Press Releases week beginning 24 August 2015
Residents to receive important voter registration information
Households in Hastings will soon be receiving a form asking them to check whether the information that appears on the electoral register for those living at their address is correct as part of Hastings Borough Council's annual voter registration canvass.
The aim of the form is to ensure that the electoral register is up to date and to identify any residents who are not registered. These residents can then be encouraged to register.
With local elections and Police and Crime Commissioner elections taking place across the region in May 2016, this is an opportunity for residents to make sure that they can take part when the elections take place.
Jane Hartnell, Electoral Registration Officer at Hastings Borough Council said:
"Anyone that wants to vote must be registered. To make sure you are able to have your say at the elections next year, simply check the form when it arrives and return it as promptly as possible.
"If you're not currently registered, we'll send you information explaining how to do this or you can just go online to apply to register at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote."
It's particularly important that anyone who has moved address recently looks out for the form and checks whether they are registered.
Research by the independent Electoral Commission indicates that across Great Britain, recent home movers are far less likely to be registered than those that have lived at the same address for a long time. The research showed that 94% of people who have been at their property for more than sixteen years will be registered compared to 40% of people who have lived at an address for less than one year.
The same research indicates that whilst almost 95% of outright home owners are registered, this is the case for only 63% of private renters.
Kay Jenkins, Head of English regions at the Electoral Commission said:
"The annual canvass is an opportunity for people to easily check whether they're registered. It's essential for a healthy democracy that everyone who is entitled to vote is able to, and for those who need to registering is now easier than ever with the online system of registration."
"If you have changed address in the last year, it's particularly likely that you will need to register at your new address, so check the form as soon as it arrives."
Residents can call the helpline on 01424 451087 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Hastings Parkrun runs from strength to strength
Over 500 parkrunners have now made their debuts since the inaugural Hastings parkrun on 18 April - an incredible result given that the 20th event took place on Saturday, 22 August.
The event, supported by Hastings Borough Council's Active Hastings team, is already well established with a healthy weekly average of nearly 140 and 75% of those taking part are non-club runners; proof that parkrun really does attract people into grass roots running.
Cllr Dawn Poole, lead member for leisure explained:
"The weather on Saturday was perfect for the 20th parkrun event. Many runners including families, children and Mums and Dads with young ones in pushchairs turned out to enjoy this great Saturday morning activity.
"1,000 different runners from over 100 running clubs have already enjoyed the free to enter 5k Hastings seafront promenade course. Parkrun tourism has had definite commercial benefits for the town of Hastings, as the parkrun has hosted runners from all over the South East, as well as the Midlands, North West, North East and Scotland. We have also had visitors from Australia as well as the event director for the Florida parkrun.
"The run is suitable for all ages and abilities and there is a sweep runner at the back of the field for those who walk part of the way round. Children are welcome to take part, but those under 11 must be accompanied during the run by an adult who can keep up with them!"
Hastings AC's Max Thomas set the course record in the opening event with an impressively quick 15.37; Hailsham Harriers' Sue Fry holds the ladies course record (19.06); and Hastings Runners' Sylvia Huggett recently set the age grading record with a huge score of 87.88%! Hastings half marathon director Eric Hardwick MBE is now a regular parkrunner, and former Sussex county legends Jamie Hernon and Paul Emerson have also been tempted out of 'retirement' by the local parkrun.
Parkruns are free to take part in - simply register at www.parkrun.org.uk/hastings, download your barcode and then turn up at any of the 330 venues across the UK. All the runs start at 9am. Hastings parkrun, which is based at Grosvenor Gardens, St. Leonards, needs 18 marshals and volunteers each week to ensure that the event goes smoothly, Please contact the event organiser Nick Brown (email email@example.com) if you would like to help.
Japanese dance and light theatre comes to Hastings
Stade Saturdays free events start this weekend on Saturday, 29 August in Hastings with a virtuoso performance by guitarist Paul Malsom at the Stade Open Space from 7.30pm. Paul plays both acoustic and electric guitars and his play list features instrumental arrangements including a wide variety of pop, rock, blues and classic material.
Paul's performance will be followed the main event, Manjusaka.
Cllr Dawn Poole lead member for regeneration explained:
"We are very proud to bring Manjusaka to Stade Saturdays as part of the Coastal Currents annual arts festival and Journeys Dance Festival programme.
"Set on the 'flat' with a roaming audience, this performance marks the culmination of years of development of Manjusaka. It's a new dance project by Yumino Seki and her cross-disciplinary team exploring worlds of immortality through dance and light installation.
"Seki's choreography is drawn from Butoh, a form of Japanese avant-garde dance theatre and the performance is named after the vivid red flower in the amaryllis family that blooms at the autumn equinox when the dead and living are believed to converge.
"Manjusaka creates a multidimensional experience for viewers incorporating choreography, light installation, soundscape and guided viewing points; reflecting the true essence of Butoh. Seki's work is a fusion of East and West, contemporary and traditional."
The Journeys Dance Festival continues on Sunday, 30 August from 1.30pm to 4pm at the Stade Open Space with local events company 18 Hours, working with Ramp Events, to present the Anna Mudeka Band, a six piece ensemble performing a unique and intoxicating fusion of Zimbabwean Mbira driven music.
Anna, who has trained with well-known names such as Thomas Mapfumo, Stella Chiweshe, Adzido Dance Ensemble, merges music from across Sub-Saharan cultures, combining contemporary and traditional styles.
Cllr Dawn Poole added:
"Everyone is welcome to come along and enjoy dancing or just listening to this uplifting band. You can also have fun learning Zimbabwean dance moves in Anna's workshop."
