Driving Hastings forward 01424 205481

Market-leading cable management specialist Marshall-Tufflex has hit the bullseye with the announcement that it is sponsoring world-class British darts player Mark Dudbridge – and will be offering electricians the chance to play against him at forthcoming ELEX Harrogate and Sundown and the new Electrical Design and Installation expo (ED&I).

“Mark has been a firm fixture on the UK and World darts stage for many years and we are delighted to be sponsoring him,” said Jon Chamberlain, Marshall-Tufflex UK Sales Director. “He has played alongside darting greats such as Phil Taylor and Eric Bristow and beaten some of the world’s best players, including John Part, Peter Manley and Ronnie Baxter. We are very excited to have him on board and wish him well for the PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour which starts at the end of March.

“Given Mark’s tremendous darts pedigree we thought it would be a brilliant opportunity for visitors to our stands at ELEX and ED&I to play against him with the chance to win Virgin Experience Days.”

Marshall-Tufflex will be exhibiting at ELEX in Harrogate on May 24/25, with Mark Dudbridge appearing on the second day of the event, and at ELEX Sandown Park, Surrey, on November 2/3, with Mark appearing on the first day.

The manufacturer is also supporting the all-new Electrical Design and Installation expo, being held at the NEC, Birmingham, on September 2/3. Mark will be on the Marshall-Tufflex Stand 74 for both days.


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”


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”

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is to provide a lifeguard service on beaches in Hastings this summer, the first time in history the charity that saves lives at sea has done so.

Following an agreement with Hastings Borough Council RNLI lifeguards will provide a service throughout the summer months, advising people on how to stay safe and rescuing people if they get into distress.LIFEGUARD

In addition to the RNLI’s traditional lifeboats, lifeguards help to provide a ring of safety around the coastline of the UK and Ireland.

There will be three lifeguard units in total, on two of the area’s most popular beaches. Two lifeguard units will be stationed at Pelham beach, and one will be at Marina St Leonards. Lifeguards will be in operation by 8 July at the latest.

The announcement means the RNLI is now actively recruiting for lifeguards for the season. Billed as “Britain’s best summer job”, RNLI lifeguards will receive world class training in search and rescue, lifesaving and casualty care techniques, as well as boosting their CV’s with invaluable skills that will wow future employers.

Recruits will also be trained in using the latest lifesaving equipment including rescue boards, rescue tubes and defibrillators.

Allen Head, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager, said: ‘I think working as a lifeguard has got to be one of the most rewarding jobs. Of course it’s incredible to be able to call the beach your office but far more importantly than that, you are there to make sure the public enjoy it in the safest possible way.

‘But make no mistake. This is a demanding job requiring commitment, skill and a clear head. We want people with the courage, determination and the ability to draw on their training and make the right decision if someone’s life is in danger.’

Lifeguards have previously operated on beaches in the area, but that service was run by Hastings Borough Council and supported by Hastings and St Leonards Voluntary Lifeguard Club. The RNLI is hoping to continue to work closely with the Hastings and St Leonards Voluntary Lifeguard Club in the future

Cllr Colin Fitzgerald, chair of Hastings Borough Council’s charity committee, which is responsible for the foreshore in Hastings, said: ‘I am delighted that we agreed unanimously to work in partnership with the RNLI, who will provide our beach lifeguarding operation for this summer. The RNLI have an excellent reputation, and, I am sure, will do a fantastic job keeping our beaches safe.’

The RNLI is currently recruiting for beaches all over the UK and Ireland, including two other beaches in East Sussex; Bexhill and Camber Sands. The charity is looking for individuals who possess an internationally recognised beach lifeguard qualification. A series of courses hosted by the RNLI and local lifesaving clubs will be held in the coming weeks and months to enable people to get this qualification. Although this does not guarantee a job as an RNLI lifeguard, individuals must also be fit and healthy and be strong swimmers.

In 2016 RNLI lifeguards on some 240 beaches dealt with 17,414 incidents and saved 127 lives.

