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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!”


A new kiosk has opened for business on Hastings promenade, as part of the Foreshore Trust’s plans to improve the seafront. The Foreshore Trust is a charitable trust which looks after the foreshore in Hastings.FT Source Kiosk 2 200317 lores

Cllr Colin Fitzgerald is chair of the council’s charity committee, which manages the Foreshore Trust. He said :- “We know our seafront is incredibly popular with visitors, and we are keen to improve the range of facilities it has to offer.

“This new kiosk, near the Source skate/BMX park, is ideally situated for those walking from the town centre or the Old Town towards the pier, and I am sure it will be very busy.

The new kiosk will be operated by The Source, and Rich Moore, co-owner, said :- “We’re excited to be opening the new seafront kiosk at White Rock. It sits right above our skate park so made perfect sense for us to take it on; the building looks beautiful, it has one of the best views in Hastings and it really complements our food and drink offer inside the Park. Our amazing team in the cafe are enjoying the idea of serving locals and tourists whilst enjoying the sunny sea views.

“We aim for the kiosk to be a positive addition to Hastings promenade and offer excellent products at reasonable prices; with ice creams, slushes and teas/coffees from just 99p”

Posted by: In: Business, Foodservice, News 22 Feb 2017 Comments: 0

After a very successful 2016, Hastings based chilli sauce company Mr & Mrs B’s decided to venture to an undiscovered land…The West Country for the Source Trade Show.

mr b

Mr B (Sam Bollen) from Mr & Mrs B’s in his Courageous Cock outfit at the trade show

Not only was it their first ever food trade show but the first outside of East Sussex and 1066 country.

The Source Trade show which had over 220 exhibitors, ranging from start ups like themselves to multi-nationals with millions in turnover.

Mr & Mrs B made many new contacts whilst at the show and were greeted warmly as new comers to the West country food scene. They also met with others in similar positions to themselves and got to brain storm with fellow exhibitors and visitors alike.

Many of the visitors that Mr & Mrs B’s spoke to were restaurant, pub, hotel, deli and farm shop owners looking for the newest things on the market ready to give tourists and the local market something different to stand out from the upcoming summer holiday season which the West County is renowned for.

Jaz Bollen said: ‘It was a fantastic couple of days meeting, greeting and conversing with industry peers which for Mr & Mrs B’s was a first and very exciting experience.’

Upon their return home they received a message to say they were given the accolade of best branding at the show by the well-established Devon Foodie, local reviewer and blogger!

This was the icing on the cake for Mr & Mrs B’s and this accolade amongst all the other products on show made the event even more worthwhile and reinforced their belief in their product which is also made in Hastings sources as many locally made ingredients possible stands out when put against far more established and funded enterprises.

At the Beautiful South Awards held earlier this month in Southampton to celebrate the cream of the region’s tourism industry, the Hastings Seafood and Wine festival won the coveted Highly Commended award for Tourism Event of the Year.

“The Awards are run by Tourism South East to recognise excellence in the tourism industry with the aim to raise standards in quality, innovation and customer service. We are delighted that the Seafood and Wine Festival has been highly commended for Tourism Event of the Year; it’s gone from strength to strength since it started in 2006” said Cllr Kim Forward, Hastings Borough Council’s lead member for marketing and tourism.seafood-and-wine-festival-award

She added: “The event has grown over the years and offers delicious foodie treats made with locally sourced produce to celebrate the local fishing industry, wine and beer and great entertainment from bands and musicians from the area. Our thanks and congratulations must go to Rosie Leech, festival organiser and her team for their continued efforts that have made this event the success it is today”.

Winners have the opportunity to represent the South East in VisitEngland’s national Tourism Excellence Awards which take place in April 2017.

Organised by Hastings Borough Council, the 5th annual Hastings Herring Fair took place last weekend, 5th and 6th November.

The Hastings Herring Fair was set up 4 years ago to promote the herring which is in our seas at this time of year. The Hastings fishing fleet use traditional fishing methods which ensure that the fish are caught in a sustainable way, so helping to conserve the stocks.

“This is one of my favourite festivals of the year; chilly and intimate with a great atmosphere. We’ve had some tremendous feedback on how much visitors enjoyed the fair and it was good to see so many local people and visitors including some from as far afield as Cornwall attend” said Cllr Peter Chowney leader Hastings Borough Council, who opened the event on Saturday.

He added: “Although disappointingly there were few herring in the sea off Hastings due to the very warm weather, there was still plenty of fish for tasting including locally smoked kippers, bloaters and buckling and some excellent demonstrations in the Classroom on the Coast delivered by CJ Jackson from the famous Billingsgate Seafood Training School.

