Hastings Borough Council

Hastings scoreboard

2021 Labour hold, from 2018

Counting complete. After 16 of 16 seats declared.

Change compared with 2018
  1. Labour

    • Councillors elected in 2021 total 7
    • Councillors elected in 2021 change -5
    • Councillors overall total 19
  2. Conservative

    • Councillors elected in 2021 total 8
    • Councillors elected in 2021 change +4
    • Councillors overall total 12
  3. Green

    • Councillors elected in 2021 total 1
    • Councillors elected in 2021 change +1
    • Councillors overall total 1
  1. 'Class matters less and less'

    Peter Whittlesea

    BBC South East Today reporter

    Cllr Peter Pragnell

    Peter Pragnell, who took the St Helens ward in Hastings for the Conservatives, and is also an East Sussex County Councillor, believes his party's success is down to a change in traditional voting habits.

    "Class seems to matter less and less and less, just look at the red wall. We are more similar to some places in the north east and north west, and you've got people who've been ignored for decades and they're fed up, and they like what we are saying".

  2. Defeated Labour councillor 'gutted'

    Labour's Margi O'Callaghan's Silverhill seat was one of the party's losses in Hastings, passing to the Conservative Lucian Fernando.

    Ms O'Callaghan said she was disappointed but hopes the ward's new councillor will continue with some of her work.

    "I'm gutted because I live in the area as well, so it's going to be really tricky now walking down the street picking up on the issues," she said.

    "There are projects I'll try and continue with, which I'll pass on to my successor."

    Margi O'Callaghan
  3. New councillor wants to 'join the dots'

    Hastings' new Green councillor Julia Hilton has said, as the lone member of her party on the authority, she wants to help "join the dots".

    "There's a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm from local people and it often feels like the council doesn't really listen to them, and I would really like to find ways of us all working together, especially to hit the carbon neutral target that Hastings has declared for 2030".

    "I think people were ready for a change, they put their trust in me".

    Cllr Julia Hilton
    Image caption: Julia Hilton took the seat of Old Hastings, previously held by an independent
  4. Green and Conservative gains in Hastings

    Huw Oxburgh

    Local Democracy Reporter

    The Green Party have gained a seat in Hastings, with Julia Hilton taking Old Hastings, previously held by an independent.

    The Conservatives have also taken the Baird seat from Labour, with Rob Cooke ousting sitting councillor Gary Davies by 72 votes.

    Labour have held the seats of Braybrooke, Central St Leonards and Hollington, while the Conservatives have held Ashdown and Maze Hill.

  5. Seaside council faces £4.9m financial hit

    Huw Oxburgh

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Hastings Borough Council faces a £4.9m financial hit as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, senior councillors have warned.

    At a virtual meeting, the council’s cabinet discussed reports covering the impact of the pandemic on its operations.

    A view of Hastings Old Town

    According to those reports, the council expects to face around £4.9m of additional costs or lost income as a result of Covid-19.

    However this figure is not fixed and is subject to change. In a best-case scenario, the final costs are estimated to reach £3.65m.

    In a worst-case scenario, this could rise as high as £10.1m, council papers say.

    Despite this, Hastings remains in a relatively good position as a result of its existing reserves, said cabinet member for finance Peter Chowney.

    He said: “We are in the fortunate position in Hastings of having a reasonable level of reserves. We kept the general reserves to its minimum position of £6m. We haven’t gone below that.

    “Of course, reserves are there for major financial crises and unforeseen circumstances and you can’t get much more unforeseen and critical than what we are in at the moment.

    “The reserve that we have will cover the estimated shortfall even if we get no more money. However we still need the money, partly because if we use that reserve we will have to build it up again.

    “We need more money basically. The government is going to have to bail out local authorities. If it doesn’t, the consequences are inconceivable, not in Hastings but certainly everywhere else and eventually in Hastings if the crisis goes on.”

    To date the government has confirmed additional grant funding of £985,000 for Hastings Borough Council.

    The authority is also expected to receive a share of a £4.3bn funding package for councils in England. But cabinet members warned further funding would be needed to weather the crisis.

  6. Support for firms braced for reopening

    Council officials in an East Sussex resort are helping businesses prepare to reopen following months of closure, but warned people to expect “things being done differently”.

    Hastings Pier

    Hastings Borough Council leader Kim Forward said many firms reopening from 4 July face “practical issues” including around cleaning regimes, social distancing, contactless payments and risk assessments.

    She said: “As lockdown continues to ease, we must ensure that this happens safely here in Hastings, so we are urging residents and visitors to continue to take care.

