The warm weather may at times feel like a curse but I keep reminding myself that it was snowing in Spring this year, and so I make myself feel grateful for this extended warm spell we have had over recent weeks and wear my shorts happily. This stance proved difficult last Saturday when I joined hundreds of others for the climax of Hastings Old Town week and that is, of course, the carnival.
In trousers, a long-sleeved shirt, my council robes and a hat, I sweltered with the Mayor, his deputy, the leader of the Council (who was dressed as a pirate!) my deputy leader along with several other councillors around the Old Town waving at tourists and locals alike who had come to see the amazing floats and performances that make the carnival the fun spectacle that we all enjoy. As well as the honour of taking part in the carnival it was good to enjoy one of the lighter moments of being a local councillor. Most months in this column I report various misadventures that the Council has undertaken, expensive new street cleaning arrangements, vast sums of money borrowed to buy second rate retail property, questionable planning decisions etc. It could be easy to fall into the habit of simply pointing out these errors every single month however eventually you can lose focus on the good things about our fantastic town.
I have spent the days following the carnival reflecting on the positives locally which demonstrate the things that have gone right and are going right in our town right now. A walk down Queens Road will show you some fantastic local retail businesses that demonstrate the record numbers of new businesses that have started up over the last few years. A drive down the link road is good evidence of significant investment into local infrastructure and the Queensway Gateway Road will be opening up soon too. I read on this newspapers website this week about the amazing performance of our local primary schools and of course we have become one of the governments education opportunity areas meaning our local schools will receive significant extra investment. I strongly recommend that if you haven’t had a look round the wonderfully refurbished Hastings Library yet that you do so, it’s great and East Sussex County Council spent £8 million on the project.
We still have some great events left this summer including one of my favourites, the Seafood and Wine Festival in September, so let us all remember that despite the errors of Hastings Borough Council there is much to celebrate and look forward to in Hastings and St Leonards.