Find out more about how you can make a difference and apply to be part of our amazing lifesaving teams at www.rnli.org.uk/workonthebeach

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.”

Various rumours were swirling around Westminster in the days before Philip Hammond rose to deliver his first Budget – confirmed as the last time a major fiscal statement will be made in the spring.

The Chancellor, still scarcely nine months in the job, has a reputation as a cautious man and in advance many expected that much of today’s speech would be laying the ground for the Prime Minister to begin formal negotiations for the UK to leave the EU.

That said, the day before Mr Hammond stood up to address the Commons, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) upgraded Britain’s growth forecast, which inevitably raised questions about whether there was yet room for manoeuvre.

Would the Government prove willing to make money available to shore up struggling services or answer the growing criticism over business rates reforms? Would it be tax rises or surprise giveaways bothering the headline writers?

Economic overview

In his opening statement, the Chancellor said that the resilience of the UK economy had continued to defy expectations and the country had enjoyed robust growth. Indeed, he noted that last year Britain’s growth was behind only Germany’s among the world’s biggest economies.

Mr Hammond confirmed that the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) had raised its growth forecasts for the year, with the economy now projected to grow by two per cent in 2017, compared with the previous estimate of 1.4 per cent. The independent body suggests growth next year will be 1.6 per cent and in 2019, 1.7 per cent.

But he made clear that there was no place for complacency in the current climate, acknowledging that levels of debt were still too high (peaking at 88.8 per cent next year), productivity needs to be improved and many families up and down the country continued to feel the pinch almost a decade on from the financial crash.

OBR figures also suggest that inflation will peak at 2.4 per cent this year, with expectations that it will drop off as we approach the end of the decade.

Trying to strike a balance between prudence and positivity, the Chancellor told MPs that the Budget presented an opportunity to put money into public services while ensuring that the nation continued to live within its means. Crucially, he said, the tax and spending plans would form the bedrock of the EU negotiations ahead.

Business and enterprise

Following several weeks of sustained criticism over the burden that business rates changes would place on many enterprises, Mr Hammond announced a three-point plan which he said would amount to an additional £435million support.

Any firm losing existing rate relief will be guaranteed that their bill will not rise by more than £50 a month next year. In addition, there will be a £1,000 discount for pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 and the creation of a £300million fund which will enable local authorities to offer discretional relief.

The Chancellor made clear that a fair tax system was one of the best ways to make Britain a top destination for businesses. He reiterated the commitment made by his predecessor, George Osborne, to bring the Corporation Tax rate down to 17 per cent by 2020. A reduction to 19 per cent will take effect from next month.

Following concerns about the current timetable, he confirmed that quarterly reporting would be delayed for small businesses for a year (at a cost of £280million).

Transport and infrastructure

Acknowledging that congestion was an issue in large parts of the country, Mr Hammond said that some £690million would be made available to tackle traffic problems in urban areas and get local networks moving more freely.

The Chancellor also announced a £270million investment to keep Britain at the forefront of research into biotechnology, robotic systems and driverless cars.

An additional £200million will be ploughed into projects to help secure private sector investment in full-fibre broadband networks and £16million put aside for a 5G mobile technology hub.

Personal tax

Controversially, it was revealed that National Insurance contributions will rise for the self-employed.

Under proposals, Class 4 NICs will increase from nine per cent to 10 per cent next April and to 11 per cent in 2019.

Trying to defend what will undoubtedly be a contentious move, the Chancellor said that the “unfair discrepancy” in contributions between different groups of workers could no longer be justified. Critics have suggested the move has broken with a commitment in the 2015 manifesto.

In more positive news, the personal allowance will rise to £11,500 – the seventh consecutive increase.

The Chancellor reiterated the Government’s previous commitment to increase the allowance to £12,500 and the higher rate threshold to £50,000 by the end of the Parliament in 2020.

There was a boost for road users with confirmation that vehicle excise duty for hauliers and the HGV road user levy will both be frozen.

