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The latest attraction on Hastings seafront has been opened by council leader Peter Chowney.

‘The Picnic Box’ is a refreshment kiosk situated above Bottle Alley, by the weather station to the west of Hastings Pier. It is decorated on one side by a mosaic mural by local artist Emma Harding.

Cllr Peter Chowney explained :- “We’ve got a superb seafront here in Hastings, but we have had complaints in the past that it doesn’t have the refreshment kiosks that other seafronts have. We’re now putting that right!

“The Source opened their kiosk east of the pier in March, and I am now delighted that we have a kiosk to the west of the pier too. The Picnic Box is half way between Warrior Square and the pier, by the weather station. It is a great addition to the seafront for local residents and visitors and, of course, generates some useful income for the council too.

“And the mural is superb, I could make out a number of local characters, including jazz singer Liane Carroll.”

The Picnic Box is run by three generations of the same family, Diane Rann, her daughter Carly Gurney and granddaughter Georgia Hall.

Carly said :- “This is a really great spot, with fantastic views along the seafront, from beyond the pier to the Old Town and to Beachy Head.

“We’re looking forward to a great summer, hoping to tempt customers with our speciality Bubble Tea. And we haven’t forgotten our four-legged friends, as we sell frozen yogurt for dogs!”


What is “Making Tax Digital”?

Making Tax Digital (MTD) is a government initiative to modernise HMRC’s tax system, with the aim of making the whole process of administrating tax simpler and more efficient. All of your tax information will be in one place (your digital account) and you will be able to pay tax based on your business activity during the year and you can upload and update your tax account in real time.

Will it affect me?

If you own a business, you are self-employed or a landlord and you pay income tax, national insurance, VAT or corporation tax then it is quite likely you will be affected. This means you will be required to keep track of your tax affairs digitally using MTD compatible software, and to update HMRC at least quarterly via your digital tax account. Eventually this will abolish the annual tax return. This will be the law and there will be penalties for non- compliance.

What do I have to do?

You will need to open and log into your digital account. Everyone will be allocated one through the current Government Gateway. Then you will need to ensure your accounting software can update this account at least quarterly. For most businesses this means a move away from desktop and onto Cloud based accounting software. You are required to choose digital (Cloud) software to maintain your business records and to provide updates of information to HMRC. You will be prompted to send summary updates directly to HMRC – quarterly updates will need to be submitted within a month of quarter end, and an end of year activity report will be due within nine months of the end of the accounting year.

Your accountant can advise you on the software you will need and how to comply with the new quarterly reporting requirements.

When is all this happening?

MTD starts with unincorporated businesses for accounting periods commencing on or after 6 April 2018. There are various dates after this when other types of businesses have to comply.

What’s next?

Your accountant should contact you through 2017 to prepare you and get you ready for Digital Tax well in advance. In the meantime, if you want to discuss how this affects you and your business please contact us.


Canterbury Oast Trust, who run the Mariners in Rye, has become a station partner for Rye and Ham Street stations.

Kevin Barry the Community Rail Development Officer said :- “Canterbury Oast Trust has recently brought a blooming difference to Rye station with their plants and hanging baskets on platform 2 and at the entrance to the station.Canterbury Oast

“It is based at the Rare Breeds Centre in Woodchurch, where they grow plants and display them, and many of their clients use our Rye and Ham Street stations.

“It is a charitable organization and cater for adults with disabilities, they certainly enjoyed their day out planting up the tubs and talking to passengers while they were waiting for their train.“

Kevin added :-“ The Sussex Community Rail Partnership encourage and do a lot with different charities along the Marshlink line and have various projects to suit them. We recently started one at Ore station, and are always looking for more people to get involved with our work.”

If you would like to be involved with the SCRP , either as a volunteer or as a group then contact Kevin on 07949 314233 or email kevin@sussexcrp.org.

Posted by: In: Business, News 17 May 2017 Comments: 0 Tags: ,

Latest official figures have showed that the UK’s unemployment rate has fallen to a 42-year-low.

The number of jobless people fell by 53,000 to 154 million in the quarter to March. It represents a rate of 4.6%, the lowest since summer 1975.

Employment has increased by 122,000 to almost 32 million, the highest since records began in 1971, reported the Office for National Statistics.

Average earnings increased by 2.4% in the year to March, just 0.1% up on the previous month and below the latest CPI inflation rate of 2.7%

On Tuesday (16 May) figures showed inflation hit 2.7% in April up from 2.3%. It’s highest since September 2013.

The Sussex Community Rail Partnership is today (17th May) helping to launch a nationwide campaign to encourage people to explore ‘Scenic Rail Britain’.