“The fair this year coincided with the fantastic news that we’ve been successful in the second round of Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) EU funding to the sum of £800 000. This could fund a number of future projects to benefit the local fishing industry including a brand for locally caught sustainable fish and a new ice making machine.

“Our thanks must go to everyone that helped organise the event, the traders, musicians and performers and of course all the visitors – it really was another famously fantastic fish fair.”

Hastings Herring Fair 05 – 06 November 2016 

Organised by Hastings Borough Council and funded by the Coastal Communities Fund (CCF), the fifth annual Hastings Herring Fair will take place at the Stade Open Space in Hastings over the weekend 05 and 06 November 2016.

“We are pleased to present the Hastings Herring Fair again this year which aims to promote the local herring industry and showcase the versatile herring which is so abundant at this time of year.” explained Cllr Kim Forward the council’s lead member for marketing.

“After the successful classes held at the Seafood and Wine Festival, the famous Billingsgate Seafood Training School will be back to deliver cookery classes in the Classroom on the Coast on Saturday 05 November. These special herring taster classes will teach you how to prepare herring and you’ll be able to take some home to cook” added Cllr Forward.

There’ll be demo’s from local forager, Sarah Watson of Wild Feast and lots of stalls offering mouth-watering fishy dishes, vegetarian options and plenty of local wine together with a beer festival run by the First in Last Out (FILO) public house and a host of music and entertainment including shanty singers, bands, dance performances and a ceilidh until 4.30pm on Sunday 06 November to top it all off.

“Once again the fair promises to be an exciting weekend full of all things fishy and don’t forget this is an undercover event so won’t be affected by wet weather! “said Cllr Forward.

The Herring Fair takes place at The Stade Open Space, Rock a Nore, Hastings on Saturday 05 and Sunday 06 November 11am – 4pm both days. Full details of all festival events can be found at http://www.hastingsfestivals.com/herringfair

To avoid disappointment book the Billingsgate Cookery classes in advance. Places are £6 per person, contact Billingsgate directly 020 75173548. Class times are 11am, 12.15pm, 1.30pm, 2.45pm

BD Foods, a Hastings-based food manufacturing business is expanding into purpose-build new premises and creating 40 new jobs with help from funding provided by East Sussex County Council.

BD Foods produces an extensive range of sauces, dressings, dips and soups which are sold to restaurants, hotel chains and airlines. Its impressive client list includes British Airways, Conrad Hotels, Eurostar, Nandos, Café Rouge and Marriott, to name a few.

BD Foods has accessed grant and loan funding of £360k through Locate East Sussex, the county’s business support service. This has been supplemented with an investment of £750k from Hastings Borough Council, all of which will be invested into a new building for BD Foods.

Since 2001, BD Foods has grown from a start-up company with just three members of staff, to its current size where it employs over 100 local people. The company is expanding rapidly and now has a turnover of £7 million a year as a result of 15 years of strong and sustained growth.

In 2015, BD Foods was finding that future growth was potentially at risk. Capacity constraints at its site on the Castleham Road Industrial Estate in St Leonards-on-Sea were limiting production and restricting further expansion.

The company needed to expand. Plans for a new factory were drawn up and BD Foods approached Hastings Borough Council and Locate East Sussex for support. The new factory, due to be completed late 2016, will see an additional 40 new permanent jobs being created and will provide an additional 10,000 sq. ft. of space next to BD Foods’ main production facility. Exactly what BD Foods needs to grow.

John Davis, Managing Director of BD Foods, said: “Hastings is a great place to run a business and we are both successful and happy here.

“Hastings Borough Council has been productive, flexible and supportive with our expansion plans. The town itself has a great labour resource so we never have problems with recruitment. Many people are moving to the area as it is better value to buy and rent property, which means the calibre of employees is constantly increasing. The town is growing very quickly and importantly, there is the space to expand and it is a lot cheaper than Brighton.”

“Transport is a huge part of our business, as we travel to airports at least once a day. The A21 has seen a huge investment and is improving, along with the planned high speed railway which will make trips to and from London much easier for us and our clients,” John continued.

John Davis concluded, “Without Locate East Sussex, we wouldn’t have been able to fit out the new units. The team at Locate East Sussex understand problems, money and business. They really want to help and I am grateful for their input.”

Adam Berger, Location Service Manager at Locate East Sussex, said: “We are pleased to have helped BD Foods expand. It is really encouraging to see a great, local Hastings business thrive and develop strong growth plans for the future.”

To find out more about how Locate East Sussex can support your business, visit www.locateeastsussex.org.uk


Hastings 13th annual seafood & wine festival has been hailed as a huge success, attracting around 20 000 visitors to Hastings Old Town over last weekend (Saturday/Sunday 17th/18th October). The event is organised by Hastings Borough Council, and showcases the very best in local produce.

