Questions from Councillors under Rule 12
A written question had been received from Councillor Lee Clark regarding the provision of a fresh water tap at Harold Place public conveniences. Councillor Chowney, the Leader of the Council, answered the question. Copies of the question and reply were circulated at the meeting.
Questions to the Leader, Deputy Leader and other Lead Members were asked and answered in accordance with Rule 12.1 as follows: -
Questioner and Councillor
Reply Given By Councillor
Harold Place Public Conveniences the decision at Budget Cabinet to delete the closure of Ore Village public conveniences from the draft budget proposal is to be welcomed. Is it not possible to extend this, so that the public conveniences at Harold Place can also remain open?
Councillor Chowney replied that this was a matter for the Budget Council meeting to decide. He added that, given the severity of reductions to its funding, it wold be necessary for the council to take some difficult decisions over the coming years.
Fisheries Local Action Group 2 (FLAG 2) will the lead member update on plans for FLAG 2 and explain the benefits the first programme brought to the town?
Councillor Poole explained that the FLAG was EU funded initiative which aimed to secure the long term sustainability of the town’s fishing fleet. The project undertaken during the first round of funding included improvements to the wynch road and the development of Classroom on the Coast. The second round of funding, which had been announced last week, was worth approximately £800,000. Eight initial ideas had been developed, including the purchase of a new ice-maker and a number of new environmental research projects. The projects would benefit both the local fishing fleet and tourism to the town.
Public Conveniences at Priory Meadow the decision not to close Ore Village public conveniences has been welcomed by the local community. Priory Meadow recently closed a set of public toilets, what measures can the council put in place to ensure they are re-opened?
Councillor Chowney said that the council had contacted the operator of Priory Meadow and had been advised that the closure of these toilets was temporary. A notice would be placed on the toilets to confirm this.
Office of National Statistics (ONS) findings will the Leader of the Council join with him in welcoming the recent findings by the ONS that the local economy in East Sussex has grown by 5.2%. Would he also confirm what the council is doing to contribute to this growth?
Councillor Chowney welcomed these findings. He added that all the local authorities in East Sussex worked closely together to support economic growth. This included the Team East Sussex initiative, which enabled the area to secure funding from the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The council also supported local business, a new factory unit was recently built for BD Foods, which would enable the expansion of the company. The council also contributed to Locate East Sussex, which encouraged businesses to relocate to the area.
Illegal Parking on Council-Owned Land the council has recently introduced a number of measures to prevent illegal parking in Sea Road and Grosvenor Gardens. However, there is a persistent problem with illegal parking at the former bathing pool site. What is being done to address this?
Councillor Chowney acknowledged that this had been a longstanding problem, and work was already underway to address this issue. The caravans currently parked on the site had been served notice to leave. A traffic order was awaited for the area, which would enable the council to charge for parking on the land and prevent the issue re-occurring.
Retention of Business Rates what are the implications for Hastings and East Sussex of recent negotiations between the government and Surrey County Council regarding the retention of business rates?
Councillor Chowney replied that the government announced some time ago that councils would retain 100% of business rates from 2020. What was not clear, however, was the system of tariffs and top ups which would be put in place to re-distribute this income between authorities across the country. The outcome of the negotiations between the government and Surrey County Council were still unclear.
Local Alcohol Action Area (LAAA) will the lead member update on the outcome of a bid for Hastings to become a Local Alcohol Action Area (LAAA) and explain what this will mean for the town?
Councillor Davies explained that the investment secured under phase 1 of this scheme had enabled the council to review and refresh it’s licensing policy, support educational projects for young people around responsible drinking and work with the Community Alcohol Partnership to engage with local people. The LAAA was delivered in partnership with 33 other districts around the country. The second phase of the project would support further work around licensing, enforcement and education. The aim of this work was to reduce alcohol dependency and misuse. The Community Alcohol Partnership in St Leonards worked closely with the Clinical Commissioning Group to work with local schools around alcohol awareness.
Employment Opportunities in the Financial Sector what can the council do to encourage employers in the financial sector to create higher value jobs locally?
Councillor Chowney explained that the council worked closely with employers in the financial sector to encourage them to provide high quality jobs in Hastings. Sussex Coast College Hastings were in the process of setting up a University Centre, and this was likely to offer degree level courses relevant to this sector. The college were also preparing new marketing materials for the University Centre, which would help develop a positive profile of the town.
Music Month live music is an important part of the identity of the town. How will the council support events during music month?
Councillor Poole agreed that the town was very lucky to have a vibrant music scene. The council continued to work with the Cultural Leaders Group to develop this further. A launch event for music month took place the Source BMX park. Music month will build on the success of the well-established Fat Tuesday celebrations. The council has also received funding from the Arts Council to carry out a review of live music venues, which will help inform future developments within the townl