Press Releases week beginning 26 February 2018
Hastings celebrates the Year of the Dog
Local people gathered in Priory Meadow Shopping Centre on Sunday 25 February to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Dog.
The event was opened with the dance of the lion followed by the dance of the dragon, performed by students from Buckswood School. The Hastings Chinese Association provided entertainment throughout the day including singing, dancing and a martial arts demonstration.
"Hastings now has a well-documented reputation for the many varied and exciting events it puts on throughout the year and the Chinese celebration of New Year is now firmly on this calendar" said Peter Chowney, leader of Hastings Borough Council, who opened the programme of festivities.
"The Hastings Chinese Association work very hard to organise this event offering fantastic traditional performances and displays which all demonstrate what a rich culture our town has to offer. It was a pleasure to join the Chinese community and share their special celebrations in this way. We have such a vibrant multicultural population - one Hastings, many voices. I'm very pleased Hastings Council was able to support this event" he added.
Music Month - A wealth of classics
Being able to celebrate the emergence of Hastings as a hub of classical music is progressively a reality. In the last 5 years, while working and then living in Hastings, Marcio da Silva, Artistic director of Hastings Philharmonic, has been privileged to experience the blossoming of a town that is exceeding expectations in producing high quality classical music. This is complemented by a broader artistic development. The opening of new and exciting venues such as the Opus Theatre and the revitalization of traditional venues such as Saint Mary in the Castle are signs of that transformation. The creation of the Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra, a fully professional orchestra resident at St Mary in the Castle, and its forging of links abroad, combined with the on-going development of the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition that brings the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the best pianists from around the globe to perform at the White Rock Theatre, ensures that the name of Hastings resounds around the world as a place where top quality classical music is valued and cultivated.
That vibrancy is enhanced by the diversity of the Hastings 'Music Month', which offers high quality music in all genres and styles. From the classical music side one couldn't be better served. Five different venues: Christ Church, Kino Teatr, Opus Theatre, St Mary in the Castle and White Rock Theatre bring you a rich variety of concerts. So far we have had an evening of Romantic Opera at the Kino Teatr; Pop-up Opera's performances of Hansel and Gretel at SMIC; a piano solo event organized by Opera South East; an Opera Breakfast also at SMIC; a full baroque concert with the Hastings Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Baroque Orchestra at Christ Church, St Leonard's; and a chamber music concert at Kino Teatr. And there is still more to come. The two finals for this year's International Piano Concerto Competition will take place on March 2nd and 3rd at the White Rock Theatre. On March 4th there will be a vocal recital at the Kino Teatr, which is dedicated exclusively to women composers from 1890-1930, with fascinating insight into their background. At the Opus Theatre on March 10th, a rare opportunity of watching a Xylophone concerto performed by the exciting young percussionist Chris Beaumont. The Music Month will end with a performance of Mozart's Magic Flute by Opera Anywhere on March 16th, and with a concert by Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra on March 17th; www.hastingsphilharmonic.com. This concert marks the official closing of the Music Month and includes performances of the world premiere of a piece by Philip O'Meara, Mozart's 40th Symphony and his Sinfonia Concert ante. Both concerts will be at St Mary in the Castle.
Marcio Da Silva said, "All the hard work that goes into this push to bring Hastings back to the days when it was a national centre for classical music is already seeing exciting results. As always, however, we remain dependent on you, our audience, to support us. Please come along and enjoy our concerts, and allow us to share our art and our passion with you."
Council welcomes Southern's new train timetable
Hastings Borough Council has welcomed the unveiling of Southern's new May timetable.
From 20 May, Southern will be running four trains an hour between Hastings and Eastbourne, up from the current three, and doubling the length of most trains between Hastings and Brighton, from two carriages to four.
There will also be a regular service between Ore and Ashford for the first time in many years, better evening services, and better connections between Marshlink and HS1 trains at Ashford, bringing the Hastings-London St Pancras International journey time down to just 90 minutes, saving around 10 minutes.
Council leader Peter Chowney said: "I am delighted. This is a great timetable for local residents and visitors to Hastings, and we are very grateful to Southern for listening to our comments when they consulted on the new plans. We hope this is a precursor to even faster journey times if we can get high speed trains running through Hastings from St Pancras."
Phil Hutchinson, Head of Strategic Planning for Govia Thameslink Railway which runs Southern, led a 16-month consultation on the changes as part of a complete re-write of the Southern timetable, which is the biggest consultation ever undertaken in the rail industry.
Phil said: "These changes are being delivered as part of our RailPlan20/20 modernisation plans to modernise services, improve reliability and boost capacity across out network, which is the most congested in the UK.
"By consulting openly and extensively with councils, passenger groups and other local representatives, we have been able to listen to concerns and create a vastly improved train service that will be a real boost to the local economy."
Help Hastings Old Town walk off with Ramblers' prize
Hastings Old Town is in the running (walking?!) to win the very first Britain's Best Walking Neighbourhood Award, launched by the Ramblers on Monday (26 February). It is one of ten areas to make it to the final public vote in the new award, which celebrates the places that put urban walkers first.
Anthony Slack, long-time Hastings Old Town resident, nominated his neighbourhood for the award. He said: "Whether it's simply to visit local shops and restaurants, to go to the doctors' surgery or to the local cinema or theatre, or just to admire our historic buildings, walking is usually the best way to do it in Hastings Old Town. The well-maintained green spaces, the sea views and pleasant places to stop and socialise, all combine to make Hastings Old Town a fantastic walkable community.
Cllr Kim Forward, deputy leader of Hastings Borough Council and lead member for marketing said :- "I am delighted that the Old Town has been shortlisted for this award.
"The streets of the Old Town really were made for walking. Developed long before the invention of the car, there are few parking spaces, meaning people are more likely to choose walking as the quickest and easiest way of getting around.
"The quaint streets are crisscrossed by narrow "twittens" that today form charming pedestrian routes between the streets. Many of the roads have light traffic flows and, indeed, some are pedestrianised, so are excellent for walking along.
"We've got plenty of other great walks in and around Hastings too, including our award winning Alexandra Park, our three mile long seafront, the green spaces of Hastings Country Park with its stunning clifftop views, and the West Hill and East Hill.
People can vote for Hastings Old Town by visiting www.ramblers.org.uk/votehastings
It's not just Network Rail who have icicles in their tunnels!
Like the rest of the country, Hastings has shivered over the last few days with temperatures remaining below freezing.
Long icicles have formed inside the tunnel of Hastings' West Hill Lift, a 126 year old funicular railway which still operates at the south coast resort :- ironically on the first day of its summer opening programme, which starts on 1st March!
Icicles like this have not been seen here for over 20 years.