The Sussex Community Rail Partnership will be at Blackfriars Station in London 6.30am-7.00pm today, promoting Scenic Rail Britain and highlighting the attractions of exploring historic Sussex by rail.scenic rail britain

A new website, scenicrailbritain.com, blog and social media campaign are being launched by the Association of Community Rail Partnerships and its members at stations around the country. They will offer inspiration and information to help tourists and day-trippers plan visits to epic landscapes, coastal scenes, historic sites and picturesque areas by train, particularly via Britain’s wonderful ‘community rail’ routes.

Kirsten Firth, Community Rail Development Manager at Sussex Community Rail Partnership, said: “Today’s event and the Scenic Rail Britain campaign is a great opportunity for us to promote our wonderful railway lines to thousands of commuters and potential visitors. We know very well that Sussex has so much to offer visitors: from the coast to countryside, seaside resorts to historic towns and picture-perfect villages to lively ports and marinas. We hope that Scenic Rail Britain will help us get the message across to wider audiences, and encourage people to visit by train rather than car. It’s an enjoyable way to travel that gives fantastic views, benefits the local economy, and means less traffic, noise and pollution in our local communities.”

Jools Townsend, chief executive of the Association of Community Rail Partnerships, said: “We are excited to launch Scenic Rail Britain today with help from the Sussex Community Rail Partnership. This campaign is all about people explore our beautiful countryside and fascinating heritage through green, scenic and non-stressful travel. Many people don’t realise how easy it is to explore Britain’s stunning landscapes, pretty villages and historic sites by rail – and making use of our wonderful, often little-known, ‘community rail’ lines is a great way to do this. Anyone thinking of making a trip, or wanting to find out more about what’s on their doorstep, can check out scenicrailbritain.com, for practical tips, itineraries and inspiration.”


Southeastern rail passengers are facing higher fares on off peak journeys from the end of the month.

The rail operator is implementing increases of 3.4% or 10p, whichever is the greatest from May 21 2017.  It passengers have not been informed of the increase however the company said it did not “routinely announce fare rises”Southeastern Train

Campaigners described the move as “an appallingly high-handed way to treat passengers”.

About 640,000 journeys are currently made on 1,900 Southeastern trains every weekday.

Lianna Etkind of the Campaign for Better Transport said: “It’s bad enough that Southeastern passengers have had to put up with years of government-imposed peak fare rises while wages stagnate, but more back-door fare increase are unacceptable.

“We’re urging passengers to respond to the current Southeastern franchise consultation and tell the government that enough is enough, and passengers deserve proper value for money on their journeys.”

The rail company’s contract fro the running of the service expires in December next year.

Passengers in South-East London, Kent and East Sussex are being asked to give their views on the next franchise blue-print.

One option in the Department for Transport Consultation is a reduction in the number of trains calling at less well-used stations.

Under the proposals first-class travel could also be withdrawn.

The Department for Transport Consultation closes on 23 May 2017.

With fears still looming over the cyber-attacks that started on Friday it would appear that they are slowing with few reports of new attacks in Asia and Europe.

Many firms have employed experts over the weekend in attempt to prevent new infections however Microsoft have warned that these attacks should serve as a wake-up call.

A total of 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries were affected, with the attacks preventing access to a computer or its data. The WannaCry ransomware has demanded money to release the data and if no payment is made within seven days it threatens to delete the files.

It also demands £230 ($300) to restore access to the data however, the ransomware warning said that the price will double after three days but organisations are being advised to not pay any ransoms.

It has been said that the US delivery company FedEx has been affected along with 61 of the UK’s NHS organisations. Renault had to halt production in France had to be halted and Russia’s interior ministry also reported 1,000 of its computers infected, according to the BBC.

So What Really is WannaCry?

It is the programme used in the global cyber attacked, known now as WannaCry, ransomware or Wanna Decryptor. It was spread through phishing emails and on systems without up-to-date security patches.

The attack could infect more systems, according to experts from the National Cyber Security Centre. However, the National Crime Agency (NCA) along with investigators from around the globe are trying to find those responsible for the attacks.

Top Tips for Avoiding Infections

  1. Make sure that you keep your software up to date to ensure any bug fixes are made to your computer.
  2. Be wary of emails with attachments where you are unsure of the original source.
  3. Avoid dodgy websites and downloads so that your computer is at lower risk of infection.
  4. Back up any of your important files so that you always have a spare copy.

Market-leading cable management manufacturer Marshall-Tufflex is celebrating 75 years of innovation with a programme of events planned for the coming months.

From a summer party in the company’s home town of Hastings, East Sussex, to the burial of a Time Capsule for retrieval in another 75 years and (in typical Marshall-Tufflex style) donating 75 days for staff to carry out charity work, the aim is to involve the whole business in the celebrations and benefit others.Marshall Tufflex

“Innovation and charity giving have, from day one, been in our DNA and continue to set us apart in the marketplace,” said Marshall-Tufflex Chief Executive Paul Hetherington. “We manufacture and supply the largest and highest quality range of cable management solutions on the market. And every time one of our products is purchased a charity benefits. In the last 10 years alone we have donated more than £750,000 to worthwhile causes. We will continue innovating and giving and look forward to the next 75 years.”