    "Our town’s new full capacity is not yet what our pre-Covid-19 full capacity was. We will have to get use to things being done differently.”

  7. Vandals target reopened public toilets

    Vandals targeted five public toilets just days after they were reopened in a seaside resort following the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

    Hastings Borough Council said "extensive damage" was caused to the conveniences which has now led to some of them being closed for repairs.

    Council leader Kim Forward said: “We understand how important it was for residents to have these facilities reopened again so it is incredibly disappointing to see them being damaged.

    "We know most people have been patient and respectful of the facilities and guidelines, and we thank you for doing so.

    "However, the actions of a few have been completely unacceptable and have now resulted in us having to take limited resource away from essential work to fix and clean up the facilities."

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  8. £19m paid out to help firms stay afloat

    More than £19m has so far been paid out to businesses in the Hastings area to support local traders whose have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

    Just under £28m was allocated to Hastings Borough Council by the government to help businesses through the challenging times.

    Hastings Borough Council said it is contacting the remaining businesses who are eligible for the grant.

    Council leader Kim Forward said: "Our officers have written, emailed, telephoned all the eligible businesses that we have had contact details for. We have contacted key business organisations in the town to encourage uptake. 

    "We have also been sharing information about the schemes with advertisements on social media, to reach as many people as possible via those channels, and in the council’s e-newsletter, which goes out to over 36,000 residents."

  9. 'Hastings remains closed to tourists'

    Stuart Maisner

    BBC Live reporter

    Hastings beach

    Hastings remains closed to tourists, according to the town's borough council.

    Residents of the East Sussex resort are being urged to stay home as much as possible, despite the government easing lockdown.

    To back this message up the council’s public toilets and other amenities like tennis courts remain closed.  

    Hastings Borough Council leader Kim Forward said her priority was keeping residents safe.

  10. Town is off-limits to visitors, leaders say

    Hastings, East Sussex

    Civic leaders in a seaside town have emphasised again that it is closed to visitors despite the government starting to relax lockdown rules.

    Hastings Borough Council leader Kim Forward said the town has one of the lowest infection rates in England, and they want to maintain it.

    She said: “So, for now our amenities will stay closed. We want to keep Hastings safe and these cannot just be empty words, they must be backed up by actions.

    "Opening our amenities will encourage more people to visit and will lead to increased risk of infection.

    “Although the government has changed their message, we have not. Our message to residents is still stay safe and stay home as much as possible to save lives.

    "We know people will go out for exercise, but people must keep social distancing and washing their hands when they return home.”

  11. Hastings Old Town Hall to be sold

    Huw Oxburgh

    Local Democracy Reporter

    The sale of Hastings' listed Old Town Hall building has been given the go-ahead by councillors.

    On Monday Hastings Borough Council’s cabinet agreed proposals to put the Grade II listed building in High Street on to the market.

    According to meeting papers, the council-owned building has been vacant since October 2018, with the authority looking at significant costs for both day-to-day maintenance and longer term works.

    Council leader Peter Chowney said: “We tried for over a year to lease it and find a tenant for it. It is a difficult building to do anything with really and because it is a listed building you can’t divide it up.

    “We haven’t written off the idea of leasing it, if somebody does want to do that then we would still be up for that as well.

    According to the council, the building needs costly major works to carry on as a rental property in the long term, including redecorations worth about £30,000 and energy efficiency improvements costing about £16,000.

    The council said there have also been several incidences of lead theft from the building’s roof and while there is planning permission to replace it with zinc, the cost to do so is likely to come to about £32,000.

    While supportive of the proposals, Conservative group leader Rob Lee warned these features may make it difficult to sell on.

  12. Rare ponies to be moved from country park

    Sue Nicholson

    BBC News

    Exmoor ponies at Hastings Country Park

    Rare ponies that have grazed a nature reserve for six years as part of a grass-cutting conservation scheme are to be moved to a different location.

    The Exmoor ponies at Hastings Country Park have transformed Warren Glen from bracken to grassland and heather.

    The Sussex Pony Grazing Conservation Trust said it would no longer be able to manage the ponies due to the "uncertain future" of its organisation.

    Hastings Borough Council said it hoped to find different ponies for the site.

    Colin Fitzgerald, lead councillor for environmental services, said: "We are really sorry the trust is taking the ponies away.

    "They have been a great attraction for the public and they have done a fantastic job of recovering threatened and rare coastal habitats."

  13. East Sussex recycling changes due at end of June

    Huw Oxburgh

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Recycling collections in East Sussex are set for changes from 28 June, with East Sussex residents no longer able to put Tetra Pak cartons in with their normal household collections.

