This week, we explored the south eastern part of the ward, in the Mount Pleasant area. There were four of us this time: from left to right, Cllr. Peter Chowney, Cllr. Ruby Cox, Anna Sabin, and Cllr. Tania Charman. The weather was good, so we had a pleasant stroll around. As in our other recent walkabouts, the area was pretty clean, with no litter, apart from in a couple of places that I’ve mentioned below.
Halton Post Office
We started at the top of Mount Pleasant Road. The building on the corner of Mount Pleasant and Priory Road, now converted into housing, was originally Halton Post Office and General Store, then a sweet factory, before being abandoned for many years. It was then converted to housing. The terraced houses created are now occupied, but the flats still seem to be empty, after several years.
Upper Mount Pleasant and Broomgrove Road
From here, we began by walking down the hill. There was some litter here, mostly in the road gullies. I reported this on the ‘My Hastings’ website. Further down, we turned off to investigate Broomgrove Road. This road has had a difficult past, and has suffered from flytipping, dumped cars, litter and dog fouling. It was only surfaced recently, a s.106 requirement of the planning permission to develop the old Broomgrove allotments site. However, only part of the scheme was built (now Calverley Court) before the developer went bust. The rest of the site was repossessed by the bank, and has now been sold to Park Lane Group, another local housing developer. But Broomgrove Road, although surfaced, was not built to the standard required for adoption by the county council, so remains an unadopted road, which means no-one is responsible for maintaining it – it’s fine at the moment, but it won’t be repaired as it inevitably deteriorates.
Along the northern edge of Broomgrove Road, there is large area of unregistered land, between Broomgrove Road and the railway line, overgrown with Japanese Knotweed. Some of this is used by local residents for car parking, but was used extensively for flytipping where it slopes down steeply towards the railway line. Although Hastings Council is not technically responsible for cleaning the unadopted road or any of the unregistered land, the council does sweep and litter pick along the road, and it looked pretty free from litter on this walkabout. The council also put a fence along the back of the unofficial parking area to prevent flytipping, but we noticed that flytipping had appeared again beyond the fence, so we’ll see if the fence can be extended. There didn’t appear to be any abandoned cars in the parking area, but let us know if you believe otherwise.
Lower Mount Pleasant
We then walked down Mount Pleasant Road to the ward boundary at Hughenden Road. The unregistered land extends along this section of Mount Pleasant Road to the north, behind advertising hoardings. There are extensive badger setts in this land, with tunnels running under the road. This has caused repeated subsidence of the footway (you can see where the tarmac has been repeatedly patched up). The county council continue to monitor this, as the badger activity could potentially cause the road to collapse. If the risk of this increases, it might be necessary to relocate the entire sett. At 159 Broomgrove Road, there used to be a shop – the ‘We Buy Anything’ shop. Around 20 years ago, this shop closed, and gradually deteriorated. Repeated attempts by the council to use ‘Grotbusting’ powers failed, because of a loophole in the legislation exploited by the two brothers who owned it. The building continued to deteriorate, and was being monitored by the council’s building control service. As well as the weather, it was also being undermined by the badgers. Now, finally, the building has been demolished, apart from a small remaining section. Peering through the fence, the ‘We Buy Anything’ sign is still there!
St George’s Road
From here, we walked along Calvert Road, which looked reasonably clean and tidy, and southwards along St George’s Road. The road looked much cleaner than it used to before the council set up its street cleaning Direct Service Organisation (DSO), and there was remarkably little dog poo. St George’s Road and the surrounding roads have always suffered from dog fouling, particularly in winter when people tend to walk their dogs closer to home. But it seemed to be much better now. Whether that’s because of better cleaning, or the message about picking up after your dog finally getting through, or some strange unforeseen consequence of Covid and lockdowns, it’s difficult to know. But let’s hope it continues.
At the end of St George’s Road, we walked back up Emmanuel Road. Again, there was little litter and no flytipping, much better than it used to be. There were a lot of footway weeds though. The DSO are now grubbing out weeds, which will help to reduce them over time. Hastings Council does not use weedkiller sprays in public places because of health concerns associated with Glyphosate, which remains the only effective weedkiller authorised for use in public places. Many residents now object to spraying. In some streets, including Emmanuel Road, local residents have encouraged their neighbours to clear the weeds from outside their homes, while doing the work for those who are unable to clear their own weeds – this used to be common practice everywhere before weedkiller sprays were introduced. However, there is also now an increasing movement to keep the street weeds, suggesting that they should be considered as ‘street wildflowers’ and allowed to grow. So whether the council clears the weeds or not, whether they use sprays of not, there will be complaints!
St Thomas’s Road
From the northern end of Emmanuel Road, we walked up the steps to St Thomas’s Road. These steps, which run from St George’s Road up to St Thomas’s, are often a target for flytippers. There was no flytipping when we visited, but there was a bit of litter, which I reported on My Hastings. I’ve since had a message to say that the litter has been cleared, although I’ve not been back to check yet. St Thomas’s Road also looked very clean, with no sign of litter or dog poo, and no other problems that we could see. From the southern end, we walked back along Priory Road to the where we started. And that was the end of this week’s walkabout.
And that was the end of this week’s walkabout. If you’re a resident in this area and you know of any problems that we didn’t spot, do let us know in the comments box below. Or you can contact us using the form on the contact page of this website. There will be no walkabout for the next couple of weeks, but we’ll start them again in the New Year, lockdowns permitting. Seasons greetings to everyone, stay safe and avoid any unnecessary risks over the festive season. Hopefully, next year, the vaccine will help us get back to normal.