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Hastings Borough Council’s museums committee, which meets quarterly and is made up of councillors and volunteers, was pleased to accept donations of some interesting items at its recent meeting.

Cllr Kim Forward, the council’s deputy leader and lead member for regeneration and culture said :- “I would like to thank the volunteers who sit on the committee, and who are Hastings & St Leonards Museum Association members, for their continued passion and commitment.

“Amongst the recent donations was an old guidebook of Hastings sent to the museum from Germany by the granddaughter of the original owner who bought it on a visit to Hastings in the 1890s!

“We also received a copy of some byelaws regulating the employment of children in Hastings from 1913 and several children’s evacuation leaflets and labels from World War 2.

“We are lucky to receive so many interesting items and thank those who have donated and who continue to donate items. It shows what a rich history we have in the town.”

Each donor receives a certificate of thanks as recognition for their contribution.


Award winning composer, Gwyneth Herbert performs at Stade Saturdays this weekend (Saturday 24th June).

Cllr Kim Forward, the council’s lead member for Regeneration and Culture said:

“Following on from last weekend’s fantastic funky bike band LaDinamo and Liane Carrol’s virtuoso performance in the Hastings Jazz and Blues Festival, this week’s Stade Saturdays features another spectacular musical performance by our own internationally renowned singer/songwriter Gwyneth Herbert.

“This weekend’s concert by Gwyneth is going to be another highlight as she’s freshly returned to Hastings from a triumphant gig last Wednesday in Hanoi, Vietnam”.

“Gwyneth is a talented composer, lyricist, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. She has released six critically-acclaimed albums and toured across the world, sharing stages with artists such as Boy George and Amy Winehouse so we’re very excited to have her perform in Hastings. Gwyneth’s performance will start at 7.30pm on Saturday.

“Stade Saturdays is a series of free performances run by Hastings Borough Council that takes place from June to October on the Stade Open Space, just next to the Jerwood Gallery in the Old Town. Now in its sixth year, the ever popular summer series shows no sign of letting up on its quirky mix of oddball street circus and musical excellence, with forthcoming shows from the likes of Skinny Lister and the hit of the 2016 season, Cirque du Platzak.”

For further details see https://www.visit1066country.com/whats-on/stade-saturdays


Hastings Borough Council is consulting on changes to the town centre conservation areas.

Cllr Kim Forward, lead member for planning, explained :- “We are proposing combining a number of existing conservation areas in Hastings town centre to a single area, together with a number of new extensions.

“In addition, we are recommending a number of initiatives for managing the new area.

“We are encouraging everyone who lives or works in, or visits, our town centre to let us have their comments on our proposals. The consultation period will close on Friday 21 July.”

To find out more, including how and where to submit comments, visit the Council’s website at: hastings.gov.uk/hccaconsultation’


Hastings Borough Council has introduced a new on-line ‘self-certification’ service which will help local residents decide whether or not their home improvements will need planning permission.

Planning services manager Eleanor Evans explained :- “If you are considering extending your home or carrying out other improvements, this new process will help you work out quickly whether planning permission is needed or not. Information regarding self-certification can be found on the planning pages of the council’s web site.”

The self certification pages can be found here.


Together with their partners Groundwork South and the School of Natural Building Hastings Borough Council have been awarded £890,000 towards building a new centre at Hastings Country Park.

The new visitor centre will be part of a major European funded project to construct public buildings from straw.  Other countries involved in the project are Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and France.    The aim of the project is to showcase sustainable building projects with reduced carbon footprints.  The new visitor centre will be the first straw build building in the borough and will be a focus for new interpretation and events at the Country Park.hastings-country-park-nature-reserve

The partners submitted an initial expression of interest to Interreg North West Europe for the programme in February 2016 and were one of only 4 projects out of 79 applicants under the Low Carbon funding stream invited to submit a further, full application.

