Press Releases week beginning 07 January 2019
Hastings Remembers - Holocaust Memorial Day 2019
Hastings will host its annual Holocaust Memorial Day service at 11am on Saturday 26 January at St Mary in the Castle, on Hastings seafront. It is organised by Dr Shelley Katz with the support of Hastings Borough Council.
This year's service will have as its theme 'Torn from home'. It will include the Acromax Performance Group working with Ark Helenswood Academy, the St Richard's College choir and dancers, and the BISC (Queens University - Canada).
The service is open to everyone, and admission is free but by ticket only.
Tickets must be obtained in advance, and will be available shortly from the Hastings Tourist Information Centre in Breeds Place, Hastings (by the fountain on the seafront).
Local councils appoint Biffa to provide waste collection and street cleansing services
A new waste, recycling, street and beach cleaning contract will start in Hastings, Rother and Wealden from the end of June this year.
Biffa has been appointed to provide waste and recycling collection services to all households in these areas and to provide street cleaning in the Rother and Wealden areas.
Hastings will be providing its own street cleaning in-house and all of the new arrangements will start on June 29.
The appointment of Biffa follows a robust procurement project conducted by Hastings, Rother and Wealden councils over the last year following a mutually agreed early exit from the current contract with Kier Environmental Services.
Councillor Tony Ganly, Chair of the Joint Waste and Recycling Committee, said: "Collecting household waste and recycling and keeping our streets clean are essential public services and all the councils are delighted that Biffa will be our contracting partner.
"As a specialist waste management company with a long history, Biffa's company knowledge and experience provides us with confidence they will deliver our residents with an excellent quality of service."
Simon Baddeley, Biffa Municipal's Development Director, said: "We're delighted to have been awarded the contract for waste collection, recycling and streets cleansing by the Joint Waste Partnership. We'll be ensuring our brand new fleet will support a seamless handover from the current waste collection provider while continuing to deliver cost-effective services.
"We are also excited to be able to use our technology to provide not only a better service for members of the public, but also a safer one for drivers and residents. With the addition of 360-degree cameras to all of our frontline vehicles we will not only keep them safer, but also inspect streets more efficiently while operating the new street cleansing service."
Under the current contract with Kier Environmental Services, which started in 2013, the nature of the waste and recycling environment has changed enormously.
The councils will work in partnership with the new contractor, Biffa to meet the service requirements expected by residents, employing a flexible approach to meet the challenges of the changing waste environment and legislation.
Waste and recycling collections and street and beach cleaning services are an essential public service provision. Whilst local authorities are still facing significant financial challenges, the appointment of Biffa on a seven year contract is welcomed by the councils.
Empty homes council tax could double
As part of the 2019/2020 council budget, empty homes in Hastings are being considered for a 100% extra council tax charge, from April of this year. This means they would be charged double council tax. This is the maximum possible charge under new government rules. The charge, if approved, will apply to properties that have been empty and unfurnished for more than two years. In 2018 there were 1,334 empty properties in Hastings, up from 1,112 in 2017.
Peter Chowney, leader of Hastings Borough Council said,
"We have used compulsory purchase as a way to bring homes that have been left empty the longest back into use. But we have a housing shortage in this town, and there are still too many properties left empty. These new punitive council tax charges will work alongside our compulsory purchase programme to make sure empty homes are brought back into use."
The charge will increase further to 200% extra for properties left empty for more than 5 years from April of next year, 2020/2021 and again at 300% extra for properties left empty for more than 10 years from 2021/2022.