Press Releases week beginning 01 June 2015
Town Crier brings home the silver again!
Hastings town crier Jon Bartholomew has returned from a competition in Yeovil, Somerset, with not one but two trophies.
Jon won not only the competition as the best crier; he won the 'best dressed' title too, in his brand new regalia.
"It was great to win this prestigious competition for a second year, and especially good to win the best-dressed title too. This is one of the first times I have worn my new outfit, and am delighted that it has gone down so well.
"I always feel proud to represent Hastings, and although Yeovil is a long way to travel, the Yeovil town crier, Bruce Trigger, always makes us feel welcome, and the journey was more than worth it!"
Hastings Mayor Cllr Bruce Dowling added:
"Jon is a great ambassador for Hastings, and I'm so pleased he won both main trophies in Yeovil.
"He's not allowed to enter the national town criers' championship here, of course, as he hosts it, but this shows just how good he is. Well done Jon!"
Inspector gives thumbs up to council plan
Hastings Borough Council has received the Planning Inspector's final report following the 'examination in public' of its development management plan.
This plan identifies specific sites within the town for housing, employment and other land uses for the next fifteen years as well as providing detailed planning policies to protect and enhance the natural and built environment and conservation of Hastings unique heritage.
The plan needs to provide at least 3,400 new homes and 70,000 square metres of employment space by 2028, a target set by the Council's agreed planning strategy.
The plan was subject to a rigorous process of examination in public between October and December last year and a further hearing session in January, and was carried out by an independent planning inspector. During the examination, the inspector heard evidence from numerous residents, local amenity organisations and developers as well as from Council officers and other key partners.
In his report which is published today the Inspector commented that "in general the Council has done an excellent job in consulting and responding to relevant parties, particularly with regards to its strategic housing land availability study and reconciling competing objectives".
He also concluded that the Council has met its legal obligations concerning the preparation of the plan and added "indeed in some respects it has gone well beyond them in its determination to involve the people of the Borough in the plan making process".
The Inspector has recommended eight modifications to the plan. Five of these were promoted and encouraged by the Council during the course of the examination itself.
Council Leader, Cllr Peter Chowney, said:
"I am delighted that the inspector has found the plan 'sound' subject to the changes he has suggested, which the council fully supports. I am especially pleased that he has acknowledged the effort and hard work undertaken by the Council to involve local people in making the plan.
"Of course, we now have to provide 3,400 new homes, less than half the 7,000 we were expected to find when the planning process began, and I think that's a real victory for common sense too. I was also very pleased that the inspector has approved our new, tougher policies on design quality and room sizes in new housing.
"The plan will make it clear to both developers and local people how, where and what kind of development should take place to regenerate our town whilst also protecting our historic and environmental assets.
"We will now formally adopt the plan as soon as possible."
Life is a Hastings beach in Ostend
Tourism in Hastings is set to receive a boost following the council's marketing department working at a major maritime festival in Ostend.
A replica Hastings beach was set up at the 'Oostende voor Anker' exhibition which ran over four days last week, complete with a huge picture of Hastings fishing boats, real Hastings beach (since safely returned!), and even a local lobster pot and authentic Hastings Borough Council deckchair. The council's marketing team was supported by John 'Tush' Hamilton and his wife Pat, better known for their fishermen's rolls.
Cllr Kim Forward, lead member for marketing, said:
"Tourism is vitally important to our town's economy, and overseas visitors are especially valuable, because of the money they spend here.
"It was great that we were able to show off Hastings at this massive maritime show in Ostend, which attracts up to 250,000 visitors, from across northern Europe.
'Tush' Hamilton added:
"For many years we used to cook our fishermen's rolls at this event, which we still get asked for!
"Although we don't cook at the Ostend show any more it is great to be able to still attend, meet old friends and make more new ones. I was also able to demonstrate net-making, which always attracts the crowds.
"The Belgians love Hastings, and we had visitors not just from across Belgium but from France, Germany and England too - and were able to give all of them leaflets about The Stade in their own language, thanks to European funding.
"Pat and I were pleased to show off a lot of old photos of our fishing heritage and some lovely old model boats too. Particularly appropriate was the model of our old lifeboat 'The Cyril and Lilian Bishop', which was used in the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940. Dunkirk is just down the coast from Ostend and a number of 'the little ships' attended the show after their 75th anniversary event last week."
Hastings Midsummer Fish Fest returns
Now in its second year, the Hastings Midsummer Fish Fest returns this month.