Providing a new visitor centre at Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve is a top priority for the council.  Planning permission was granted in 2015 so the council is keen to progress with the project as soon as possible.

The Interreg (NWE) Programme is a transnational European Territorial Cooperation Programme funded by the European Commission.  This grant is worth £540,000 to the council and its partner Groundwork South and £350,000 for the School of Natural Building, the UK’s lead organisation for straw buildings.

Councillor Colin Fitzgerald, the council’s new lead member for environment and place explained:

“This is absolutely fantastic news for the council.  We have had an ambition to build a new centre at Hastings Country Park for a number of years and with our partners Groundwork South have been working on grant applications to realise this ambition.  We hope to have the new centre open to the public early in 2018.  The new centre will be a completely sustainable straw building; a fitting building for the country park and its visitors and one which our residents can rightly be proud of”.

Executive director of Groundwork, Gary Jacobs added:

“I’m thrilled that our partnership has been successful in securing this grant award despite the tough competition. We believe a first class nature reserve deserves a first class visitor centre.  Working with the Friends of Hastings Country Park and the council we can now take forward this exciting opportunity to build one of the first public straw bale buildings in the UK which will help educate and inform local people and visitors of the truly amazing local heritage and wildlife on their doorstep.”

Eileen Sutherland from the School of Natural Building (SNaB) commented:

“This project is a significant milestone on the road to sustainable building across NW Europe.

By working with other European specialists, SNaB will deliver workforce skills and curriculum innovation in the field of Natural Building”


Hastings Borough Council is looking for expressions of interest for an operator to develop and manage Hastings Castle.

Cllr Kim Forward, deputy leader of Hastings Borough Council, and lead member for tourism explained :- “Hastings Castle is one of the only direct links we have with the Norman invasion. It was the first Norman castle to be built in England, and is featured on the Bayeux Tapestry.

“But it does need more investment to provide an even better visitor experience there. Unfortunately our Heritage Lottery Fund bids to improve the castle weren’t successful, and we don’t have the resources ourselves to invest in it.

“So we are inviting expressions of interest from prospective operators a longer lease on the castle, the terms of which would include significant investment to improve access to the castle, and the visitor experience there. We are working with experts ‘GVA’ who will help us manage the process, and make the castle the ‘must see’ visitor attraction it deserves to be.”

The leader of Hastings Borough Council, Cllr Peter Chowney, has welcomed the publication of the Department for Transport’s south eastern rail franchise public consultation document today (Tuesday 14th March).

Cllr Chowney said :- “This publication, ’Shaping the Future’, is vitally important for us, as it gives us the opportunity to comment on our train services going into the future when the rail franchise is re-let.

“It recognises that one of the challenges is to reduce long journey times, and actually uses Hastings as an example, saying ‘We want to speed up longer-distance journeys which have a very long journey time relative to the length of the route, for instance between London and Hastings.’

“It goes on to say that ‘One option is to operate High Speed services between St. Pancras and Hastings, Bexhill and Rye via Ashford International’, which I think is incredibly significant’.

“We have been developing a case for bringing high speed rail here for some time, and I am really pleased that this has been specifically acknowledged in this consultation document.

“I would urge everyone who wants high speed services here to comment on it.”

The Department for Transport is holding a public consultation event on the south eastern rail franchise in Muriel Matters House in Hastings, on Saturday 8th April, from 1100 until 1400. Entry is via the Tourist Information Centre in Breeds Place, on the seafront.

The full consultation document is available on line here.

Funded by Hastings Borough Council, Jerwood Gallery has been working with five local primary schools on a series of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Maths) workshops.

Linked with the marine environment, fishing fleet and recycling, this series of workshops was designed to inspire, motivate, build confidence, develop skills and enable young people to achieve their full potential, and become active and responsible adults.Kids handling fish

The project enabled children to experience working with a variety of local artist educators, such as Leigh Dyer and Peter Quinnell. The children went out on the beach, learnt to tie fishing knots, were introduced to metal working techniques, did rusting experiments and made life-size sculptures, which will be shown at a celebration event and final exhibition on Wednesday 15 March at Jerwood Gallery.

