Town Crier

News & Gossip Pages By The  Editor

Knife Edge Election

The local elections resulted in a knife edge situation with full control of Hastings Borough Council being denied to the Conservatives by the literal tossing of a coin.

After five inconclusive recounts Lib-Dem Richard Stevens held on to his seat when the coin dropped in his favour.

The one vote that the spin of the coin gave the winner was a bitter blow to Conservative challenger Stuart Padget, who had put in a great deal of effort in his attempt to wrest the seat from the popular Lib-Dem. The Mayor’s casting vote would have given the Tories control of the 32 seat council if Stuart Padget had won the toss.

Overall the Lib-Dems dropped two seats on the night and now have just three Councillors left in the Chamber.

Labour bucked the national trend and gained two seats from the Lib-Dems but lost one to Conservative Matthew J Lock. The two new Labour faces at the Town Hall will be Kim Forward and Paul Barlow. Lib-Dem Deputy Mayor, Vivienne Bond, lost her seat adding to the misery of her party.

The overall result means the Tories will still have to rely on Lib-Dem support to get new policies adopted.

Hastings Must Fight Back

The future for Hastings, with its undeserved title of ‘Poorest town on the South Coast’ and prophesied national recession to look forward to, could be bleak but not all is lost.The massive increases in air prices and overseas holidays could herald a return to popularity of the English Seaside resorts. Hastings & St. Leonards needs to clean up its act and make this town the safest and most welcoming place for visitors.

The Council must lead the way, sort out this nightmare street parking situation which comes over as a ‘rip off’ to tourists and locals alike.The enforcement by a group of over zealous cowboys, who seem to appear out of the woodwork before you even get a foot out of the car,is oppressive. The various rating charges at different parks mean that tickets are not valid in other locations, even if there are two or three hours left unused. Street parking in the Old Town High Street has been changed in a way that kills trade to the small shops there who are having a tough time already.

 It is not for me to tell the Council what should be done but to do nothing will not help Hastings get the ‘friendly town’ title back that it held in the sixties and seventies. 

As for safety, this must be down to the police. Day and night ‘beat’ policing works, however unpopular it is with officers. Criminals hear a car coming but they don’t notice a copper standing in a dark corner.Times may be more dangerous now but in the past policemen had only a whistle or the public phone to summon help, now a quite call on their radio phone gets assistance in minutes. I am well aware of the difference in policing todays drug and booze driven crime wave but not talking about it will not make it go away. Its no good the police catching criminals if clever criminals, lenient Judges or smart lawyers and barristers get them off on technicalities. 

Yesterday’s solutions are swept aside as being ‘out of date’ or ‘not liberal enough’ but they had one advantage over todays methods. – They did work!

Old Town Teamwork

Well done fisherman ‘Podgy’ Ball for bringing ashore an aircraft propeller he trawled up in his nets and ‘D-Day’ White for initiative in finding a place to display it. The JU 88 bomber prop was probably from an aircraft that had hit Hastings and was shot down as it tried to escape from a British fighter.It will be displayed in the open space at the end of Courthouse Street.

Twenty-Five Year Promoter

In August this year, Esther Carpenter of St. Leonards is promoting the famous Kent Cycling Association 12 Hour Cycling Time Trial for the 25th. time.

The event, which is organised on circuits over Kent roads, is a marathon event with riders setting off at minute intervals and riding against the clock to complete as many miles as they can in the twelve hours. The winning rider may go as far as 270 miles with the slowest completing 150, so it is an amazing feat of marshalling, planning and mathematics to keep the field under control and work out every riders distance to the yard as they finish.

Esther has managed very successfully for 24 years to enlist the help of dozens of marshals, timekeepers and feeding station personnel, tea ladies and even a masseuse, to make it all happen every time. No doubt she will make the impossible happen again this year. Hastings can be proud of a lady who brought many records to the town in her racing days and will now created another as a promoter.

“Hastings Town” June 2008

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