    At the same time, Hastings, Rother and Wealden residents will no longer be required to separate out glass, and will be able to mix it in with the rest of their recycling waste instead.

    People living in Eastbourne and Lewes District will not be affected by the change to glass collections, but will be affected by the changes to Tetra Pak collections.

  14. Housing plan overcomes flooding fears

    Huw Oxburgh

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Council plans to build housing at a high flood risk site in St Leonards have been given the go ahead.

    On 6 June Hastings Borough Council’s planning committee approved an outline application to build 16 houses on land behind Bexhill Road – a site classified as being at high risk of sea flooding.

    The committee heard how the proposals – which had been put forward by the council itself – included extensive flood defences and that additional work done in light of a previous application for the site being refused last year.

    New homes planned for Bexhill Road, St Leonards

    The committee also heard that the new flood defences proposed would improve the current state of the site – increasing the protections for existing properties.

    Tthe application was approved with five votes in favour to three against and one abstention, but as an outline application, the final details of the scheme will require further planning permission at a later date.

  15. Planners urged to amend housing development legal agreement

    Huw Oxburgh

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Councillors are being asked to lift a requirement for a developer to pay £5,000 towards highway works in connection with a housing development proposed for former playing fields in Hastings.

    The borough council's planning committee will reconsider the legal agreement governing Kember Loudon Williams' outline permission for 140 homes at the site in Harrow Lane.

    According to the report to planners, if approved, the developer will be required to provide extra bus stops and a suitable pedestrian crossing point but will no longer have to make the contribution to off-site highway works.

  16. Mayor re-elected in Hastings

    Huw Oxburgh

    Local Democracy Reporter

    The mayor and deputy mayor of Hastings have been re-elected for a second term at the borough council’s annual civic meeting.

    Silverhill councillor Nigel Sinden and Old Hastings councillor James Bacon were returned to their positions as mayor and deputy mayor respectively.

    Both councillors ran unopposed.

    Deputy mayor James Bacon (left) and mayor Nigel Sinden (right)
    Image caption: Deputy mayor James Bacon (left) and mayor Nigel Sinden (right)
  17. Council appoints climate change post

    Huw Oxburgh

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Hastings Borough Council has created a new cabinet post charged with ensuring the town becomes carbon neutral by 2030.

    At the authority’s annual civic meeting on Wednesday council leader Peter Chowney confirmed the appointment of a cabinet member for climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development.

    The role was tasked to Maya Evans, a peace and human rights campaigner who was elected as a Labour councillor for Hollington in 2018.

    Mr Chowney said: “The biggest challenge facing the council and indeed all of us is climate change.

    “I’m hoping Hastings will be taking a lead in demonstrating to other councils what can be achieved."

  18. Plans for former pub amended

    Huw Oxburgh

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Developers have put forward plans to demolish a former pub in Ore following its sale at auction last month.

    In an application to Hastings Borough Council, developers are seeking planning permission to demolish the Kings Head Public House in Rye Road and build nine maisonette-style houses in its place.

    The Old Kings Head, Ore

    The pub sold in February with an existing planning permission for a block of 12 flats, which developers say they aim to improve upon with the new application, by building nine two-storey terraced houses.

    In a design and access statement, a spokesman for the developer said: "There is already consent to redevelop the site in the form of a two-storey apartment building, containing 12 two and three-bedroom flats.

    Developers say the new application aims to improve on the approved scheme by providing more parking spaces for the site; individual gardens for each of the houses; and new designs to reduce the building's mass from the approved plans (although its height will not reduce).

    As part of the previously approved scheme developers would be required to provide 40 per cent affordable housing - either on-site or through a financial contribution elsewhere.

  19. Hastings Pier log cabins given go-ahead

    Huw Oxburgh

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Hastings Pier

    Plans for log cabins on Hastings Pier have been given the go ahead by town planners.

    Hastings Borough Council granted temporary planning permission to put up five retail sheds on the pier, each to remain for a period of five years, at a meeting on Wednesday.

    Before making a decision, the planning committee heard representations both from the pier’s owner Sheikh Abid Gulzar and objectors.

    Speaking about his long term plans for Hastings Pier, Mr Gulzar said: “Having done for four years Eastbourne Pier – which has become one of the most popular – we have invested a lot of money, we have done lots of improvement."

    Plans for the cabins

    The committee heard the sheds would only be licensed for a retail use – not for the sale of hot food and drink.

    The plans have proven controversial with a number of residents and local groups, with planners receiving more than 87 letters of objection, many raising concerns about the impact on the Grade II-listed building.

    Following a short debate the application was approved with eight votes in favour and one vote against.