Ore ward report (February 2017)

If you would like to discuss any of the items below or to sign up for our monthly email report, please contact Cllrs Richard Street and Michael Wincott

Budget

22nd February sees the Council agreeing its budget for the 2017-18 year. The draft Budget is currently out to consultation with the deadline for responses 5pm on 10th February. You can read the full details here. The proposals include the loss of 9 posts and cuts to various services as well as measures to increase income. The Council recently bought the freehold of the Dunelm/Pets at Home site on Sedlescombe Road North which will provide income from rent as well its office block in Breeds Place which not only saves on paying rent but also brings in rent from the shops on the ground floor. The upper ground floor is also hired to the Coroner’s office every Tuesday. Renting out the Town Hall to the East Sussex Registrar also brings in substantial income. It is proposed that the Hastings element of Council Tax (which makes up 14% of the whole Council Tax bill) be increased by £5 a year for a Band D property (2.04%). We do not yet know what is proposed for the County Council (70%), Police (9%) and Fire Service (5%) elements will be.

Among the proposed cuts is the closure of Ore Village toilets to save £14,000. We are both strongly opposed to this as the toilets are vital to many people who use the shops and other services whether they live in the area or come in from the surrounding villages and further afield. This will particularly affect those with young children and the elderly. We will be arguing strongly to have this cut removed from the final Budget and will be more likely to succeed with support from local residents. If you agree with us, please send your comments by email to consultation@hastings.gov.uk or by post to Mark Horan, Hastings Borough Council, Muriel Matters House, Breeds Place, Hastings, TN34 3UY.


King’s Head

The planning application for a block of 15 flats on the site of the King’s Head pub in Rye Road has been withdrawn by the applicant. Many local residents had objected to the proposal and 2 separate petitions of objection were submitted. We expect Booker & Best, the landowners, to revise their proposal and submit a fresh one in the future.


Rubbish

As many residents have mentioned to us, the rubbish on our streets has got worse than ever in recent months especially just before Christmas. We have been told that the reason for this is a big increase in unexpected staff absence at the Council’s contractors, Kier. This has meant that staff who normally clear litter from the streets have been moved to the teams emptying bins. Standards should improve significantly in the coming weeks. We have also been promised more frequent sweeping of the streets of Ore and monitoring of the standards by the environmental wardens. Since that promise, Kier litter pickers have been spotted in the ward on Rye Road though there’s still plenty for them to collect elsewhere. It is important that we all play a role in this, not only by dropping litter in bins ourselves but also by reporting litter whenever we see it via https://my.hastings.gov.uk. This not only ensures that the report goes quickly to somebody who can deal with it but also ensures that accurate records are kept so the areas of greatest need get a better service. You can, of course, also phone 01424 451077 though this may involve a lengthy wait.


Muriel Matters

You may have noticed that the Council’s office building is no longer Aquila House (named for the Latin for eagle, the emblem of previous tenants Barclays Bank) but Muriel Matters House. Muriel was an Australian actress who came to the UK in 1905 to further her career. She became heavily involved in the women’s suffrage movement touring the country making speeches and leading demonstrations in support of “Votes for Women”. In 1924 she stood for Parliament in Hastings and lived in the town until her death in 1969. Her former home in Pelham Crescent bears a blue plaque in her honour. If you want to find out more, you can visit the Muriel Matters Society website https://murielmatterssociety.com.au.


AmicusHorizon merges with Viridian

Richard recently attended a “Local Get together” organised by AmicusHorizon Housing Association at Downs Farm Community Centre. The main point of the meeting was to hear about the merger between AmicusHorizon, the major social housing provider in Hastings, and Viridian, a housing association with properties mainly in London and Birmingham. We were told that tenants in Hastings should notice an improved service with few staff changes. The merger should provide £10 million to invest in new homes each year from savings resulting from economies of scale. Residents also brought up concerns about litter, repairs and maintenance to their properties.


ore_together_colourWe listen to the concerns of local residents and traders at 18:15 on the first Thursday of each month. Why not come and join us to listen or raise your concerns?
All meetings will be at the
Ore Community Centre, 455 Old London Road. Details can be found here.