The festival once again promises great foodie delights from local restaurants, producers and organisations that will be showcasing their best fish dishes and local products.
Cllr Dawn Poole, lead member for culture and regeneration commented:
"This two day fishy festival funded by FLAG (Fisheries Local Action Group) and run by Hastings Borough Council is now one of the key events in the town. Expect to taste some truly delicious fish and see some great fish cookery demonstrations in the Classroom on the Coast together with a beer festival run by local brewery, The FILO.
"Young visitors will be entertained with activities run by Radiator Arts, Hastings Pier, Hastings Museum and The Fishermen's Protection Society.
"In true Hastings style, the festival will of course be supported by a varied selection of non-stop live music starting with Hastings Sinfonia, an exciting new orchestra founded by composer and award winning concert pianist Polo Piatti and conducted by Derek Carden.
"As this festival launches the summer Stade Saturdays programme, visitors will be entertained on the Saturday night by Coco and the Butterfields, an energetic, crowd stomping band with a folk twist who have graced the stages of Glastonbury.
Hastings Midsummer Fish Fest: Saturday 20 June 11am to 8pm and Sunday 02 June 11am to 5pm at the Stade Open Space, Old Town, Hastings.
Cllr Poole added:
"So come along to this free weekend festival and sample delicious treats and enjoy the entertainment!"
Full festival programme details can be found at www.hastingsfestivals.com or pick up a leaflet from the Tourist Information Centre.
Stade Saturdays returns
Stade Saturdays run by Hastings Borough Council, is back for another season of free music and performance at The Stade Open Space, Old Town, Hastings.
Now in its fourth season, Stade Saturdays will open during the day on Saturday 20 June with the Midsummer Fish Fest where stall holders will promote and sell local produce and seasonal fish over the weekend.
Cllr Dawn Poole, lead member for culture explained:
"Once again we have another exciting, packed programme of events ahead for Stade Saturdays.
"Coco and the Butterfields will start the 2015 season at 6pm on Saturday 20 June with an intimate vibrancy of village folk fair, powerful vocal melodies and an undercurrent of driving beat box. Colourful, energetic and crowd stomping - they are sure to entertain!
"This season's programme also includes Planetary from Pif-Paf Theatre, Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou, Coal Portas and of course the annual favourites such as Hastings Shanty Festival, Eight-foot Square performance day, the Seafood and Wine Festival, Coastal Currents and Hastings Bonfire Night.
"There really is something for everyone this year, every Saturday until October."
Visit www.hastings.gov.uk to download the programme.
Local businesses enjoy SUCCESS thanks to growth fund
Creative businesses in Hastings have benefitted from a boost to support their growth plans thanks to the SUCCESS Creative Fund, administered by Hastings Borough Council.
The SUCCESS Creative Fund has been supported by the Regional Growth Fund. It was officially launched by Cllr Peter Chowney, lead member for regeneration in December 2013 and offered businesses in three regions of the South East a chance to access a share of a £2m fund to grow their business and create new jobs.
Since its launch, the SUCCESS Creative Fund has awarded a total of £908,204 to local creative businesses to help them realise their goals, with 23 businesses creating 92 new full time jobs in their first year of growth.
Cllr Peter Chowney explained:
"Hastings is home to many creative businesses and this fund has helped to grow existing businesses and attract new business to the town.
"Immersive Album Ltd is based in Hastings and was one of the beneficiaries of the Success fund which matched private investment and has allowed the company to grow its production and software ambitions. The company devises new ways for music to be presented, evolving the vinyl sleeve of yesterday and updating it to a multimedia digital canvas.
"Other notable success stories are the Kino-Teatr, a state of the art facility with over 100 auditorium seats, integrated bar, restaurant and gallery and internationally acclaimed designer Louise Body. The SUCCESS funding is helping Louise to grow her business by developing new products and expanding into new markets."
Across all three regions, the fund has supported a total of 51 businesses and created a total of 271 new full time jobs in year one, with a forecast of 461 positions over the three year period for which businesses are monitored. The incredible journey of these businesses can be followed on www.facebook.com/successcreativefund.
Council starts new Social Lettings scheme
The demand for social housing in Hastings far outweighs supply and many local people are finding it increasingly difficult to access privately rented properties that are suitable for their needs and that they can afford.
In response to this Hastings Borough Council has developed a new scheme called Letstart Letting social lettings agency; a new council service that offers a range of housing management solutions to private landlords.
