As the night’s draw in and Summer holiday memories fade away, Hastings Borough Council is gearing up for a period of intense activity during the Autumn months.
First of all we’ve just launched our Switched-On Hastings scheme. The aim is to secure cheaper energy bills for local residents. Anyone that pays their own household electricity or gas bills including those on pre-payment meters can register their interest in the scheme. By providing the largest possible number of registered residents we will aim to get the best collective deal out of an auction with the energy companies.
The lowest tariff wins the auction and this is then offered to those who have registered. Once the auction has taken place on 16 October, personal letters and emails will be sent to each registered resident explaining what the lowest offer is. There is no obligation to accept the offer but hopefully there will be some significant reductions on offer.
Then by later October new collection arrangements will kick-in for all our waste and recycling. Leaflets preparing everyone have already started to go out. The changes will include doorstep collection of glass, the acceptance of nearly all plastics, tetrapaks etc in the recycling and the distribution of 7,000 seagull-proof bags to most properties in the black bag areas.
These changes will be coming in from 21st October although the new boxes for glass and the seagull-proof bags should be distributed before then. The aim of these is to almost double Hastings recycling rate to 50%. The aim is also to improve street cleanliness by having our waste in bins or in the new seagull-proof bags.
On 18th October with the police we will be launching a ban on the sale of the heavy duty beers and ciders – above 6.5%. The ban will affect all off-licences in Central St Leonards, the town centre and the Old Town. Although it is a voluntary ban it will be backed up with the power to review the licenses of any establishment that doesn’t join in and then attracts nuisance and anti-social behaviour.
At our cabinet on 4th November we are going to be discussing registering all privately-rented property in the town to give the council more control over housing conditions and the management of rented properties, whether large or small.
Linked to this we are preparing to convene a conference before Xmas of seaside towns along with London boroughs to discuss the potential problem of families on benefits being sent out of higher-rent areas into places like Hastings.
And we are working up the plans to introduce electronic signs to indicate which car parks are full and directing drivers to the other car parks, improved signage for pedestrians to find their way round the town (including from car parks once they’ve parked), new paving for the town centre to get rid of the patchwork of black top and red top and improvements to the shopping area.
Pretty quiet time all in all!