Newsletter: Issue 4 (20th March 2018)
Chair’s Annual Report (Extract from AGM)
Hastings & St. Leonards Society became active when the constitution was adopted at the steering committee meeting on 13 February 2017. The Society operates as an ‘umbrella’ organization for the various organizations in the borough concerned with conservation, heritage and development, in order to improve communication between them, share resources, and assist with and encourage information exchange and publicity. Also to work with the local authority, planning committees, voluntary organisations, charities, and other groups with similar aims to the Society, in planning for the Town’s future. In working to achieve this aim we hold Open Meetings at which various organizations are represented, and members of the Society and general public are welcome to attend.
At our first Open Meeting of 24 April (2017) Rob Woods gave an overview of the aims and objectives of the new Business Improvement District initiative for the Town Centre; Cllr Terri Dowling spoke on the proposal for a new HBC ‘Heritage Strategy’; and André Palfrey-Martin outlined the work of the ‘Save Our Heritage’ group.
At the Open Meeting of 23 October, Steven Whitford gave a summary of the project to install the statue of Prince Albert alongside Hastings Town Hall. This was a community project, led by the Albert Statue Group, and the statue was finally installed in September. Chris Lewcock gave a presentation on the work of the Hastings Urban Design Group; and Rob Woods reported on the application to Historic England for Hastings Town Centre to be registered as a ‘Heritage Action Zone’. (We heard soon after from HBC that the application had failed.)
Our Open Meeting of 15 February was attended by 29 persons. Ian Jarman spoke about his campaign for a cover to be put on the statue of Harold and Edith at West Marina Gardens; and there was a presentation by Chris Lewcock on the former bathing pool site at West Marina, followed by a discussion on the future of the site, which resulted in the intention for a residents’ group to work towards presenting HBC with a ‘Neighbourhood Plan’.
We now have to move the Society forward particularly by seeking an inclusive approach, especially targeting young adults and looking at a way to work with local schools to educate on heritage. There is also a need to consider how to engage the public in the planning process. Emphasis therefore should be on engagement rather than holding events, although it is not out of the question that the Society organise a conference in the near future.
*Deborah invited comments from around the table:
Re engagement / outreach: It was suggested that the Society become ‘mobile’ by holding some meetings in various areas of the borough, focusing on local heritage in that particular part of the borough.
Re planning: Concern was raised that the Local Authority doesn’t adequately consult with, or even consider, the community on planning matters. It was stressed that the Society has a policy not to engage in lobbying, but will endeavour to bring matters of concern to the attention of our members and associate groups and societies, and to make enquiries when deemed appropriate; also to facilitate discussion meetings.
Other News From the AGM
We commenced taking membership last October. By the date of the AGM we had 33 members.
We opened a Treasurer’s Account with Lloyds Bank last autumn. There are no charges for operating this account. Our first accounting year will be from 13 October 2017 to 31 December 2018. From then on it will cover 1 January to 31 December (the ‘Society Year’). To facilitate payments for membership, it is recommended that we look to set up bank transfer arrangements and ‘paypal’ method in the near future.
In adherence to the Society’s adopted constitution, all officers relinquished their posts prior to the AGM. All five officers agreed to stand for re-election and were duly re-elected (we received no other nominations for any position of officer). The five elected officers are: Dr. Deborah Madden (Chair); Dr Chris Joyce (Vice Chair); Eve Montgomery (Treasurer); Steven Whitfield (Secretary); Abi Callaghan (Membership Secretary).
The Society’s constitution demands a minimum of two additional committee members to the elected officers. The two present executive committee members, Alan Jeffries and John Bownas, agreed to stand for re-election and were duly re-elected (we received no additional applications to join the committee).
Steven (secretary) proposed that the rates set when membership opened in October 2017 for the Society Year ending 31 December 2018 are held for 2019. This was unanimously agreed. Rates for 2019 are therefore:
Individual: £5; Joint (two persons in same household) £8; Student: £4
Corporate membership: Variable
Thanks to the tremendous work of our website manager, Alan Jeffries, we have a website to be proud of. Several organisations in the borough have details of their work on our website and a link to their own website if they have one. The latest group to be added to our website is the Bohemia Walled Garden Association (in Summerfield Woods). We provide this service free of charge, but to help cover our operating costs we offer corporate membership to the Society at a low rate – quotations on request. Our website is a further means by which groups can share information and advertise their events.
We are endeavouring to promote the many heritage-related events that take place in our borough on our website. Articles and ‘blogs’ of relevance to our aims in promoting local heritage and civic pride are also frequently being posted on the website. You will receive notification of new postings by subscribing when you next visit the website. There is no fee for subscribing to the website. However, we do welcome new members and details of membership are on the website.
Hastings Public Library
Hastings now has a fine, modern and comfortable library. Back in the revamped former Brassey Institute in Claremont, following completion of the substantial improvements to the building, it seems that regular users of the facilities are very happy with the outcome. It also appears that the local studies resources for research are adequate.
Group Visit to Rye
Due to the prolonged bad weather we had to cancel the group visit to Rye, intended for 28 February. This has now been rescheduled for Wednesday 25 April. It is a ‘make your own way’ outing, meeting at Rye Heritage Centre for 11 am. There is a bus departing from Hastings Town Centre at 9.48 am (via Hastings Old Town), arriving at Rye at 10.32 am. The Heritage Centre is the ‘Old Sail Loft’ at Rye Strand Quay.
The Centre provides ‘The Story of Rye’ in a 20-minutes model show format with sound and light effects. Upstairs there is a ‘Penny Amusements’ heritage collection. After a break for lunch (make your own arrangements) there is a guided walk around historic Rye town.
Cost of the visit is £10 per person, set by the Heritage Centre. There is a £1 booking fee for each non-member of the H & St. L Society. To book e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Payment instructions will be given with confirmation of your booking. We hope this outing will appeal to you. All welcome, but note that there is a restriction on numbers. If you are travelling by car and have seat(s) to offer to others, please let us know.
Support for the National Town Criers Competition
As mentioned in the previous Newsletter, H & St. L Society is keen to help rejuvenate the National Town Criers Competition, which is held in our Priory Meadow Shopping Centre during Hastings Week (October) each year. Due to the continuing cutbacks in budget, HBC has been unable to provide prize money for the event in recent years, and the number of contestants has dropped considerably. This is a colourful heritage event and a prestigious title for the winning Town Crier. However, it desperately needs some prize money.
To raise funds for the event we have engaged our brilliant Town Crier, Jon Bartholomew, to give an illustrated talk (‘For Crying Out Loud’ – the Story of a Town Crier) at Hastings Museum on Sunday 8 July, 2 pm start. There is an admission charge of £5 per person (children aged 14 years and under, accompanied by adult, free). All proceeds will be donated as prize money for the National Town Criers competition. We do hope you will support this fundraising event, so that we can keep the competition alive in Hastings. Booking is not necessary, but get the date in your diary!
To further the fundraising we are preparing a booklet about the Town Crier Tradition in Hastings to sell.
Next Open Meeting
Our next Open Meeting is on Thursday 19 April, 6.30 pm start, at the University’s Priory Square building. Ian Jarman is giving a presentation on the Harold and Edith Statue, followed by a discussion about the statue’s future; and Julia Hilton is putting forward the proposal to apply for UNESCO World Heritage Status for Hastings and St. Leonards. There will also be an update on the forming of the residents’ group to work on a ‘Neighbourhood Plan’ for the former West Marina bathing pool site. All welcome, but if you wish to attend please let us know in advance so that we have an idea of numbers and can issue you with the agenda. E-mail: email@example.com
H & St. L Society Committee