner, Mr Christopher Mountford, 34, of Hughenden Road and Godwin Road, gave false personal details. The wardens gave him several chances to give correct details, but he refused.
Eventually the police were called in and, after a lot more work, Christopher Mountford's true address was found. He was fined £400 for the original offence, and £400 for giving false details. With costs of £325 and a victim surcharge of £80, the cost has risen to £1,205.
A council spokesman said:
"What should have been a straightforward matter became something much more serious because of Christopher Mountford's attempt to avoid justice. With the help of Sussex Police we were able to trace him. Not controlling his dog has now cost Christopher Mountford over £1,200, rather than the £50 he avoided by not giving correct details when the fixed penalty notice was first issued.
"All we are trying to do is make Hastings a better and safer place. It is frustrating that we have to spend so much time and effort pursuing one or two individuals who won't look after their dogs properly but we do persevere, as this case shows, and the magistrates commended our efforts in securing the conviction. We are obviously pleased that justice has been done, but we would much rather not have to go to this trouble - if the dog had been kept under proper control none of this would have been necessary."