Deputy Council Leader and Lead Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Kim Forward explained:
"Over the next twelve months we are piloting the Letstart Lettings scheme and will be leasing accommodation from private landlords and making it available for people accessing the council's services for assistance with housing issues and homelessness prevention.
"The aim is to help make accommodation accessible and affordable for local households struggling to secure housing. In addition landlords and tenants will be able to access the council's new quality management service. The scheme will ensure that tenants don't have to pay huge fees to secure accommodation, that they have suitable, secure homes and are not exploited by rogue landlords.
"There is no contractual arrangement between the property owner and the tenant as the council has full landlord responsibility including tenant finding, tenant sign up, rent collection, some repairs and terminating tenancies."
Letstart Letting tenant, Nicole Morgans added:
"It would have been impossible for me as a single mum with young children to find a property in my price range and I really faced uncertain times on waiting lists and possibly even homelessness so I am very grateful to be one of the first tenants to be housed under this new scheme. It will mean that my family have secure, comfortable living in a safe environment."
Hastings Borough Council is keen to hear from Landlords who are interested in leasing their accommodation to us so, if you are a landlord or a tenant find out more about this scheme at www.letstartletting.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01424 451100.
Council Leader joins call for Healthcare Trust resignations
Council Leader, Cllr Peter Chowney, has joined the calls for the Chairman and Chief Executive of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust to step down.
Cllr Chowney said:
"I have to support the comments made by councillors at the East Sussex Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee last Friday, and by Eastbourne Borough Council councillors at their meeting on Wednesday.
"Our next Cabinet and Full Council meetings aren't until July, but I want to add my voice now to those calling for a change at the top of the local healthcare trust. I don’t accept that those who got us into this mess can get us out of it. The senior leaders have been their some time, and what we need now is immediate action.
"Quite simply we are talking about patients – local people's – lives here, and we want things to change, to get better, now. Our residents deserve more than an inadequate hospital service."
Future plans for the Promenade at White Rock on display
Proposals by Hastings Borough Council to re-model and revitalise the promenade at White Rock will be on public display at the seafront meeting room of the White Rock Hotel on Thursday 11 June 2015 from 3pm and 7pm.
Cllr Dawn Poole, lead member for regeneration explained:
"A key aim of the proposals is to provide an attractive link from the pier to the entrance to the town centre at Robertson Street.
"The proposals include planting of mature palm trees along White Rock and the water feature will be revitalised with a water cascade and a stage for licensed buskers. There will also be a projecting viewing platform and new beach access constructed and the promenade will be re-paved including areas of hardwood raised platforms that reference the pier.
"At the junction of the promenade and pedestrian crossing from Robertson Street there will be a kiosk and terrace.
"We want to know what you think so come along to the White Rock and give us your views on the proposals. If you can't get to this event plans can be viewed at www.hastings.gov.uk"
Year 6 students in schools across Hastings, who leave primary school this summer, are busy doing a piece of work that they will take with them to their secondary schools in the autumn.
The work involves English, maths and art, and is on the theme of 'voyages'. The theme suits a town that looks out across the sea and gives the children a chance for lots of personal expression. Hastings Borough Council has worked in partnership with the Education Futures Trust to employ local artist Ed Boxall to work in every primary school in Hastings.
Marketing Manager, Kevin Boorman explained:
"We have been pleased to support this project as part of our 'Famously Hastings' initiative. Last year the students produced some fantastic pieces of work, and we were pleased to be able to show everyone, nearly 1,000 in all, at our Seafood and Wine Festival in September.
"This year all of the work is going to be bound into massive books, which will be on display at the Jerwood Gallery during the Seafood and Wine weekend of 19 and 20 September. It's been great to go into some of the classrooms and see the students working hard on this project, I can't wait to see the final results, they are sure to be famously classy!"
Artist Ed Boxall said:
"I really enjoy this work, especially I was already exploring the theme of voyages in my book 'Dolphins Keep Me Safe in Dreams'. It's fantastic to be able to go into so many classrooms and work with so many young people and their enthusiasm is great."
Carole Dixon, chief executive of the Education Futures Trust, added:
"This is an exceptional project. The students are able to take their work with them to their secondary school for them to display. I am really excited that this year all the work is going to be on display in the Jerwood Gallery.
"I'm very grateful to Hastings Borough Council for sponsoring this project, to Ed Boxall for his invaluable contribution in the classrooms, and most of all to the schools and their students across the town for their enthusiasm in supporting this fantastic initiative."