The last few weeks have seen the latest failure of Hastings Borough Council revealed for all to see. It is blatantly obvious to the whole town, except the Labour administration, that the industrialisation of the Country Park is a bad idea. The ten-acre area in question is part of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and is next to an area of Special Scientific Interest (SSI). Creating energy from solar and wind is positive as it will help us create a long-term future where our energy needs can be met without harming the environment. What shouldn’t happen is the ironic situation we have now where the Council is proposing harming the environment in the name of the environment.
The Council may talk about the environment as a justification for a solar farm but, as you may already know, it is really an income generation scheme. The council officer leading the charge has the job title of ‘Income Generation Manager’ (yes really) and they are tasked with finding new ways to bring more money into the Council to plug gaps in the budget. These budget gaps are talked about openly and often by the Labour administration but all the while they are very reluctant to make serious and genuine savings to council expenditure. The large sums spent on outside consultants or the huge costs that have been involved with the project to build a visitor centre out of straw continue to be justified, although cash reserves are being used to fund the expenditure. The research report to find out if it is a good idea to put a solar park in The Country Park will cost £80,000, money the authority can ill afford to spend, on finding out something which we already know.
About a third of the Borough is owned by Hastings Borough Council and a great deal of that is the Country Park. But although the Council owns it, they are really just the stewards of it and the park is there for the enjoyment of the town and for our visitors to explore. It is not there as a natural resource to be exploited for financial gain by a local council administration that is having trouble balancing the books. We can and must stop this badly thought out plan before it goes any further. I would urge all of you to go Amber Rudd’s website and sign the petition urging the council not to go ahead with the scheme.