“This has been an excellent project for children in Hastings. Children from five local primary schools; Castledown, Christ Church, Ark Little Ridge Primary Academy, Ark Blacklands Primary Academy and Rye Community Primary have taken part,” said Cllr Dawn Poole, the council’s lead member for regeneration and culture.

She added: “The three workshops gave children the opportunity to work on several projects alongside the artists. They learned about how materials are used, where they come from, whether they are recyclable or not and if they are hazardous to the environment. Our thanks must go to all that have helped with these workshops, especially the local fishermen – Paul, Mark and Bud.”

Kate Giles, marketing and communications manager at Jerwood Gallery, said: “These sessions had such a lovely, vibrant atmosphere, with real enthusiasm from the children involved, and from the adults too. It was wonderful to connect with the fishing community, who are our neighbours, and with such talented and prominent local artists. We hope to be able to offer more of this sort of session in the future.”

Tina Kearney, one of the teachers involved, said: “The children were sharing ideas, respecting each other’s ideas, helping each other, interacting with children from other schools, solving problems and gaining practical experience. They also got out onto the beach, which some children don’t get the chance to do. They were absolutely buzzing when they got back to school.”

Hastings Borough Council invited primary schools and academies in Hastings to submit an application for a small grant to introduce students in Reception, Y1 and Y2 to employability and enterprise linked to STEAMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Maths and Medicine)

Education - Joyful female teacher teaching algebra

Schools were encouraged to develop projects that included links to Hastings that could be delivered outside the classroom and feature either one or a combination of the thematic areas of STEAMM.

“We’re really pleased to announce that Christchurch School and Sacred Heart RC School are both successful applicants and have secured a grant of £500 each to develop their projects”, said Cllr Dawn Poole the council’s lead member for regeneration.

She added, “Christ Church’s project is designed to encourage confident mathematicians in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 to use their skills in a real life situation.  The project will be an opportunity to develop employability skills, raise aspirations and safely grow and prepare food for sale.

“Sacred Heart’s project is designed to encourage Year 2 students to learn about architecture through the years, leading to an enterprise project where participants are able to sell the goods they have designed. We look forward to seeing the schools’ project presentations in due course”

Coastal Currents Arts Festival was initiated 16 years ago by Hastings Borough Council and run directly for many years. For the last 9 years the council has commissioned independent producers to deliver the festival and from 2017 the event will become fully independent.

Following an open tender process, Hastings Borough Council has assigned all the rights of Coastal Currents to Hastings based Sweet and Dandy Ltd, including the brand and intellectual property rights. This will enable longer term planning and development which is difficult under the current biannual commissioning model.  Sweet and Dandy have been central to developing the festival over the past five years and are full of ideas for the future.Point Of Decay

Tina Morris, Director of Sweet and Dandy, says “I am delighted to be able to look after the future of Coastal Currents after five years developing the festival on behalf of Hastings Borough Council. I am passionate about the arts in Sussex and especially proud of the creativity and community of Hastings and St Leonards in helping make this festival special.  The work of our partners Creative Coast and Home Live Arts, the public’s support, generosity of venue owners, involvement of businesses and contribution of the whole creative community cannot be underestimated in the continued success of this home grown festival, so I look forward to involving as many of you as possible again in 2017.”

Cllr Dawn Poole, Lead Member for Regeneration and Culture commented, “This is a great opportunity for Coastal Currents and Sweet and Dandy. Hastings Council has committed to supporting the festival in the immediate future and looks forward to seeing the festival move from strength to strength in the coming years.”

This year’s festival will run from 2 September – 1 October with the popular Open Studios weekends on 2/3 and 9/10 September.  See www.coastalcurrents.org.uk for the latest updates.