Today, we began our Tressell walkabouts again. Just Cllr. Peter Chowney and Ali Roark (Labour’s candidate for Tressell Ward in the May Hastings Council elections), as only two people are allowed to meet outdoors at the moment. But the weather was warm and sunny, perfect for a walkabout. This time, we explored Farley Bank and Hurrell Road. As usual, there were quite a few litter and flytipping problems on Farley Bank.
Farley Bank East
We began our walk at the Frederick Road end of Farley Bank. There were a couple of flytips at the side of the road, which we reported on the My Hastings website, so they should be picked up soon. We were disappointed to see that, again, the landscaped areas by the raised footway in front of the houses at that end of Farley Bank were badly littered. Responsibility for cleaning in Farley Bank is complicated, with Hastings Council responsible for keeping the footways and roads clean, but Optivo Housing Association responsible for the landscaped areas. Generally, the roads and footways were clean, but the landscaped areas weren’t. The council’s street cleaning team work with Optivo on this – we’ll get them to remind Optivo that it needs cleaning, but this does happen frequently. In the past, the council has served a Community Protection Notice on Optivo to force them to clean up the areas they’re responsible for; hopefully that won’t be necessary this time.
Central Farley Bank
We also noticed that some of the steps were in poor condition. For long-forgotten historical reasons, these are the responsibility of East Sussex County Council, so we’ll try to get them to do something about it … no promises there though. We walked up onto Priory Road, via the slope, finding more flytipping there, which we reported. Interestingly, when this slope was built back in the 1960s, it had an electric heater built into it, which could be switched on in cold weather to stop it icing up and getting slippery. It’s still there presumably, but has long since been disconnected. Dates back to years when there was a lot more government money around for housing developments, and when the winters were colder!
Fortune of War Garden
On Priory Road, we walked along to the old Fortune of War site. The Fortune of War was a pub that was originally built as the officers’ mess for the old Halton Barracks. The barracks dated back to the Napoleonic Wars, and stood where Halton Estate now is. The Fortune of War pub was demolished in the 1970s. Now, it’s a public garden, maintained by Optivo. It has a dog bin, which was empty, but why people drop their bags of poo round it rather than in it I shall never understand. Otherwise, it was pretty clean.
Farley Bank West
We then walked back along the grassed area between Farley Bank and Priory Road, which wasn’t too bad. We looked at the rather sad seating area at the western end of Farley Bank in the ‘play street’, which was installed with local regeneration money about 15 years ago, but hasn’t been maintained at all by Optivo. We will see if we can at least get something planted in the neglected empty planters there, even if we have to plant it ourselves. The play area itself was in good condition though, clean and well-maintained. The recycling bins here though were full and had flytipped rubbish around them – we can get that cleared.
From there, we crossed into the old Broomgrove allotments site. That site has been bought by Park Lane, a local developer, but is starting to attract a lot of litter, and isn’t being kept clean. The site was getting more interesting ecologically with some unusual wild flowers in spring, but is now almost completely covered by gorse bushes. We will try to find out what Park Lane’s plans for the site are, and when they intend developing it. It is a very difficult site to develop. Several previous attempts have come to naught, largely because it’s so steeply sloped.
Ore Business Park
We then walked along Hurrell Road, which seemed to be pretty clean and tidy, but went up along Bishop Avenue to take a look at the housing development on Ore Business Park. Hastings Council has been pursuing enforcement against the developer, because they have failed to submit plans for completing the previously developed part of Bishop Avenue. They’re required to do this under their planning permission. As they didn’t submit plans by the deadline in a council notice, a Breach of Conditions Notice has been issued. That can result in a substantial fine if plans still aren’t forthcoming. If that doesn’t work, the council can prevent the new homes from being occupied until the necessary additional works to Bishop Avenue (mostly road surfacing, drains, and constructing part of a cycle route) are completed.
Farley Bank Steps
Then we took the steps back up from Hurrell Road to Farley Bank. These steps have often been badly littered in the past, but this time they were clean. Furthermore, a worker for Hastings Council’s landscape contractor was clearing overgrown vegetation from the eastern edge of the path (from land that’s technically the responsibility of the Ore Business Park developer, but they’ve allowed to get overgrown and full of litter). There’s still a bit of land at the top of the steps though that’s also full of litter – again, it appears to be part of the Broomgrove allotment site.
And that was it – back up to the top of Farley Bank. Next week, we’ll be out again, weather permitting, although still just two of us. We’ll probably be looking at Frederick Road, the Cookson Gardens estate, and the new Little Acres Farm estate.