Saturday, 17 July 2010
Cleaning up Hastings (including roundabouts)
In the real world we have be getting tougher on keeping Hastings clean. And there are two reasons why we need to. As residents we all have a right to expect it. But it’s also about presenting an image to visitors and would-be investors that Hastings and St Leonards is their sort of place. Dealing with litter, dogs, street drinking, tatty buildings etc is part of creating a more prosperous town.
So with other councillors and council officers I repeated the seafront ‘grotbuster’ walk that I first did in 2000.
I noted down every building needing repair or redecoration and owners will now receive a letter encouraging them to take action. Failing to respond could result in enforcement action. If you own a building in our town you have a social responsibility for its upkeep.
When we did the first seafront walk we noted the derelict hulks of the Queen’s Hotel, Regent Court and the Marlborough, plus other smaller eyesores too. All those have been dealt with and the seafront looks much better. But with the salt air, buildings in this prominent location need regular maintenance and improvement.
A high profile walk sets the tone and reminds everyone what we expect. The ‘grotbusters’ are on the case.
Then I had a meeting with our local police commander Chief Inspector Mark Ling to agree a get tough approach to street drinking and begging. We get complaints from residents who feel intimidated by groups of drinkers and by aggressive begging. They also complain of offensive behaviour by individual drinkers.
A dispersal area has been declared on the promenade enabling the police to move drinkers on and this is being enforced. Twenty two of the thirty four anti-social behaviour orders in the town have been issued to street drinkers.
At the meeting we agreed to step up the joint enforcement activity between the police, the council and other agencies. We want a harder line to be taken by off-licenses with habitual drinkers. Just like the Bar Watch scheme, which agrees that named individuals will not be served in town centre pubs, so off-licenses will be pressed not to serve the well-known street drinkers? Habitual Drink Orders will be considered which make it an offence to sell alcohol to a named habitual drinker.
There are now more detox opportunities and improved funding for those organisations working with drinkers and we want to encourage street drinkers to take up these opportunities.
Finally during the Summer months we will be launching a crack-down against dog fouling with some pretty hard-hitting posters and leaflets. Keep your eyes open – otherwise you might tread in something.
The photo shows me outside one of the buildings we noted down on the ‘grotbuster’ walk.