Extra money to help maintain country park

The Firehills, Hastings Country Park.
The Firehills, Hastings Country Park.

THE council is to get extra money from next year to help it maintain Hastings Country Park.

The authority currently receives £20,000 from the Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) each year towards stewardship of the 345-hectare park.

Its current arrangement expires on April 1 next year and it was warned by Natural England in November last year that the council could expect a two-year funding gap between its present agreement ending and a new one starting.

Hastings Borough Council, as a result, put forward a case to transfer to a new contract.

Consequently the authority will now receive up to £45,000 a year for the next 10 years towards maintaining the country park.

The council currently receives a separate £20,000 each year from the Government under the Single Farm Payment Scheme which it will carry on getting.

Councillors on the council’s cabinet committee learned of the news at their meeting on Monday (October 7).

Cllr Emily Westley, the council’s lead member for leisure and amenities, said: “This is a really good news story and shows we are a proactive council.

“The country park is the most beautiful country park, I believe, in the south of England.

“We can also say we are Famously Naturally Hastings.”

Cllr John Hodges said: “The country park is the green jewel in the crown for Hastings. It’s been turned into a sustained economic miracle.”

The council currently contributes £16,000 annually towards the management of the country park.