Press Releases week beginning 25 May 2015
Greeting from Hastings... half a world away
Civic greetings have been exchanged between two Hastings, literally half a world apart.
Stuart Rumsey, an architect from Hastings, East Sussex, recently visited Hastings, New Zealand, visiting the area as his son was getting married in the country.
"It was great to visit a different Hastings! One of their councillors, Kevin Watkins, gave us a morning to take us out and about and I must say there is a lot of 'out and about' to see too. They have some of New Zealand's best wineries there and vast fruit growing areas. The size is amazing. Hastings Council is over three times as big as East Sussex. Hard to believe, but it is vast.
"I passed on the letter and gift from our mayor, Cllr Bruce Dowling, and have also received in return their crest, mounted on a wooden shield, which I was pleased to present to Cllr Dowling on my return.
"I was also shown around the council chamber and the mayor's office and was shown a plaque mounted on the wall there, from HBC to their council after the war, in thanks for their support, and gifts to this town during those difficult times. It really was quite moving."
Cllr Bruce Dowling, Mayor of Hastings (East Sussex!), added:
"It is great that we are able to keep in touch with our namesake town, on the other side of the world. It is somewhere I have always wanted to visit myself and hope that, one day, I will be able to. I am grateful to the mayor of Hastings New Zealand for the plaque, which I have now put in the mayor's parlour here in the town hall."
Council needs your help
The future of Hastings Borough Council
Hastings Borough Council needs your help to test a new way of contacting them when reporting problems and making payments.
A new online service called My Hastings Online will allow members of the public, council officers and trusted partners to report problems like dog fouling or fly tipping or carry out the top six council transactions like making payments.
Cllr Andrew Cartwright, lead member for corporate services explained:
"We are very excited about the launch of My Hastings Online. The new online forms will enable residents to create a personal account to make payments and report problems in a quick, efficient way. The site will be mobile device friendly and allow the public to upload photos, make use of the interactive map and keep a record of all communication made with the council.
"Through this new system, problems will be directly logged with our contractors and service providers. This will speed up the process and both the customer and the council will be given details of when the job will be completed.
"To get started we now need your help to test the system. We are looking for volunteers to give us their feedback over the next three months so that we can further improve the service."
For more information or to volunteer to be a My Hastings Online tester please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fine for Planning Contravention
Carol Hadian of 9A North Road, St Leonards was summonsed to Eastbourne Magistrates court on Friday, 15 May for failing to comply with a Planning Contravention Notice (PCN) served by Hastings Borough Council on 27 January 2015.
Hadian failed to supply in writing, information to the council about a business property in North Road, St Leonards that was being used for residential purposes without planning permission.
She pleaded guilty to the offence and was fined £700 including a discount for an early guilty plea of 30% with a victim surcharge of £70 and £243 for costs.
Council Leader, Cllr Peter Chowney, commented:
"We take breaches of PCNs seriously and will prosecute those that do not comply.
"I would urge owners that want to make changes to their properties to contact our planning departments for advice before going ahead and risk enforcement action."
The council highlighted to the court that Hadian had appeared in court previously (August 2014) for breach of a PCN when she was found guilty in her absence and fined the maximum amount of £1,000 plus costs.
New council leadership team announced
The new Council Leader, Cllr Peter Chowney, has announced the new lead members to serve in the Cabinet. The announcement was made at the Annual Council and mayor-making ceremony at St Mary in the Castle.
The meeting started with one minute's silence in memory of Jeremy Birch, Council leader until his sad death on 06 May. Tributes were paid to Jeremy Birch from members of both political groups throughout the meeting.
At the event, Cllr Bruce Dowling was unanimously elected mayor for a second year, and Cllr Judy Rogers was unanimously elected deputy mayor for a second year.
Cllr Peter Chowney was unanimously elected leader of the council, and he announced that Cllr Kim Forward would be deputy leader.
Cllr Peter Chowney then advised the meeting that cabinet would consist of eight members, two of which would be offered to the Conservative group. He also advised that cabinet lead members would be as follows:
Councillor Chowney: Leader of the Council and Finance Portfolio Holder
Councillor Forward: Deputy Leader of the Council and Housing, Communications and Equalities Portfolio Holder
Councillor Poole: Regeneration, Communities and Culture Portfolio Holder
Councillor Davies: Environment, Parks and Community Safety Portfolio Holder
Councillor Cartwright: Corporate Services Portfolio Holder
Councillor Hodges: Charity Committee Chair
Cllr Chowney added:
"When I moved to Hastings eighteen years ago, and adopted it as my home, I could not have imagined that one day, I would be leader of the council. But while it is a great honour and privilege to do so, it is also with enormous sadness that I take on this role, in the last way I would have wanted to, following Jeremy Birch's sudden and unexpected death. I cannot be Jeremy, I can't even be a pale imitation of Jeremy, so I will have to be myself. So that means I shall be different from Jeremy, in some ways.
"We do have ambitious plans for the year, and in spite of the savage cuts to our budget, we remain optimistic. I am not going to preside over the Incredible Shrinking Council. If the government won't give us the money, then we'll find other ways to raise it. We will remain inventive, innovative, creative, interventionist, bold and, most of all, unerringly ambitious for our town. So, welcome aboard. It's going to be an exciting ride. There may even be the occasional white knuckle. But one thing I can promise you, it will never be boring."
Floating Islands at Alexandra Park
Hastings Borough Council has been working with the Environment Agency and Southern Water in a major clean-up of the ponds and streams in Alexandra Park. The water that flows through Alexandra Park ends up at the sea at Pelham beach. The council is committed to ensuring this water is as clean and free from pollution and that we have top quality bathing water at our beaches. The project is focused on providing natural and ecological solutions to the problem and has already changed the way the way the ponds work at Buckshole and planted new vegetation in the park stream.
The next phase of the project is the installation of new floating vegetated islands in the ponds in the lower park. These islands are aimed at slowing the water flowing through the ponds to provide new opportunities for the roots of the islands to clean up the water.
Cllr Warren Davies, lead member for the environment, explained:
"We know that our bathing water is at risk of not meeting the new European standards next year, and this is just one of a number of initiatives to help us improve its quality. The arrangement of floating island ecosystems is the next phase in this programme and is transforming the look of the Boating Lake and the other ponds in the lower park.
"We will divert more water from the stream into the existing network ornamental ponds and the floating island ecosystems will slow this flow of water. The longer the water can be kept in these ponds the greater effect the power of nature will have to help revitalise our waterways. We believe this is the first project in the UK to implement a natural ecology solution in an urban park which is aimed at improving water quality on our beaches."
For more information please 'phone 01424 451066 and ask for Parks and Gardens.
Hastings Intercultural Organisation AGM
Attended by the newly appointed deputy leader of Hastings Borough Council, Cllr Kim Forward, Hastings Intercultural Organisation (HIO) held their Annual General Meeting on 26 May.
HIO are well known for hosting many events in the town including a celebration of Refugee Week, the Garden of Cultural Delights, a well supported 6-a-side Football Tournament, and International Mother Language Day.