Council leader Cllr Peter Chowney, who opened the festival on Saturday morning with Hastings mayor Cllr Judy Rogers, explained: – “The event started in a quarter of the old coach park, and has grown ever since.

“Around 20 000 people came to the Stade last weekend, with visitors from across the UK and beyond joining local residents for the biggest seafood & wine festival we’ve ever had. The feedback has been fantastic, with stallholders describing it as ‘excellent’ and ‘tremendous’. One said it is the best event he does in the year, even taking into account the London shows he attends, and another, who increased his stock by 50% on last year, was sold out by mid-afternoon Saturday. He spent most of the night making more.

“It was Norman and Saxon themed this year, for obvious reasons, and it was good to see the stallholders joining into the spirit of the event. ‘Coast’ – the Sussex Coast College Hastings catering team – won the best dressed stall competition, and looked resplendent in their mediaeval-looking costumes.

“The event does cost the council a significant amount of money to put on, but we consider it a worthwhile investment because of the benefit it brings to our local economy. Few other resorts can have been as busy as we are on the third weekend in September!”


Plans are well underway in Hastings for the annual Seafood and Wine Festival and, this year in line with the local celebrations of the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings the festival takes on a 1066 theme.

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 17 and 18 September.

Up to 50 stalls will be offering festival visitors a mouth –watering weekend of delicious local seafood, wine and other foodie delicacies to suit all palettes, there will even be Saxons showcasing how they cooked and traded in 1066!seafood 2

The entertainment marquee on the beach will once again be home to a superb musical line up featuring many local bands including Thee Jezebels, Sister Suzie and Sam Calver and a selection of new acts to Hastings including Kat & Co; an eclectic blues and soul quintet from London and the Ilja Neve band from Belgium.

Local jazz legend Liane Carroll will be returning with her band for the Liane Carroll Jazz Breakfast on Sunday morning. Tickets are available from the Tourist Information Centre at Aquila House, Breeds Place, Hastings and the ticket includes coffee and a Danish pastry and an entry wristband to the festival for the whole weekend.

There will be an opportunity to make your own fish supper with the Billingsgate Seafood Training School at Classroom on the Coast during the festival. Billingsgate, famous for its London fish market and seafood training school will be inviting families or anyone who wants to learn to fillet and prepare local MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) certified plaice to take home and cook at a number of teaching sessions each day – an experience not to be missed! Tickets available on the day from the classroom.

Cllr Kim Forward the council’s deputy leader and lead member marketing and tourism commented:

“The Seafood and Wine Festival has been an annual event in the town’s packed calendar for well over ten years now. It’s grown to become a well-respected, popular event attracting thousands of residents and visitors each year and this year with its 1066 theme it’s sure to attract even more over the two days.

“There will of course be lots of stalls taking advantage of local produce and the famous musical entertainment but this year there will be the opportunity to have your photo taken with a Norman guard visit a Saxon encampment and try on some armour. There’ll even be a unicycling jester.

“So, why not come along and join in – come in 1066 costume and get a festival glass free!”

Entry to the festival is by admission wristband. These can be bought in advance from the Tourist Information Centre for only £1 or £2 on the day – a real bargain for a whole weekend’s entertainment and children go free!

Full festival details and ticket information can be found at here or telephone the Tourist Information Centre on 01424 451111

The third Hastings Fish Fest has been hailed as another great success.Mayor cutting ribbon IMG_4826  SM Tracy Hobden

Held on the Stade Open Space, in Hastings historic Old Town, last weekend (Saturday/Sunday 25th/26th June), the festival attracted around 25 different stalls, and some great musical entertainment.

Hastings Borough Council organised the event, and Cllr Kim Forward, deputy council leader and lead member for marketing, explained :- “We love our events in Hastings. Tourism is big business for the town, worth around £260m to the local economy and supporting well over 5000 jobs, and visitors and residents alike love our events. This one is particularly special as it celebrates our local fishing heritage, and takes place almost literally on our fishing beach.

“I was delighted to officially open the festival, and then look around the many stalls. The atmosphere was fantastic, with many thousands of visitors enjoying themselves. I’ve heard some great reports about it over the weekend, from both stallholders and visitors. One visitor from Swindon apparently enjoyed themselves so much they’re coming back specially for our Seafood & Wine Festival in September. The music and entertainment was also superb, to suit a wide range of tastes, from Lumpy and the Lumpettes through to Mad Jack’s Morris!

“I’d like to thank all stallholders for taking part, and also the Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society, who helped ‘dress’ the marquee with a boat and nets, and also put on a great display and children’s’ activity

“Our next fish festival is ‘Seafood & Wine’, over the weekend of Saturday/Sunday 17th/18th September, and I’m already looking forward to that.”