The Chancellor also announced there would be no change to the previous planned duties on alcohol and tobacco. There will, however, be a new minimum excise duty on cigarettes based on a £7.35 packet price.

Pensions and savings

In what is likely to be an unpopular move, Mr Hammond confirmed that the tax-free dividend allowance for shareholders would be cut from £5,000 to £2,000 as of April 2018.

The Treasury said that the change would “ensure that support for investors is more effectively targeted”, but critics fear it will could further hurt entrepreneurs.

Public spending

Mr Hammond had faced some pressure from his own MPs to plough more revenue into public services.

In an attempt to address criticism that institutions were buckling beneath the strain, the Chancellor confirmed an extra £260million for improving school buildings and funding for an additional 110 free schools (on top of the 500 previously announced). There has been some controversy, however, that some of these are set to be selective.

In an attempt to address the mounting crisis in social care, Mr Hammond announced there would be an extra £2billion in funding over the course of the next three years.  A Green Paper will be published later this year with a view to drawing up a long-term funding plan.

Tax evasion, avoidance and aggressive tax planning

The Chancellor said that a fair tax system required people to pay their dues and a series of measures to curb abuses of the system are expected to raise an additional £820million for the Treasury.

A raft of measures to tackle non-compliance were announced, including preventing businesses converting capital losses into trading losses, curbing abuse of foreign pension schemes, introducing UK VAT on roaming telecoms services and imposing new financial penalties for professionals who help facilitate a tax avoidance arrangement that is later defeated by HM Revenue & Customs.


In his closing remarks, Mr Hammond struck an optimistic tone. Whatever the uncertainties surrounding Brexit, he told MPs that the UK should be confident that our best days lie ahead of us.

It would be fair to say that the Budget was not strewn with giveaways, but the Chancellor did try and take the sting out of some of the main criticisms levelled at the Government in recent months – including its handling of business rates reform and the sluggish response to a mounting care crisis.

That said he is also likely to have stirred up fresh controversies and the decision to increase National Insurance for the self-employed is perhaps evidence that in the current climate tough choices will still have to be made.

To discuss how any of the above changes will affect you and your business, please contact McPhersons on 01424 730000 or email info@mcphersons.co.uk


Organised by the council’s StreetGames team, the annual intercultural football tournament was held on Sunday (05 March) at Horntye Sports Park Hastings. 

Funded by Hastings Borough Council and the Community Safety Partnership this annual event is held in celebration of the rich and diverse communities in the area and in memory of student Mohammed al-Majed who tragically lost his life in Hastings in 2008.HIO tournament 2017 DC Congo & West Hill Pinks with mayor SM

Over 90 players from local communities including Bangladeshi, Afghan, Kurdish, Zimbabwe Uganda, French, Russian, Turkish and many more made up the 10 participating teams.

Cllr Peter Chowney the council’s leader opened the tournament, he said:

“Once again it was great to see so many teams participate in this annual football event where Hastings’ communities come together to promote community cohesion, unity and safety in the memory of Mohammed al-Majed.

“We are very proud of the diverse community we have; at the last count I believe there were between 45 and 50 different languages spoken here in Hastings and the number of different nationalities participating in this tournament is testament to this unity.

“Congratulations must go to DC Congo  who were the triumphant overall winners  with West Hill Pink finishing second in a thrilling finial and, very well done to all those who took part in this fantastic event.”


Hastings Pier have just announced the first bands that will be performing on the pier for the first Beano on the Sea weekend in September.Beano by the sea

Presented by Baggymod and taking you back to the 90’s –  a time when Radio 1 spoke your language, when the charts mattered featuring tune after tune and you could watch decent bands on the telly.

Three days of good vibrations out in the fresh air of the English Channel featuring some of the biggest names from an era of positivity and Cool Britannia all on one stage.

The Bluestones, Reef, Cast, Dodgy, Space and The Supernaturals are the first bands confirmed with more artists and attractions to be announced.

General release tickets will go on sale at 9am on Wednesday 8th March via the Website here.