Hastings Public Library
The latest news on the Hastings Public Library improvements is that the building is due to re-open sometime in the Spring. We have made enquiries about local studies resources once the main library is re-opened. Lots of archived material went to The Keep (East Sussex County Council record Office) in Falmer when our library was being closed for redevelopment, and local history books and other important research items, such as maps, went to Rye and Eastbourne libraries.
In a brief reply to our enquiry we are told that all items that went to The Keep will remain there. It is not yet known what local studies resources will be available once the library re-opens, so we have asked to be kept informed. Meanwhile we have ascertained that eight map-cabinets and a set of map-drawers from Hastings library are currently held at Rye and Eastbourne libraries, and it is doubtful there will be room back in Hastings for more than two cabinets. The archive of local newspapers on microfilms is currently at Rye library, and it is hoped this will return to Hastings library.
Local historians, and other users of local studies resources are encouraged to contact ESCC Libraries Department to make it known that we expect to have adequate research facilities at Hastings library when this reopens. (contact is: Kristy.Byrne@eastsussex.gov.uk)
On a more positive note, we have been advised that there should be space for small exhibitions at the library, and have agreed to make use of this for local heritage displays.
ESCC outlined its proposals for libraries countywide recently, and a public consultation on this closed on 12 December. Of local concern is the intention to close Ore Library. An action group formed to fight this and an e-petition attracted considerable support. Updates on the group’s endeavours to save the library are posted on their Facebook page.
Future of Marina (Former sea-bathing pool site and surrounding area)
At the H & St. L Society Open Meeting in October, representatives of the Burtons’ St. Leonards Society and Hastings Urban Design Group asked for a discussion on the future of the Marina area at the next open Meeting. Enquiries to Hastings Borough Council have revealed that the Council’s consultant is looking for an investor to develop the former sea-bathing pool site and surrounding area. There is concern that there is no public engagement in the process at present. The topic will be on the agenda for the next H & St. L Society Open Meeting, which is likely to be in February or March.
Farewell to Rob Woods (Town Centre Manager)
Having been Town Centre Manager for Hastings (employed by the Let’s Do Business Group) since December 2005, Rob Woods retires at the end of this year. Rob has ended his term on a high, having got the Hastings ‘Business Improvement District’ (BID) launched in April of this year. He says: “It was my ‘Damascus’ to create a BID in Hastings. After several aborted attempts, I finally got the backing of the Council to progress it in 2013.” Rob advised the BID steering group all through the process, and after a successful ballot in November 2016 he created the new not-for-profit company Love Hastings Ltd. There is a link to that company’s website on our website (see above). John Bownas leaves his post as Media Relations Officer for Croydon Council to take over from Rob as Hastings BID Manager on 2 January.
Rob also served on the steering committee for setting up the Hastings & St. Leonards Society and has been a committee member since the Society was launched. As he lives in Kent, Rob is resigning from our committee. We wish him a long and enjoyable retirement, and thank him for all his good work for Hastings town centre.
Annual General Meeting
Hastings & St. Leonards Society’s Annual General Meeting is due in Spring. Our constitution was formally adopted and first committee elected in February 2017, so we will be one year young soon. All members (including a representative from corporate groups) will receive invitations to the AGM. If you are not yet a member of H & St. L Society note that the introductory offer is still available: £5 for individual; £8 for joint (two persons at same address); £4 student. Corporate membership fee on application. The date for the AGM will be set at our next committee meeting, along with the date of the next Open Meeting. These dates will be announced in the next newsletter.
Future Events and Outings
We have heard that work is due to commence at Pevensey Museum (The Court House) in March. Also that St. Nicolas Church in Pevensey is closed at present due to renovation works. Consequently our proposed heritage outing to Pevensey early March is being put off until later in the year. We are looking for an alternative venue for a ‘make your own way’ March outing. The date for the coach trip to Rottingdean has yet to be agreed with Rottingdean Preservation Society. We hope this will be in May. Note that there are limited places on our outings, and members will be given priority when bookings are opened.