For further details about these events visit www.18hours.org.uk
Liane Carroll Jazz Breakfast returns to Seafood Festival
Plans are well underway for the 10th annual Seafood and Wine Festival in Hastings.
Organised by Hastings Borough Council, the event will be held at the Stade Open Space in the heart of Hastings Old Town, over the weekend of 19 and 20 September.
Cllr Dawn Poole, lead member for regeneration commented:
"Once again this promises to be a mouth-watering weekend of delicious seafood and wine with stallholders making use of extensive local produce.
"There will be superb live music and street entertainment right through the weekend with the popular jazz breakfast on Sunday. Always supportive of the Hastings Seafood and Wine Festival, local jazz legend Liane Carroll will return with her band for this event. This is a ticket only event and likely to sell out fast so make sure you get yours in good time!"
Tickets are now on sale for the Liane Carroll Jazz Breakfast from the tourist information centre at Muriel Matters House, Breeds Place, Hastings priced at £15.00 for adults and £8.00 for children under 18. Ticket price includes coffee and Danish pastry and entry to the festival for the day.
Cllr Dawn Poole added:
"Festival admission wristbands will cost just £2 on the day but they can be bought in advance from the tourist information centre for only £1, a real bargain for a whole weekend's entertainment and children go free!"
More details about the Hastings Seafood and Wine festival can be found at www.hastingsfestivals.com
A regeneration master plan for Hastings Town Centre
Improvements to Hastings town centre and the White Rock/Summerfields area of town are being planned, and the council is asking local residents to get involved in helping to develop a vision for its future.
Hastings Borough Council is hoping to improve cultural, tourism and leisure opportunities in this important area, as part of its wider regeneration plans for the town. As the ideas are developed, they will be included in the key strategic planning documents for Hastings, which include the Planning Strategy and Development Management Plan.
The council has already met with members of the community, a number of businesses and other key organisations in the area, which stretches from the town centre and the seafront to Summerfields, and is now engaging experts to help with the work.
Specialist consultant Bilfinger GVA, who have extensive experience in working with councils and local communities on regeneration plans, will carry out a number of key studies. The findings of this work will form an important part of developing and consulting further upon a draft Area Action Plan next year.
The GVA work will look at more closely integrating the White Rock area with the rest of the town centre; an assessment of the town centre's retail capacity and needs; a leisure facilities assessment including cultural and tourism regeneration opportunities, visitor accommodation, and current and future demand and opportunities; a study of the 'public realm' (public areas, landmarks, heritage buildings); and a summary of development and investment opportunities within the town centre and White Rock area.
Cllr Dawn Poole, Lead Member for Planning Policy said:
"I am delighted that this important work is now underway. The White Rock and Summerfields area has massive potential, and I am keen that we look at how to make more of this part of town.
"As part of this work, GVA will be talking to the local community as well as holding meetings with key businesses and other interested organisations. We really do value local people's views, and want everybody with an interest in this area to let us know what they would like to see there - it really is their chance to help plan for the future.
"The findings of the study will help us to continue the town's regeneration, and will be invaluable as we look at the wider White Rock/Summerfields area."
Council to celebrate Merchant Navy Day
Since the beginning of this century, 03 September has been the UK's officially designated Merchant Navy Day. The date was chosen because on that date in 1939, the first day of WW2, SS Athenia was the first merchant ship to be torpedoed and sunk with the loss of 128 passengers and crew.
The UK's prosperity has been dependant on the Merchant Navy since the start of international trade but only during the two World Wars did the British public realise that without the merchant ships and brave seafarers the UK would soon be starved of food and denied other essential supplies.
In recent years the UK's dependency on the Merchant Navy has increased. More than 90% of our imports are carried by ship, including half the food we eat. Without regular fuel imports our power stations would soon shut down and with more sea ports than any other European country we depend on the Merchant Navy for 75% of our exports.
Hastings Borough Council will be taking part in Merchant Navy Day on Thursday, 03 September and will be flying the flag at 10am from the town hall with a special reading from the Immediate Past Mayor, Cllr Alan Roberts.
Tourism booming as town bucks trend
Results just published for 2014 showed that more visitors came to Hastings, bucking the national trend which showed a reduction in domestic visitors to holiday resorts.
Tourism South East's independent research shows that whilst the volume of domestic overnight trips fell by 9% in the south east, the volume of domestic overnight trips to Hastings actually increased, by 0.8%, whilst the number of overseas visitors staying in Hastings increased by some 6.9%. Staying visitors spent an estimated £95.3m in the town, up by 4.2% on 2013.
More day trippers came to Hastings too, with just over 3.2 million day visitors enjoying a visit to the town, an increase of 3.2%. Even more importantly, the value of their visits also increased, by 4.2%, to £100.8m.
Tourism South East calculate that tourism is worth £263.7m to the local economy, and supported some 5,418 jobs in the town, up 2.6% on 2013.
Cllr Kim Forward, lead member for tourism said:
"These results are fantastic, and confirm what we thought - that Hastings is becoming more and more popular with visitors, who in turn are spending more money here, and creating more jobs.
"The figures are even better than they appear, because other resorts are reporting lower visitor numbers. I am especially pleased that our overseas visitor numbers continue to increase, showing that our marketing of the town abroad has been so successful.
"We have so much to offer visitors in Hastings, and I am delighted that so many people are now recognising this. It's great that they are coming here in such numbers, and even better that extra jobs for local people are being created as a result. Long may it continue."