The local elections are now just around the corner and I am sure all of you will soon have literature from several parties come through the door. The importance of the elections should not be underestimated. You get the oppertuinity to change your town for the better and possibly forever and what is more empowering than that?
With this in mind it is frustrating that turnout remains quite low for local elections with many wards having a turnout of around 35%, only about half of the turnout of a general election.
Since I have started writing this column much has taken place in Hastings. We have had another very successful summer season with Jack in the Green and the Motorcyclists, The Seafood and Wine festival and of course the Hastings illustration festival (HIFEST) amongst many others.
However not everything has been so positive. We have seen The Harold Place toilets closed leaving the town centre less accessible for some with others having to find toilets in local shops and cafés and now they are scheduled for demolition at a cost to you, the taxpayer of £105,000.
We have seen the Council go on a huge spending spree costing many millions of pounds of borrowed money to buy second (sometimes third) rate commercial property. Local taxpayers will be paying off these loans over the next 40 years. What makes it even more galling is that we pay for professional advice on commercial property purchases to the same company that is acting as the selling agents.
I revealed a few months ago that the Council has spent well over £1.3 million pounds on consultancy fees since 2010. This included paying large sums to other authorities and even £24,000 to a climate change consultant. This was paid while rough sleeping on our streets remains a serious issue which seems to many of us to have not been the best use of public money.
Also many of us remain unimpressed at the current administration’s apparent lack of enthusiasm in keeping our streets and seafront clean. The August Bank Holiday led to a litter strewn scene with bins not being emptied as often as they should have been. More must be done to ensure we do not have a repeat performance this year.
So I urge you to make a difference on May 3rd, to throw aside a Labour administration that has taken you for granted for too long, and use your vote to change the administration of Hastings Borough Council and vote Conservative.