Fines for failing to tidy up properties

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OWNERS of a derelict piece of land where historic Hastings Cottage once stood and an eyesore building have been hit with fines after landing up in court.

The cases were heard in the owners’ absence at Hastings Magistrates Court.

Hastings Courts Ltd, owners of land on The Ridge, the former site of Hastings Cottage, were fined the maximum £1,000 and will also have to pay £372 towards the council’s costs and clear the land.

The former care home, which has recently been demolished, dated back from the mid-19th century and was used to treat stammerers, most notably author Lewis Carroll, a former resident of the town.

Claire Howes, of Harold Road, was fined £700 for failing to comply with notices requiring her to tidy up piles of rubbish from the front of her building. She will also have to pay Hastings Borough Council’s costs of £372 and clean up her property.

Councillor Peter Chowney, lead member for regeneration, said: “It’s a shame that we have to go as far as taking owners to court, but we will if it means we get rundown buildings and land tidied up. The site on The Ridge had become a magnet for fly tippers and is an appalling eyesore.

“Although we’ve made big improvements, shabby buildings and sites still have a negative impact on the physical appearance of Hastings and St Leonards, which is why our Grotbusters team will continue their work until they’ve dealt with every one of them.

“Prosecutions will be used, but a big fine doesn’t mean the owners of these sites don’t have to do the work – if they still don’t, bigger fines will follow, and they could potentially lose their property.”