Questions (if any) from:
a) Members of the public under Rule 11
b) Councillors under Rule 12
86(a). MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC UNDER RULE 11
A written question was received from Julia Hilton regarding the Council’s carbon reduction pathway. Councillor Evans provided a written response. Copies of the question and response were circulated to Councillors and members of the public.
Ms Hilton asked a supplementary question. Too often the process of developing strategies and plans can be used as a way of delaying action. What immediate actions will the Council be taking?
Councillor Evans replied the Council declared a climate emergency in February and despite financial difficulties the Council is taking tackling climate change extremely seriously. The Council has seconded a senior officer to work on the climate change programme and last week appointed an energy officer to look at increasing energy efficiency.
A written question was received from Nick Perry regarding the latest Indices of Multiple Deprivation and the Council’s plans to tackle deprivation in the town. Councillor Chowney provided a written response. Copies of the question and response were circulated to Councillors and members of the public.
Nick Perry did not ask a supplementary question.
A written question was received from Pete Welch regarding the Government’s consultation on planning regulations relating to 5G installations. Councillor Chowney provided a written response. Copies of the question and response were circulated to Councillors and members of the public.
Mr Welch asked a supplementary question. In his response Councillor Chowney said he expects a letter from the Minister for Digital and Broadband constraining planning objections to 5G. In light of peer reviewed research and considerable public concern, how will the Council reconcile this diktat with its duty of care for residents?
Councillor Chowney replied that the Council will have to comply with Government regulations. The Council will make a response to the consultation and will raise concerns that more research needs to be done.
86(b). COUNCILLORS UNDER RULE 12
Questions to the Leader, Deputy Leader and portfolio holders were asked and answered in accordance with Rule 12.1 as follows:
Reply given by
Street Cleaning DSO – Can you tell us the revenue costs for running the DSO for the next year and in five years’ time?
Councillor Chowney replied that he would get back to Councillor Lee with the exact figures. The DSO was market tested and the cost of bringing the service in-house was no more expensive than an external contractor.
Summer activities - Thrilled to see the quality and quantity of activities in Hollington this summer. There was a great response from residents. How did Active Hastings manage across the town this summer?
Councillor Batsford replied that Active Hastings is an incredible resource making sure children remain active, healthy and engaged in positive activity.
Councillor K Beaney
West Marina development – It is over 12 months since Cabinet agreed a preferred developer for the West Marina site. Can you provide a progress update?
Councillor Chowney replied that Heads of Terms were signed in the summer. The full lease should be signed in the next fortnight. It is a detailed long lease and so negotiations have taken time. As soon as that happens the Council will be able to start the formal consultation.
Station Plaza walk-in centre - East Sussex County Council Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee has agreed that the Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group proposals for Station Plaza walk-in centre no longer constitute a substantial variation in services. Do you agree this decision is significant in providing good health services to residents and visitors?
Councillor Chowney agreed and said this essentially means the walk-in centre has been saved. Thank you to everyone involved in the campaign.
Indices of Multiple Deprivation – The latest Indices of Multiple Deprivation predate Universal Credit and other benefit changes. What do you perceive to be the situation in Hastings now?
Councillor Chowney replied that compared to 2015 Hastings is more deprived, having moved from 20th most deprived to 13th most deprived. Hastings needs better transport links, better quality jobs and upskilling of the workforce.
Solar panels – The Council had plans for installing solar panels on Council properties. The plan was fully costed and seemed to be a proposal for tackling fuel poverty and generating green energy. Can the Leader provide an update?
Councillor Chowney replied that the Council is still looking at installing solar panels in the country park. There are already solar panels installed on Muriel Matters House and several other properties. Anything which the Council leases is not as easy as the lease holder has a say. Because the Government cancelled the feed in tariff it is becoming less viable to put solar panels on roofs.
Climate change priorities - If you were able to profile 2 or 3 things what would you choose in terms of priorities and performance?
Councillor Evans informed the Council that she was invited to a roundtable in Parliament to present Hastings’ ambition to be part of a green new deal. Councillor Evans acknowledged that engaging the community is an essential part of tackling climate change and she had been doing that over the past 6 months. Additionally, the Council will be looking at procurement practices and will be reviewing the Local Plan to ensure new developments are as sustainable as possible.
Hastings Housing Company - Can you give me an update on the targets and expand on your own personal commitment to this project?
Councillor Chowney responded that Hastings Housing Company (HHC) has a 13 room HMO and a portfolio of mixed residential and commercial properties. However the Council has moved on slightly from HHC. It saves money if the Council acquire houses for temporary accommodation but for various reasons this cannot be done through HHC. The Government are making it easier for Council’s to build social housing directly and this is being looked into.
Joint Waste Committee - Could you update us on key learning points from the last Joint Waste Committee discussion on recycling?
Councillor Fitzgerald replied that there is a lack of recycling infrastructure in the UK. There is a need for investment in infrastructure to improve recycling processing. The Council would need to work in partnership to address this.
Bonfire night – how did the street cleaning DSO perform on bonfire night?
Councillor Fitzgerald celebrated the work of the street cleaners. Workers were out very quickly after bonfire night tidying up.