New Year’s message: Council leader Cllr Jeremy Birch

Council leader Cllr Jeremy Birch
Council leader Cllr Jeremy Birch

“WHAT sort of year will 2012 be for Hastings Borough Council? It will be challenging, but what year isn’t?

“It will certainly be a year of intense activity for the council and a year with significant opportunities for Hastings.

“It will see the council move on with the compulsory purchase of the pier with the intention of passing it to the Hastings White Rock Pier Trust. We intend to compulsory purchase the eyesore that is the Malvern pub in Broomgrove and the equally unattractive empty nursing home in St Leonards.

“Once the CPOs are confirmed the pub will be demolished. The nursing home refurbished and turned into individual dwellings as part of our housing improvement plan for Central St Leonards working with Local Space Housing Association. With us it will be investing £2 million into the area in 2012 for housing and environmental improvements.

“Early in 2012 we will be launching our campaign to encourage local businesses to take on 100 apprentices in 100 days as part of our Jobs Action Plan.

“In March the Jerwood Gallery will open which will really put Hastings on the national cultural map.

“In 2012 work will go on at last in the White Rock Baths with the planned use by Lifecycle and there is a really exciting project for West Marina, again after too long a wait.

“In July the Olympic Torch will be run along the seafront. Communities along the route are preparing festivities to greet the Torch and to have a good time, culminating in a big event on The Stade and the traditional Hastings firework display.

“Financially the council is facing a difficult future but at least for 2012 there will be no rise in council tax and no rise in prices in the council’s car parks.

“So let’s make the most of this new year and hope that Hastings can prove it is the most improving seaside town.”