The Marshall-Tufflex story began on May 28th, 1942, when founder Harold Cirket registered the company name. He had just the idea of developing the then unknown potential of plastic extrusion and a £394 War Loan behind him. The rest, as they say, is history. Marshall-Tufflex is now a multi-million pound business trading in more than 40 countries and employing more than 170 people across its manufacturing base and HQ in Hastings, East Sussex, together with depots in London and Manchester.

To celebrate the anniversary the company is holding a summer party in Hastings for all past and present employees, their families and company shareholders. A Time Capsule will be buried on the Marshall-Tufflex premises during the week of the anniversary for retrieval in 75 years and company book ‘The First 50 years and On To the Millennium’, is being updated for release later this year.

The company is also donating time for employees to undertake 75 days of charity work by volunteering for charities including St Michael’s Hospice, Chestnut Tree House and The Tressell Trust. This initiative reflects the company’s commitment to the Hastings area and the willingness of its workforce to give something back to organisations which are such an important part of their community.

“We are delighted to be celebrating Marshall-Tufflex’s 75th birthday,” added Mr Hetherington. “Harold Cirket established the business during the austere war time years, pioneering the UK’s plastic extrusion market. Little could he have known that 75 years later the company would be a market-leader. We are justifiably proud of his achievements and of those of all employees, past and present.”

Hastings Borough Council has been successful in its recent bid to the Coastal Communities Fund in the latest round of grant funding applications.

The grant worth £812,770 is for a new project called ‘Destination White Rock, Hastings – Continuing the Economic Revival’ and will enable the council and partners to revive the White Rock area with a total project value of £1.081m.

Led by the council, the Hastings Coastal Communities Team will manage a portfolio of projects to improve the economic wellbeing of the White Rock area.

Funding will contribute to projects at Rock House, a partially converted office block with a mix of uses, including commercial, residential and community, to provide affordable business development and commercial space. The adjoining Rock Alley will also benefit, with improvements allowing adjoining businesses to contribute to its economic revival and by giving another pathway between the White Rock seafront and inland.Pier white rock area IMG_6650 SM

The currently redundant water feature and White Rock promenade between the Pier and Source Park will be refurbished and traditional beach huts will be installed east of the Pier to encourage active use of this area of the beach.

The Source Park will develop a BMX Olympic inspired training programme and offer a series of local, regional and international BMX and skateboarding events to attract thousands of visitors extending the season throughout the year.

There will also be a community based business initiative, developing the local community to participate in and manage the economic revival of the area.

Project manager Kevin Boorman commented:

“This is excellent news for Hastings and the future development of our town. This funding will enhance the significance of the White Rock area as the geographical centre of Hastings and allow it to become a destination in its own right and, a great place to relax and do business. We will start work on these projects now and hope to see completion at the end of 2019.”

Richard Moore the Source Park added: “This grant will help The Source Park realise its full potential as a global BMX and Skateboard centre of excellence. We’re looking forward to building on the success of the Battle of Hastings contests to develop a series of events that showcases Hastings and the Source Park around the world. At the same time, our coaching program, the first of its kind in our sports, aims to give everyone the chance to learn our sports’ and develop the stars of the future”

“Rock House is a unique creative and affordable space for living, working and community action. We’re delighted that this grant will help us with the next phase of the refurbishment which will create new jobs and enterprises, while protecting the very special character of the White Rock/America Ground neighbourhood” said Jess Steele, White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures, social enterprise owners of Rock House

Together the projects aim to support 180 local businesses, create 12 tourism events, create over 180 jobs,  increase visitor numbers by over 60,000  which in turn will create an extra £4m spend in support of the wider community.


Let’s Do Business have been shortlisted by NatWest bank for their 2017  Skills and Opportunities Fund.

The Let’s Do Business Group (South East) Limited, are an awarding-winning social enterprise, based in St Leonards-on-sea. The area has pockets of very high deprivation and relatively high unemployment, particularly among the young population. Our aim is to support the economic development of Hastings and the wider East Sussex area by helping new and budding entrepreneurs.

We are asking for you to support our Business Builder project – a project that comprises an innovative series of start-up workshops, mentoring support, online training and specialist advice for deprived communities.

The project aims to provide access to enterprise skills and learning opportunities to increase participants’ financial capability, and it will also offer a Level 2 qualification in setting up a business, in order to support them with this process.

Funding will allow us to cover the numerous delivery costs of the project, which as well as many others, include activities such as administration, marketing, recruitment, training and certification, plus the costs of employing trainers and hiring venues.

With your support, we believe that we can directly benefit over 120 people through this project.